Medical Malpractice Judgment

When negotiating a settlement of damages with defendants outside the court of law fails and a trial reaches its conclusion, the trier or finder of the facts, which is either a jury or judge, will render a formal decision. This is known as a judgment, or in regards to civil procedures in the United States, entry of judgment. Within the each individual judgment, a number of mandates may be made by courts, and for those concerning medical malpractice torts, a number of medical malpractice judgment terms may be issued by judges or juries within the parameters set by a presiding judge. Victims of medical malpractice will often multiple forms of medical malpractice judgment again parties liable for a defendant’s damages. Additionally, for medical malpractice judgments not to the liking of victims, a number of options are available to render a different medical malpractice judgment within the civil courts.

Medical malpractice judgments can encompass a number of facets and will greatly vary in extent dependant on the nature of each given case being litigated between victims and defendants standing accused of malpractice. Once a judge or jury issues a judgment, the medical malpractice case is officially closed, however, a number of factors could leave the judgment open to appeal by the losing party as well. Some of the most common forms of medical malpractice judgments include:

  • Default judgment: occurs when defendants do not respond to victim’s suit claims and are always in favor of the plaintiff victims
  • Summary judgment: occurs when both parties and the fact finders have made a determination prior to a full trial
  • Consent judgment: occurs when both defendants and plaintiffs agree to a given outcome
  • Vacated judgment: occurs when an appeals court rejects a previous judgment of a lower court
  • Declaratory judgment: occurs when declarations on legally binding rights, obligations, and responsibilities of both parties of a dispute are handed down

Typically, victims amidst a medical malpractice suit will seek a declaratory judgment that specifies damages liable defendants must pay. Damages are a host of fiscal awards that the losing party in a civil suit must make toward the winning party. With regards to medical malpractice tort law, damages can take the form of several variations include compensatory damages, punitive damages, and incidental damages. Incidental damages may include a host of fees, fines, or costs associated with bringing defendants accused of medical malpractice to trial and the related legal expenses, including expert testimony. Punitive damages are subject to being issued by juries of judges in the event that the medical malpractice is deemed gross, wanton, reckless, or intentional, and the medical malpractice went above and beyond the normal realm of medical errors or oversights, enough so that it potentially produced lethal consequences or displayed an exacerbated level of malice, unprofessionalism, or violation of reasonable standard of care. Compensatory damages comprise the most common form of judgments that juries and judges will issue during the course of medical malpractice tort case.

Statistics from a sample survey of 1,452 tort claims filed in the United States District Courts for medical malpractice show that nearly three-fourths of medical malpractice judgments result in some form of compensatory damages for plaintiffs and their medical malpractice attorney or legal team. Compensatory damages can be for myriad of fiscally accountable losses victims experience as the result of medical malpractice. Some common reasons for compensatory damages include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Maintained and chronic medical expenses
  • Loss of wages
  • Loss of consortium
  • Lowered quality of life
  • Permanent disability
  • Pain and suffering, whether physical, emotional, or psychological

Consult with an attorney if you would like to get more information.

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