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New York is a No-Cap State for Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

In many states, there are laws that place caps on the amount of damages a patient may recover in a medical malpractice lawsuit. These caps are typically imposed to limit what patients can recover in noneconomic damages, which refer to damages that are more difficult to quantify. Examples of these damages include pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of companionship, and mental or emotional anguish.

In New York, however, there are no caps to noneconomic damages in medical malpractice claims. This is partially what led to New York having the highest amount of total payouts in medical malpractice cases in 2013, twice as much as the second-ranked state (Pennsylvania). But what exactly goes into determining how much money a patient will recover in noneconomic damages after a successful malpractice claim?

There is no set process that judges or insurance adjusters use when determining noneconomic damage amounts, as there is not a simple way to calculate them. For pain and suffering damages, insurance companies usually apply a multiplier to calculate the amount of damages you receive. So, for example, the company could decide that your pain and suffering is worth three times the total amount of your economic damages, which include medical expenses, lost wages and other quantifiable expenses.

However, if your case goes to court and the damage amount is left up to the jury, factors that might influence the amount of noneconomic damages you receive might include the following:

  • Whether the jury likes you
  • Whether the jury thinks you have been honest in the case
  • Whether you have a criminal record
  • Whether you have an injury that is easy for jury members to understand

A jury’s decision is out of your control, but you can work with your attorney to negotiate with insurance agencies to get a settlement amount you feel aligns with your suffering. For more information on key issues related to medical malpractice lawsuits, work with a skilled Brooklyn attorney at Rubenstein & Rynecki by calling 718-522-1020 or by contacting us online.

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