If you or a loved one sustained an injury due to a healthcare professional’s negligence, it’s possible to get compensation for your injuries. But many people who find themselves in this situation wonder, What is the average medical malpractice settlement?
You might find a number of online calculators purporting to provide a reasonable estimate of the settlement value of your case. And it would be convenient to plug values into a medical malpractice settlement calculator and instantly find out what your case is worth. However, it is rarely that simple because multiple factors play a role in determining the potential value of your medical malpractice case.
The best way to get a reasonable estimate is by speaking with an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can make an educated, professional assessment of all the critical factors at play in your unique case.
At Dempsey Kingsland & Osteen, our practice has focused on complex medical malpractice claims for decades. If you have a case, we stand ready to fight for you and your family. Reach out to us today.
Average Medical Malpractice Settlement in Missouri
There is no “average” settlement amount for medical malpractice cases because they vary greatly in the specific facts that led to harm. And many settlements go unreported, so trying to determine an average really has little meaning. But even if an average medical malpractice settlement value existed, your case could be far lower or higher—again, making any average meaningless.
An average or a settlement calculator cannot consider the nuances of your case. This fact dramatically limits its accuracy. This is especially true in a medical malpractice case where caps on noneconomic damages also play a role.
Using an oversimplified calculation would be of minimal help and could be quite misleading. Speaking with a medical malpractice attorney is the best way to get an accurate evaluation of your case value.
Factors That Play a Role in the Settlement Amount
Based on our extensive experience as medical malpractice litigators, we’ve compiled a list of factors that influence the amount an injured victim can demand in a medical malpractice case.
Several factors help predict the settlement value for your claim. These include the severity of the injury, the strength of your case, patient details, and the resources available to cover damages.
The extent of your injuries
Outside of having the best lawyer representing your interests, the extent of your injuries is the most significant factor influencing your settlement.
The more serious your injuries, the higher the settlement value of your claim. Why? Because more serious injuries typically result in higher medical bills.
They also require more extensive treatment and a longer recovery than less catastrophic ones. Suffering catastrophic injuries could also add a crushing amount of emotional pain and stress to your life. This, in turn, can lead to long-term financial effects.
The strength of your evidence for liability
Just because you file a claim does not mean you will automatically be entitled to a settlement because not every bad medical outcome indicates malpractice.
You must build a strong case showing fault and negligence on the medical provider’s part before the defendant offers any settlement. It’s critical to establish the precise nature of the malpractice, and some cases are more clear and easy to prove than others.
Evidence in a medical malpractice case often includes the following:
- Medical records,
- Testimony from expert witnesses,
- Witness statements,
- Records of damages, and
- The victim’s experience.
The more convincing evidence you have to show the healthcare professional’s negligence, the greater your leverage during settlement negotiations. The liability determination is a key factor in establishing the settlement value.
Available insurance coverage
The ability of a defendant to pay your claim also factors into how much you can expect to receive.
Even when your injuries are severe, and your liability case is strong, the defendant must be able to pay a judgment. Often, insurance coverage limits come into play and can impact the settlement amount. The insurance company will likely offer an initial payout far below your actual damages.
They do this with the hope that you will jump at the low offer, save them money, and resolve the case quickly. Having a professional looking out for your interests is the best way to avoid this common tactic.
How Are Malpractice Settlements Calculated?
A malpractice settlement consists mainly of compensatory damages. Rare cases can also involve punitive damages, but courts only award punitive damages when the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious. You are far more likely to get compensatory damages.
In most cases where the victim can prove liability, they are entitled to compensatory damages. The two elements of compensatory damages are economic and noneconomic damages.
Under Missouri law, economic damages include:
- All medical costs relating to treating your injury and rehabilitation,
- Lost wages, and
- Lost earning capacity.
Economic damages represent actual damages—money lost and the debts incurred due to the injury. Thus, these damages are generally straightforward to calculate based on invoices, receipts, and pay records.
Noneconomic damages are less tangible, more challenging to calculate, and are capped by law based on the severity of the injury. These damages seek to compensate a malpractice victim for things like:
- Pain and suffering,
- Loss of consortium,
- Mental anguish,
- Loss of capacity to enjoy life,
- Permanent disfigurement, and
- Disruptions to daily life.
Because there are no receipts or invoices to add up for these types of losses, calculating noneconomic damages is more complex.
Talk to Our Attorneys About the Value of Your Medical Malpractice Case
There is no simple formula to calculate the value of your case. Several factors influence the potential value of the settlement, including whether you have an effective and formidable legal team representing your interests against insurance companies.
Our Dempsey Kingsland & Osteen legal team is accomplished, dedicated, and skilled. Founded in 1986, our firm has maintained a commitment to excellence in representing the seriously injured in negligence involving medical malpractice, catastrophic injuries, and wrongful death.
We file more medical malpractice cases in Kansas City than any other law firm and are recognized as Missouri’s premier medical malpractice law firm. Although each case is different, we have a track record of success and have achieved multi-million dollar recoveries.
You can trust our experience. We believe in a client-first approach and are here for you. We can aid in recovering compensation in your medical malpractice case. We are available for free consultations, and you pay us nothing unless we win your case. Contact us or give us a call.