If a malpractice case cannot be settled in mediation, a jury or judge may determine the monetary value of a wronged party’s injuries in any medical malpractice lawsuit. However, there is an arbitrary cap on the amount that can be awarded in these settlements following the loss of a limb, the loss of eyesight, or other catastrophic injuries brought on by medical misconduct. These claims are subject to specific criteria, and understanding why these caps are put into place is essential for understanding the medical malpractice claims process. 

Understanding Medical Malpractice Cases in Georgia

Anybody claiming to conduct surgery or administer medical treatments for payment in Georgia must use an appropriate “degree of care and skill,” according to Georgia Code 51-1-27. If they are not providing this level of care, medical malpractice may ensue. Medical malpractice lawsuits must be filed within two years of when the injuries by negligent or wrongful acts or omissions happened. 

However, if the harm was not immediately apparent, the time frame may be extended to five years. Victims in medical malpractice cases must also submit affidavits of experts qualified to testify, per Georgia Code 9-11-9.1. The affidavit must precisely name at least one alleged negligent conduct or omission together with the supporting evidence for each claim.

Differences Between Economic and Non-Economic Damages

Understanding the distinction between economic and non-economic damages is essential for all malpractice cases. Since Georgia regulations do not impose a cap on the number of economic damages a claimant may receive in a medical malpractice case, this distinction between economic and non-economic damages needs to be understood to understand the outcome of your claim. The most important differences between economic and non-economic damages are as follows: 

  • Economic damages. The financial damages you suffered as a consequence of medical malpractice include medical expenses, missed wages, continued medical care and support, impaired earning ability, home or vehicle adaptations, long-term disability care, accessibility equipment, supplies, and other costs. The amount of damages you can receive under Georgia law is unlimited, yet they have to be fair and pertinent to the harm.
  • Non-economic damages. Non-economic damages include things like the mental agony, misery, bodily pain, and suffering you went through because of your injuries. Additional instances include physical impairment, inconvenience, suffering, deformity, and loss of enjoyment of life, and these claims can be filed by a loved one on your behalf if necessary.

Understanding Georgia’s Damages cap

Georgia’s medical malpractice liability caps, like those in the majority of states, solely apply to noneconomic damages. This covers restitution for the harm suffered by the patient as a result of the defendant’s negligence, as well as things like pain and suffering or other difficult-to-quantify damages. So, if you sustain a traumatic brain injury during your treatment, you may be entitled to a higher amount in damages due to how severely this injury changes your daily life. 

Non-economic damages in a single medical malpractice action brought against a healthcare provider in Georgia are capped at $350,000. Noneconomic damages are capped at $350,000 for claims against one healthcare facility and increase to $700,000 if multiple facilities are found to be at fault. Noneconomic damages are capped at $1.05 million for all medical malpractice cases combined.

Seeking Legal Help for Medical Malpractice Claims

When filing a medical malpractice claim, one of the biggest questions coming from those seeking damages is about the restitution they will receive. Getting an appropriate settlement is important for trying to get your life back to normal. For those in Georgia, Lamar Law Office can help you prepare and file a claim regarding your medical malpractice injuries. For more information, visit our website and contact us to schedule a consultation.