When an anesthesiologist makes a mistake in mixing or administering anesthesia, it can result in extremely harmful and even deadly consequences for a patient. In Pennsylvania, filing an anesthesia error claim can reimburse you for the losses that you suffered as a victim of this type of medical malpractice. Find out what kinds of financial compensation, also known as damages, could be available in your lawsuit.
The most common damage awarded in an anesthesia error lawsuit is for medical expenses. The victim of an anesthesia error might require short-term or long-term medical treatments for a related injury, such as a brain injury, nerve damage, paralysis, chronic pain or an allergic reaction. A successful lawsuit can pay for the victim’s past, present and future necessary medical care associated with the anesthesia mistake. This can include:
- Doctor’s appointments
- Visits with a specialist
- Scans, tests and x-rays
- Medical procedures and treatments
- Physical or rehabilitative therapies
- Medications and medical devices
- Live-in or nursing care
- Psychological or psychiatric treatment for mental distress
Any type of care or treatment that is deemed medically necessary because of the anesthesia error becomes a covered expense in a medical malpractice lawsuit. As a victim of an anesthesia error, it is important to keep copies of all of the medical bills and receipts associated with your recovery to seek fair financial compensation from the anesthesiologist or hospital.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering is an umbrella phrase that can refer to many different types of losses that fall under the category of non-economic damages. These often include physical pain, emotional distress, inconvenience, lost quality of life, and mental anguish and trauma associated with the anesthesia error. Depending on the emotional scarring and the need for counseling because of the error, the value of pain and suffering damages can be significant. This is common in cases involving anesthesia awareness, for example – a patient who is awake but cannot move or speak during surgery.
Lost Income and Earning Opportunities
If an anesthesia error resulted in time off of work – with or without vacation time available to cover the absence – you can recover compensation for lost wages. You will need to show proof of these losses, such as a previous pay stub or a letter from your employer. You may also be eligible for future lost capacity to earn if the anesthesia error gave you a long-term disability, such as brain damage due to hypoxia (a lack of oxygen). If you need occupational therapy or a change of industry because of a disability, your lawsuit can pay for these expenses, as well.
Wrongful Death Damages
Sadly, some anesthesia errors are fatal. If you lost a loved one to a deadly anesthesia mistake, your family (surviving heirs and beneficiaries) may qualify for a wrongful death lawsuit in Philadelphia. These can include reasonable funeral and burial reimbursement, as well as payment for related medical bills, lost wages, lost inheritance, the victim’s pain and suffering, and lost care and companionship.
Always Contact an Attorney Before Accepting a Settlement
Insurance companies tend to prioritize their profitability over the well-being of clients. This results in bad-faith insurance tactics, such as an insurer offering far less than the fair value of an anesthesia error claim. It is important to always consult with a medical malpractice attorney in Philadelphia about your case before rushing into an insurance settlement for an anesthesia error – especially if you or a loved one suffered catastrophic injuries because of a medical mistake.
Once you accept a settlement and sign a Release of Liability Waiver, you generally cannot renegotiate for a greater amount. Before you settle, contact Youman & Caputo at (215) 302-1999 to determine the value of your anesthesia error lawsuit. You can trust the value assigned to your case by a lawyer since he or she will want to maximize your financial recovery – not minimize it.