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Damage caps limit woman from collecting all of $5.8 million award

People in New York City may be shocked to hear of the high jury awards handed out in medical malpractice cases. Perhaps it is due to the inordinate amounts given in such lawsuits that causes so many to dismiss them as simple attempts by dissatisfied people to get rich quick. In reality, the plaintiffs in most medical malpractice lawsuits have suffered greatly due to the apparent negligence of healthcare providers in whom they placed their trust. That suffering is often costly. However, regulations often mean that the may never be able to collect on the total amounts that they are awarded. 

A $5.8 million award recently handed out in a case in West Virginia is believed to be the largest given in the state in quite some time. However, laws imposing caps on non-economic damages in medical malpractices cases passed in the state in 2003 likely mean that she will only receive a small portion of that (between $630,000-$650,000). While her lawyer (who is also a physician) understands the logic behind the law, he believes that it unfairly restricts the damages made available to deserving people such as his client. 

The issue at the center of the lawsuit was the botched handling of the woman's thyroidectomy back in 2014. The doctor involved damaged nerves in her throat, which resulted in her needing a permanent tracheotomy. 

While one may be limited in the amount that he or she can collect in a medical malpractice lawsuit, that should not deter him or her from initiating such action (if it is needed). Any amount recovered can help relieve the financial burden that one's incident has left him or her with. His or her chances of recovering compensation may increase exponentially if he or she has the assistance of an attorney to rely on. 

Source: Charleston Gazette-Mail "Bluefield woman awarded nearly $5.8M in medical malpractice suit" Pierson, Lacie, Oct. 03, 2017

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