The choice medical malpractice or wrongful death is not really meaningful. Medical malpractice can cause a wrongful death and catastrophic injuries occur as a result of accidents of any kind. The cases with the very highest value are those involving injuries that leave the plaintiff with a normal life expectancy, but requiring lifetime care. Usually the younger the plaintiff, the higher the value. For that reason, birth injury cases as a group probably have the highest value. A case reported in the New York Law Journal yesterday referred to a statistic that 40% of all the medical malpractice payouts in New York resulted from birth injuries. Injuries to very small children can result in comparable damages. Think about a quadriplegic two-year old injured as a result of an auto accident. It happens.
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That is a difficult question because each case is so fact specific. Typically, a case with a higher value involves injuries that leave the plaintiff with a normal life expectancy, but the person injuredneeds lifetime care. Again, it is based on the facts so this is hard to answer.
Simply, the cases with the most damages are those that are worth more. If two people have the same injury, but one has more lost wages as a result, the one with more lost wages is worth more (all things being equal). In addition to actual damages - wage loss, medical bills, etc., one looks at the intangibles like pain and suffering - how has this person's life been affected by the incident? Is there permanent damage? These are taken into account when determining value. It is ALWAYS case specific. The same injury can affect each person differently depending on their age, lifestyle, and other personal circumstances.
Steven A. Schwartz
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