Settlement for permanent lymphedema?
The hospital is trying to settle with me for an incident that caused me to have to have another abdominal surgery, and caused permanent lymphedema in my right leg. The surgery caused an open wound that took 9 months to heal. The hospital's attorney is attempting to settle this with me and asked for an amount for what I want, and is not asking for my notes on how I came up with the amount.
He wants an itemized list of damages, economical and non-economical, but I'm not sure how to value the pain and suffering. The economical damages were the Medicare/Medicaid settlements, and the cost of lymphedema compression bandages, materials, supplies, etc. for the rest of my life.
The total I gave them was $153,000 but after coming up with the itemized list I'm questioning if that was too much or not enough. What should I be asking for in a situation like this?
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ANSWER for "Settlement for permanent lymphedema?":
Lisa (Evansville, IN):
While we would all like to believe everyone we deal with will treat us fairly, the reality is that's not usually the case. You have to wonder why the hospital referred the matter over to their attorney instead of handling it themselves. Attorneys are motivated by serving their clients' best interests and no one else's. There is nothing wrong with that. Attorneys are advocates for their clients.
You can be absolutely sure the attorney you are dealing with, no matter how seemingly nice, is not representing your best interests. He or she is doing everything possible to minimize the amount of money the hospital will ultimately pay you. Once again, there is nothing wrong with that. That's part of advocacy.
How did you determine pain and suffering? Did you consider punitive damages? How about an extrapolation of the money to be paid according to future side effects from the injury. Who will pay if that occurs? These are just some of the questions which must be considered.
Some people just believe if an attorney represents them, they will receive less money than they would if they handled the case on their own. In many cases, that's a fallacy. Attorneys are normally able to settle cases for much more than an injured party could on his or her own. This is particularly true with serious injury cases.
Your case may be worth much more than $153,000 dollars. You don't know if the doctor who performed the primary surgery had a history of medical malpractice. If so, your case may be worth ten times the amount you are seeking. There are so many variables in a medical malpractice claim.
Immediately consult a medical malpractice attorney. Most won't charge for an initial office consultation. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by doing so.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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