If you watch the news, you probably think that medical malpractice claims always result in high payouts. It can seem like every other day, the media is reporting on another multi-million dollar settlement.
While massive settlements may make for good news, that doesn’t mean they are the norm. Typically, malpractice settlements, while relatively high, result in more modest rewards for the people who receive them.
So what does this mean if you have a medical malpractice claim in Oregon? How much money should you expect on average?
The Oregon Medical Board, a division of the state government, takes medical malpractice very seriously. It collects reports of every medical malpractice case to track how often this happens and how much compensation victims of malpractice are receiving.
This data shows that malpractice settlements in Oregon are similar to the national average. According to Jama Network, the national average is a little more than $300,000 per claim.
While $300,000 might sound like a lot of money, that could be almost meaningless for some medical malpractice cases. The average value of a malpractice case matters a lot less than the appropriate value for a specific case.
In any claim, the minimum compensation is usually the full cost of all past and future medical bills. And that cost differs significantly depending on the severity of the malpractice.
For example, if a doctor’s negligence led to an infection that required another few months of treatment, that might result in around $10,000 in extra medical costs. Alternatively, that infection could spread, requiring amputation. In that case, the mistake could result in millions of extra medical expenses during a lifetime of treatment.
In the first case, the average would be inappropriately high. And in the second case, it wouldn’t get close to covering the full cost of treatment.
Medical bills are only one of many factors that determine the value of a claim. And while it is an important factor, sometimes it isn’t even the most important factor.
Other factors include:
In the worst-case scenario, medical malpractice can result in you being disabled for life. This means you may never work, travel, or date again. This requires a lot more compensation than just the cost of medical treatments. You need enough money to live on and help you enjoy life with your new restrictions.
The scary truth is that the average settlement is never enough because there is no way that money can ever fully compensate for the harm you suffered from medical malpractice. And while a few hundred thousand dollars may sound like a lot of money, it doesn’t go that far once you start trying to spend it.
Even worse, if you are injured by medical malpractice, knowing the average settlement value won’t help you. Instead, you want to know what the average settlement is for the type of harm you suffered.
The best way to learn about that is to consult a medical malpractice attorney who has handled similar cases in the past. They can give you a good estimate of what to expect before you make any legal decisions. If you choose to work with them, they can argue on your behalf for compensation.