Patient in pan after doctor hurt her.

Can You Sue A Healthcare Provider For Causing Pain?

By Greg Kohn

Most medical procedures result in some level of pain or discomfort. Doctors, nurses, and other medical providers tell patients they can expect some pain or discomfort. However, what happens if your healthcare provider causes you pain intentionally or negligently? Can you sue a healthcare provider for causing pain? In this blog, our New Jersey medical malpractice lawyer discusses pain and suffering damages in a medical malpractice claim.

What Is Pain and Suffering in a Medical Malpractice Claim?

Pain and suffering refers to the non-economic damages sustained because of medical negligence or malpractice. It includes but is not limited to:

  • Emotional distress and mental anguish, including psychological conditions and trauma
  • Physical pain, discomfort, and anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of life and diminished quality of life
  • Impairments and disabling conditions
  • Scarring and disfigurement 

A healthcare provider could be liable for pain and suffering damages if they commit malpractice. A healthcare provider commits malpractice if they breach their duty of care to their patient. Negligence and intentional torts could also result in pain and suffering damages in a lawsuit against a medical provider. 

Proving Pain and Suffering Damages in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in New Jersey 

You must prove the legal elements of a medical malpractice lawsuit before receiving compensation for pain and suffering damages. The elements of a medical malpractice lawsuit are:

  • You had a doctor-patient relationship with the medical provider that imposed a legal duty of care on them;
  • The medical provider breached their duty of care by failing to meet the acceptable medical standard of care for a given situation; 
  • You sustained an injury;
  • The breach of duty by the medical provider was the direct and proximate cause of your injury; and, 
  • You incurred damages because of the breach of duty.

After establishing liability for a medical malpractice claim, you must prove that you experienced pain and suffering. You must also prove the value of your pain and suffering damages.

Proving the Value of Pain and Suffering Damages 

Pain and suffering is subjective because everyone experiences pain and trauma differently. Therefore, keeping a journal detailing your experience after a malpractice incident can be helpful. 

For example, note your daily pain levels in your journal and photograph your injuries as you heal. Talk about the activities and tasks you are unable to perform because of your injuries. Also, note your emotional state and how your injuries impact your relationships with others.

Your attorney may retain medical specialists and other experts to testify about the effects your injuries are expected to have on a patient. Your family and friends may also testify about how your injuries impacted you.

The value of your pain and suffering damages depends on many factors. The type and extent of your injuries are factors, as is the duration of your recovery. Whether you sustained a permanent impairment or significant disfigurement is also a factor. 

Learn More About Medical Malpractice Claims From Our New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer 

If your medical provider caused you harm or injury, call Nagel Rice LLP to discuss a medical malpractice claim with a New Jersey personal injury attorney. You could be entitled to compensation for your injuries, pain, and other damages.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.