What kind of damages are reasonable for my situation?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What kind of damages are reasonable for my situation?

About a month ago I had a surgical procedure under full sedation. I woke up tearing and had mild pain in my right eye. The surgical procedure was not anywhere near my head. I got in the car and grabbed my phones and couldn’t see well enough to read anymore. I had my wife take pictures of my eye and there is an obvious large scratch across my eye. I was injured during the procedure while unconscious.

Now we are a month post procedure and I can see better but the eye still has mild pain and my vision is not restored to pre procedure level. I now have to wear glasses where before I didn’t. I filed a complaint with the health care provider and grievance with the insurance company the day of the surgery. Much more detail I can give but I don’t want to make this too long.

Asked on December 8, 2017 under Malpractice Law, California


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You don't want to try to settle the case until you have completed your medical treatment for the eye injury and have been released by the doctor or are declared by the doctor to be permanent and stationary, which means having reached a point in your treatment where no further improvement is anticipated.  If you settle the case prematurely, you won't be able to go back to the insurance company and ask for more money because additional bills weren't included.
When released by the doctor or declared permanent and stationary, obtain your medical bills, medical reports and documentation of wage loss.  Your claim filed with the surgeon's malpractice insurance carrier should include those items.
Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports document your eye injury and are used to determine compensation for pain and suffering which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.
There isn't any mathematical formula for determining compensation for pain and suffering.  It just depends on the facts of the case, the injury and whether one has fully recovered or still has residual complaints.
Since the eye injury has affected your vision, I would ask for policy limits, but NOT expecting to get that.  That would be a starting point in the negotiations.  The insurance carrier will respond with a much lower offer and you can continue  negotiating.
If the case is settled with the malpractice insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.
If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers, reject them and file a lawsuit for negligence against the surgeon.  (Medical malpractice is negligence).
If the case is NOT settled, your lawsuit against the surgeon must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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