Can I recover punitive damages if a hospital’s delay in treatment has hurt me?

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medical malpractice gavel stethoscopeThe answer to this question depends on exactly why your medical treatment was delayed.

In most cases, delayed medical treatment happens because a healthcare provider was negligent. Kentucky law does not allow you to recover punitive damages just because someone else’s negligence hurts you.

If your delay in treatment was caused by a medical provider or a medical facility failing to exercise reasonable care, your financial recovery is limited to compensatory damages. Compensatory damages include past and future healthcare costs, lost income, out-of-pocket expenses, physical pain, and emotional suffering.

In some cases, however, negligence may not be the only cause of delay in treatment injuries.

Delay in Treatment Injuries Caused by Malice

Kentucky law allows people who are hurt by the malicious actions of another to pursue the compensatory damages described above as well as punitive damages. Punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant for oppression, fraud, or malice.

For medical malpractice purposes, malice is the most common reason that punitive damages are awarded. Malice is defined in Kentucky Statutes Section 411.184 as conduct specifically intended by the defendant to cause injury to the plaintiff, or conduct carried about by the defendant with flagrant indifference to the rights of the plaintiff and with a subjective awareness that the conduct will result in injury or death.

Proving Punitive Damages

You must prove that the defendant’s malice caused your injury with clear and convincing evidence. Kentucky law instructs the judge or jury to consider the following points when determining the amount of punitive damages:

  • The likelihood, at the time of the misconduct, that serious harm would result from the defendant’s misconduct
  • Whether the defendant was aware of the likelihood that serious harm would result
  • Whether the defendant profited from the misconduct
  • How long the misconduct and any concealment of the misconduct occurred
  • Any action by the defendant to fix the misconduct

Being awarded punitive damages is not easy, but it is important to pursue them in cases of flagrant indifference. Our Kentucky delay in medical care injury lawyers will consider all aspects of your case and fight to hold the liable defendants accountable for your injuries. If malice was a factor in your delay in treatment malpractice case, our lawyers will pursue punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages on your behalf.

Call us or complete our contact form any time to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer today. Together, we will fight to get you the full and fair compensation you deserve and hold the defendant(s) accountable for their negligence and malice.

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