Medical malpractice lawsuits are pretty complicated, with laws that can vary dramatically from state to state. If you plan on filing such a lawsuit in Connecticut, then here are some of the basic rules that you need to know:
Fortunately for you, Connecticut is one of the few states that has no damage caps for medical malpractice case. This means that you can ask for as much money as you want. That being said, it's still important to understand the three primary types of damages, since they all work a little differently.
Non-Economic Damages – When you see a lawsuit with a huge payout, it's often because of non-economic damages. The idea of non-economic damages is that some types of suffering aren't exactly easy to translate directly into a dollar amount. You don't have a receipt for the mental anguish that you have been forced to endure as a result of your injuries, which means that there is a lot of variability in what people consider to be fair and unfair non-economic damages.
Economic Damages – Economic damages are a lot simpler, since this pretty much just covers financial costs that you have been dealing with as a result of your injury. If you were unable to work, then you can sue for your lost wages, and if you had medical bills, then you can sue for the full amount of those.
Punitive Damages – The last category is also the most rare, only awarded in cases where the defendant acted out of truly gross negligence. Whether or not you are awarded punitive damages will depend almost entirely on the court, since they can actually add punitive damages to your award if they feel that the defendant should be punished.
Like many other states, Connecticut has some very specific rules on the topic of comparative negligence. In short, you will get less money if you were partially to blame for your injuries. The important thing to know is that your compensation will be reduced proportionally to your damage, unless you were more than half responsible, in which case you will get no money.
This can be pretty simple in matters like car accidents, where you might have been distracted when another car hit you, but it isn't necessarily as intuitive when it comes to medical malpractice. The main reason for this is that most patients don't know too much about the intricacies of healthcare. At what point is a patient willfully contributing to their own injuries versus acting out of ignorance?
Due to the high level of variability here, you want to talk to a personal injury attorney or malpractice lawyer in order to figure out exactly how comparative negligence will factor into your case. If the defendant can point at some of your specific actions in the past and accuse you of causing your own injuries (in part or in whole), then you want to have a strong and focused defense ready.