What can I claim?
Past Expenses All past medical expenses related to treating the consequences of the medical error. Future Expenses We will refer you to various medical experts who will assess what treatment, care and assistance you may have to undergo in the future. Based on the opinions of the experts (called medico-legal reports), you will receive compensation calculated according to the treatment costs and probability estimated in the medico-legal reports. In other words if the orthopaedic surgeon predicts that you have a 50% chance of undergoing a knee operation (at a cost of R50 000.00) in six years’ time, an actuary will calculate the value of 50% X R50 000.00 factored (catering for inflation and investment return over the next 6 years) to provide that amount at the predicted date of operation. Other Expenses – It often happens that injuries bring about disabilities and drastic changes to lifestyle and working environment that may necessitate modifications. For example, a paraplegic who lives in a house with steps will need to have a ramp built and the toilets at home modified to accommodate the wheelchair. A seriously brain damaged or blind person may need the permanent assistance of a caregiver to help with the tasks of daily living. These are costs which will also be recoverable from the liable party.
General Damages is a lump sum award that is aimed at making good the pain, suffering, changes to your life and lifestyle, inconvenience and discomfort caused by your injuries. The amount that you are likely to receive as general damages will depend on the following factors:
- Initial injury
- Pain experienced initially
- Treatment received and to be received
- Duration of treatment received and to be received
- Duration of pain experienced and anticipated
- Temporary disability and discomfort while recuperating
- Permanent disability, discomfort and pain
- Permanent changes to your life and lifestyle.
To give you an idea, the most common injury suffered in a road accident is a whiplash injury. General Damages awards for such an injury would generally range between R30 000 and R100 000 depending on the severity. On the other hand, a quadriplegic should recover general damages in excess of R2 million. The rationale is clearly that the greater your permanent harm, the greater your compensation.
Loss of income
A large portion of larger claims is made up of Loss of Income (past) and Loss of Earning Capacity (future). The amount recoverable is dependent on, among others, the following important factors:
- Your job (and income) before the accident
- Your future job (and income) prospects before the accident – how were you progressing, what promotions would you likely have attained
- The effect of the injuries on your ability to perform your previous job. For example, if your work was of a physical nature and you lost both your arms, the loss would be significant, and on the other hand if you are a manual labourer and suffer a minor brain injury which affects your anger management and ability to multi task, then you will still be able to use a spade – not a significant loss in this instance
- Your future employability (after the accident)
Regarding the effect of the injuries on your ability to do your job you are now either fully able to perform the work, or might have to be retrained to perform another job. Alternatively you might be completely disabled. Actuarial Calculations The calculation of loss of income is not a simple one. Cases are referred to an actuary who factors in inflation, discounting and various other contingencies to arrive at a figure which, if invested at a market related return, will provide support (out of both capital and interest) until the date when you would have retired. It is up to you to provide for further pension income after this date, by investing in retirement funds etc. There are many technical aspects that are to be taken into consideration when assessing the amount of appropriate compensation. Each individual matter has its own unique set of circumstances.
If your loved one has died as a result of a medical error you can claim:
- LOSS OF SUPPORT
- GENERAL DAMAGES
- FUNERAL EXPENSES
Financial Loss – Loss of Support: Loss of support is the direct financial loss suffered by the dependants of a breadwinner and is calculated taking into account the earnings and earning capacity of the deceased, as well as the number of dependents. Who is entitled to claim? Anyone who was legally dependent on the deceased for maintenance can claim loss of support. For example, Widow/Widower, Children, Adopted children, Indigent parents (who are no longer able to earn a living and require support). General Damages – Pain and suffering due to shock and trauma due to the loss of a loved one. Funeral Expenses – The only items recoverable are the service, grave fee and casket. Refreshments are, unfortunately, for your own account.
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My son is 7 years old and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and blindness in 2009 when he was just one year old. His brain become damaged due to a shortage of oxygen which could have been prevented had he received appropriate healthcare. As you can imagine we were distraught, not just because we had no idea how we were going to take care and raise him financially. But the fact that we must raise a disable child! While I was researching cerebral palsy I came across Paul du Plessis and his team – what a blessing. It was the start of my son’s and our future. We started the claim process immediately. From the start they took us in as part of their family. It was a long process, which was made effortless. Money will never make our child normal again but Paul and his team made it possible for us to take care of him and make his life as comfortable as possible. The compensation that we received has made it possible for our family to live in a house which has been modified to our disabled son’s needs. We have a big enough vehicle to be able to take him with us wherever we go. He has a tailor made wheelchair, and receives all of the therapy he needs. Our family can never say thank you enough for Paul du Plessis and his team. We will be grateful for the rest of our lives – without them there would be a lot less sunshine in our family’s lives. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.