In New York, the answer is that you are not permitted to put an actual number down on the papers that start your medical malpractice lawsuit.
Although you may have significant injuries as a result of improper treatment by a doctor or a hospital, the law in New York prevents you from placing an actual number on the lawsuit papers.
You may have an idea in your own mind about the value of your injuries. Your attorney may have a clear understanding of what your injuries are worth compared to other similar cases that have been resolved by settlement or verdict in the state of New York. However, we do not put down that information in the complaint, which is the document that starts your lawsuit.
The reasoning behind that is that a jury is ultimately the one to determine how much compensation to award to you based upon what you have proven at trial.
In an accident case however, we are required to put down the amount of money that we believe you are entitled to. That is why you'll often hear about people who are bringing lawsuits suing for millions of dollars. The reality is that number is a fiction and has absolutely no rational relationship to the true extent of your damages or injuries.
If someone asks you “How much are you suing for in your medical malpractice lawsuit?” The answer is there is no specific number that you are requesting initially. During trial, your attorney will certainly ask the jury to make an award and will likely give the jury a range of what he believes your injuries are worth.