Part 5: Damages

Med Mal 101: Back to Basics is 12-part series produced by Friday, Eldredge & Clark. Written by the attorneys in the Medical Malpractice Group, the content is designed to give physicians and other healthcare providers information they need to know about malpractice litigation.

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If a patient suffers a medical injury as the result of a care provider’s negligence, he or she is entitled to certain damages. In addition to the other elements of a medical malpractice claim that were discussed in previous parts of the MedMal 101 series, a plaintiff must also prove that he or she is entitled to damages that would not have otherwise occurred. 

The available damages are set out by law.  See, Ark. Code Ann. § 16-114-208. Damages may include reasonable and necessary medical expenses that were caused by the medical care at issue, both in the past and those reasonably expected to occur in the future. These damages may include, for example, the cost of a surgery that would not have been needed had there been no negligence, and other types of care such as rehabilitation services and custodial care when required.

If a person is unable to work as the result of medical malpractice, he or she may be able to recover lost earnings and loss of earning capacity in the future. 

Noneconomic damages may also be appropriate.  Non-economic damages include things like physical pain and suffering, and also mental anguish associated with the injury.  If a person dies as the result of malpractice, damages may include compensation for his or her loss of life and for the grief of family members.  The amount of these types of damages cannot, of course, be quantified as easily as medical expenses but are determined by a jury based on the evidence submitted at trial. 

The information was written by the attorneys in the Medical Malpractice Group at Friday, Eldredge & Clark, LLP. This is not a substitute for legal advice and should be considered for general guidance only. For more information or if you have further questions, please contact one of our Medical Malpractice Attorneys.

The 12-month series will include the following topics: