In recent posts, we explored negligence and causation, the first two elements of a medical malpractice case. In this installment, we examine the third element you have to prove: damages.

In one sense of the word, damages refers to the harms the patient suffered as a result of a healthcare provider’s negligence, including physical, emotional, and economic harms.

The physical harms may range from temporary setbacks, to permanent injuries, to death. The harms may include the pain and suffering the patient experienced because of the negligence. The harms may also include monetary losses— for example, lost wages, as well as expenses the patient (or the patient’s family) incurred because of the negligence, such as medical costs and burial expenses.

In this sense of the word, think of damages as anything the patient lost because of the medical negligence, from money, to health, to life itself. If you prove negligence and causation, the jury will then consider and decide whether and to what extent you’ve been damaged by the negligence.

Damages also refers to the value of the harm caused by the negligence. If you prove negligence, causation, and damages, the jury will then also determine the amount of your damages—the amount of money the jury believes will fairly compensate you for your losses. In its verdict, the jury will then “award” you that amount of money.

To review the three elements of a medical malpractice case, click here.

The Bell Law Firm represents clients who have suffered death or catastrophic injury in medical malpractice and other personal injury cases.