Knox News reported this week on an appellate court decision ordering a new trial for a young girl and her family. The court held that the family was a denied a fair trial as a result of several problems during the case in front of the jury. Our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers understand that these sorts of decisions are somewhat rare but often incredibly necessary to ensure fairness and justice in the system.
The plaintiff in the case is a young girl who, according to allegation in court documents, suffered a serious birth injury as a result of medical negligence during her delivery. The case was brought by the girl’s family, alleging that the child suffered brain damage and many other medical issues as a result of oxygen deprivation during her birth. The suit claims that the medical professional unreasonably delayed in the delivery of the child. That delay led to the deprivation and ultimate injury, claimed the family. Each Illinois medical malpractice lawyer at our firm knows this is a common type of medical error and one that has particularly harsh consequences for the young child affected.
After a ten day trial the jury ultimately ruled that the medical professionals were not negligent in the case.
The family’s medical malpractice lawyer appealed the case on the family’s behalf because of problems during the trial. After hearing arguments about the trial, the appellate court agreed with the family and held that the plaintiff was “denied a fair trial [and are] entitled to a new trial.”
In ordering a new trial, the appellate court found four specific errors by the trial court judge.
First, there was an improper “time limit” placed on the cross-examination of one crucial witness–the defendant himself. The court found the time limit unreasonable in light of the complexity of the issues and the need for the jury to hear all details about the care provided during the incident.
Second, the trial court should not have allowed evidence that the plaintiff’s mother visited the same doctor in a subsequent pregnancy. This evidence was highly prejudicial and completely irrelevant to whether or not care was appropriate in the original case. Each Chicago medical malpractice attorney at our firm knows that these sorts of evidentiary decisions are crucial as many defense attorneys try to introduce as much evidence as possible to skew jury perceptions, even evidence that has no bearing on any material question in the case.
Third, on two occasions the trial court allowed the defense lawyer to refer to the fact that one of the couple’s lawyers was from out-of-state. This fact was, obviously, irrelevant to the issue at hand and likely mentioned only to paint the attorney in an unfavorable light.
Finally, the appellate court found fault with the defense attorneys comment in front of the jury that certain parts of the case were a waste of time.
Taken together the court found these errors might have affected the jury decision. Therefore, a new case is needed to ensure justice is served.
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