Medical mistakes often have permanent consequences on the lives of victims and their families. Our Illinois medical malpractice lawyers know that this is especially true when the error is made during the birth of a young child. These birthing mistakes frequently cause harm to young children that they must deal with for the rest of their lives. When that is the case, the overall costs of the mistake-financially, mentally, and emotionally-are staggering. It is for this reason that the jury verdicts and settlements in certain medical malpractice cases are often quite high.
This is illustrated in a jury award that was recently announced and shared in the Detroit Free Press. According to reports, a birth injury case concluded after a jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff in the amount of $130 million. Many observers are calling it the largest ever medical malpractice verdict in the state’s history. The significant sum was reached upon analysis of a variety of factors including the day-to-day medical costs needed to care for the victim of the medical error, her life expectancy, and her lost wages over that lifetime.
The case was filed by the victim’s parents after they learned of some problems with the birth of their daughter that may have led to her serious disabilities. Those familiar with the situation explain that the young child was born larger than expected as a result of the mother’s gestational diabetes. When a child is born larger than expected or that is safe for a mother, it is often reasonable for a cesarean section to be performed. Unfortunately, a C-section was not performed in this case. Instead, the doctor induced a vaginal birth in the mother. The resulting delivery went awry. One involved in the matter claimed that the doctors who delivered the child, “literally crushed the life out of that little baby.” The child suffered significant brain damage, had her clavicle broken, and is now a quadriplegic. As a result of those injuries the young child requires around the clock care. She will need that care for the rest of her life, so explain her doctors.
Our Illinois medical malpractice lawyers know that it is important for observers not to use this and similar cases are proof of some problems within the civil justice system as a whole. Almost like clockwork we can expect some large insurance and medical industry advocates to use this case as justification for enacting changes to the civil justice system that take rights away from Illinois medical malpractice victims. This should be recognized for what it is: a distortion of the reality of the justice system as a way to increase the pockets of already profitable industries.
What many often forget is that these large awards are not crafted out of thin air nor decided upon by biased, involved individuals. Instead, attorneys present clear arguments and share calculations to justify the awards that are asked for. After presenting that information, the decision is left up to a non-partial group of community members who are tasked with discussing the situation, weighing the facts presented to them, and reaching what they deem a fair conclusion. Use of the jury system is a bedrock of our national history of justice, and these large awards are not reached outside of that system.
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