Distorted views about Chicago medical malpractice lawsuits (and all tort injuries generally) have been traced to media accounts which promote only the cases where the plaintiff wins a large verdict. As we have discussed, while these cases do occur, they are nowhere near the norm. However, because they are the only cases that make any headlines, many community members get the mistaken assumption that plaintiffs always win and that verdicts are always particularly large.
Neither is true
For one thing, the average jury verdict is much smaller than the massive multi-million dollar decisions that often causes outrage. Some cases reach that amount, depending on the specific facts of the situation, but many do not. In addition, plaintiffs do not always win trials. After all, in any case plaintiffs have a higher burden of proof. Therefore if a jury member hears the evidence and is genuinely split 50-50 as to whether the defendant acted negligently, then they are obligated to find no liability. Contrary to what tort reformers would have you believe, trials often result in a verdict for the defendant-it simply depends on the specific of a case and the available evidence.
For example, the TC Palm News reported last week on a birth injury lawsuit that had been filed by a mother on behalf of her son. The suit alleged that the hospital which provided her care during her birth was negligent, leading to a birth injury which caused her son’s permanent disabilities. The family was seeking recover for the three-year old son, who will need close, lifelong care, because the family believes that the doctor did not adequately monitor the mother before she delivered the child via C-section. Tissues in the mother’s reproductive organs tore before the birth, which endangered the life of the child and mother.
In medical malpractice cases (and all tort cases), forseeability is an important concept in determining whether or not a professional was actually negligent. If a certain outcome was simply not forseeable, then the involved actions are unlikely to be deemed negligent. The main issue in the case was whether the tear in the mother’s tissue was foreseeable. As is often the case in these cases, experts testified explaining both sides of the situation. Both sides were then able to question the other side’s expert so that jury members could see if there were any inconsistencies or weakness in the information provided. From there they were able to ultimately decide whose version they found more credible. In this particular case the jury ruled that the tear in the tissue was unforeseeable, or at least that unforeseeable beyond a preponderance of the evidence. Either assessment required no liability finding.
When it comes to trial practice, having an experienced attorney can make all the difference. The evidence cannot be changed, but it is still very important that the available evidence is presented to a jury in the most appropriate and clear manner. Failure in this regard often means that cases are lost which otherwise should have provided justice for a victimized family. If you are going through the process of deciding upon an attorney to take your case, be sure to examine the legal team’s past records and experience levels to ensure that you will be putting your best foot forward from the start.
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