The New York Post reported last week on a sizeable verdict recently returned in a cerebral palsy birth injury case. These types of cases are probably the most common medical malpractice suits related to negligent care at birth. The outcomes of the cases–both verdicts and settlements–are often large because of the actual cost of harm as a result of the negligent conduct. Lifelong care for a child injured in this way–with brain damage–is costly and usually permanent. Our Chicago birth injury attorneys argue that it is logical for the child affected to recover for those losses when caused by inadequate care.
The most recent case involved twin girls. The girls were born about three months prematurely, with severe consequences for one of those twins. The twin girls–now seventeen years old–lead different lives, because one of the girls was born without noticeable injuries while the other suffers from cerebral palsy.
Birth injury lawyers know that many of these cases allege negligence related to excessive force applied at birth. This case is a bit different in that the underlying mistake was allegedly not providing proper care which led to the premature birth. Specifically, the jury in the case found that the staff members at the defendant-facility were negligent in not recognizing the pregnant mother’s contractions. In addition, they allegedly did not prevent the early deliver when they could and should have.
Apparently the mother in the case went to the emergency room during her pregnancy, claiming that she was having problems and was worried about premature delivery. However, the staff members did not listen to the woman. Instead, she was told to take a Benadryl, and she and her husband were forced to go home. The children were born three months premature shortly thereafter.
If the children had three more months to develop, the subsequent problems would not have occurred and the girl likely would not have developed cerebral palsy.
In holding the hospital liable, the jury returned an award of over $100 million The damages included about $17 million in past pain and suffering and $60 million in future pain and losses. When medical expenses and lost wages are added, the exact award totalled over $103 million.
While the large verdict amount will likely make headlines, it is important not to overlook the fact that the girl will likely receive only a fraction of that award. That is because the hospital in question went bankrupt two years ago. However, there was an insurance policy in place that will pay some on the award–perhaps $16 million, which was the insurance limit.
The injured girl explained after the verdict how her injuries have affected her lives noting, “I watch my twin sister go out with her friends to parties and stuff. I don’t get to do as much as the average teenager. The award will help me do whatever I want to do in life and give me a little more freedom.”
If you or a loved one developed an injury at birth which might have been prevented, consider getting in touch with our Illinois birth injury attorneys to see how we can help.
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