The Detroit Free Press reported today on the conclusion of a birth injury lawsuit that some are calling the largest ever in the state. The jury in the case recently returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff for a staggering $130 million. The trial lasted a total of three weeks, and the jury took three days to reach their verdict. The defendants in the case plan to appeal.
According to reports, the case involved problems caused by an improper vaginal delivery of a child which led to a variety of problems. The girl is now fifteen years old. When she was born the child’s mother suffered from gestational diabetes. This caused the baby to be much larger than expected. When a birthing child is too large, it is often common practice for the safety of both the mother and child to have a Cesarean section performed. Unfortunately, that did not occur in this case. Instead, the doctor induced a vaginal delivery.
The delivery led to a variety of permanent problems for the newborn. One involved party claimed that the doctors “literally crushed the life out of that little baby.” The girl received brain damage, had a broken clavicle, and now suffers from quadriplegia. The girl now requires around the clock care and will likely need that care for the rest of her life. Considering that she is expected to live into her eighties, the overall costs of the care is mind boggling. The length and overall scope of the required care is what contributed to the large jury award.
While the eye-popping jury award will likely garner all the headlines it is important for observers not to take this and similar large verdicts out of context. For one thing, these awards are extremely rare. While newspaper stories across the country will likely carry this headline for the next week, the vast majority of jury awards that are returned day in and day out are drastically lower. This is important to remember, because it is the skewed perception of consistent large verdicts that often drives members of the public to support ill-advised medical malpractice damage caps.
In addition, even on the rare occasions when large awards are doled out, they are arrived upon by clear calculations made by the involved parties. Contrary to popular belief, numbers are not plucked out of thin air. The totals are arrived at depending on the life expectancy of the involved victim, the total cost of the care they will need, and the total losses that they sustained as a result of the problems. A Chicago birth injury attorney knows that the overall costs and losses spread out over a lifetime are quite high. The jury verdicts returned in these cases reflect that. They should not be deemed an extra-large or arbitrary figure that paints the entire justice system in an unsavory light.
If you or a loved one may have been injured because of mistakes made during childbirth, please get in touch with our Illinois birthing problem lawyers. We can provide a free consultation so that you can share your story and learn how the law applies in your case.
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