Even medical conditions that are considered “common” and that are typically easily treated can wreak havoc on a patient’s life if a physician fails to properly diagnose or treat it. Recently, a jury awarded a family a $44.5 million dollar medical malpractice settlement after their child’s life was seriously impacted because of a misdiagnosis.
One afternoon the parents of a then 9-year-old took their child to the doctor because he was complaining of pain in his ear, had difficulty sleeping, and had a fever - all symptoms of an ear infection. But when the doctor performed his exam, he didn’t discover the infection.
Instead of being treated, the infection grew and spread to boy’s brain. By the time his brain infection was diagnosed, he had become paralyzed.
In 2014, the boy’s parents filed a lawsuit against three defendants, alleging that their child wouldn’t have become paralyzed and wouldn’t have required extensive medical care if the ear infection had been caught on the first exam.
Although the plaintiffs were able to reach a settlement agreement with two of the defendants they could not with the third and the case proceeded to court. After reviewing the arguments made by both sides, the jury found the defendant was at fault and awarded the family $44.5 million dollars to pay for life-care costs, past medical bills and compensatory damages.
A study published in BMJ Quality & Safety, which was focused on patients in a hospital setting, has shown that around 12 million Americans are misdiagnosed yearly - and those numbers don’t take into account those who are misdiagnosed in a doctor’s office or a clinic.
A misdiagnosis isn’t a harmless mistake. Not only may a patient have to go through painful and expensive treatments that they otherwise wouldn't have needed but their actual illness will be allowed to progress unchecked. In many cases, what once could have been treated will become a deadly disease.
For those who are suffering because of a misdiagnosis or those who lost a loved one because of a misdiagnosis, a medical malpractice lawsuit may be the best way to both recover compensation and obtain a sense that justice has been served.
Civil lawsuits are filed so that plaintiffs can be given the opportunity to fight for the compensation that they deserve. Compensation may cover:
An experienced attorney can review a case and then create an estimate of how much that case may be worth.
It’s no secret that lawsuits take time. The earliest that compensation will be obtained is several months after the initial paperwork has been filed but many cases take more than a year to reach their conclusion.
Keep in mind that the majority of this time is spent during the “discovery” phase of the lawsuit, during which the legal team will work to collect evidence with which to build the legal argument which will be 16used in court.
Offers to settle are commonly made during the legal process. If an agreement can be reached, all parties involved will avoid going to court and the plaintiff will receive their compensation quickly - typically within 30 days. However, an appropriate amount can’t always bee agreed upon and that’s when a trial will occur.
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to settlements and trials - the plaintiff must take into consideration their needs and desires and make the choice that is right for them.
Our attorneys have guided thousands of clients through the legal process and we are prepared to help you.
We understand how stressful this time is and that you are likely wondering how you will be able to afford an attorney when you are already struggling financially. That’s why we work on a contingency fee, which means that our legal fee comes directly out of the compensation that we win for you. If you don’t win, we don’t get paid.
What Steps Do I take If I Was Harmed By A Medical Device? Contact one of our local law offices and take the first step toward building a better future for you and your loved ones.