In 2013, a then 64-year-old woman received some of the worst news that any patient can get – doctors had found a tumor in her right arm. Luckily, the tumor was operable. Surgery was scheduled and on June 10th, 2013, she underwent a procedure to have the tumor removed.
Patient Claims Surgeon Committed Medical Malpractice
While her surgeon was able to successfully remove the tumor from the patient’s right arm, during the process, the radial nerve was severed.
The radial nerve runs down the back of the arm and not only controls the triceps but also is responsible for the extension of the wrist and fingers. Damage to this nerve can result in weakness or inability to move fingers and the wrist, a burning sensation, tingling, and an inability to straighten the arm. In this case, despite the fact that doctors immediately placed a graft on the nerve to repair it, the plaintiff alleged that she has continued numbness in some fingers and parts of the arm and that her range of motion is limited, prohibiting her from participating in physical activities that she previously enjoyed. She has undergone extensive physical therapy and believes that she will never be able to regain full function.
The plaintiff further alleged that the surgeon committed medical malpractice because they failed to inspect and protect the surgical field and that if they had, her nerve would never have been severed.
The Defense’s Response
In response to the plaintiff’s claims, the defense argued that she was aware of the risk prior to going into surgery and that it was an accepted risk of the surgery. They also brought in an independent doctor who reported that he believed the nerve to be completely healed and that the patient has the ability to regain full range of motion.
This case never made it to a courtroom. Instead, the two parties were able to reach an agreement and a settlement of $900,000 was obtained for the plaintiff.
Settling vs Going To Court
Time and time again our clients have asked us whether it is better to accept a settlement agreement or to go to trial. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question and the plaintiffs involved in each case must decide what is best for them.
In some cases, the settlement offered by the defense is reasonable and worth considering. In others, it is merely an attempt to save the defendant an even larger sum of money. While it is true that most personal injury lawsuits end with a settlement agreement rather than a trial, the reality is that this is frequently after weeks or months of negotiation between legal counsel for the plaintiff and defendant.
What Does A Settlement Or Verdict Cover?
The compensation obtain from either a settlement offer or a successful verdict may cover:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
For example, the plaintiff in this case likely has significant medical bills from her surgeries, hospital stays, and ongoing physical therapy. If another party’s negligence resulted in an injury which required her to undergo additional medical procedures, like the physical therapy, they can be held responsible for her losses, both monetary and non-monetary.
Doctor’s Do Make Mistakes
Everyone wants to trust their doctor – after all, in many situations, they have our lives in their hands. But doctors are human and they do make mistakes. Take the following into consideration:
- Between 25,000 and 120,000 people die every year due to the negligent acts of their medical caretakers. In fact, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association, medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the U.S.
- Surgical errors account for nearly 40% of all medical malpractice claims. Other types of medical malpractice include prescription errors, misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, and birth injuries.
- New York alone accounts for nearly 20% of all medical malpractice claims.
It’s Not Just Doctors That Can Commit Medical Malpractice
Any licensed medical professional is expected to provide their patients with a certain standard of care based off of the patient’s age, sex, weight, medical condition, activity level, and diet. If they fail to follow the accepted standard of care, they can be held legally responsible for the mistakes that they make.
How Can A Banville Law Attorney Help Me?
You have enough on your plate – let us help shoulder the burden. Our team of dedicated and experienced attorneys assist our clients with:
- Obtaining the necessary evidence to support their claim.
- Filing the necessary paperwork.
- Speaking with insurance companies.
- Exploring additional avenues for compensation.
- Negotiating settlements.
- Preparing a case for trial.
- Fighting for compensation in court.
We offer free consultations to the victims of medical malpractice and work on a contingency fee. This means that our fee will be discussed up front with the client and that amount comes directly out of the settlement or award obtained for the client. If we don’t win the case, we don’t get paid.