Medical malpractice is a type of legal negligence which occurs when patients are injured or killed by the careless or intentional acts of healthcare providers. In medical malpractice lawsuits, it is argued that had the healthcare provider not failed to act or acted in a negligent way, an individual would not have suffered serious injuries or died. In that way, a healthcare provider can be liable for the wrongful death of another.
This past November, a Cook County circuit court awarded $15.5 million to a man whose wife died in childbirth to the medical negligence of two doctors, according to the Chicago Sun Times. The victim’s husband brought a lawsuit against the University of Chicago Hospital, for the severe medical negligence that occurred in 2008.
According to reports, the Chicago jury deliberated under six hours’ time and handed down the third highest verdict for wrongful death in a medical malpractice case in Cook County history. The lawsuit alleged that one of the medical specialists had failed to correctly read an ultrasound two months before the victim was due that should have shown that her placenta was growing through the uterine wall. Had they acted correctly and professionally, this woman’s life could have been saved, and her husband could still have her with him and their children.
While the court cannot return the life of this woman, the verdict can help her husband heal from both his grief and financial hardship. Even though these monetary damages cannot return life, wrongful death lawsuits help families recover compensation for death-related expenses, like medical and funeral bills. Had the individual not been negligently treated by healthcare providers, the family would not have these financial burdens. Therefore, the court can compensate them for the money they never should have needed to spend at all. These monetary damages can also assist family with the mental suffering and grief they have suffered, including the loss of companionship this woman had with her husband and the care and protection she would have given her children.
Punitive damages are also important because they can prevent future wrongdoing. These monetary awards are meant to punish wrongdoers, and with high awards, prevent future harm from occurring to others. The high awards show others how serious medical malpractice is. When a court awards significant verdicts like these, it sets a legal example and teaches a lesson that such medical negligence will not be tolerated under the law. This example can therefore prevent future medical negligence from occurring to other innocent people.
If a loved one of yours has died due to medical negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your hardship. Our firm has been handling such cases for over twenty years and could bring this experience and knowledge to help you too. Do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.