YEAR / STATE
I think sample settlements and verdicts are a useful tool in conjunction with other tools to help victims better understand at least the range of values in a medical malpractice case. Clearly, no two cases are the same and you cannot summarizes a case in a paragraph. Sometimes, I have tried or settled cases where there is no way I could summarize the case in a way that would explain why the plaintiff won or why the verdict was as high or low as it was. Said differently, reading these is important and education in understanding the value of medical malpractice claims in Illinois but you can only learn so much from these. If you have what appears to be an exactly identical case, the results could be very different. All of these verdicts are from 2014 to 2020. Illinois is a big state. A lot of cases go to trial here.
YEAR / STATE
Though the settlements are not final, there are four proposed settlements to be voted on next week that could cost Chicago taxpayers $24 million. The individual details are just awful.
The first case involves a three year old little boy who was left with severe, irreversible brain damage after he suffered cardiac arrest following surgery. While recovering from surgery, the little boy’s heart stopped, and it is said that CPR was not initiated for five minutes. Though he was revived, no pulse was detected for at least 15 minutes, causing permanent brain damage. The proposed settlement is $20 million dollars to assist with lifelong care.
A second case, proposed to settle for $2.4 million, was filed by the estate of a woman who was not properly treated for an infection during cancer treatment. The infection spread due to the improper care, and after multiple amputations, the woman eventually died from her injuries.
Sometimes you can lose big by winning. A plaintiff in Illinois found out the hard way, losing a $30 million verdict in a popcorn lung case.
The 45-year-old plaintiff was diagnosed with bronchiolitis obliterans, presumably as the result of working in a butter flavor processing plant for nearly 20 years. His lungs are shot, down to 25% of capacity.
Plaintiff’s lawsuit alleged that a bunch of companies allowed the plaintiff to be exposed to diacetyl in the factory in which he worked, and that they knew of the risks associated with diacetyl, but did not warn those exposed to it. Everyone else was smart enough to settle the case except BASF, the manufacturer, who apparently thought a jury would buy their nonsense. They reportedly offered $350,000 to settle.
Not so much. The jury crushed BASF with a $30 million verdict ($32 million cut back by 5% with comparative negligence). The jury might have been swayed by, you know, the proof that the company knew that rats exposed to diacetyl developed severe lung disease from their own study and told no one and did nothing.
But… here’s the problem. The Fourth Division First District Illinois Appellate Court flipped the verdict and ordered a retrial. Why? Plaintiff won a directed verdict on the issue of the statute of limitations with respect to when he knew he may have suffered an injury as the result of the plaintiffs’ negligence.
So BASF argued that the trial court erred by directing a verdict for the plaintiff on the SOL issue when it was undisputed that the plaintiff had some knowledge of an injury (a severe condition in his lungs) that, if found to put the plaintiff on notice, would have barred plaintiff’s claim. The court believed that the evidence was not so clear so that no reasonable jury could have concluded the plaintiff did not know or should not have known the cause of his lung injury.
One thing I think we can all universally agree on it that there are just too many pedestrian accidents and deaths. Clearly, Chicago is not an exception. A report of pedestrian and vehicle crashes released by Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) in 2011, focused on this problem and the types of crashes involving pedestrians. The authors of the study reviewed pedestrian accident data from police reports in the Chicago metropolitan area to determine how each incident occurred.
The City of Chicago has reached a $1.3 million settlement in a lawsuit filed over the death of a man who swallowed a bag of drugs during an arrest.
Cue the tort reformers narrative: man swallows drugs on purpose and sues the city. You can hear it already. But all people, including those who are taking drugs, are human beings. Video surveillance shows the man in obvious distress and the police officers just completely ignored him. Because they have drugs, apparently, someone can suffer right in front of you and die without catching your attention. That is just beyond awful and the City of Chicago did the right thing by acknowledging this and settling this case.
There has been a 61% decrease in medical malpractice insurance payouts in Pennsylvania over the last 7 years, according to Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.
According to the governor, this has led to an 18% decrease in malpractice premiums. I’m trying to figure out why a 61% drop in payouts leads to an 18% decrease in premiums. Where is all the money going? In any event, we still have a doctor shortage in much of Pennsylvania.
Why aren’t doctors fleeing to Pennsylvania? If they are not going to Pennsylvania, where do they go? The top 5 highest paying jobs in the United States are doctors? Are they quitting medicine and becoming real estate agents? Have you ever met a doctor that just stopped practicing medicine and took up something else?
An Illinois jury awarded $22.3 million to the parents of a boy whose leg was amputated soon after birth at a Chicago area hospital. According to the medical malpractice lawsuit against the hosptial, the injury was caused by the hospital’s doctors failing to meet the standard of care in treating a congenital heart problem that required a shunt procedure. In addition to the loss of his leg, the boy suffers from cognitive deficiencies and developmental delays.
A Jury Verdict Research found that the median money damages award for personal injury lawsuits that go to trial in Illinois is $26,624. Plaintiffs receive damages in 51 percent of cases that go to trial. Unlike average jury verdict statistics, median jury verdict data blunts larger cases, including the approximately 8% of jury verdicts in Illinois that were over $1 million.
The Chicago Tribute reports that Provena Mercy Medical Center in Illinois has agreed to pay $6.5 million to settle a medical malpractice lawsuit filed on behalf of a boy who allegedly suffered brain injury during birth. In the malpractice lawsuit, Plaintiffs’ attorneys argued that doctors and staff at failed to respond to the child’s reaction to the drug Pitocin.
The Chicago Times reports on a $9.8 medical malpractice settlement on behalf of the family of a 27-year-old mother of nine who died in Stroger Hospital three years ago after bleeding during her pregnancy. According to the medical malpractice lawsuit filed by the family’s lawyer, doctors at the hospital failed to timely give Dickerson blood-clotting products after she bled and collapsed in August 2005 while 31 weeks’ pregnant. Thankfully, her baby survived.