Stroke Malpractice Settlement Amounts and Jury Payouts

This page looks at settlement compensation and jury payouts in stroke malpractice lawsuits. We begin with how these cases work and the types of stroke malpractice lawsuits that tend to be successful. Then, our lawyer looks at example jury payout and settlement amounts in a stroke malpractice lawsuit  Finally, drill down on what drives compensation awards in these lawsuits and settlements to give you some insight into the potential value of a stroke malpractice lawsuit.

Four Basic Types of Stroke Malpractice Lawsuits

stroke malpractice lawsuits are legal cases where a patient or their family sues a healthcare provider, like a doctor or a hospital, because they believe there was negligence in diagnosing or treating a stroke. A stroke, as you know if you are reading this, is a medical emergency where blood flow to the brain is interrupted.  There are lots of battleground issues in stroke cases. But we will all agree that quick treatment is crucial to minimize damage.

There are a few common types of lawsuits in this area:

  1. Failure to Diagnose: This is when a healthcare provider doesn’t recognize the signs of a stroke in time. This is what our stroke malpractice lawyers see more than other types of stroke case combined.  sistEarly symptoms like sudden weakness, trouble speaking, or severe headache can be mistaken for other less serious issues, leading to delays in treatment.
  2. Delayed Treatment: Even if a stroke is diagnosed, if there’s a delay in administering treatments like clot-busting drugs or performing necessary procedures, it can lead to more severe damage or even death. The most common type of these claims our attorney see is delayed treatment in the administration of clot-busting drugs, specifically tissue plasminogen activator (tPA)
  3. Improper Treatment: This involves cases where the wrong type of treatment is given or the correct treatment is not given properly. For example, not giving the appropriate medication or not performing surgery when needed.
  4. Failure to Prevent: Some patients are at high risk for strokes, and doctors are expected to monitor and manage these risks. If they fail to do so, and a stroke occurs, it could be grounds for a lawsuit.  Our lawyers do not see a ton of these types of strike misdiagnoise lawsuits but they are out there.

Types of Strokes

There are two major types of strokes:

  1. Ischemic Strokes: These account for approximately 87%  of all stroke cases and an even greater percentage of stroke malpractice lawsuits.  They occur when a blood clot blocks or narrows an artery leading to the brain. This blockage restricts blood flow, depriving brain tissue of essential oxygen and nutrients.
  2. Hemorrhagic Strokes: These make up about 10-20% of stroke cases. They occur when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures, causing blood to leak into or around the brain. This can create pressure and damage brain cells.

Misdiagnosis of Strokes

Unfortunately, stroke symptoms are not unique and can mimic other conditions, leading to misdiagnosis. Conditions such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and hypoglycemia, known as “stroke mimics,” can present with similar symptoms.

One study found that with stroke symptoms at emergency departments as many as 20% of stroke patients suffered from an initial misdiagnosis. The misdiagnosis rate increased when patients had mild or transient symptoms.

So patients presenting with classic symptoms, particularly hemiparesis (weakness on one side of the body) and dysarthria (difficulty speaking), usually get picke dup by the ER doctor.  In contrast, those with transient or resolved symptoms, altered mental status, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, or vertigo were more prone to misdiagnosis.

Seven Fact Patterns That Lead to Large Settlements and Verdicts

There are so many variations of successful stroke malpractice lawsuits. But here are seven common case types that often lead to large settlement payouts or jury awards:

  1. Failing to perform complete physical and neurological examinations, including visual field assessments and motor and sensory tests, as appropriate: Thorough physical and neurological examinations are critical in identifying stroke symptoms that may not be immediately apparent. Neglecting these comprehensive assessments – not spending the time a reasonable doctor would – can result in missed signs of a stroke, delaying crucial treatment. The most viable cases are when it is crystal clear that that a thorough examination would have revealed significant abnormalities indicative of a stroke.
  2. Relying too heavily on the sensitivity of C.T. scans to identify strokes: While C.T. scans are commonly used to diagnose strokes, they are not always sensitive enough to detect early or small ischemic strokes. Lazy overreliance on these scans can lead to missed diagnoses, particularly in the crucial early stages when timely treatment is essential. Suits involving this type of error are strong if it can be demonstrated that alternative diagnostic tools, such as MRI, would have provided a timely and accurate diagnosis.
  3. Developing an inadequate alternate diagnosis or anchoring on such a diagnosis, which impeded the correct final diagnosis of a stroke: Sometimes, healthcare providers may fixate on an incorrect diagnosis, such as a migraine or inner ear issue, leading to a delay in recognizing a stroke. This cognitive bias, known as diagnostic anchoring, can prevent the consideration of other potential causes. The claims that fetch largerst stroke malpractice settlements are those where it can be shown that the correct diagnosis was overlooked due to unwarranted certainty in an incorrect one.
  4. Failing to recognize the severity of a patient’s symptoms when there were red flags, such as a new or severe headache or focal neurological signs: Symptoms like a sudden, severe headache or focal neurological deficits (e.g., weakness on one side of the body) are significant red flags for a stroke. Ignoring or downplaying these symptoms can result in delayed treatment and increased harm. Stroke malpractice lawsuits with clear evidence of missed red flags, especially those documented in medical records, garner the largest stroke malpractice compensation payouts.
  5. Failing to repeat neurological examinations if a patient’s condition remained unchanged, deteriorated, or evolved: Regular monitoring and reassessment are crucial in stroke management to track any changes in the patient’s condition. Failing to perform repeated neurological exams can lead to missed opportunities for timely intervention if the patient’s symptoms evolve. The best cases for settlement involve situations where ongoing assessments were clearly indicated but not performed, leading to worsened outcomes.
  6. Delaying or failing to consult a specialist, such as a neurologist, when stroke is suspected: Prompt consultation with a specialist can be crucial in accurately diagnosing and treating a stroke. Delaying or failing to involve a neurologist can lead to misdiagnosis or delayed treatment, as general practitioners or emergency room doctors might not have the same level of expertise. So when in doubt, bring in someone who can better diagnose the problem. Strong cases involve clear indications that specialist consultation was warranted but not sought, leading to adverse outcomes for the patient.
  7. Inadequate communication and failure to educate the patient or family about warning signs and symptoms of a stroke: Proper communication between healthcare providers, patients, and their families is essential. When a patient is discharged or when stroke symptoms are mild or transient, it is crucial to educate them about the warning signs and when to seek immediate medical attention. Failure to provide this information can result in patients or their families not recognizing a worsening condition or the onset of a stroke, leading to delayed treatment. The strongest claims are those where the jury can easily see that better education and communication could have led to a more timely response and improved outcomes.

Stroke Misdiagnosis Verdicts and Settlements

Below are example settlements and verdicts in stroke medical malpractice lawsuit and the stories of different types of claims:

  • $41,000,000 Verdict (Illinois 2024): An attorney suffered a catastrophic stroke due to alleged mismanagement of his blood-thinning medication, Coumadin, by four healthcare providers. After being hospitalized for pneumonia and diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, he was prescribed Coumadin and short-term dialysis. Plaintiff’s stroke malpractice lawsuit contended that his Coumadin dosage should have been increased based on blood tests…if they had been done in the first place. The stroke resulted in paralysis and severe cognitive deficits. He needs 24-hour care and, obviously, can not longer practice law. The jury awarded $35.1 million to him and $6 million to his wife.
  • $432,225 Verdict (Connecticut 2023): Plaintiff, an adult female, allegedly suffered signs and symptoms of stroke, including slurred speech and face droop, on the car ride to the hospital and minutes before a curbside exam performed by an emergency physician and agent of defendants Yale New Haven Health Services Corp. The lawsuit contended the defendants committed medical malpractice and/or medical negligence when the physician failed to recognize such signs and symptoms while performing the exam.
  • $2,550,000 Verdict (New York 2022): A 50-something man experienced nausea, headaches, weakness, and vomiting. He presented to the ER. The physician suspected a stroke. She ordered a CT scan. The radiologist interpreted the results as usual. The man was diagnosed with gastritis. He was discharged. The man’s symptoms worsened. Two days later, the man returned to the hospital. Tests revealed a stroke. The man developed hydrocephalus. He underwent a craniectomy, a laminectomy, a ventriculostomy, and a duroplasty. The man sustained residual ambulation and speech impairments. He underwent years of physical and occupational therapies. The man now used a walking aid. He alleged negligence against the hospital. The man claimed its staff failed to timely diagnose a stroke and order additional tests to rule it out. A jury awarded $2,550,000.
  • $11,000,000 Verdict (Arizona 2021): A man suffered stroke-like symptoms. He was admitted. The hospital staff diagnosed the man with multiple blood clots. However, they failed to provide antiplatelet medications, including aspirin. Over 12 hours later, the man experienced a severe stroke. He was left permanently disabled. The man alleged negligence against the hospital. He claimed its staff failed to administer antiplatelet medications, diagnose his initial stroke, remove a blood clot, and provide appropriate stroke treatments. The jury awarded $11,000,000.
  • $4,200,000 Verdict (Connecticut 2021): A 50-something man underwent a perianal lesion removal. The medical staff noticed stroke symptoms following the procedure, including a drooping face and communication difficulties. The man was diagnosed with right-sided paralysis. He was transferred to another hospital. The staff confirmed an embolic stroke. The radiologist removed a cerebral blood clot via angiography. He spent one month in the hospital. The man was then transferred to an in-patient rehabilitation facility. He received occupational, physical, and speech therapies. The man now required lifelong care. He used a wheelchair and a walker. The man and his wife alleged negligence against the hospital. They claimed its staff failed to appreciate his prior stroke, negligently discontinued his anti-coagulant medication, and failed to consult the man’s physician. The jury awarded $4,200,000.
  • $7,500,000 Verdict (Florida 2021): A man received a critical bilateral carotid stenosis diagnosis. His physician scheduled a surgical procedure that was to occur three weeks later. One week before the planned procedure, the man woke up feeling dizzy, unsteady, and disoriented. He presented to the ER. The man was diagnosed with bradycardia and a transient ischemic attack. Shortly after, he became unresponsive. The surgeon was on vacation. His colleague took his place. The man was transferred to the telemetry unit. The attending surgeon ordered multiple tests. After 30 hours, the tests were finally completed. However, the man’s condition rapidly deteriorated. He was transferred to the ICU. The man died hours later. A massive stroke caused his death. The man’s family alleged negligence against the hospital. They claimed its staff failed to treat his stroke timely and failed to perform an emergency procedure. The jury awarded $7,500,000.
  • $1,000,000 Settlement (Indiana 2020): A 45-year-old woman suffered an undiagnosed acute ischemic stroke. She subsequently suffered a massive, fatal stroke. Her adult daughter alleged that the healthcare provider’s failure to timely diagnose her initial stroke resulted in her death. She settled with the healthcare providers for an undisclosed amount that satisfied Indiana law. The daughter then filed a claim against the Indiana Patient’s Compensation Fund. She alleged that the claimed damages exceeded the initial settlement. The parties agreed to stroke misdiagnosis malpractice settlement of $1,000,000.
  • $13,953,887 Verdict (Washington 2019): A 17-year-old girl underwent cardiac catheterization. The surgical team could not locate intra-arterial balloons and stents during the procedure. This prompted them to halt the procedure for 40 minutes temporarily. The teenager developed clotting as a result. Following the procedure, a nurse observed right-sided hemiplegia signs. Despite this, the hospital staff failed to diagnose her ischemic strokes for three hours. By then, it was too late to effectively address her condition. The teen developed right-side hemiplegia, verbal and cognitive limitations, Broca’s aphasia, and executive function loss. She now required round-the-clock care. The teen’s family alleged that the hospital staff’s negligence caused her permanent injuries. She claimed they negligently performed the cardiac catheterization and delayed her stroke diagnosis. The hospital staff denied liability. They argued that her pre-existing diabetes, obesity, sleep apnea, and hypertension caused her stroke. A jury ruled in the family’s favor and awarded them $13,953,887.
  • $875,000 Settlement (Florida 2019): A man presented to the emergency room with left-sided hemiplegia, headaches, and slurred speech. The attending physician ordered a CT scan, which the radiologist interpreted as normal. The man was diagnosed with heat exhaustion, possible anxiety attacks, and a transient alteration of consciousness. He was discharged home shortly after. The following day, the man presented to another emergency room with the same symptoms. He received a stroke diagnosis. The man was now permanently paralyzed. He alleged that the initial treating emergency room staff’s failure to diagnose and treat his stroke timely caused this. The man and his wife eventually agreed to an $875,000 settlement.
  • $5,871,495 Verdict (Nevada 2019): A 55-year-old woman underwent a laparoscopic repair of her incarcerated paraesophageal hernia. Following the procedure, she suffered a gastrointestinal perforation and leak that became infected. The woman’s blood circulation became compromised. She subsequently underwent bilateral foot amputations. The woman alleged that the physician’s failure to timely diagnose and treat her condition caused her permanent injuries. The physician denied her allegations. The jury found the physician 100 percent liable. They awarded the woman a $5,871,495 verdict.
  • $20,000,000 Settlement (Illinois 2016): A 50-year-old man suffered a stroke that left him with memory, balance, and vision problems. This occurred after visiting the emergency room with sharp headaches, neck pain and stiffness, vomiting, dizziness, and disorientation. The man alleged that the hospital staff’s failure to timely diagnose a stroke caused these permanent injuries. He claimed they failed to diagnose a subarachnoid hemorrhage, order a CT scan and lumbar puncture, consult a neurologist, and admit him. The hospital staff denied negligence. Both parties agreed to settle for $20,000,000.
  • $6,300,000 Verdict (Arizona 2016): A 41-year-old man presented to the emergency room with headaches, neck pain, sudden dizziness, blurry vision, nausea, and dry heaving. He received headache and benign paroxysmal positional vertigo diagnoses. The man was discharged the following day. While on his way home, he became unresponsive and suffered a stroke. The man developed catastrophic brain damage. He was now significantly disabled and required lifelong round-the-clock care. The man and his wife alleged that the hospital staff’s failure to diagnose his vertebral arterial dissection caused his stroke. They received a $6,300,000 verdict.

Calculating Settlement Amounts in Stroke Misdiagnosis Lawsuits

Calculating settlement amounts in stroke misdiagnosis lawsuits is not an easy job. It involves assessing various factors to compensate the victim or their family for the losses and damages suffered. These calculations typically cover medical expenses, including past, current, and future costs for treatments, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation, and long-term care.

Lost wages are also a critical component, accounting for income lost from the time of the stroke to the settlement and future earning capacity if the victim cannot return to work or must take a lower-paying job. Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, are considered for the physical pain, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life caused by the misdiagnosis. Additionally, loss of consortium may be included to compensate for the impact on the victim’s relationship with their spouse or family.

But we are jumping the gun, right?  The most important variable in calculating a settlement is whether you have a good chance of winning the stroke malpractice lawsuit at trial.  If you cannot win, nothing else matters. So the starting point is what are the chance of winning.

Hiring a Stroke Malpractice Lawyer

Our lawyers handle stroke malpractice lawsuits nationwide in severe injury and wrongful death claims.   How do we do this?  We team up with lawyers in your area.  You get two lawyers for the price of one, and we fight like crazy to maximize the settlement amount or jury payout you receive. Call us today at 800-553-8082 or contact us online for a free and immediate case evaluation.  There is no risk – we are compensated only if we win and you get a jury payout or settlement.

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