Wednesday, February 3, 2010

$16.5 Million Dollars Awarded to Patient Who Became Paraplegic

In Riverside, California, the jury has awarded $16.5 million in damages in a medical malpractice suit due to negligence after a man was left a paraplegic in an off-road accident in November 2003.

The jury found Palm Springs neurosurgeon, Christopher Pham negligent in his treatment of Trent Hughes who was left unattended and unseen until the next day and was only operated on two days later even though he had a fractured spine.

Hughes and his wife sued the hospital and Pham for past and future lost earnings, medical costs and damages for pain and suffering. Two years ago, the spouses settled with the hospital for an undisclosed amount.

Medical malpractice lawsuits, are one of the most complex civil lawsuits to litigate as it can be very hard to prove as it involves the technical aspect of your treatment and that doctors and hospitals will likely fight tooth and nail against the claim.

However, there are three essential elements in any medical malpractice claim which can make or break your case and all these must be present so your claim will prosper:

• There must be significant injury incurred by the patient

• The doctor or hospital staff performed in a way that was not up to the standard of care expected from such a medical professional, or that there was negligence

• The lack of care or medical mistake directly caused the injury suffered by the patient

Now depending on how severe the injury is, medical malpractice claims involve the following damages:

• Medical Expenses both present and future
• Cost of Permanent Medical Care
• Loss of wages
• Future Lost Earnings
• Pain and Suffering
• Punitive Damages

Take note that as previously mentioned, medical malpractice is difficult to litigate so getting a lawyer who can effectively prepare and present your case is the key to success. Unlike car accidents where the effect can speak for itself, medical malpractice claims often require the opinion of experts in the field and lawyers who specialize in medical malpractice are better equipped to prosecute your claim.