Birth injuries and medical malpractice caps

Medical caps seem to be part of the discussion anytime a medical malpractice case is filed. Though the claimed intent of these caps is to compensate only legitimate medical malpractice claims, what it has instead often led to is confusion as to how much such legitimate claims should be awarded.

For example, a 4-year old boy from another state had been diagnosed with cerebral palsy that likely resulted from medical mistakes made by the doctor in the delivery room. The fund put in place to compensate the boy was part of a legislative package that went along with limitations put upon jury awards in medical malpractice cases.

Possibly fearing adverse publicity that comes along with a jury verdict being delivered, the medical provider in this case decided to settle the matter. However, the amount that the verdict was settled for also allowed for the child to be covered by that state’s general fund as well. Though those running the state fund objected to such a settlement, a court had ruled that liability had been “admitted and established” when the settlement took place, and the young boy was then allowed to collect under this state fund.

Most attorneys would be unable to work out all of the calculations under this type of medical malpractice scheme. And because the law concerning medical malpractice can be so confusing, it’s generally best for patients injured by medical negligence to contact an attorney that is experienced in the medical malpractice area.

It is believed that the medical providers in this matter failed to adequately monitor the boy’s condition. This failure to monitor likely led to delay in taking action, and this in turn led to the child contracting cerebral palsy.

A child that could otherwise have lived a healthy life now is facing a lifetime malady. It is extremely difficult to know how much the boy’s medical costs, wage losses and cost for other services will ultimately end up being, so this is why courts and juries are reluctant to place limitations upon medical malpractice awards.

Source: Insurance Journal, “Indiana Court: Compensation Fund May Not Dispute Liability in Med Mal Case,” by Stephanie K. Jones, Nov. 14, 2012