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Appeals Delay Payment of Birth Injury Malpractice Verdict

Appeals Delay PaymentIn 2009, a Bay Area family was expecting twins, when a medical mistake resulted in tragedy. One of the twins died in utero, and the other was born via cesarean section with serious brain damage, cerebral palsy, and decreased speech and motor skills. The family filed a complaint against the hospital and 13 other medical providers and facilities, and eventually, the case went to trial in 2014. The jury found in favor of the family, determining that the mother had received substandard care that constituted medical malpractice and awarded the family more than $12 million in damages. Three years later, the family has yet to see a dime thanks to lengthy appeals and reported delays by the insurer.

A sad Story

The prenatal care and birth took place in Contra Costa County and was supervised by a doctor employed by Contra Costa County Health Services. The pregnancy was somewhat unusual in that both twins shared a single placenta but had separate amniotic sacs. The first sign of trouble—as far the family was concerned—was when the mother went for an appointment at 38 weeks of pregnancy. Court records indicate that at that point, one of the twins had already died, and an emergency c-section was performed. The surviving twin had suffered from severe oxygen deprivation which resulted in cerebral palsy and a host of other lifelong problems.

At trial, the jury held that the doctor breached the prevailing standard of care by not scheduling a c-section sooner and was thus guilty of malpractice. The jury awarded the family more than $55,000 in past medical bills, $2 million for the surviving twin’s lost future earnings, $500,000 in general damages, and $9.6 million for future medical expenses.

Appeals and Delays

The malpractice insurance carrier for the provider appealed the jury’s decision regarding future medical expenses. The insurance company claimed that the calculations used did not reflect the actual costs associated with the victim’s care, and the verdict was an inflated number. In April of this year, a California appeals court agreed upheld the insurance company’s appeal and remanded the case for a new trial. A hearing to set a trial date is scheduled for later this month.

Perhaps the most disturbing part of the story, however, is that while the insurance carrier did not dispute the jury’s findings regarding past medical bills or future lost earnings, news reports indicate that no payments have been made whatsoever. Despite the court’s ruling and the company’s courtroom acknowledgment that it owes the family money, the family is currently relying on state agencies to provide the victim with the care he needs. It is presently unclear what has caused the delay in the company’s payment.

Call Us Today

If you or loved one has been injured by substandard care provided by a doctor or hospital, you deserve to collect compensation for your injuries. Contact an experienced San Jose medical malpractice attorney to discuss your case and explore your available options. Call (408) 289-1417 for a free consultation with Corsiglia McMahon and Allard, L.L.P. today.

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