Malpractice

Defending Yourself Against Pain and Suffering Lawsuits

Mark Crane

Disclosures

May 09, 2011

In This Article

Huge Pain and Suffering Awards

Some recent cases:

  • A misdiagnosed spinal tumor left a 21-year-old woman with extremely limited use of her legs. A jury in Westchester, New York, assessed almost $50 million in damages, including $29.5 million for past and future pain and suffering and $18.5 million in medical expenses and rehabilitation services. That case is under appeal.

  • Paralysis from the waist down developed in a Chicago man after he was discharged from a hospital with a spinal infection. He was awarded $1.6 million in economic damages and $6.7 million in non-economic damages. The breakdown was $450,000 for a 3-year reduction in life expectancy, $2 million for pain and suffering, and $4.25 million for his ongoing disability.

  • In West Virginia, a man who had 2 kidney transplants and a history of diabetes and strokes went to a hospital emergency department for symptoms of pneumonia. Because of inappropriate treatment with medicines, rhabdomyolysis with severe muscle damage developed, his attorneys alleged. He was hospitalized for several months and now has difficulty walking short distances. The defense argued that he was able to work, go on a cruise, and paint his house. A jury awarded him $92,000 for past medical expenses, $37,000 for lost earnings, and $1 million for past and future pain and suffering. His wife received $500,000 for loss of consortium, listed on the jury form as "sorrow, mental anguish, and solace." Under state law capping pain and suffering awards at $500,000, a judge reduced the man's award and eliminated his wife's award entirely. A case challenging the constitutionality of the cap is under appeal.

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