The settlement was a low amount considering the nature of the birth injuries and the fact the child could never be left alone for the rest of its life. The damage award was based on a 47% negligence ratio assessed against the defendant doctor.
The case was appealed on the grounds that the damages were far too low given the egregious nature of the doctor’s actions. The Appellate court agreed that the damages were far too low and directed a new trial to deal with damages only. They had no problem ordering a new trial, as there was ample evidence on record that indicated the residents at the hospital and the on call physician, who subsequently died, were negligent.
The on call physician didn’t supervise any of the treatment provided to the mother in this case and his lack of oversight resulted in severe brain damage to the baby. In other words, there was a direct link between the doctor’s negligence and the baby’s brain damage – referred to as proximate cause.
The Appellate court further found that the initial damage award was too low considering what would be reasonable compensation in light of the severe nature of the baby’s permanent brain damage. The other argument advanced was that the jury award was low due to juror confusion and ambiguity. The courts in NYC and Westchester did not see this as being a valid reason to hand out a low amount when the issue could have been addressed at the lower court level.
Medical malpractice cases at trial can conclude in interesting ways, but if you have a skilled New York Medical Malpractice Lawyer on the case, you stand a much better chance at getting true justice.