$15.5 Million Verdict for Amputee Overturned by Court
A Florida appellate court has recently overturned a $15.5 million medical malpractice verdict that had been delivered in favor of an amputee victim. This case is a helpful reminder that bringing this type of claim is complicated, and that injured victims should carefully select their Daytona Beach attorneys. For help with your case, reach out to us today.
Facts of the Case
Stephanie Hollingsworth suffered from necrotizing vasculitis, which involves the inflammation of blood vessel walls. She was admitted to the hospital with pain and sores on her extremities and received medical treatment from doctor Yvonne Sherrer.
Dr. Sherrer did not administer Cytoxan, a drug that is commonly used to treat necrotizing vasculitis. When Hollingsworth’s condition continued to worsen, she ended up having some fingers and toes amputated. She also ended up losing part of her foot.
Hollingsworth brought a case for medical malpractice, alleging that the doctor’s decision not to administer Cytoxan violated the appropriate standard of care. At trial, Hollingsworth won a $15.5 million verdict against the doctor, who appealed. The hospital that Hollingsworth sued was not found at fault during the trial.
Why the Appellate Court Overturned the Verdict
An appeal allows a higher court to review the trial court’s record and look for errors made. Some errors prejudice a defendant, who can ask the appellate court to set aside the verdict. If the court agrees, it can order a new trial or (in rare cases) find that the defendant was not liable and toss the case from the legal system.
The issue in dispute on this appeal was the trial judge’s decision to include a jury instruction on informed consent. Florida law requires that doctors provide patients with certain information before treating them. If they fail to do so, they can be held liable in certain circumstances for failing to obtain proper consent.
However, Hollingsworth never presented evidence at trial on the informed consent issue, so no jury instruction should have been included. The trial judge’s decision to include an instruction meant that the defendant could have been found liable on this ground even though it was never argued at court. As a result, the appellate court sent the case back down for a retrial.
Presenting Medical Malpractice Cases the Right Way
The type of error Ms. Hollingsworth’s attorneys made has unfortunately delayed justice for their client. Hollingsworth will need to go through another trial before she can receive the compensation she needs to make up for her injuries.
At our firm, we use our experience to bring lawsuits in a lean, efficient manner, so that the case can be resolved at settlement or trial. Our Daytona Beach medical malpractice attorneys know their way around a courtroom and are prepared to do whatever it takes to obtain compensation for our clients.
If a doctor or other medical professional has injured you, contact Bundza & Rodriguez today. You can schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our team by calling 386-252-5170 or sending us an online message.