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Lawyers Argue Malpractice Caps in Stillbirth Lawsuit

Mellino Law Firm

A medical malpractice trial won’t begin until October, but lawyers are already debating what should happen if the plaintiff wins her case, according to the Daily Telegram.

June 17, 2014, the paper reported that a woman filed a lawsuit against a hospital doctor and nurse after delivering a stillborn baby in 2008. Her attorney said there were “clear signs” the child was in distress and should have been delivered sooner.

In court, he argued that his client should be awarded the higher of two medical malpractice caps on non-economic damages in that state. He also believes she should be awarded lost lifetime earnings.

An attorneys for the defendants said the higher limit only applies to those cases in which negligence causes a patient to live with a severe brain injury. He claims the plaintiff is not entitled to lost lifetime earnings.

What’s at stake is the difference between the lower limit of $440,200 and the higher limit of $774,000. Unless the parties reach a settlement, trial will begin October 14. The judge stated she will decide which cap applies after the jury reaches its verdict.

How Does State Law Affect a Stillbirth Lawsuit?

One in 200 mothers will deliver a stillborn baby, according to WebMD. Sometimes this is due to genetics, but other times it’s due to a doctor’s failure to diagnose preeclampsia or an infection, which accounts for 10 to 25 percent of stillbirths, per March of Dimes. With regard to the latter, as NY Times reported in August 2011, “American courts have long resisted awards for nonfinancial injuries like emotional suffering, because fixing a value is subjective. Some legislatures have set limits on such awards. But there have been exceptions, and for years many states, including … Ohio, allowed mothers to sue claiming stillbirths were caused by malpractice.” Ohio does, however, limit noneconomic damages, as WOSU stated in September 2013.

To learn how medical malpractice caps will apply to your stillbirth lawsuit, attorney Chris Mellino welcomes you to contact our Cleveland office for a free consultation. You may also download Chris’ free guide on what to expect when filing a claim, read testimonials, and review a sampling of case.

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