Brain Damage & Medical Malpractice
Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Over Brain Injuries
Whether they result from trauma sustained in an accident or the negligence of health care providers, brain injuries have an overwhelming potential to profoundly affect the lives of victims and their families.
If you or someone you love sustained a brain injury or brain damage due to a medical provider’s substandard care, you may have grounds to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit and a financial recovery of your damages.
Our attorneys at Bostwick & Peterson, LLP have won record results in claims involving medical negligence and brain injuries – including the largest medical malpractice recovery in California history ($17M for a brain injured newborn). We can review your case and discuss how we can help.
Brain Injuries Resulting from Medical Malpractice
Brain injuries resulting from medical malpractice are acquired brain injuries. This means they are not congenital / hereditary, but rather caused by some type of trauma to the brain.
Examples of brain injuries that may result from medical negligence:
- Hypoxic brain injuries. Hypoxia is a condition involving inadequate oxygen supply to tissues, and it can affect the entire body or a specific part like the brain. When a person suffers a hypoxic brain injury, such as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), it means their brain did not receive a sufficient amount of oxygen. Some causes include cardiac arrest, stroke, and failures to timely intervene in medical emergencies.
- Anoxic brain injuries. Anoxia is an extreme form of hypoxia, and it means a complete lack of oxygen supply to the body or brain. Anoxic brain injuries usually result from hypoxia, and often cause profound brain damage and long-term consequences.
- Traumatic brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) result from trauma to the brain. While blunt-force impacts such as those sustained in car accidents or falls are common causes, patients in medical settings may suffer TBI due to surgical errors or trauma during labor and delivery caused by vacuums / forceps or cranial compression.
Can I File a Malpractice Lawsuit Over Brain Injury?
Your right to file a medical malpractice lawsuit over brain damage resulting from medical errors will depend on the specific facts of your case.
Generally, victims have the right to hold negligent health care providers financially liable for their damages when they are able to establish that their injuries were caused by a provider’s failure to meet the standard of care.
Per the California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI No. 501), failure to meet the standard of care is defined as:
A provider's failure to exercise the level of skill, care, and knowledge in treatment / diagnosis that another reasonable careful provider or specialist would use under the same or similar circumstances.
Because the standard of care can be different depending on who was involved and what took place prior to injury, it becomes crucial for victims to work with attorneys can fully investigate what happened.
At Bostwick & Peterson, our award-winning lawyers work with medical experts to evaluate the quality of care provided by health care practitioners, and determine whether they failed to meet the applicable standard of care. Although there are many ways this can happen, some examples may include:
- Birth injuries caused by failure to identify and respond to fetal distress during labor and delivery.
- Failure to perform a timely C-section, resulting in oxygen deprivation.
- Failure to treat jaundice after delivery, resulting in kernicterus.
- Failure to diagnose conditions such as stroke or cardiac misdiagnosis.
- Anesthesia errors resulting in a lack of oxygen and brain injury.
- Medication errors or exposure to toxic substances.
- Traumatic brain injuries caused by trauma during birth or a medical procedure.
- Surgical errors involving laceration or penetration injuries.
Recoverable Damages in Malpractice Brain Injury Claims
Victims who prevail in their medical malpractice cases are entitled to a financial recovery of their damages. This can include compensation for:
- Hospital and medical bills
- Future medical expenses
- Assistive care, therapy, and special needs
- Past and future lost income
- Pain and suffering and other emotional injuries
California state law places a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases.
Because the law as it currently stands prevents victims and families from recovering more than this amount for their pain and suffering and emotional losses, it is crucial victims work with attorneys capable of recovering full compensation for economic damages. This includes future expenses and losses victims ones are likely to incur as a result of serious brain injuries and lasting disabilities.
Examples of Our Brain Injury / Medical Malpractice Results
- $17 Million over failure to treat a routine infection in pregnancy that became septic and caused severe brain injury to the baby. This is the largest medical malpractice recovery in CA history.
- $14 Million over a surgical error involving a 3-day-old child who suffered a severe brain injury when an insufflation need was placed in the umbilical vein. At the time, this was the largest medical malpractice settlement in California (2018).
- $11.4 Million over failure to monitor and identify fetal distress, resulting in profound brain injury and cerebral palsy. This was the largest birth injury settlement in California as of 2010.
- $10 Million recovery over an alleged failure to promptly deliver child when fetal monitoring showed potential problems, resulting in severe cognitive deficits and cerebral palsy. This was a record settlement for an obstetrical case in the state where it was obtained.
- $8.9 Million against the U.S. government in Federal District Court in Hawaiiover alleged improper management of labor, resulting in brain injury and cerebral palsy. At the time, this was the largest Ninth Circuit award in history for an individual in a medical malpractice case.
- $8.75 Million for a 30-year-old woman with a brain aneurysm who suffered a stroke after ER providers failed to order a CT scan.
- $8 Million for a 16-year-old patient who suffered a brain injury due to an anesthesia error during knee surgery.
- $7.76 Million for a child who suffered brain injury, partial blindness, and partial paralysis during a urological surgery due to faulty design and maintenance of the anesthesia machine.
- $7.6 Million for 18-year-old woman who suffered brain injury and was rendered quadriplegic during radiation treatment for cancer she had suffered as a child. At the time it was obtained (1978), this was the largest medical malpractice jury verdict in the nation.
- $6 Million over brain infarcts (stroke) caused by epinephrine overdose during emergency treatment for a respiratory crisis.
- $6 Million over failure to diagnose evolving stroke resulting in severe brain injury.
Bostwick & Peterson has recovered over $1 billion in compensation for clients, and has earned national recognition for our work litigating complex medical negligence claims. If you have a potential medical malpractice case involving brain injury or brain damage, contact us to speak with a San Francisco lawyer.
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James S. Bostwick and Erik L. Peterson have been named top-rated medical malpractice attorneys in Northern California.
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James Bostwick & Erik Peterson are listed in the Top 100 Trial Lawyers.
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