Unlike other areas of personal injury, medical malpractice claims can only be filed by those that experience it.
After a debate between the Wisconsin Association for Justice (which represents trial lawyers) and the Wisconsin Supreme Court over a landmark medical malpractice lawsuit in 1998, the courts have ruled that bystanders cannot file a medical malpractice lawsuit over the emotional distress it caused.
Our firm’s San Diego personal injury attorneys know that medical negligence and medical malpractice are the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. In addition to causing severe personal injuries to you or a loved one, medical malpractice can cause an intense amount of emotional trauma.
In that 1998 medical malpractice lawsuit, a father was awarded money for emotional trauma after watching one of his twin sons die during child birth. A judge in 2003 awarded Gregory Phelps the damages as part of a $990,000 award to his family for wrongful death and medical malpractice.
Phelps had arrived at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Milwaukee after his wife, who had been identified as a high-risk patient. She was in intense pain and suffering and had not been treated properly by an unlicensed, first-year medical resident. Phelps helped his wife get to a commode, where she reached down and felt a baby’s toes extending from her.
He rushed to a nurses’ desk, where he found a doctor to deliver the baby, Adam. But attempts to resuscitate Adam failed, and the baby was pronounced dead as a result of asphyxia. The other twin, Kyle, was delivered safely and did not suffer wrongful death.
The American Medical Association and the Wisconsin Medical Society, which represent doctors, argued that allowing witnesses to seek medical malpractice damages would expand the potential liability of doctors and prompt more medical malpractice lawsuits. But the Wisconsin Association for Justice, which represents trial lawyers, said that victims such as Phelps should be compensated for witnessing such emotionally traumatic events.
If you or a loved one find yourself in the midst of medical malpractice, hiring an experienced medical malpractice lawyer can limit the pain and suffering you endure in this time of trauma. You may be completely confused as well if you have thousands of dollars in medical bills to pay. Our personal injury lawyers in San Diego have a handy resource page that will help you get information regarding getting your medical bills paid.
Please feel free to call us now at 1-800-655-6585 or you can click here for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney. We have a large bilingual staff that can assist you in either English or Spanish. No fee if no recovery.