AWARD FOR FAMILY INJURED IN A MOTOR VEHICLE CRASH
Motor vehicle Accident
Award for family injured in a motor vehicle crash involving a truck that had failed inspection and had faulty brakes.
SETTLEMENT FOR AN INFANT WHO SUFFERED A C-SECTION INJURY
Birth Injury, Birth Injury
We represented an infant who suffered a severe brain injury and multi-organ injuries due to the negligence of a midwife. During pregnancy, the mother became high-risk labor and delivery. Nevertheless, the midwife caring for her prenatally did not consult with an obstetrician to manage the care of the mother’s pregnancy. During the labor and delivery process, the mother and infant demonstrated signs of maternal stress and fetal distress. Again, the midwife failed to seek the assistance of an obstetrician despite the presence of obstetricians at the hospital. The infant was born pulseless, although she was resuscitated. Due to the compression of the infant’s umbilical cord during labor and delivery, the infant was deprived of oxygen ultimately causing her injuries.
SETTLEMENT FOR BRAIN INJURED CHILD
This case involved the care provided to a newborn baby while admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). After a difficult delivery, the baby was admitted to the NICU for monitoring. While in the NICU, the baby demonstrated numerous signs of respiratory distress over the course of three days. These signs included acrocyanosis (discoloration of the extremities), the refusal to feed, lethargy, and jitteriness ( which was actually the onset of seizures). Despite these signs, the baby’s doctors did not order or perform any tests to investigate for the presence of respiratory dysfunction. Additionally, no attempt was made to provide supplemental oxygen or to intubate the baby. As a result, the baby suffered severe neurological injury due to hypoxia requiring 24-hour care.* The case was settlement with a confidentiality agreement in place. As a result, the disclosure of the parties involved, the location of the hospital, and detailed recitation of the underlying acts of negligence was not permitted.
WRONGFUL DEATH OF 40-YEAR-OLD FROM AN UNDIAGNOSED BLOOD CLOT
We represented the estate of a 40-year-old woman who died from a blood clot that traveled to her lungs (known as a pulmonary embolism). Our client had been given a drug, Lupron, for the treatment of endometriosis. Complications from this drug led to the development of a blood clot (known as a deep vein thrombosis) in our client’s pelvis. Two physicians caring for our client failed to communicate with each other about the complications our client was experiencing, thereby delaying necessary treatment. As a result, the blood clot grew until a piece broke off and embolized to our client’s lungs causing her death. A District of Columbia jury awarded the estate of our client $4 million. This verdict was appealed on a number of grounds, including that the verdict was excessive. The appeal was denied by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.
SETTLEMENT TO MOTHER & SON FOR BIRTH INJURIES IN VA
We represented a mother and her infant son for injuries that occurred during the delivery process. The mother had experienced a placental abruption while her son was in utero causing him fetal distress due to a lack of oxygen supplied through the umbilical cord. The obstetrician failed to appreciate the fetus’ distress and failed to deliver him by c-section in a timely fashion. As a result, the child suffered an irreversible neurological injury due to the loss of oxygen to his brain. During the early part of the case, a loophole in the obstetrician’s insurance policy was discovered that provided separate coverage to the mother and her son — i.e. in effect doubling the amount of available insurance coverage. Prior to trial, the son’s claim was settled for $1.7 million, which was the maximum allowed under Virginia law at the time. The mother’s claim went to trial, where a jury awarded her $1.6 million for her emotional distress. This verdict was appealed to the Virginia Supreme Court but denied.
JURY AWARD FOR WRONGFUL DEATH FROM CERVICAL CANCER
We represented the estate of a 36-year-old woman who died from cervical cancer. An abnormal Pap smear test revealed the early stages of cancer. Tragically, the Pap smear was misinterpreted by the doctor as normal. As a result, the diagnosis and treatment of the patient’s cancer were delayed, thereby causing her premature death. In accordance with Virginia law, the jury’s verdict was reduced to an applicable statutory cap in place at the time.
BREAST CANCER CASE SETTLEMENT
We represented a 40-year-old woman in this District of Columbia medical malpractice case. The patient had a screening mammogram at which time the radiologist found an abnormality in the right breast and recommended to the primary care physician that a repeat study be performed to rule out cancer. The primary care physician failed to follow this recommendation and failed to inform the patient about the abnormality that was found. One year later, the patient had another screening mammogram, which led to the diagnosis of breast cancer. The patient claimed that the one-year delay in the diagnosis and treatment of her breast cancer led to the spread of her cancer and to a significant reduction of her life expectancy.
JURY VERDICT IN WRONGFUL DEATH CASE FOLLOWING HIATAL HERNIA REPAIR
We represented the estate of a 49-year-old woman. She was a single mother of a 17-year-old daughter. The mother died as a result of complications that occurred during surgery. In 2007, the mother underwent a surgical procedure to treat gastroesophageal reflux and to repair a hiatal hernia. A composix mesh was used to reinforce the area of the hiatal hernia repair. The defendant surgeon used helical tacks (which resemble corkscrews in appearance) to affix the mesh to the diaphragm through the use of a surgical instrument known as the Autosuture ProTacker. Both the FDA and the manufacturer of the Autosuture ProTacker warned against the use of these tacks in areas where tissue could be compressed to a thickness of 4 mm or less and vital organs were in close proximity. Because the diaphragm is less than 4 mm in thickness directly underneath the heart, both the FDA and the manufacturer specifically warned against the use of these tacks when affixing mesh in this area. The defendant surgeon ignored these warnings during the mother’s operation. One of the helical tacks used by the defendant surgeon cut the mother’s heart vein causing the sac around her heart (known as the pericardium) to fill with blood. Once the pericardium filled with blood, the mother’s heart was unable to beat correctly, and the mother went into cardiorespiratory arrest. Her cardiorespiratory arrest caused an anoxic brain injury and brain death. The case was tried to a Fairfax County jury. The defendant surgeon did not offer to settle the case before trial. The jury returned a verdict for almost $2.5 million. This verdict was reduced by the judge to the statutory cap of $1.85 million.
JURY VERDICT FOR PATIENT WHO LOST CENTRAL VISION IN ONE EYE
We represented a 53-year-old woman who lost central vision in one eye following a vitrectomy performed by Dr. Randall Wong at the Capital Eye Consultants. The allegations against Dr. Wong were that he recommended and performed eye surgery despite the fact that the patient’s condition did not justify surgery. The patient was not suffering any eye-related symptoms to support surgical intervention. During the unnecessary surgery, the patient suffered an optic neuropathy caused by mechanical trauma to the fovea, resulting in central vision loss. Shortly before trial, Dr. Wong admitted liability. The only remaining disputed issue was the valuation of the patient’s eye injury. The patient’s employment required that she drive a motor vehicle as an essential part of her job duties. Her vision loss resulted in her being found disabled from her employment. As a result, she had a significant loss of income claim. After a four-day trial, the jury awarded our client $1.6 million.
SETTLEMENT FOR FAILURE TO DIAGNOSE HEART DISEASE
We represented a 55-year-old gentleman who suffered a massive heart attack after his treating physicians failed to diagnose and treat the plaintiff’s underlying heart disease. Prior to suffering his heart attack, the plaintiff had notified his treating physicians that he was a Type-II diabetic, that he had a strong family history for heart disease, and that he had previously been treated for high cholesterol and borderline hypertension. When the plaintiff began to experience chest pain, his treating doctors ordered a stress test, which the plaintiff failed. Nevertheless, the plaintiff’s physician diagnosed the plaintiff as suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. When the plaintiff continued to experience chest pain and notified his doctors of such, he was again told he had GERD. Soon thereafter, the plaintiff suffered a massive heart attack that has left him severely disabled and with a shortened life expectancy. This case was filed in Virginia, which had a statutory cap that limited the plaintiff’s recovery.
SETTLEMENT FOR STEVENS JOHNSON SYNDROME PATIENT
Plaintiff was a 36-year-old female with a mental disability due to a birth injury that left her with the functional age of approximately six years old. The plaintiff also had a seizure disorder. She was experiencing tremor episodes that the defendant neurologist thought were break-through seizures. In response, the defendant decided to transition the plaintiff from Depakote, the seizure medication she had been taking, to Lamictal. The alleged negligence in the case was that the defendant ignored an FDA Black Box Warning in the Physicians’ Desk Reference (PDR) and prescribed the Lamictal at double the initial dose recommended by the manufacturer and double the recommended escalating dose. According to the PDR’s Black Box Warning, the risk of prescribing Lamictal at these higher doses is that the patient will have a higher risk of developing a serious, life-threatening rash called Stevens Johnsons Syndrome. Unfortunately, plaintiff did develop Stevens Johnsons Syndrome with severe rash over 85 percent of her body surface area and damage to the epithelium of her eyes. The rash was so severe that it was the equivalent of having third-degree burns. The plaintiff was treated for three months in a burn unit. She underwent multiple pig skin and cadaver skin grafts, including on her face, and an operation on her eyes. She recovered remarkably well from the injuries with no grossly disfiguring scarring. She has permanently mottled skin from the burns and grafts, some loss of vision in her eyes, and loss of some fingernails.
SETTLEMENT FOR DEATH OF A TODDLER FOLLOWING TRACHEA SURGERY
The plaintiff’s child was a two-year-old who was born with a congenital problem known as Pierre Robin Syndrome. This condition caused some breathing difficulties that required the placement of a tracheostomy tube to assist with breathing. After successful corrective surgery for the underlying congenital problem, the tracheostomy was removed. A tract from the skin to the trachea, known as a tracheocutaneous fistula, remained, however. Surgery was required to correct this tract. The child died due to complications from the surgery to close the tract. Plaintiff alleged that the surgeon negligently closed the skin while leaving the trachea open. This alleged negligence forced air into the child’s chest and resulted in the lungs not being able to expand properly. In turn, the child’s heart was unable to pump properly, and the child died. The case settled for $1,375,000.
SETTLEMENT FOR WRONGFUL DEATH FROM ACUTE PANCREATITIS
We represented the wife and three children of a 40-year-old man who died from complications of untreated acute pancreatitis arising from undiagnosed Cushing’s Syndrome. Of note, the insurance company for the defendant doctor refused to make a settlement offer until the trial began. During the trial, the insurance company made its first settlement offer and continued to increase its offer throughout the trial until the $1.25 settlement figure was agreed to just before closing arguments began. The case was filed in Virginia and was subject to the $1.5 million statutory cap on damages applicable at the time.
MISREAD MAMMOGRAM LEADS TO SETTLEMENT
We represented the estate of a 52-year-old woman who died from the metastatic spread of her breast cancer. Years prior to the diagnosis of her breast cancer, our client underwent two screening mammograms. The radiologists who read the mammograms interpreted them as negative (not showing any cancer). In fact, both mammograms showed the presence of early breast cancer. As a result of the incorrect interpretation of the mammograms, our client’s breast cancer spread from her breast into other organs, ultimately causing her death.
CEREBRAL PALSY DUE TO PLACENTAL INSUFFICIENCY
Our infant client was born two weeks after her due date. She suffered a brain injury, cerebral palsy, and a seizure disorder because her mother’s placenta had “run out of gas” and could no longer provide the oxygen and nutrition that the baby needed. Here the OBs had notice that the baby was not growing normally since the mother’s fundal height was smaller than it should have been. The small fundal height should have led the OBs to deliver the baby on the due date. Had they done so the baby would not have been injured. The case was settled for $1,000,000, the cap at the time.
SETTLEMENT FOR CLIENT WHO SUFFERED ANKLE & WRIST FRACTURES
Settlement for client who suffered ankle and wrist fractures in a motor vehicle crash involving a car that failed to yield the right-of-way.
THE CASE SETTLED FOR POLICY LIMITS
Our client was injured while riding his motorcycle on Route 95 in Virginia. He was cut off by an unknown driver who made a sudden lane change, causing our client to lose control of his motorcycle. He suffered third-degree burns primarily to his leg and foot that required multiple surgeries to clean and debride his wound. Liability was initially denied due to the investigating police officer failing to note in the Police Crash Report that the crash was caused by the unknown driver. Witnesses who called 911 to report the crash was located and verified the existence of the unknown driver as the cause of the crash. The case settled for policy limits shortly thereafter.
AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT CASE SETTLEMENT AFTER THE DISCOVERY OF A SECOND INSURANCE POLICY
We represented a 72-year-old woman who sustained multiple bone fractures in an automobile accident. She was a passenger in a car that was broad-sided by a speeding vehicle. During the case, it was learned that our client’s husband had two separate insurance policies with the same insurance company. We argued that the policy limits of each insurance policy should be added together (i.e. stacked). When the insurance company initially denied this claim, we filed a Declaratory Judgment action. Shortly thereafter and before the Declaratory Judgment action was tried, the insurance company accepted our argument and offered to settle the case for an amount in excess of single coverage.
JURY VERDICT IN CASE INVOLVING A MISPLACED PACEMAKER LEAD
We represented the family of an 81-year-old woman who died following the misplacement of a pacemaker lead. The decedent was diagnosed with a Mobitz Type II heart block and was sent to Fauquier Hospital by her primary care physician for evaluation and treatment. The implantation of a dual-chamber pacemaker was recommended, and the surgery was performed by Dr. Chirag Sandesara. Instead of threading the pacemaker lead through the venous circulation and into the right side of the heart, Dr. Sandesara inserted the lead directly into the patient’s aorta and into her left ventricle. After the decedent was discharged home with the lead unknowingly in her left ventricle, she suffered a heart attack and heart failure. Thereafter, her health continued to deteriorate, and she died from her complications a few months later. The case was tried to a jury in Fairfax County. The jury found in favor of the patient, and awarded the family compensation that totaled just over $480,000.
MOTOR VEHICLE CRASH VICTIM WINS JURY AWARD
We represented a client injured in a motor vehicle crash in Fairfax County. The crash resulted from the defendant running a red light, and making a left-hand turn in front of his client’s car. Our client suffered a hangman’s fracture of the C2 vertebra that did not require surgery. The fracture did not heal perfectly, however. A jury awarded $285,657.76.A notable issue in the case is that our client’s underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage company, USAA, refused to make a reasonable settlement offer. It offered only $2,500 in addition to a $100,000 settlement offer from the defendant driver’s insurance company.
CAR ACCIDENT CASE SETTLES FOR POLICY LIMITS
We represented a 33-year-old woman who was injured in a four-car accident in Alexandria, Virginia. Our client was the third car in a chain reaction wherein each car hit the car in front of it. As a result of the accident, our client suffered a cervical disc herniation that required surgery. Because the Defendant was only insured for $25,000, our client had to look to her own insurance company for UM/UIM benefits. Her insurance company offered its full limits of $75,000 ($100,000 minus the $25,000 insurance of the Defendant) three months before trial.
CLIENT’S CASE SETTLES AND DEFENDANT DOCTOR’S LICENSE SUSPENDED
On March 6, 2006, the medical license of Dr. Rene Alvir was suspended indefinitely, for a period of not less than one year, by the Virginia Board of Medicine. Dr. Alvir was a surgeon who performed a TURP surgical operation on a patient represented by Tom Smith of Shevlin Smith. The Virginia Board of Medicine found that conservative medical treatment (i.e. no surgery) would have been the appropriate course of treatment for the patient. The patient later died following complications from this unwarranted surgery. The resolution of the underlying medical malpractice case was confidential by agreement of the parties.
DUMP TRUCK ACCIDENT CASE SETTLEMENT
We represented a 46-year-old gentleman in a motor vehicle accident involving a dump truck. His vehicle was rear-ended by a dump truck on Route 95 in Fairfax County. Our client suffered a cervical spine injury that limited his ability to work and walk.
DEFECTIVE KNEE IMPLANT CASE SETTLED FOR 40 CLIENTS
Serious Personal Injury
We represented 40 clients who received a defective knee implant from a leading orthopedic prosthesis manufacturer. Before sale to our clients, the knee implants sat on a warehouse shelf for over 4 years, allowing a key plastic component to oxidize. The oxidized component was unable to withstand the forces imposed upon the knee implant once inserted into the joints of our clients. As a result, our clients needed to undergo an additional surgery to remove and replace the defective knee implant with a larger new knee implant. The cases settled after the first day of trial for a confidential figure.
SETTLEMENT FOR STROKE VICTIM IN VA
Our 32-year-old client suffered a stroke after undergoing chiropractic manipulation of her neck. She presented to her HMO exhibiting symptoms of her stroke but the health care providers at the HMO failed to recognize her symptoms and failed to initiate treatment that would have reversed the effects of the stroke. As a result, our client suffered “locked-in syndrome” in which she was unable to move any parts of her body except her eyes. Although the issues of negligence and causation were hotly contested, a settlement was reached after mediation. This settlement occurred in the District of Columbia, where there was no cap that limited the number of damages a patient could recover.
VERDICT FOR SURGICAL ERROR
We represented a 54-year-old woman who now suffers from lifetime disabilities due to a surgical error. Prior to surgery, our client was diagnosed with a subarachnoid hemorrhage localized only in the back of her brain on the right side. The doctors recommended a cerebral angiogram to investigate the cause of the subarachnoid hemorrhage, which identified an aneurysm of the left, front part of the brain, and ultimately called for surgery. During the procedure, the Doctor ruptured the left middle cerebral artery aneurysm. As a result of the rupture, our client suffered a stroke that has resulted in lifetime disabilities. Following the jury’s verdict, Defendant filed post-trial motions that included a motion for a new trial and a motion for the reduction of the jury verdict. The motion for a new trial was denied. The motion to reduce the verdict to Virginia’s statutory cap on damages was granted.
SETTLEMENT IN FOOD POISONING CASE
Serious Personal Injury
We represented a 32-year-old man who suffered salmonella food poisoning from eating undercooked chicken at a restaurant. Salmonellosis led to the development of debilitating reactive arthritis that resulted in our client’s disability from his employment. Although food poisoning cases are often hard to prove since it is difficult to pinpoint the exact meal when the offending food was eaten, in this case, our client was at a convention with co-workers and several of his co-workers got sick as well. The county health department then conducted interviews with all of the people who got sick and, through the county’s investigation, the undercooked chicken was identified. The case had been rejected by another local firm who referred the client to us for a second opinion. Fortunately, we were able to establish the case.
SETTLEMENT FOR WRONGFUL DEATH FROM DRUG REACTION
We represented a husband and three young children for the wrongful death of their 43-year-old wife and mother. The wife/mother was negligently misdiagnosed by her psychiatrist as suffering from Bipolar II Disorder, when in fact she was suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The psychiatrist prescribed the drug, Lamictal, to treat Bipolar II Disorder. At the time, Lamictal was not approved by the FDA for the treatment of Bipolar II Disorder. The drug was also known to carry very dangerous side effects, most notably Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, which can be fatal. In choosing Lamictal, the psychiatrist elected not to use other medications that have a long proven track record for treating Bipolar II Disorder and do not carry the risk of death as a potential side effect. The psychiatrist never advised the wife/mother about the risks of Lamictal and the alternative medications available. Tragically, the wife/mother developed Stevens-Johnson Syndrome as a result of the prescription of the Lamictal. After a lengthy battle with the disease, she died. The jury returned a verdict in the amount of $3,482,192.50. The verdict was reduced by the court to $1,650,000 in accordance with Virginia’s statutory cap in place at the time. The verdict was recognized as the 2nd Largest Medical Malpractice Verdict in Virginia in 2005.
VERDICT FOR WRONGFUL DEATH OF 3-YEAR OLD
We represented the parents of a 3-year-old girl who died at Inova Fairfax Hospital as a result of a delay in the diagnosis and treatment of elevated ammonia in her blood. The daughter was born with a urea cycle defect, which is a genetic inborn error of metabolism. As a result of this defect, she was unable to metabolize protein properly. As a result, ammonia built up in her body instead of being converted to urea and excreted through urine. Ammonia is toxic to the brain. The health care providers at Fairfax Hospital recognized that our client’s daughter had critically high ammonia levels, yet they failed to implement treatment that would have reversed the ammonia levels. As a result, our client’s daughter suffered irreversible brain damage, ultimately leading to her death. The jury returned a verdict for $3.3 million. The trial court reduced the verdict to $1.7 million in accordance with Virginia’s applicable statutory cap on damages. Inova Fairfax Hospital appealed the jury verdict. The Virginia Supreme Court denied the petition for appeal. The verdict was recognized as the 4th Largest Medical Malpractice Verdict in Virginia in 2006.
JURY VERDICT IN WINCHESTER
Attorney Tom Smith won a hotly contested jury trial in Winchester involving a surgeon injuring three major blood vessels while trying to repair a fractured hip. Our 64-year-old client nearly bled to death, but she survived. The surgeon denied cutting the vessels, and he alleged that the vessels tore when the hip was being manipulated during the repair. The jury believed our experts and awarded a cap recovery to our deserving client.
HOSPITAL PHYSICIAN ENGAGING IN SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP WITH PATIENT
We represented a 32-year-old woman who sought treatment from a hospital-based psychiatrist. The psychiatrist violated the patient-physician relationship by engaging in a sexual relationship with the plaintiff. The hospital knew of the psychiatrist’s actions and yet did not seek to restrict the psychiatrist’s access to the plaintiff.
JURY VERDICT FOR PLAINTIFF IN LUNG CANCER CASE
The plaintiff is a 70-year-old man with a history of melanoma. His dermatologist ordered periodic chest imaging studies to conduct surveillance for possible metastasis of the melanoma. On Aug. 1, 2006, a chest CT scan ordered by the dermatologist was interpreted by the defendant radiologist. The radiologist reported back to the dermatologist that there were no findings of malignancy, but he did see evidence of prior asbestos exposure. Plaintiff had many pleural plaques (benign lesions) from asbestos exposure in his lungs. Plaintiff’s expert radiologists testified that the defendant should have interpreted this film as raising high concern for malignancy since a nodule in the lower lobe of the left lung had shown significant interval change in size and shape from a prior CT scan done in 2003 and was not a pleural plaque. The CT scan in 2006 did not show enlarged lymph nodes and, therefore, the plaintiff was a clinical Stage I lung cancer patient at the time. The cancer was diagnosed 28 months later via a CT angiogram ordered for possible peripheral vascular disease. At that time, plaintiff was determined to have Stage III-A lung cancer because the cancer had spread to lymph nodes.Experts for plaintiff testified that there was an 80 to 90 percent chance of cure if the cancer had been diagnosed back in 2006, and the chance of cure decreased to 20 percent at the time of diagnosis in late 2008. The plaintiff responded well to chemotherapy and radiation therapy which improved his chance of cure to somewhere between 30 and 40 percent.The defense offered two arguments. First, the defendant’s radiology expert testified that it would have been reasonable and within the standard of care to interpret this cancerous nodule as a benign pleural plaque although it had a significantly different appearance than the other pleural plaques.
A defense oncology expert testified that on the basis of doubling time analysis there would have been microscopic disease in the lymph nodes back in 2006 and, therefore, the delay in diagnosis did not change the stage of the cancer, the treatment regimen or the plaintiff’s outcome.
MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASE SETTLEMENT
Spinal Cord Injury
We represented a 68-year-old female with a history of chronic urinary tract infection, controlled diabetes, atrial fibrillation, recent lithotripsy, and stenting to remove a kidney stone obstruction. She was admitted to the hospital with complaints of left flank pain and a blood culture drawn two days earlier in the emergency room was positive for e-coli. The epidural abscess from which she suffered went undiagnosed by the defendant’s physicians for four days during her hospitalization. The physicians attributed her symptomatology to a kidney infection. During the four days of hospitalization, the plaintiff’s condition deteriorated gradually from being able to walk and control her bladder, to some lower extremity weakness, to numbness, to incontinence, and then to a total lack of strength and sensation from above her umbilicus down. By the time an MRI was finally ordered and a neurologist was consulted, the plaintiff had irreversible paraplegia and neurogenic bowel and bladder. Plaintiff’s experts opined that the standard of care required MRI of the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine upon the plaintiff’s admission to the hospital due to her complaint of left flank pain and bacteremia, her diabetes, her recent history of genitourinary procedures, and clinical information that was inconsistent with a diagnosis of a kidney infection including a normal urinalysis and normal IVP imaging study. The case settled through mediation for $1,475,00.00.
SETTLEMENT FOR BRAIN INJURY CAUSED BY EPIDURAL
Our client was a young mother who went to the hospital for an elective cesarean section. She was given a spinal-epidural anesthetic prior to her surgery and an epidural anesthetic following surgery. In response to the anesthetics, our client developed signs and symptoms of respiratory distress. These signs and symptoms were not recognized by the health care providers caring for our client. Ultimately, the anesthesia caused our client to stop breathing and her heart to stop. While she was ultimately resuscitated, she suffered an anoxic brain injury due to the delay in treating her respiratory distress. At the time of the settlement, Virginia has a statutory cap of $1.5 million.
SETTLEMENT DUE TO NURSING ERROR
We represented a 46-year-old gentleman who suffered an anoxic brain injury when he was over sedated in the hospital following coronary artery bypass surgery. The nurse caring for him noted in the chart that our client was “unarousable,” but she took no action. When she checked on our client 30 minutes later during her normal rounds, our client was totally unresponsive and suffered cardiorespiratory distress. The medications he had been prescribed all acted as central nervous system depressants and, in combination, just shut down his heart and lungs. Had the nurse recognized the signs of overmedication, the medications could have been easily reversed and our client would have suffered no injury. However, the nurse ignored the fact that he was unarousable and failed to intervene in a timely fashion before our client went into cardiac arrest. By the time that our client was resuscitated and placed on a ventilator, he had suffered an irreversible brain injury that left him totally disabled. At the time of this settlement, Virginia had a statutory cap on damages of $1.5 million.
SETTLEMENT FOR DELAY IN DIAGNOSING A BRAIN INFECTION
Brain Injury, Medical Malpractice
Our client was a young mother of two children. She presented to the emergency room with altered mental status. Despite signs of viral infection on her brain MRI, the virus was not diagnosed, and she was not timely treated with antiviral medications which would have prevented brain injury. Due to the delay in diagnosing the infection, our client was left with a residual brain injury.
SETTLEMENT FOR CLIENT WITH MAJOR ORTHOPEDIC PELVIC FRACTURE
Our client was hurt in a head-on collision. The driver of another vehicle had been speeding, lost control of his vehicle, crossed the double yellow line, and hit our client’s vehicle head-on. The collision caused major injury to our client. He fractured his pelvis and dislocated his hip. The injury required surgery and necessitated the placement of 20 screws to repair the fractured pelvis. Three weeks of hospitalization and in-patient rehabilitation followed. Our client’s recovery was inspirational. Originally told that he was too injured to ever be able to return to work, he proved everyone wrong. Through an extensive rehabilitation program lasting over 16 months, he returned to his former job. The prosecution of the case had several notable events. The case was the first one in which 3-D imaging technology was used to illustrate our client’s orthopedic injuries. Using the CT scans taken of the pelvic fracture, a 3-D animation was created that showed the fragmentation and displacement of the pelvis. Additionally, the case required protracted negotiations in order to reach a fair resolution that provided proper compensation to our client. The initial settlement offer from the insurance company was for $500,000. After months of legal work, the offer was increased to $750,000, and then incrementally to $1,175,000.
SETTLEMENT IN BACTERIAL ENDOCARDITIS CASE
Brain Injury, Medical Malpractice
We represented a 39-year-old gentleman who presented to his primary care physician with signs and symptoms of an infection. A blood culture was necessary to diagnose and treat his infection, but it was not done. Instead, the doctor diagnosed our client with pneumonia instead of the blood-borne bacterial infection that he had. When the patient reported to the emergency department weeks later in significant distress, testing revealed that our client had bacterial endocarditis, an infection involving the heart. The failure to make the diagnosis earlier and to give antibiotics earlier allowed the infection to progress to the point that our client suffered a cardiorespiratory arrest, and required open heart surgery to implant an artificial heart valve and a pacemaker. He will need lifetime treatment with blood thinners, and cardiac monitoring.
SETTLEMENT FOR OUR CLIENT WHO SUFFERED IN A MOTOR VEHICLE CRASH
Settlement for our client who suffered in a motor vehicle crash resulting in a cervical spine fracture that required surgery.
UTERUS INJURY FOLLOWING HYSTEROSCOPY
The plaintiff was a 38-year-old woman who underwent a hysteroscopy to investigate the cause of vaginal bleeding. It was alleged that during the hysteroscopy, the gynecologist perforated both the uterine wall and the rectal wall. The hole in the rectal wall allowed fecal contents to leak out and infect the abdomen and pelvis. The plaintiff suffered a massive infection that was life-threatening. When the infection was diagnosed, part of the treated required the removal of the plaintiff’s uterus. Liability was hotly contested. The defendant claimed that the infection arose solely from the perforation of the uterine wall, which was a known complication of a hysteroscopy.
AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT CASE SETTLEMENT
We represented a 39-year-old man who sustained multiple bone fractures and a severe infection in a motorcycle accident. Our client was injured while making a left turn across traffic when he was hit by a car traveling in excess of the speed limit. The case settled shortly after the deposition of the defendant driver. The case settled for the full amount of available insurance coverage.
JURY VERDICT AGAINST CHIROPRACTOR WHO BREAKS PATIENT’S ANKLE
We represented a 43-year-old woman who suffered a broken ankle as a result of the chiropractic manipulation of her feet and ankles. Our client originally visited a chiropractor for back and hip pain. During the chiropractor’s examination of our client, he diagnosed her with excessive foot pronation. None of his examination findings supported this diagnosis, however. According to the chiropractor’s analysis, excessive foot pronation caused an alteration in the patient’s biomechanics resulting in hip and back pain. Unfortunately, because the chiropractor failed to take an adequate patient history, he did not appreciate that our client’s back and hip was related to a motor vehicle accident, and was not related to gait abnormalities. In an effort to treat excessive foot pronation, the chiropractor performed a series of manipulations known as the Charrette protocol. During the manipulations, a portion of our client’s talus bone was sheared off, resulting in condition known as a displaced osteochondral defect. Our client required surgery in an attempt to fix her injury. To date, surgery has not been successful. The case was tried to a jury in Fredericksburg, Virginia over the course of three days. The jury awarded our client $500,000 for her injuries.
HEAD-ON COLLISION CASE SETTLEMENT
We represented a 63-year-old woman who was injured in a head-on automobile collision in Fairfax County, Virginia. The defendant fell asleep while driving and crossed the double yellow line into our client’s lane. As a result of the accident, our client suffered fractures in both of her legs. Her right leg fractured required two surgeries, and resulted in a permanent disability. Our client also suffered the re-onset of her atrial fibrillation, which required more aggressive therapy to control. The defendant only had $100,000 in insurance coverage. As a result, our client had to pursue her claim against her own insurance company under her underinsurance motorist (UIM) policy. The case settled a month before trial.
JURY VERDICT IN MILD TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY CASE
We represented a 53-year-old woman who was injured in a motor vehicle accident in Fairfax County, Virginia. Our client’s SUV was broad-sided by the driver of a minivan who failed to yield the right-of-way. The accident was witnessed by a Fairfax County Police Officer who testified that the defendant driver was traveling at 5 mph. At the accident scene, our client denied injury to the police officer. She did not seek medical attention for two days. Ultimately, she was diagnosed with whiplash, injury to her TMJ (temporo-mandibular joint) and a traumatic brain injury. At trial, the defendant driver denied being at fault, and claimed that our client suffered no injuries other than whiplash. The defendant called two hired experts who had examined our client pursuant to court order. These hired experts testified that our client did not suffer a traumatic brain injury. Our client’s treating physicians testified to the full scope of her injuries. After a three-day trial, the jury returned a verdict for $145,000.
SETTLEMENT FOR PEDESTRIAN HIT BY CAR IN VIRGINIA PARKING LOT
We represented a female client who was hit in a shopping center parking lot while walking to her car. As a result, she suffered a broken leg, ligament damage to her ankle, and a torn meniscus that required surgery. The driver who hit our client was inadequately insured to compensate our client for her injuries. As a result, a claim was submitted under our client’s Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM). The case was settled for $100,000, which was the total amount of insurance coverage available. The settlement occurred prior to the filing of a lawsuit.
HEARING LOSS CAUSED BY AIR-BAG DEPLOYMENT
A recent client was involved in a car accident in Springfield, Virginia. After sitting at a red light, he began to drive his car after his light turned green. As he entered the intersection, his car was hit by an SUV that was racing into the intersection in order to beat her red light. The collision caused the deployment of the airbags in our client’s car. The noise associated with the air bag deployment damaged our client’s inner ear lining causing hearing loss at certain sound frequencies and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Through expert witness testimony, we were able to prove that the airbag was the cause of the client’s hearing loss and tinnitus. A Fairfax County jury found in favor of our client, and awarded damages.