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New York Court Discusses Grounds for Modifying a Damages Award in a Medical Malpractice Case

Generally, in medical malpractice cases, plaintiffs will present evidence of the harm suffered and ask the jury to issue a verdict in their favor but will not request a specific damages amount. As such, what constitutes an appropriate amount of compensation is typically within the purview of the jury. If a defendant feels that a verdict is unjust, it may move for a judgment to be modified, however. Recently, a New York court discussed what a court considers when determining whether a judgment in a medical malpractice case is excessive, in a matter in which the defendant’s negligence caused the plaintiff’s decedent’s death. If you lost a loved one because of a careless physician, it is in your best interest to speak to a Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer to assess your possible claims.

The History of the Case

It is reported that the defendant gynecologist treated the plaintiff’s decedent. During the course of her care, she complained of symptoms indicating ovarian issues, but no testing was performed. She was ultimately diagnosed with ovarian cancer after it had progressed and spread to other parts of her body. She died from the disease a short time later.

Allegedly, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging his negligent failure to diagnose the decedent’s ovarian cancer caused her death. The case was tried in front of a jury who awarded over $3 million in damages to the plaintiff. The defendant moved to set aside the jury’s verdict as excessive, and the court denied the motion, after which the defendant appealed.

Grounds for Modifying a Damages Award

On appeal, the court explained that the amount of damages that should be awarded is generally a question for the jury, and a jury’s determination will not be disturbed unless the award materially departs from what would be considered reasonable compensation. In the subject case, the court found that the amount awarded for pain and suffering experienced did not greatly depart from what would be considered suitable damages.

The court went on to explain that damages in a wrongful death matter are limited to the pecuniary losses suffered by the beneficiaries of the decedent’s estate. For example, loss of support, inheritance, and voluntary assistance are damages that may be recovered, as are funeral costs and medical expenses. In cases in which the decedent was not a wage earner, pecuniary expenses may be calculated based on the compensable losses of a personal nature. Here, the court found that the award for past pecuniary loss was appropriate. Thus, it affirmed the verdict.

Confer with a Trusted Syracuse Lawyer

Losing a loved one due to the reckless acts of a doctor not only causes mental and emotional trauma it often also causes significant financial losses. If you lost a loved one due to medical negligence, it is smart to confer with a lawyer as soon as possible. The trusted Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers are skilled at handling medical malpractice and wrongful death claims, and if you hire us, we will fight to help you pursue a just outcome. You can contact us through our online form or by calling us at 833-247-8427 to schedule a conference.




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