Brain injuries suffered as a result of medical negligence during childbirth is common. The labor and delivery processes are sensitive, and it is important for medical caregivers to act with reasonable speed when problems develop. If they do not the child often suffers oxygen deprivation which can cause brain damage. The injury is severe, often resulting in permanent damage that has consequences for the rest of the child’s life. When the harm is caused by medical negligence, then our Chicago brain injury lawyers know that a lawsuit may be appropriate to ensure that the child receives redress for the support needed down the road.
Recently, Knox News reported on just such a case. The family in the matter sought out the help of a medical malpractice lawyer after their daughter was born with a serious brain injury. The family claimed that the problem was caused by medical errors made during her birth. The suit alleged that negligence on the part of the doctor meant that the child was left in distress, had oxygen deprived to her brain, and suffered serious, permanent injuries. The subsequent brain injury lawsuit named the doctor the obstetrics and gynecology center, and hospital as defendants.
A settlement could not be reached in the case and it went to trial At the end of the trial the jury found in favor of the defendant.
However, the family appealed. The grounds for the appeal were a series of errors made by the trial court judge which, they argued, led to unfairness in the process. The appellate court found four different problems with the trial. First, the cross-examination of the defendant-doctor came with a time limit. This was unreasonably restrictive, particularly considering the complexity of the issues in these cases. Time limits cannot get in the way of basic fairness and allowing a jury to hear the full scope of information.
Second, the defense introduced as evidence information that the mother of the injured girl visited the same doctor for a subsequent pregnancy. The appellate court rightly noted that this information had no bearing on whether or not negligence occurred in the first case. In addition, the information was highly prejudicial, with the potential to influence the jury in ways not bearing on the case.
Third, on two occasions the defense attorney referred to the plaintiff’s “out of state” lawyers. Finally, on another occasions the defense attorney indicated that a certain part of the case was a waste of time. These statements should never have been made in front of a jury.
Each Illinois brain injury lawyer at our firm appreciates that these statements and improper evidence cumulatively led to fundamental unfairness for the plaintiff in the case. A new trial was rightly ordered. Trials must be very clearly controlled so that juries are presented only with information with clear bearing on the issue at hand. The legal rules of liability can be tricky to pinpoint, and the task is made even harder without clear control on the trial process to keep irrelevant or prejudicial information out.
If you or a loved one may have suffered a brain injury as a result of medical negligence, consider getting in touch with a legal professional to learn about your righs.
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