Boy Suffers Severe Nerve Damage After Accident
A two-year-old boy who injured his arm after a 2002 trampoline accident will spend the rest of his life barely able to make a fist. The boy was taken directly to the hospital where a doctor on a training rotation set the boy’s arm in a cast. However, shortly after the cast was set, the boy’s arm began to swell placing it under extreme pressure. As a result, the boy suffered permanent muscle and nerve damage and he has lived ever since with his dominant arm crippled.
Earlier this year, a Louisiana jury voted unanimously to award the boy $10 million in damages for the lifelong loss of his arm.
Verdict Should Have Been Limited by Damage Caps
Making the verdict even more interesting is that the $10 million award could stand even though the State of Louisiana caps damages in medical malpractice verdicts. In Louisiana, there is a $500,000 cap on noneconomic damages. There is no cap, however, on compensation for future medical expenses.
Typically, a verdict like this would be reduced to the $500,000 maximum by the judge. But as it turns out, the doctor who installed the cast was not registered under the state’s medical malpractice act. This means that the verdict may not be reduced by statute as would normally be the case.
The boy who was injured is now 19 years old. The time passed between the trial and the accident is likely related to the fact that the boy was only 2 years old at the time. In the case of a minor, the statute of limitations is tolled until they turn 18 years of age. In other words, the statute of limitations doesn’t start ticking down until the child turns 18.
Florida had damage caps on medical malpractice lawsuits for several years before they were deemed unconstitutional by the Florida Supreme Court. The court decided that certain provisions of the damage caps violated the equal protection clause in Florida’s state constitution. Damage caps have faced similar problems in other states that cap the amount of damages in medical malpractice lawsuits but not other types of personal injury lawsuit.
Today, very little of the original legislation remains. However, one provision remains which has been colloquially called the “free kill law”. The free kill law makes it impossible for adult children to recover damages related to the death of their parents due to medical negligence. It bears noting that there are no similar provisions for any other type of personal injury claim. If the individual who is killed by medical malpractice has no living spouse, no one can file a lawsuit and collect damages on their behalf. In other words, grieving family members have no legal remedy to hold a negligent doctor responsible.
Talk to a Tampa Medical Malpractice Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured by a negligent doctor, the Tampa medical malpractice attorneys at Palmer | Lopez can help you recover damages related to your injuries. Talk to us today to set up a free consultation.