Victims of medical malpractice who file lawsuits against doctors will often end up dealing with malpractice insurance providers. Unfortunately, these medical malpractice insurers sometimes fail to live up to their obligations. Insurers could offer low settlements and try to deprive Atlanta malpractice victims of compensation they deserve, or could even deny claims which should be paid out. In one recent case, the behavior of the insurers was so egregious the insurance company was ordered to pay plaintiffs $13 million in punitive damages as well as compensation for actual malpractice losses, resulting in a total verdict of more than $14 million.
Victims of malpractice clearly cannot count on insurers to do the right thing and make payments when tremendous losses occur. Victims, however, do have options and can receive significant compensation when juries decide insurers act unfairly after doctors cause harm. An Atlanta birth injury lawyer can provide invaluable legal assistance in cases where medical negligence occurs. Our attorneys can deal with insurers on behalf of patients and can explore all possible legal grounds for maximizing compensation after losses.
Insurer’s Bad Faith Leads to Multi-Million Dollar Verdict in Medical Malpractice Case
The Tribune reports the incident arose out of a medical mistake in which a baby was deprived of oxygen. The parents of the baby, who was severely brain damaged due to the oxygen deprivation, sued the hospital, the ER doctors, and the obstetricians. While the hospital and ER doctors’ insurance companies settled, the insurer for the obstetricians did not.
The parents took the case against the obstetricians to trial and were awarded compensation in excess of policy limits. The compensation covered injuries to the mother, as well as the wrongful death of the child, who lived for three years with severe brain damage before finally passing away.
The insurance company paid out to policy limits, but the parents were still owed more than $1 million in additional compensation. Although the parents could have pursued a claim to recover the money from the personal assets of the obstetricians, they instead chose to pursue a claim for bad faith against the insurers.
The parents claimed the insurer was misleading about the extent of insurance coverage available to cover the losses caused by the death, and claimed the insurer had failed to inform the obstetricians about a settlement offer which could have resulted in the case being resolved within policy limits.
The insurance company had a duty to negotiate in good faith with the parents to resolve the case and minimize or avoid financial loss to the doctors, but the insurer failed to do so. Because of this failure, the court found the insurers acted in bad faith and awarded $13 million in punitive damages, as well as ordering the insurer to pay the additional $1.3 million still due to the parents from the initial jury award for their child’s death.
The insurance company has been involved in a total of 25 bad faith claims over the prior 25 years. Their behavior shows the extent to which insurers go to save money- as well as the importance of plaintiffs knowing their rights and aggressively pursuing claims for compensation when medical malpractice occurs.
The Atlanta injury lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent victims after medical malpractice occurs. Call today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.