On November 17, 2016, a Connecticut legal malpractice jury made up of six jurors took only two hours of deliberations to return its verdict against a medical malpractice attorney and in favor of the mother of a 25-year-old man who allegedly died as a result of medical malpractice.
The medical malpractice attorney hired by the mother to pursue her Connecticut medical malpractice wrongful death claim against the allegedly negligent medical provider failed to timely file the Connecticut medical malpractice lawsuit within the two-year statute of limitations in Connecticut for filing medical negligence claims.
The defendant in the mother’s legal malpractice case was the estate of the lawyer whom she had hired to file her medical malpractice wrongful death claim because the lawyer had died as a result of a heart attack that he suffered in October 2013, about fourteen months after the medical malpractice statute of limitation had expired for the mother’s medical malpractice wrongful death claim. The estate of the medical malpractice lawyer had reached a confidential settlement of the mother’s claims against it prior to trial, agreeing to a set amount of damages the plaintiff would be entitled to in the event the Connecticut legal malpractice jury found in her favor.
The Underlying Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Claim
The plaintiff’s son had sought medical treatment at a walk-in medical clinic in Connecticut that allegedly failed to diagnose his appendicitis. As a result, the son died at a local Connecticut hospital from complications due to the untreated appendicitis that progressed to a perforated appendix. The son’s mother hired the defendant medical malpractice attorney to investigate and pursue a medical malpractice wrongful death claim; she alleged in her legal malpractice lawsuit that the lawyer failed to timely and properly investigate and prepare the medical negligence claim to comply with Connecticut legal requirements.
The lawyer the mother hired allegedly had little experience in pursuing medical malpractice cases. The mother’s legal malpractice lawyer stated after the Connecticut legal malpractice jury determined that the medical malpractice wrongful death claim would have been successful had it been timely filed by the first lawyer, “He got involved in a case that would have been better served by another attorney.”
In many states, plaintiffs in legal malpractice cases against medical malpractice lawyers who allegedly were negligent in handling their medical malpractice claims have a double burden: the plaintiffs in the legal malpractice cases must prove not only that their medical malpractice lawyers breached the standard of care in representing them in their medical malpractice cases, but they must also prove that had their medical malpractice lawyers not breached the standard of care (i.e., had they not acted negligently), they would have won their medical malpractice case (i.e., proving that they suffered damages as a result of their medical malpractice lawyers’ negligent handling of their underlying medical malpractice claims).
For instance, a legal malpractice jury may find that the plaintiff’s medical malpractice lawyer had breached the standard of care in representing the plaintiff, but also find that the plaintiff would have lost his or her medical malpractice case had it been properly investigated and pursued. In such a case, the plaintiff would not have suffered any damages as a result of the medical malpractice lawyer’s negligence and he or she cannot recover for legal malpractice – he or she would have lost anyway.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries (or worse) as a result of medical malpractice in Connecticut or in another U.S. state, you should promptly seek the legal advice of a medical malpractice lawyer in your state who may investigate your medical negligence claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
Visit our website or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959 to be connected with medical malpractice attorneys in your state who may assist you.
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