A Georgia primary care physician and his medical clinic had a total medical malpractice insurance policy limit in the amount of $2 million but their medical malpractice insurance company has agreed to pay in full the $4.9 million medical malpractice judgment against them (which includes $200,000 for pre-judgment interest) because the insurer had refused to settle the plaintiff’s Georgia medical malpractice wrongful death claims within the policy limits when it could have done so.
The Georgia medical malpractice claim involved the negligent medical treatment received by a 78-year-old patient who died from liver failure due to the anti-fungal medication she was prescribed. The woman had gone to the defendants seeking treatment for toenail fungus that resulted in a potent anti-fungal medication being prescribed despite the FDA’s warning that it should not be used for minor fungal infections and it was known to be toxic to the liver.
The defendants allegedly failed to perform necessary liver tests during the nine months that the woman was on the anti-fungal medication (only one liver function test was ordered during the nine-month period, which was allegedly within normal limits). It was not until the Georgia medical malpractice trial that the defendants admitted that they were negligent. As a result, the jury only had to decide the issue of damages, which they determined to be $4.7 million when they reached their verdict in favor of the plaintiff on June 29, 2016.
The defendants were reportedly shocked at the amount of the jury’s verdict because they had argued that the 78-year-old woman’s life expectancy was only 11 years and therefore they argued to the jury that the plaintiff’s loss was valued at about $350,000.
Before the Georgia medical malpractice trial, the plaintiff’s lawyer had offered to settle the plaintiff’s claims within the $2 million policy limit but the defense refused to offer to settle within the policy limit. Therefore, once the Georgia medical malpractice jury returned its verdict well in excess of the medical malpractice insurance policy limit, the Georgia medical malpractice insurance company faced the likely claim that it acted in bad faith in refusing to settle within the policy limit.
The parties finalized their agreement to resolve the $4.9 million judgment on July 19, 2016, with Georgia’s MagMutual insurance company agreeing to pay the judgment in full.
MagMutual touts its claims expertise on its website, stating, ” … no distinction is more significant than MagMutual’s superior claims expertise. Included among the personalized attention and associated features that define MagMutual claims excellence: … MagMutual partners with outstanding local attorneys with extensive knowledge of the legal climate in your jurisdiction.”
If you or a loved one were injured in Georgia or in another U.S. state due to medical negligence, you should promptly find a medical malpractice lawyer in Georgia or in your state who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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