In medical malpractice cases, the task of evaluating a plaintiff’s damages is usually assigned to the jury. While assessing the cost of past and future medical care is a relatively straightforward task, determining the value of the suffering and pain endured by the plaintiff is not a clear-cut process. As such, the jury may issue a verdict that does not align with the evidence produced at trial. In such instances, either party can move to set the verdict aside, but establishing that a jury’s damages award is inappropriate can prove difficult. Recently, a New York court discussed the standards used in evaluating whether a verdict should be vacated in an opinion issued in a nursing malpractice case. If you were injured due to negligent nursing care, you could be owed damages, and it is in your best interest to meet with a Syracuse nursing malpractice lawyer to discuss your options.
The Decedent’s Harm
It is reported that the decedent was receiving care in a long-term nursing facility when he choked on a piece of food. He subsequently suffered a heart attack, lapsed into a coma, and died several weeks later. The plaintiff, the representative of the decedent’s estate, filed a malpractice lawsuit against the defendant facility. The complaint alleged that the nurse that performed CPR on the decedent failed to check his airway for an obstruction, which constituted a departure from the standard of care.
Allegedly, the complaint further asserted that the nurse’s breach of the standard was a substantial factor in bringing about the decedent’s harm. The case proceeded to trial, and the jury issued a verdict granting the plaintiff $300,000 for the decedent’s conscious pain and suffering. The plaintiff then moved to set aside the verdict on the issue of damages as against the weight of the evidence. The court denied the motion, and the plaintiff appealed. Continue reading