Finding the right New York wrongful death lawyer in your time of need is important. Here we take you through a wrongful death case, so that you can understand some important aspects of the process.
A decedent went to New York Hospital Queens on the morning of June 18, 2008. They diagnosed him with gallstones and an inflamed gallbladder. The scheduled him for surgery to remove his gallbladder the next morning, June 19, 2008. However, the operation did not take place on that date. Nor did it take place the following day, or the day after that. During this period, the decedent stayed at the hospital. They did not provided food or drink by mouth. All of this in preparation for the surgery that never occurred. On Sunday, June 22, 2008, the decedent plaintiff developed systemic sepsis. On that day, while being intubated, he suffered full cardiac arrest. After attempts to revive him failed, he was pronounced dead that afternoon. His family hired a New York wrongful death lawyer.
The New York wrongful death lawyer brings a lawsuit
The estate of the decedent brought an action for personal injuries. It also brought a wrongful death claim of the decedent against New York Hospital Queens. The hospital conceded the issue of liability for medical malpractice. Thus the action proceeded to trial on the issue of damages only. The New York wrongful death lawyer sought damages for the decedent’s conscious pain and suffering. They also sought damages for past and future economic loss sustained by the decedent’s wife and daughter. Among other things, the plaintiffs sought damages sufficient to replace the services provided by the decedent. This mainly centered on his daughter. His daughter was 32 years old at the time of the trial. She was schizophrenic and had seizure disorder. She also had a mental disability resulting in her having the IQ of an eight-year-old child.
The New York wrongful death lawyer established the decedent suffered conscious pain and suffering during the days prior to his death. This included the day of his death. He spoke to his wife on the day before his death and the day of his death complaining of pain. He further complained of discomfort, hunger, difficulty breathing, and feeling that he was dying. The Court held that these statements relayed by the decedent’s wife were excited utterances or present sense impressions. Therefore they are admissible as exceptions to the hearsay rule. The court also allowed testimony of plaintiff’s expert anesthesiologist. He testified regarding the decedent’s pain and suffering. He specifically addressed how it felt when intubated with insufficient sedation.
After presentation by the New York wrongful death lawyer, the jury decided in favor of the plaintiff. They awarded $5,000,000 for the decedent’s conscious pain and suffering, $336,000 for the past economic loss sustained by the distributees of the decedent’s estate. They further awarded and $2,243,560 for the future economic loss sustained by the distributees of the decedent’s estate. The defendant appealed.
The Second Department modified the jury’s award by reducing plaintiff’s award for conscious pain and suffering from $5,000,000 to $3,750,000. They affirmed the remainder of the jury’s award.
The Second Department held, that based on the evidence, the jury reasonably could have concluded that the decedent suffered, for 3½ days, from intermittent, but ongoing, sharp gallbladder pain, increasing anxiety as each day passed with no surgery and no explanation for the delay, and growing discomfort due to the regimen of no food or drink by mouth. These witnesses also testified—and their testimony is confirmed by notes in the hospital record—that from approximately 6:00 a.m. on Sunday June 22, 2008, until 2:48 or 2:50 p.m. on that date, the decedent experienced intermittent bouts of agitation, sense of impending death, pain, respiratory distress, shivering, shaking, and chills. Finally, during the last 10 to 12 minutes before the decedent lost consciousness and died, the testimony established that he experienced conscious pain and suffering. Essentially, they agreed with the New York wrongful death lawyer.
Accordingly, the jury’s determination that the decedent’s conscious pain and suffering was far from minimal in duration or intensity was not contrary to the weight of the evidence presented by the New York wrongful death lawyer. Furthermore, the modified award of the sum of $3,750,000 for the decedent’s conscious pain and suffering did not deviate materially from what would be reasonable compensation under the circumstances.