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Alvin Wolff Jr. & Associates

Valuing A Wrongful Death Claim


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12/9/2010
Alvin Wolff Jr.
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I'm set for trial on a case in Pike County in January 2011.  My client died at the age of 73.  She was rehabiltating 4 fractures suffered in a bad car wreck, was quite immobile,  but lived with her husband of 55 years and celebrated every holiday with her 3 grown children and their famillies.  She had diabetes and was several years free of colon cancer. She lived a full life until she was in the car crash.  Because of her fractures, she was on blood thinners (lovenox) to prevent blood clots.  While home she ran out of her lovenox and the doctor said she did not need it anymore because he mistakingly thought that she was on another blood thinner, coumadin.  She was not on coumadin.  She died from a blood clot 3 days later.

What's the case worth?   Forgetting about caps.  This case is about the loss of a wife and mother.  All responses appreciated but please, no wisecracks.  This is serious stuff.

Category: Wrongful Death

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7 Comments to "Valuing A Wrongful Death Claim"

I could not begin to give you a value.I need more facts. Esp liability issues. Let's just assume the liability is not in dispute.

How limited was she . What does her cancer doctor say about life expectancy. $250,000-$500,000. 73 is not that old . If liability is disputed its a whole different analysis.
Posted by Anthony Castelli on December 11, 2010 at 04:59 PM
I think the suggestions outlined by the RN above are right on.
Posted by GSS on December 11, 2010 at 10:22 AM
I believe there should be more prosecution of such cases because patients do take a doctor's word to heart. They and their family members trust the doctor that he/she knows what they are doing and have reason for what they say. Therefore, we should expect reasonable liability. When Elizabeth Edwards was told to prepare for death, she went home and said her goodbyes. She was allowed to do so in her home with dignity as she requested. Nothing was taken from her in that respect. Others are given poor medical advice or die at no fault of their own. But because of slow practice, no practice or malpractice, a patient dies suddenly in the hospital for specious reasons when the family thought the visit as routine or would be for a day or so. Everyone is robbed of the chance for closure or to just say goodbye. Shame on the doctor or medical staff to blame.

Posted by Victoria Ryan Bailey on December 9, 2010 at 03:47 PM
This case may be more complicated than it appears. Lovenox is given in injection form to prevent blood clots from developing in the legs (deep vein thrombosis), It is often given in combination with aspirin or coumadin to pts who have limited mobility due to fractures, hip replacements, joint replacements,etc. You must find out exactly why it was discontinued; what were her lab values? An alteration in her platelet count or bleeding times could be a factor. A physician generally would not stop Lovenox therapy just because the pt is on another anticoagulant. Where did the clot originate? There are many factors to take into consideration before you can determine if the physician is negligent. I would be happy to review her medical records with you, if you are interested, please contact me by email or phone. I have included my website address as well. It sounds like there are several unanswered questions in this case and her medical records need a thorough review before the case goes to trial.
Posted by Stephanie Thomas RN on December 9, 2010 at 03:46 PM
I have a friend that lost his mother in a car accident in 1999. The settlement was for 225k. I would hold a physician to a higher standard. Taking into account inflation that would take you to about 325k with a 25% kicker because he's a dr. Close to 410k. For what its worth.
Posted by Alan Robbins on December 9, 2010 at 03:40 PM
Making the same assumptions as Mr. Cook, I'd also consult relevant survivor statutes. If within the class permitted to do so, the entire family can ask for loss of consortium instead of just the husband. While normally limited to loss of conjugal/sexual relations, LoC can include losses of love, companionship, society, household services, etc. Looking at actuarial tables for remining life expectancy may not help much...
Posted by Dave Stevens on December 9, 2010 at 03:01 PM
Assuming you have adequate proof that the doctor was asked to refill the Lovenox and didn't; and assuming decedent was not asked if she was on Coumadin and said she was; then the case is worth $500,000 in Pike County. (why are we ignoring the caps?) Of course, it is Pike County so discretion is the better part of valor.
Posted by John Cook on December 9, 2010 at 02:38 PM

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