Malpractice Case Rewards Punitive Damages for Destruction of Medical Records

 In Medical Malpractice

When you’re going through a traumatic medical experience, and you or a loved one is struggling with the emotional and physical toll of it, it’s easy to miss crucial details.  You and your family are focused on decision making, coping, getting rest and getting healthy, and it is an overwhelming time for all involved.  In a perfect world these situations present themselves and drift away with successful health improvement but the reality is that it doesn’t always end well or the way that it should have.

You need the right legal team to investigate any potential mistakes, omissions, misdiagnoses, and any other error made by the medical professionals which injured you, made your situation worse, or cost you a chance to get better because if you suffer due to the negligence of your medical team you are legally entitled to compensation.  The recent case of Gomez v. Cabatic, 2018 N.Y. Slip Op. 00278, is a perfect example of the type of investigation needed and that we can provide for you and your family when investigating a potential medical malpractice case.

The Gomez case was based off the claim that an endocrinologist failed to properly diagnose or treat a 6 year old’s type I diabetes. The case was originally meant as only a claim of medical malpractice but a seven figure punitive damage claim against the physician was decided upon by the jury.  During the trial, it was determined that the physician made handwritten notes over the course of the child’s care. Once the child had passed away, these notes were requested by the plaintiff’s attorneys.

In response to the request, the defendant physician not only destroyed the evidence, but also created new, typed out notes to replace the original, an action which the jury determined was taken by the defendant physician to create a far more favorable defense.

Once these new findings were presented, the Court allowed the jury to consider imposing punitive damages for the physician’s actions of destroying records. This case in particular points out how vital attention to detail is in a medical malpractice case.  The jury awarded the plaintiff 500,000 on the medical malpractice claim against the physician but because of evidence of destruction and recreation of medical records the jury also awarded $7,500,000 in punitive damages against the physician.

The very existence of a medical malpractice case usually means that you or a loved one has suffered at the hands of a medical professional and, as the Gomez case shows, an experienced legal team is often needed to thoroughly investigate the case and protect your rights to the fullest.   Meticulous attention to every detail in your medical records can mean everything in a medical malpractice case.

If you or someone you know needs help looking into a possible medical malpractice claim, remember the name Fitzgerald & Roller.  We have a keen mix of long term experience and fresh perspective that combine to provide you a team of medical malpractice attorneys that can win.


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