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Court rules jury was biased in birth-related brain injury case

Nothing is more frustrating than being treated unfairly and not being able right that wrong. Though one family had to spend years in court, they are finally able to move toward justice with their son's medical malpractice case.

According to the plaintiffs, their son sustained a brain injury during birth that subsequently caused seizures. The injury occurred because the hospital did not perform a cesarean section, even though a specialist recommended it and the woman's case was considered a high-risk pregnancy. Unfortunately, the district court's jury ruled against the family in 2008.

However, the boy's family would not be deterred. They understood that their son was not provided with the kind of care he deserved, so they pursued further legal action. Recently, their state's top court determined that the jury in the original case was unfairly biased against the plaintiffs, so the case will now go back to district court for retrial.

According to the ruling, the hospital's case relied heavily on collateral source evidence, which is not permissible in the court. This means that the hospital's case was largely built on the fact that the family would be receiving compensation from other sources, which does not hold up as valid evidence in many states.

Additionally, it was found that one of the boy's doctors illegally shared confidential medical information with the hospital administrators in order to build their case.

Fortunately, the boy's family will now have a fair shot at justice. Though they had to wait many years to finally move forward (the child was born in 1995), the boy and his family will now have the chance to receive proper compensation for the doctors' negligence, which caused the boy to suffer unnecessarily.

More than anything, this case is further proof that vigilant legal representation can mean the difference between success and defeat. Had the family not been encouraged to continue pursuing the case beyond the first ruling, they would likely not have the chance to air their concerns in a setting where their case will be heard without prejudice.

Source: Salt Lake Tribune, "Top Utah court overturns jury verdict in malpractice case," Tom Harvey, July 20, 2012

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