A veteran underwent a procedure known as a transarterial chemoembolization (or "TACE"), a treatment for liver cancer which cuts off the blood supply to tumors. After the procedure, the veteran was paralyzed. It was difficult to determine what the surgeon had done wrong, but what was clear was that this had undoubtedly been caused by the surgery.
As a consequence, this veteran was paralyzed until he passed from end stage liver disease more than a year after the surgery. We were able to negotiate a settlement for his estate for the period of his paralysis, but the negotiation was complicated by a law limiting the amount which can be recovered for medical malpractice.
Typically, the types of recovery a plaintiff can obtain are divided into two categories: e
conomic damages (which typically include things like lost income or medical bills), and non-economic damages (which typically include things like pain and suffering). This veteran's recovery was going to be essentially limited to non-economic damages.
The problem was that this state limits those non-economic damages in medical malpractice claims. Though many states do something similar, this state has had one of lowest limits in the country at $250,000. The law changed recently, increasing the limit to $350,000. However, the increase to the new amount was not supposed to take effect until after this case was likely going to be settled. So should his estate get the old limit or the new?
After carefully researching how the future increase should be applied to this case and presenting this research to VA, we were able to negotiate a settlement at the new limit, getting an additional $100,000 for this veteran's estate.