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No medical malpractice, woman still gets $2.4 million settlement

When a person is injured as a result of someone else's action or inaction, seeking compensation begins with an experienced evaluation of the full value of the case. Also important is a knowledgeable review of the facts that will determine which legal remedies are best to pursue. Each medical malpractice or personal injury situation has some unique aspects and likely it will be those facts that suggest the right approach.

For a Florida woman who had an uncommon, bad reaction to physical therapy undertaken after she was injured in a car accident, negotiations led to a $2.4 million settlement with her employer's insurers. According to reports, the permanent condition known as adrenal insufficiency was eventually diagnosed, and purported to be the result of steroid injections designed to relieve back pain.

Records show the 44-year-old hair salon manager was in a car crash in 2007 while on the job. The other driver was at fault. Her pre-existing back condition was aggravated by the accident, and physical therapy was ordered. The epidural medication followed, allegedly a standard and common treatment. Several months later, the diagnosis of adrenal insufficiency was made. Her treating physicians had not initially diagnosed her condition; however, she could not sue them or any medical provider on the basis of medical malpractice.

Instead, her employer was named as a defendant based on a 1977 Supreme Court indemnity finding. Medical care fits the cause criteria and if there are problems, the original at-fault person is still responsible. It was noted that medical complications, such as in this case, actually occur more frequently than medical malpractice. Since the woman was driving the company car when the series of events began, that financial responsibility rests with her employer's insurers was claimed.

The settlement agreement is pending approval by the court. Since the condition the plaintiff suffers leads to hormone imbalances, weight gains, fluctuating blood pressure, osteoporosis, a compromised immune system and debilitating fatigue, seeking compensation was something she wisely considered. Notwithstanding accountability, the expenses and future financial security at stake warranted this approach.

Source: Daily Business Review, "Woman Gets $2.4M Settlement Even Though Doctors Did Nothing Wrong" Adolfo Pesquera, Aug. 04, 2014

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