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Daughter awarded $4 million in compensation after father's fall

An out-of-state jury recently handed down a $4 million verdict to a woman whose father was killed after he fell in a long-term medical facility. After a week-long trial, the jury awarded the medical malpractice compensation for punitive damages against an out-of-state hospital of which the facility was a part. The suit had been filed on behalf of the decedent's daughter, who was the executor of his estate. A Maryland resident who has been involved in a similar situation is typically entitled to file a medical malpractice suit against the responsible party or parties.

The suit was filed shortly after the woman's 77-year-old father was discovered on the floor of his room in the hospital after he fell in September 2007. Due to his being at a high risk for falls, he was supposed to be restrained at the time of the fall. By leaving the man unrestrained, the hospital facility breached its standard of care, and that breach caused his death a little less than 12 hours after his fall.

However, the hospital facility attempted to defend itself by claiming that the man's medical records were incorrect. It refused to take any responsibility, claiming that the man never, in fact, fell. Representatives even tried to explain that, in the medical context, even the word "fall" has a different, separate definition.

However, the jury was able to see the gravity of the hospital facility's wrong, including the argument over what the word "fall" meant. When a hospital facility's breach of its duty of care results in the injury or death of one of its patients, a victim or his or her family typically files a medical malpractice suit against the facility, seeking compensation. As in a case like this, the punitive damages assessed by the jury are designed to not only compensate the victim -- or, as in this case, the victim's family -- for damages sustained as a result of medical malpractice but also to punish and deter similar wrongs from ever taking place again. Victims in Maryland typically begin the process of filing a medical malpractice suit by consulting an experienced personal injury attorney. 

Source:, "Jury awards $4 million in malpractice lawsuit against Dothan medical facility", Matt Elofson, March 28, 2016

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