Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, Virginia has been the focus of a $3 million wrongful death lawsuit in the case of a man who died from lung cancer in 2011. This case recently was settled for $2 million.
The lawsuit alleged that doctors for the clinic failed to act after they took two chest x-rays in 2009 and 2010 that showed a possible mass in the patient’s right lung.
His widow and children claimed in the lawsuit that the lung cancer should have been detected and treated much earlier. The doctors on the case denied liability.
At this point, the attorneys for the family took a more unusual route: They went to the Botetourt County Courthouse in Fincastle, VA and filed a petition that asked a judge to green light a $1.3 million settlement in this case.
That judge signed off on that agreement April 23. In the Roanoke Circuit Court, where the lawsuit was pending, lawyers prepared a request to dismiss the case, and that judge signed the order April 24.
According to a law professor at the University of Richmond, handling a malpractice case in this way is quite unusual. The professor speculated that the attorneys for the family wanted to use an outlying location to settle the suit so the settlement might not get media coverage.
As personal injury attorneys on medical malpractice cases, we know that medical malpractice is more common than the public often believes. Did you know that 225,000 people die in the US each year due to medical mistakes? There also are 7000 deaths annually from medication errors and 20,000 deaths per year from other medical errors in hospitals.
Yet, only one out of eight medical malpractice victims ever file for monetary compensation in a civil lawsuit. We are glad that the family in the above case was able to receive compensation for the mistakes their doctors made.