Cauda Equina Syndrome is a rare, emergency medical condition that occurs when the bundle of nerves at the base of the spinal cord becomes compressed. CES often results from an injury or as a complication after surgery and it is critical that the patient receive proper treatment quickly after onset.
According to many CES studies, patients who have surgery within six hours of symptoms beginning have the best chance at avoiding severe and permanent complications. Unfortunately, surgery is often delayed more than 48 hours after onset of the hallmark symptoms of Cauda Equina Syndrome. If the delay in treatment is the result of misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, then the patient may be able to seek compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit.
What Cauda Equina Syndrome compensation amounts might a patient recover? It depends on many factors.
How Clear Cut Is the Case?
One of the biggest factors that will affect your case is how clear it is that medical negligence played a role in your injuries. Here are some questions we consider when looking at a Cauda Equina Syndrome lawsuit:
What did the patient do when symptoms began? Did they seek treatment right away or did they wait to see if the symptoms would go away? If the patient waited several hours or a day, then the doctor could argue that the patient was responsible for delayed treatment.
Did the patient follow the doctor’s orders? If the patient was not compliant with prescribed treatments, then the doctor may argue that this contributed to the patient’s condition.
What kind of doctor were you treated by? Not all medical professionals have the same level of experience. We will look at your doctor’s background, including education, specialty training, etc.
What is the patient’s medical history? When presenting a medical malpractice case in court, it’s important that you be able to demonstrate to the jury that the doctor did something wrong. If the doctor is able to argue that the patient’s medical history contributed to their injuries, rather than his actions, it may create doubt in the minds of jurors. It’s important that your Cauda Equina Syndrome attorney know your medical history to be able to argue against such a defense.
Determining How Much to Seek in Damages
Determining how much to seek in damages in a Cauda Equina Syndrome lawsuit involves many different calculations. As a medical malpractice lawyer with significant experience in handling CES cases across the United States, Lisa Levine looks at factors such as:
- How old is the patient?
- Is the patient married?
- Does the patient have minor children?
- What is the extent of long-term injuries the patient is suffering?
Different CES sufferers will experience different symptoms and to varying degrees, including:
- Foot drop
- Inability to walk
- Sexual dysfunction
- Loss of bowel/bladder control
There are two different types of damages that can be sought in a medical malpractice case:
- Economic damages, which refers to compensation paid for out-of-pocket losses you have faced or will face in the future because of your injures. This includes current and future medical bills, lost wages and lost earning power.
- Noneconomic damages, which refers to compensation paid for pain and suffering.
When considering Cauda Equina Syndrome compensation amounts, these factors are important because you must look not only at the patient’s current costs of their condition but also what the condition will continue to cost them for the rest of their life. For example, a patient in his 30s who finds himself unable to work because of CES will be facing decades of lost earning potential. The amount of compensation sought for economic damages should reflect that.
How Do Insurance Companies and Juries Affect Cauda Equina Syndrome Compensation Amounts?
Many medical malpractice cases will be settled before a trial is necessary. Building a strong case is key to reaching a fair settlement maximizing the compensation to the patient, but there are other factors that affect the negotiations.
In most cases, the doctor’s insurance company plays a vital role in successful settlement negotiations. Some companies are more reasonable, while others will fight the case all the way to court hoping to avoid a payout. The doctor and/or hospital also play a role. Does the doctor acknowledge responsibility and want to reach a settlement? Or does the doctor believe he was not at fault and want to take the case to court.
If the case goes to trial, the jury is the deciding factor in whether you win your case and also in how much compensation you are awarded. Every juror is different, and their personal life experiences will color their perceptions of the case.
The Cost of a CES Medical Malpractice Case
If the case is won or successfully negotiated, the amount of compensation you receive will depend on the costs to pursue the case. Medical malpractice cases can be extremely expensive to pursue. Some of the expenses include:
- Filing fees and court costs
- Research, investigate and prepare the case (This includes obtaining medical records, finding potential witnesses, transportation costs, hiring investigators, etc.)
- Testimony from medical experts. These experts aren’t just paid for showing up in court, but they are also paid for every phone call and conference, and any time they spend looking at tests and medical records.
- Testimony from economic experts on future medical and living expenses and lost earning capacity.
- Trial exhibits
As a medical malpractice attorney, Lisa Levine represents Cauda Equina Syndrome clients on a contingency basis. That means she covers the cost of pursuing the case until the case is settled or won in court, at which point her attorney fees and the expenses of the case are paid out of the compensation the client recovers.
The attorney’s fees and the quality of your medical experts can affect the costs of pursuing your case, but it’s important to have the best of the best, rather than the cheapest options available in order to improve your chances for a successful outcome.
Get Help with Recovering Maximum Compensation in your CES Lawsuit
Lisa Levine is based in Florida but she is a nationwide medical malpractice attorney specializing in Cauda Equina Syndrome cases. She has handled and consulted on more than 60 cases across the United States. In Florida, she has helped patients throughout the state who have suffered from Cauda Equina Syndrome, including in Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Miami, Orlando and Ocala.