Family awarded $20.5 million in wrongful death case

The family of an Atlanta man who died during a sleep study was recently awarded over $20.5 million of damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. The man, who was only 25 years old at the time, agreed to take part in a sleep study at Emory Healthcare. He died of sudden cardiac arrest while he was at the clinic. The hospital claimed that it attended to the man with appropriate care., but the man’s family believed otherwise.

The victim’s mother filed a wrongful death lawsuit on his behalf. She claimed that the hospital was negligent in responding to her son, who tried to get the attention of the staff. The case went all the way to trial, and a jury rendered a verdict in favor of the plaintiff. The jury awarded over $10 million to the man’s estate for his pain and suffering and $10.5 million for the value of his life.

Under Georgia law, if a person dies due to someone else’ s negligence or misconduct, the members of the victim’s family can file a lawsuit for wrongful death. There are two main types of damages in wrongful death lawsuits: pecuniary and punitive. Pecuniary damages are the main measure of damages in wrongful death claims. Such as in the Atlanta man’s case, pecuniary damages are intended to compensate the victim’s family for any financial losses related to the victim’s death, including funeral expenses, medical bills, and lost wages. Punitive damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer. This type of damages is reserved for cases that are particularly egregious, such as where the wrongdoer displayed willful misconduct, malice, or fraud. 

If your loved one was killed due to another person’s actions, you may have a wrongful death claim. Consider speaking with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to find out your options.

Source: AJC.com, “$20.5M verdict for family after man dies during Emory sleep test,” Alexis Stevens, Sept. 29, 2015

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