In 2003, no one seemed to know what was wrong with the young farm worker; because it took doctors so long to figure solve the mystery, the man died as a result of his infection. This is not an episode of "House", it is real life; the man’s wrongful death was a tremendous shock to his entire family; they filed and pursued a medical malpractice lawsuit. It was eventually settled for $3.7 million in 2009.
The deceased farm worker went to his local Family Medical Center in 2003; two physician’s assistants diagnosed him with pneumonia. Despite the diagnosis, no one took X-rays and other basic routine diagnostic tests weren’t done either. In other words the diagnosis was a "guess", and it failed to identify the true cause of his illness.
The patient was actually suffering from blastomycosis, a fungal infection usually transmitted through soil and water. Since it’s personnel was treating a farm worker, this should have been one of the first things the Medical Center tested for the day he came to see them in August of 2003. It wasn’t until December 2003 that he was finally admitted to a hospital where the doctors diagnosed him with blastomycosis. Unfortunately, it was too late, and he died January 1, 2004. His death left a widow and two young daughters, ages 5 and 10 years old.
According to Wisconsin Law, the $3.7 million award will be capped at a lower figure, thanks to the Wisconsin legislature and their unreasonable medical malpractice damages cap. It is a shame to restrict justice when death is so preventable and the conduct is so negligent. Perhaps the Wisconsin legislature considers this case "frivolous". Maybe they value the profits of an insurance company, a hospital or a doctor more than they value the life of a simple farm worker.
Despite damages caps, the widow of a deceased, in a situation like this one, would still be eligible for lawsuit funding; funding amounts would have to be adjusted to account for the capped recovery. Still, lawsuit funding would be available if a widow was unable to pay for her husband’s medical expenses and treatments while he alive, though disabled, and for funeral and other expenses that she might have to satisfy after his death. The family must move forward; life goes on, and funding might be needed to accomplish the simple act of "living".
Lawsuit funding is a viable option for those involved in pending litigation and in need of immediate funds. When settling too early for too little is your only option, consider lawsuit funding and give your attorney the time he/she needs to obtain a larger verdict or settlement, even in Wisconsin, where there is a cap on justice. In Wisconsin, it’s profits over people.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series. Mark Bello is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.