Wrongful Birth Lawyer Decatur, GA
Watch Out For The Blame Game
Defendants rarely take responsibility for their wrongful conduct. Wrongful birth is a malpractice claim that is brought by the parents of a child born with a birth defect against a physician or health care provider whose alleged negligence deprived the parents of the opportunity to make an informed decision from themselves whether to avoid or terminate a pregnancy. If your child has been born with a birth defect or birth injury as a result of the negligence of medical professionals then you need to speak with a wrongful birth lawyer Decatur, GA.
One of the most common tactics to escape responsibility is to blame other parties. These parties can be anyone. They almost always blame the victim or the decedent. Even worse, the defense will blame the family members who brought the lawsuit. Many times the defendant will blame someone who is not a party to the lawsuit. It is for these reasons that it takes tremendous courage on behalf of the family that stands up and fights back.
Assigning All Parties Blame and Responsibility
Rather than accepting responsibility, the defense will often blame everyone else, including the victims and the plaintiffs. Georgia law recognizes that there may be more than one person who contributed to or is responsible for someone’s death.
At trial, the jury is allowed to consider all parties, including a person or party who is not even named in the lawsuit. The jury then determines what person is responsible for what percentage of fault. This is called apportionment under Georgia law. O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33. A plaintiff may recover, so long as the defendant is 51% responsible. In other words, even if the plaintiff is partially responsible, so long as the plaintiff is less than 49% to blame, the plaintiff can still recover.
So, how does this work? Let’s assume there was a car crash on the highway. Danny, who is driving a van, hits Peter, as Danny changes lanes. Peter then sues Danny. At trial, Danny claims that he changed lanes because Theresa was coming into his lane. Danny also claims that Peter was driving too fast.
As such, the jury must decide who is responsible. Now, let’s say the jury completes the form as follows:
So, how much in this scenario does the plaintiff recover? The answer is $700,000. This is because the jury found Peter was responsible for 10%, or $100,000, and Theresa for 20% or $200,000. Thus, the amount of the recovery by the victim’s family is $700,000.
The Empty Chair
The defense’s favorite option is to blame a party that is not present at trial. Why does the defense like this so much? This is because the third party is neither represented nor defended. This makes the jury’s job easy, particularly if the defendant appears to be nice. This allows the jury to blame someone for the wrongdoing — but someone whom they do not like or know.
Sometimes, jury members believe that their judgment can result in a recovery for the plaintiff. Yet, that is simply not the case. As shown above, the decision against a third party only serves to reduce the judgment against the named defendants. There are some protections for a Georgia plaintiff, but those protections are quite limited. The defendant must provide notice of the intent to blame the third party and the defendant must prove their case against a third party.
Blaming The Victim and The Family
The defense’s second favorite approach is to blame the victim. This is a particularly powerful defense since survivors will always feel some type of guilt associated with the loss.
The worst scenario is when a loved one dies and other lives, such as in a motor vehicle collision. The survivor will always feel some type of guilt, and the defendant will seek to amplify and exploit these feelings. This is called survivor’s guilt. After all, there are always things that one could have done differently. If it was a car wreck, either one could have left the house five minutes earlier or five minutes later. One could have swerved right rather than left, applied more brake or gas. Rather than taking responsibility, the defendant will focus on the family.
In the context of a medical malpractice case, the defense may try to use a patient’s unhealthy habits to show that the decedent’s actions brought about their death, e.g. if the decedent was a smoker or had he lost the weight as the doctor advised him to, he would not have gotten a heart attack.
In all cases, there are bad facts. One of the expected “bad facts” is the defendant’s attempt to either “blame the victim” or “blame the empty chair.” Either way, skilled counsel will respond appropriately, and will re-shift blame back where it belongs, at the feet of the wrongdoer. Many times, this is handled by accepting some of the responsibility. Probably the most important fact is that the family members will know the defense’s tricks, and will be prepared. Don’t fall a victim to these tricks by the defense. You should seek professional help from a wrongful birth lawyer Decatur, GA from a law firm like The Krause Law Firm. They have the experience and understanding of what the defense might do. They will use their expertise to guide you through this complex process of seeking justice for a wrongful birth claim.