It was a long and winding road for the plaintiff in the Mercer malcode case.
It took the court several months to get the case heard.
It was not until last week that a judge finally gave it some justice, ruling that the defendant could be held liable for the “malpractice of the claimant”.
That means, at least in the first instance, the defendant has to pay a penalty.
But the court has yet to decide whether the defendant can be held responsible for the actual cost of the litigation.
In other words, the jury will not have to find that the damages were “malicious” or “gross” to justify damages awards, and the trial judge is likely to have no say in the matter.
In any case, there are still many unknowns.
What are the costs of the lawsuit?
How much will the court cost the defendant?
Will the case be used as evidence against them?
What happens to the insurance claims?
How does the liability for the defendant compare to the liability of the plaintiff?
And what is the difference between malpractice and negligent conduct?
The jury’s verdict on the defendant’s liability is likely not to be known for some time.
There is also no final ruling on the question of whether the malpractices had any effect on the plaintiff’s recovery.
That will depend on a review of the case and how the damages are determined.
The judge has already ordered the defendant to pay $3.5 million to the plaintiff.
If that sum is found to be “grossly excessive” by the court, it could be a deterrent to malpractice claims in the future.
The damages could also be used against other defendants in the same case.
The verdict means the judge has given the defendant a taste of what damages awards can be.
That’s not a bad thing, as it will have a chilling effect on malpractice suits in the near future.
If you or anyone you know needs help, contact the Samaritans on 13 11 14.
If a malpractice claim is a problem for you, you can contact your state’s public hospital emergency department.
They can help you find out how to make a claim and can help pay for the treatment of a problem that is caused by malpractice.