Los Angeles, California -- October 19, 2017 -- The Law Offices of Michels & Lew have secured a $2 million wrongful death verdict for the family of an engineer who was misdiagnosed while seeking emergency treatment for a serious bacterial infection. The verdict is notable, as California medical malpractice laws are among the most restrictive in the United States.

The victim visited the Lakewood Regional Medical Center emergency department seeking treatment for his illness. Rather than being evaluated by a physician, he was directed to the emergency room's urgent care center and evaluated by a nurse practitioner, who failed to perform any diagnostic testing or consult with a physician. The nurse practitioner diagnosed the patient with influenza before arranging for the man to be discharged after just 30 minutes.

Colleagues became concerned after he failed to report to work the following day. The man was found unresponsive by his colleagues at home two days later. He was transported by ambulance to a different hospital, where he was diagnosed with septic shock as the result of an untreated staph infection. He died the following day. 

In California, the amount of recovery permitted for loss of love, affection, comfort and moral support (non-economic injuries) is limited to $250,000 -- a figure that has been unchanged for 42 years. The current purchasing value of the $250,000 limit in 1976 dollars is now just $50,000. Had California state law allowed this cap to be indexed to inflation, $250,000 in 1976 dollars would be roughly $1 million today.

These strict caps, which are the result of lobbying by the insurance industry on behalf of physicians and hospitals, have dissuaded most California law firms from pursuing cases despite their merits. While the medical insurance industry reaps the financial benefits of this unjust and out of date law, victims of even the most egregious cases of medical malpractice and other such conduct are being deprived of their day in court. Fortunately, this proved not to be the case for this family and a just and fair verdict was rendered. 

About The Law Offices of Michels & Lew:

For more than 35 years, the Los Angeles Law Firm of Michels & Lew has represented victims of catastrophic injury throughout California and surrounding states. Our personal injury lawyers have represented more than 1,000 individuals and families, including victims of medical malpractice, school accidents, sexual abuse, drowning accidents and other tragic accidents.

We have been successful in recovering compensation in nearly every case we have handled. The quality of our legal services is documented in verdicts and settlements. Our recoveries total more than $1 billion dollars, including what was then the largest judgment ever won for a fatal child injury against a local school district, and one of the largest awards ever won for a birth injury against Los Angeles County. We have the legal experience, the investigative tools and the medical expertise to handle even the most complex catastrophic injury cases.

  • Contact:
  • The Law Offices of Michels & Lew
  • 11755 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1300
  • Los Angeles, CA 90025-1540
  • 310-444-1200 (open 24/7)
  • www.michels-lew.com