$3.7 Million Verdict Against Dental Group for Sexual Assault of Patient Reveals Importance of an Experienced Attorney
When patients consent to medical treatment in a medical facility or dental clinic, they anticipate that they will receive medical care consistent with establish professional standards. While many people understand that sometimes medical mistakes and omissions occur, the possibility that a member of a medical care team will commit a sexual assault on an unconscious patient is much harder to imagine.
A recent $3.7 million Fulton County jury verdict against a dental clinic serves as a reminder that unfortunately this type abuse does occur. The judgment against the dental clinic was based on allegations that a young woman was sodomized and sexually molested by a nurse anesthesiologist.
The dental clinic asserted a common defense strategy used in cases involving medical errors or misconduct by attempting to divert blame to other parties. Paul Serdula, the nurse who committed the alleged sexual assault, was not a viable defendant because he was serving a life sentence in state prison. When harm or injury is caused by a criminal act, malpractice insurance policies generally have exclusions that apply to intentional criminal acts. Criminal offenders also may have limited access to assets to pay a judgment.
If the victim of a sexual or physical assault seeks damage for harm suffered from such a criminal offense, the ability to obtain fair compensation often necessitates establishing the fault of other parties. In the Fulton County lawsuit, the dental clinic attempted to persuade the jury to apportion fault between the nurse anesthesiologist and the dental clinic. The jury rejected this defense and determined that the dental clinic was 100 percent responsible for the assault on the victim.
The importance of identifying all viable defendants and sources of insurance is just one way that seeking out an experienced personal injury lawyer can positively impact a settlement or judgment. This principle also applies in more garden variety car accident c cases involving an uninsured driver. While an injury victim might have access to uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage in a car accident lawsuit involving a negligent driver, cases involving criminal assault or battery, such as the one discussed in this blog usually make it necessary to find another viable defendant.
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If you or someone close to you is injured by a party with minimal or no insurance coverage, contact us for a free consultation to learn if our experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyers can help. Many times we are able to identify other sources of recovery and even other sources of insurance that aren't so obvious. Our personal injury attorneys at Montlick and Associates have been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast for over thirty years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.