A jury recently found $8 million in damages in a Chicago wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of Joya Pipkin. Ms. Pipkin died in 2009 and left behind a won, Ronald Willis, Jr., who was 14 at the time of her death.Ms. Pipkin was undergoing sedation when she began to have trouble breathing. The Hospital, Chicago’s Mount Sinai Hopsital, failed to call a code blue. A code blue is often called when a patient has trouble maintaining her airways. While the human body is resilient, a failure to maintain their airways for long enough period will cause the brain to be deprived of oxygenated blood.

Calling a code blue will allow a rapid response respiratory team to quickly come to the patient’s bed side and take the necessary steps to resuscitate the patient. This Chicago wrongful death lawsuit was filed because no code blue was called, which meant that over seven minutes passed before efforts to help Ms. Pipkin began.

In a wrongful death claim, you often will have different types of damages than in a personal injury claim. If the patient was working at the time of her death, the patient’s family can recover the lost earning capacity until age of retirement. This lost earning capacity will have to be proven using a “preponderance of the evidence,” which is the legal standard in civil cases.

Wrongful death cases often also have non-economic damages. These damages include not only the pain and suffering that the patient went through before their death, but also loss of consortium that their family members suffered as a result of their death. Loss of consortium are damages for the loss of companionship, comfort, advice, and society that our loved ones provide us. The extent and whether these damages are available depends on the state you live in and your relationship to the patient.

If a family member has been the victim of a wrongful death, contact a lawyer as soon as possible to evaluate your remedies.