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14.3 Million dollar judgment against medical malpractice insurer

A judgment in the amount of $14.3 million was rendered in a medical malpractice lawsuit arising out of a case in which a baby suffered severe brain damage at birth. A jury in Cook County, Chicago, determined that ISMIE Mutual Insurance, Illinois’ largest insurance company, acted in “bad faith” when it failed to make a settlement offer of $5 million, knowing that a jury could award damages in excess of that amount.

The plaintiffs, Alizabeth and Elvin Hana, received an award of $1.35 million in compensatory damages because their daughter was born with a brain injury, the cause of which was oxygen deprivation. She died three years later.

For the last 10 years, ISMIE has been embroiled in 25 cases concerning bad faith. The Hanas filed a lawsuit naming their obstetricians, emergency room physicians and Rush North Shore Hospital as defendants. They reached a settlement in the amount of $1.5 million with the hospital and ER doctors.

In 2009, the jury rendered an award of $6.17 million against the obstetricians, Albert and Joyce Chams. However, the judgment was limited by their malpractice policy with ISMIE, which was capped at $3 million for the death, and $2 million for the mother’s claim of injury.

According to the plaintiffs’ attorney, the plaintiffs had the option of pursuing the personal assets of the obstetricians, but instead, chose to file the bad-faith claim against ISMIE. The lawsuit alleges that in an attempt to safeguard its legal and financial interests, ISMIE deceived the Chamses regarding the amount of insurance coverage that was available to cover the wrongful death claim, and hid from them a settlement offer from the parents that would have diminished the Chamses’ financial risk. The plaintiffs’ attorney stated that ISMIE had a duty to the physicians to negotiate in good faith on their account.

If you or someone close to you was injured due to the medical malpractice of a doctor or other health care professional, you should consult a medical malpractice attorney.

Paul Greenberg is a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit

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