On April 15, 2022, San Diego Attorneys Robert Vaage and Elizabeth Teixeira obtained an arbitration award of $25,638,058.93 on behalf of their 9-year-old client, Jayden Vargas, from Los Angeles Arbitrator Robert Hanger. This was awarded for the admitted negligence of ten healthcare providers at Kaiser Fontana Hospital, who had multiple opportunities over the course of a week to prevent Jayden’s injuries.
Jayden was born with a congenital bowel condition called jejunal atresia which was surgically repaired shortly after his birth. If he had been properly treated — holding his feedings to allow his bowel/intestines to recover and placing him on antibiotics — he would have led a normal life. Instead, he was force-fed formula which led to a rupture of his bowels, sepsis, and emergency surgery. His blood pressure dropped to critical levels over prolonged periods of time, leading to a lack of oxygenated blood to his brain, which resulted in a profound brain injury.
Cases 4 Causes Podcast: Listen to Bob Vaage on the Cases 4 Causes Podcast as he reveals tips when considering legal action against Kaiser Permanente.
So Bob, that's interesting information to know about the Kaiser system and how it's different. If someone is listening to this podcast right now, they or someone they love has been at Kaiser, they feel that there has been some type of serious medical malpractice that has occurred. What is it that you can share with them in terms of three tips or the most important things to know when it comes to preserving their case and how to best take that approach if they're intending to file something against Kaiser?
The two or three things I would tell people who are considering the potential of pursuing some sort of an action again, cause Kaiser is number one, get copies of all of your Kaiser medical records and understand that they're your records. Sometimes Kaiser and other medical providers, b, at giving people records, what I tell people is they're your records. They're not Kaiser's. You call Kaiser and you say, I'm gonna pay for the records. How much time do you need? It shouldn't take them cuz they're all electronically generated. It shouldn't take more than 24, 48 hours. So I'd say number one, get all of your records as quickly as possible and make sure you have everything. Doctor's records, nurses records, medication records, pharmacy records, radiology reports, all of the records. That's item number one. Item number two, Kaiser's arbitration system is controlled by an outfit called the OIA, the Office of Independent Administration, which is essentially controlled by Kaiser.
So the second thing you need to do is you need to send a letter to Kaiser under California law, basically generically outlining what your allegations are against Kaiser and making a demand for arbitration. They require you to send them $150 to start the process. Third, and probably the most important thing is to search for a lawyer who's got not only experienced in medical malpractice cases, but who has a lot of experience in dealing with Kaiser. So I typically tell people when you're interviewing lawyers for cases like this, the primary questions that you should ask are, for example, how many cases like mine have you had in the last year, the last five years? And perhaps more importantly, how many cases like mine have you taken to verdict either in front of a jury or to a Kaiser arbitration panel? Because there is no substitute for experience and particularly when you're dealing with Kaiser, because the system of how you get from the beginning to the end is different than how you get from the beginning to the end in a case that you would file in, in Superior Court in California. So those would be the three primary things.
Is this also something that the firm will handle for people or at least guide them through this process? Should they come and contact you and speak with you?
Well, exactly. Yeah. We, we basically tell people when they get in touch with us, you know, you have a choice. You can either get the records on your own and we outline for them the process to follow in order to get the records, or we can tell them that they can sign authorizations and give them to us, which gives us authorization to get the records and then we give 'em an idea of what it'll cost to send our process servers out to get the records. And so we give people that choice.
“Jayden currently requires around-the-clock care, and his family has been struggling to take care of him,” said Attorney Vaage. “This award will help them provide Jayden with the best possible care and highest quality of life.”
This arbitration award is believed to be one of the highest medical negligence awards for a single patient against the Kaiser healthcare entities.
What Is a Kaiser Arbitration Award?
Most medical negligence or malpractice claims are resolved through court trials. However, when enrolling with Kaiser, each patient is generally required to sign an agreement forfeiting their rights to a medical malpractice jury trial. Instead, their claim will be handled through arbitration, which generally involves a third-party neutral arbitrator who helps the parties reach a resolution.
Kaiser arbitration awards typically cover similar damages as a regular lawsuit, such as past and future medical expenses, loss of earnings, pain and suffering, and other costs. However, the nuances of the arbitration process can be complex; the process typically requires the assistance of a lawyer experienced in such matters. For more information about the Kaiser arbitration process, please visit our web page related to Kaiser medical malpractice.
Why Should You Hire a Kaiser Arbitration Lawyer?
Kaiser arbitration proceedings involve highly specific rules and procedures. Unless an attorney or law firm has direct experience with Kaiser’s arbitration process, they might not have practical knowledge of how to maximize the award for the client in such situations. Also, if you are still recovering from your medical injuries, you might not be in the best position to approach legal proceedings on your own without an attorney.
At Vaage Law, we have direct experience holding medical professionals liable under the requirements of Kaiser arbitration hearings. We will do all of the heavy lifting for you, including assisting you in gathering all medical documents and records needed for proving your case. These cases can also be very expensive to arbitrate, and we have the resources to front those costs for you.