On an annual basis, there are about seven injuries per every 1,000 births in the United States. Many of these injuries can be prevented with proper care and precaution. While accidents do happen and birth is a very stressful and traumatizing time for all those involved, we are supposed to be able to trust that the medical professionals aiding us during the labor and delivery process should be able to provide the best care possible. In the case of a birth injury, families do have the opportunity to seek damages and compensation for the negligence of their medical providers. The average payout for birth injury lawsuits that are settled outside of court is between $420,500 and $510,000. In this article, we’ll discuss what you can expect during the process of seeking a settlement for birth injuries, as well as the average compensation for some common birth injuries.
Do I Need a Birth Injury Attorney?
If your child suffered injuries during the birth process or has started to show signs of issues from complications directly related to your birth process, you might need to find a qualified professional birth injury attorney if you are thinking about seeking damages. Birth injuries can have a drastic effect on families. They can cause emotional and physical damage, and be financially draining for them. Seeking compensation for injuries or defects that resulted from negligence during birth can be done. However, it’s important to hire a professional to make sure you get the compensation you and your family deserve. A skilled attorney can help you understand medical records, determine liability, and pursue the compensation you deserve.
Birth Injury Lawsuit Settlements: What To Expect
It can be challenging to understand what to expect when you start the process of your birth injury lawsuit. Once you’ve located an experienced birth injury attorney, your lawyer will begin the process of getting you the amount of compensation that your family deserves. Here are some examples of what you can expect in the process to better prepare you:
Hire an Attorney
Working your way through a birth injury lawsuit can be extremely difficult, so it’s important that you hire an experienced personal injury attorney or a lawyer who specializes in birth injury lawsuits. They will have experience with these types of cases and understand medical malpractice laws. Once you’ve found a lawyer and agreed to a fee structure (most likely a contingency fee agreement), they will start working on your case.
Investigation and Gathering of Evidence
Once the attorney takes the case, they will start conducting a thorough investigation of your case to gather as much relevant evidence as possible to back up your claim of medical negligence or malpractice. In this step of the lawsuit, the attorney will potentially consult medical experts, review certain policies pertaining to the hospital and how they handled the birth procedure, and interview witnesses to obtain statements. This can take some time, but it’s for the best since this can be a deciding factor in your lawsuit.
Determining Damages and Demand Letter
Your attorney will work directly with you and medical experts to calculate and determine the amount of damages resulting from the birth injury. Economic damages can include, but are not limited to, medical expenses, loss of income, future costs for care, cost of special education, future medical costs, rehabilitation and therapy costs, home and car modifications, lost future earnings if the child cannot be employed and if the parents have to leave their jobs to care for the child. Non-economic damages can also be sought in these cases, including pain and suffering for the child, pain and suffering for the parents, reduced quality of life, and mental distress. There are also punitive damages that can be sought in special cases, such as wrongful death cases. Once the amount of the damages has been determined, your attorney will send a demand letter to the at-fault party’s insurance company and the party themselves.
Negotiations with At-Fault Party
Insurance companies and their clients want to avoid negative publicity as much as possible, so they will likely try to settle your malpractice case outside of court if possible. In the case of a negotiation, your attorney will represent your family and your interests during the discussions. The goal is to reach a fair settlement that compensates you for the birth injury and the outcomes that you and your family will face in the future as a result.
Lawsuit Filed on Your Behalf
If negotiations stall or go nowhere, and the statute of limitations deadline is nearing, your attorney will formally file the medical malpractice lawsuit. You will receive a case schedule for the lawsuit from the court. It is important to note that many states require mediation or arbitration before letting the case go to trial. In this case, a neutral third party will continue the negotiation process between your attorney and the at-fault party.
Trial for Birth Injury
It is very rare for medical malpractice and birth injury lawsuits to reach trial. Trials can be lengthy and stressful for plaintiffs, and there are times when families are awarded nothing in compensation from the judge or jury. Judges and juries will hear both sides and view their evidence equally to determine an outcome.
Several outcomes could come from the whole process of a birth injury lawsuit. These include:
Compensation for Damages: The main goal of going after compensation due to birth injuries is to secure proper compensation for the ongoing care, therapy, medical expenses, and other costs that come with having a disabled child. This is the best outcome for families who have suffered through this trauma.
Structured Settlement: If you have agreed to a settlement, it may be structured in a way that provides a steady source of funding for the long-term care and support of the injured child. It will be over a scheduled amount of time and for specific amounts.
Confidentiality Agreement: As part of a settlement agreement, both parties will generally agree to an agreement of confidentiality. This means neither party will be able to discuss the case publicly. It protects the family and prevents the disclosure of sensitive information.
Avoiding Trial: Agreeing to a settlement prevents the family from having to go through a long and grueling trial process. It also ensures that they will receive some compensation, whereas a trial could result in no compensation at all in some cases.
Closure: Once a settlement is agreed upon, it can potentially bring some sort of closure to families. While their child will never be fully healed, or in some cases alive, they can now breathe a sigh of relief that they will not have to worry about taking care of their child and their condition(s).
Average Settlements for Birth Injuries
Birth injury cases have their own distinct characteristics, and the compensation awarded to victims can vary widely depending on the circumstances. Typically, the more severe the injury, the higher the settlement or damages awarded. The average payout for birth injury lawsuits that are settled outside of court is between $420,500 and $510,000. There are several factors that go into the amount of the settlement. These can include things like the amount of income that has been lost due to caretaking, the severity of the injury, the amount of medical costs that have been incurred by the parents, and the lifetime cost of the child’s future care. In this section, we’ll look at some common birth injuries and the average settlements that come with them.
If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy due to medical malpractice during birth, there is a chance you will receive a large settlement as a result. Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder resulting from the baby losing oxygen for a significant amount of time during labor and delivery. This can be a very severe and permanent injury, as it directly affects the brain and motor functions. These cases have ranged from as little as $13,500 to as much as $182,700,000, depending on the severity of the diagnosis. Settlements for cerebral palsy tend to be very high, and they can be for a variety of reasons.
Brain Damage from Complications at Birth
Brain injuries as a result of complications from birth can be very severe and potentially fatal. These types of birth injuries normally leave a child permanently disabled. Cerebral palsy is included in this type of injury, but other injuries can occur, including hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) and perinatal encephalopathy. Birth injuries that involve brain injuries tend to be high-value cases when it comes to injury settlements. These types of birth injury cases have resulted in settlements and damages that have ranged from $1.3 million to nearly $24 million.
Erb’s palsy is another common birth injury that families can seek damages for if it results from medical malpractice or negligence during labor and delivery. Erb’s palsy is a result of damage to nerves in the shoulder and neck during delivery that causes paralysis in the arm. While it is still an injury that families can seek damages on, it is one of the less severe types of injuries that occur during birth compared to injuries like cerebral palsy and brain damage. This means that cases for Erb’s palsy typically result in lower settlements, as they are not considered to be as serious. The settlements for Erb’s palsy have ranged from as little as $300,000 and as much as just over $3 million.
How To Find the Best Birth Injury Lawyer
If you and your family have been the victims of a birth injury incident, it’s crucial that you find the best representation possible for your child and your family. Finding a qualified birth injury lawyer can mean the difference between getting nothing and getting the proper compensation for your family. That is why Expertise.com features a curated directory of the most qualified personal injury and birth injury attorneys for you to choose from and find the right person to represent your family. Get the compensation you deserve for your child and your future!
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