Medical malpractice is when a mistake or error made by the medical professional results in injury to the patient. These can be a result of negligence, misdiagnosis, failure to provide adequate levels of care, or failure to assess and convey the risks. While malpractice can result in serious injury to the patient, one of the worst forms of medical malpractice you can experience is a birth injury.
In this case, the newborn and the mother, or both, maybe permanently injured. This type of mistake can forever change the course of life for the child. If you believe that your family has recently been a victim of such a form of malpractice, it is important to take action. By filing a birth injury settlement case, you may not be able to reverse the damages, but at least you would have the money to deal with the fallout.
How Does it Work?
The first step in knowing whether you should file a lawsuit is assessing the details of your circumstances and understanding if you have caused. Like most medical malpractice cases, birth injury cases aim to obtain a monetary payout for a preventable injury.
While seeking out birth injury lawsuit settlements, your family will have to prove the medical professional’s negligence resulting in the injury. To accurately assess the case details and your chances of winning, you should consult with a lawyer.
Why Law Firms Help
Birth injury cases are rather complicated, as several factors can affect a newborn. Not all the risks and dangers that arise from surgical or pregnancy complications are related to malpractice. While you need to prove that the hospital staff was directly responsible for the damages, they would try to argue that the injury was unavoidable and free themselves from liability. A lawyer that specializes in these types of lawsuits would help you build your case.
The lawyer would already be familiar with the laws and arguments surrounding these settlements and would be able to cite precedent to strengthen your case. They would also be able to recognize incidents of negligence or malpractice that you could miss as a layman. Moreover, you would likely be dealing with the emotional turmoil of the injury and may not be in the right frame of mind for the meetings, paperwork and research these cases require. A lawyer not only helps maximize your chances of winning, but also takes the lion’s share of your burden in this difficult time.
Assessing the Value of Your Case
When dealing with any lawsuit, it’s important to have a strong understanding of what your potential settlement could look like. Based on the amount of money you may receive, you can evaluate if the case is worth the time, effort, and lawyer’s fees that you would be investing.
On a positive note, birth injury lawsuits tend to have large settlements, so this could result in you obtaining enough cash to deal with the damages faced by the child. Some settlements have awarded millions of dollars to the defendants and families in need after medical malpractice was proven. The average settlement amount in birth injury cases is $1.6 million. However, it bears mentioning that this settlement level is usually only given when the child has been inflicted with a lifelong injury, such as cerebral palsy.
Factors that Affect Settlement Amounts
While the above-stated figure applies to average settlements, it does not mean that you are looking at a minimum of $1 million. A review of the case will look into the type of injury, the mechanism through which the injury occurred, and the nature of the medical malpractice.
For instance, in one case in Maryland, the hospital was found to have been negligent in responding to signs of fetal distress, resulting in brain damage and blindness to the child, and a $4.2 million payout was given. However, a case in New York found multiple instances of negligence on the hospital’s behalf, and the resulting settlement was a whopping $34 million dollars. The exact circumstances of your case will affect the bottom line significantly.
Moreover, there is the factor of out-of-court settlements. Most hospitals favor out-of-court settlements to resolve cases quickly and quietly. In these situations, the potential verdict for the case is calculated, and a lower payout is offered to the defendant.
There have been cases where the out-of-court settlement is half the value you could have gotten if you’d gone to the trial. However, this eliminates the risk of the court ruling in the hospital’s favor, and allows you to get the money more quickly and with less struggle. The lawyer can negotiate such a settlement for you, but it is ultimately your decision on whether or not you accept it.
What Can It Help With?
The motivation for seeking a birth injury settlement is not to get a payday but to cover the costs of any further medical treatments your child might need. You should aim for a settlement amount that can help pay for these costs. Speaking to your lawyer and consulting a medical professional is the best way to get an accurate estimate of what you might need.
Depending on the nature of the injury, you may have to get money for further surgery, speech therapy, assistive equipment, medication, special education, transportation modifications, and so on. Of course, a good lawyer will be able to argue for compensation for emotional damages, also known as the ‘pain and suffering cost’, you faced as a result of the malpractice. This extra cost may be useful in case of any unpredicted medical fees or complications your child faces down the line.
If you are in a position where you have to consider a birth injury lawsuit, then the circumstances are clearly difficult, but they are not hopeless. A good law firm will do wonders in mitigating the burden and helping you financially stabilize yourself after the malpractice.
Make sure you select a lawyer who has experience in these cases. It would accelerate the process of assessing the details of your case and coming up with a proper estimate on the damages you are owed. An experienced lawyer also improves your chances of winning the case if the incidents of negligence are not clear-cut. You would want to consult with a firm as soon as possible, so you can begin the filing process and get your just dues.