One of the most heart-wrenching things a parent can experience is having a child suffer from a permanent injury during birth. Babies are just moments into their lives, and in such cases, they are already facing decades of hardship and medical treatment.
When this happens, figuring out who you can trust can be hard.
When something goes wrong during delivery, sometimes the doctors and nurses you would have normally put your faith in are the cause of your child becoming irreparably injured. That may make you justifiably hesitant to rely on other healthcare professionals. Who can you and your child turn to for help?
One person you can trust is an experienced birth injury attorney. These legal experts dedicate their lives to helping children get the resources they need to recover from serious, life-changing harm.
How Can a Birth Injury Attorney Help?
Before filing a birth injury lawsuit, you need to determine who was responsible for your child’s harm and how severe the injury was. This can be challenging, especially when you don’t feel like you can take the word of the medical professionals that caused the harm.
A birth injury lawyer can’t perform a medical evaluation, but they will provide the necessary knowledge and experience to identify medical malpractice and connect your child with a medical expert you can trust to provide a fair assessment of your child’s injuries and future medical needs.
Common Types of Birth Injuries
Most birth injuries are caused by some form of negligence during the birthing process. Such negligence may result in symptoms and conditions like the following:
- Bruises or scars caused by forceps
- Fractured clavicles
- Brachial palsy
- Nerve damage, which may result in facial paralysis
- Cerebral palsy
- Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE), which can result in permanent brain damage
Many of these injuries can be prevented when the medical staff is more careful or follows hospital procedures. When they don’t, your child may suffer an injury that requires lifelong medical treatment.
How a Birth Injury Attorney Evaluates Compensation for Your Child
You may be wondering how a birth injury lawyer can evaluate what amount of compensation is fair for someone only a few days old. The answer to this question is simple, though it takes an experienced attorney to calculate that value properly.
Your attorney will compare your child’s injury to similar birth injuries to determine approximately how much medical treatment and support your child will require. The number can be accurately approximated, even if your child will require a lifetime of support.
The resulting value will include the cost of the following:
- All medical treatments your child will require
- A caregiver or other support staff (as needed)
- Equipment and home modifications your child will need
- A potential lifetime’s worth of lost earnings
- Physical, speech, psychological, and occupational therapy (as needed)
Your birth injury lawyer will also calculate non-economic damages for your child. Non-economic damages serve as compensation for the pain and suffering your child will experience throughout their life due to their injury.
What to Expect in a Birth Injury Lawsuit
Once your attorney has investigated your case and determined the value of your claim, they may send a demand letter to the responsible party’s insurance company. This letter aims to inform the insurer of your demands and let them know what evidence you have to support your claims.
This action typically, but not always, results in settlement negotiations. During these negotiations, your attorney will attempt to guarantee that your child receives at least enough money to cover all of your child’s anticipated costs and expenses. They may also try to obtain additional compensation as the law allows.
If negotiations go well, you could receive compensation relatively quickly. If negotiations aren’t fruitful, your attorney may have to file your case in court. Unfortunately, if this happens, experts will need to be retained to support your case, and depositions will need to be taken, and it may take a few years to resolve your case, as birth injury claims can be very complicated and are usually very aggressively defended if liability (wrongdoing) is disputed.
If, after your case is filed in court, after depositions have occurred, and after experts have been retained, the defendant is still unwilling to resolve your case for fair compensation, your case will likely go to trial, where a jury will decide the outcome of your claims.
If your case proceeds all the way to a trial by jury, this process can. Sometimes add years to the resolution of your case, which is particularly distressing when your child
needs medical treatment and support. But your lawyer, if he’s competent and experienced in the birth injury arena, will do everything in his or her power to speed up the process and get you fair compensation in the fastest possible amount of time.
Winning a malpractice trial is incredibly expensive (costing tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars) and incredibly difficult, and the odds are always highly stacked against plaintiffs (over 80% of all medical malpractice trials are lost by the patient). However, if you are able to win at trial, you’ll likely be awarded more money than you would have if the case had been settled.
A Birth Injury Attorney with an M.D. Degree
If your child was born with an avoidable injury, you need a lawyer with the skills to correctly identify the cause of that harm and pursue justice on their behalf. As a licensed physician, Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq. is uniquely able to help in these circumstances. Contact our firm today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your options in a birth injury lawsuit.