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What Is a Birth Injury Lawsuit?
Unfortunately, medical errors during delivery are often the cause of birth injuries. Medical professionals who do not uphold a high standard of care during the birthing process may be to blame for a child’s birth injury.
Parents may be able to file a birth injury lawsuit seeking compensation and justice if their child’s injury was preventable. This type of lawsuit is filed against the doctor, health care professional, or hospital that delivered your baby.
Legal compensation from a birth injury lawsuit can help pay for medical treatment and devices that may improve your child’s quality of life.
Who Can File a Birth Injury Lawsuit?
Parents or caregivers of children who were injured before, during, or shortly after childbirth may be able to file a birth injury lawsuit. These medical malpractice claims are generally filed against the doctor or other medical professional responsible for the child’s birth injury. For a lawsuit to be successful, an attorney must be able to prove the injury was caused by medical negligence.
Filing a claim on your own, or with an attorney who doesn’t specialize in these cases, can be difficult. Thankfully, birth injury law firms have experienced registered nurses on staff who can listen to your story to determine if your child’s injury may have been caused by medical negligence.
If a law firm finds your child’s injury could have been prevented with proper medical care during the birthing process, you may qualify for compensation from a lawsuit.
What Is the Birth Injury Lawsuit Process?
By working with an experienced birth injury law firm, you can rest assured knowing the legal process will be as stress-free as possible. Your lawyer will support you through the entire lawsuit process. They will file your claim, gather evidence, build your case, and fight for compensation on your behalf.
Learn more about the birth injury lawsuit process below.
Free Case Evaluation
The first step in the lawsuit process is to get a free case evaluation to see if you qualify to take legal action. You do not have to pay any upfront costs to have your case reviewed.
Your birth injury lawyer will gather information about your pregnancy, birth, and your child’s symptoms. It’s important to note that you do not need a birth injury diagnosis to get a free case evaluation. Law firms have the resources and expertise to determine if your child’s injury was caused by medical negligence.
If your lawyer believes you have a strong case proving medical malpractice, you will be able to file a lawsuit.
Once your lawyer determines you have a valid case, they will start collecting evidence to support your claim and prove medical malpractice.
Law firms often gather medical records from the mother’s pregnancy and the child’s birth, as well as firsthand accounts of the delivery. These pieces of evidence are critical in proving a child’s birth injury was caused by medical negligence.
Filing the Lawsuit
Your legal team will formally file your claim once all initial information has been gathered. They will be mindful of your state’s statute of limitations, which is the amount of time you have to file a claim. Once you miss this deadline, you won’t be able to recover money through a lawsuit.
Your attorney will send a demand letter stating that you (the plaintiff) are suing the doctor and/or hospital (the defendants). The letter will outline your request for compensation to help pay for your child’s birth injury treatment. The defendants generally have around 30 days to respond to the demand.
Most defendants will refuse to pay the plaintiff and must submit a response explaining why they are not responsible for the injury.
Once the defendants deny the request for compensation, the discovery process will begin. This phase involves each side amassing more evidence and consulting with experts to support their claims.
You can expect your legal team to gather more documentation related to your child’s birth and injury. In this phase of the birth injury lawsuit process, witnesses such as family, friends, loved ones, and medical experts may be called to give their own testimony to support your claim.
After both parties have gathered enough supporting evidence to back their claims, settlement negotiations may begin. During this phase, your lawyers will request the defendants pay a lump sum of compensation to you. About 95% of all birth injury cases end in a settlement agreement.
The two sides may go back and forth when negotiating a settlement amount. Generally, the amount agreed upon is enough money to cover lifetime costs to care for your child’s condition.
In the unlikely event that the plaintiff and defendant cannot reach a settlement agreement, the lawsuit will proceed to trial.
A small percentage of birth injury lawsuits will reach the trial stage. During a trial, a judge or jury will listen to arguments from both sides and determine whether the defendant is responsible for the child’s injury.
If the court rules in your favor, you may be awarded a higher amount of compensation compared to a settlement. However, if the court does not rule in your favor, you will not win any compensation at all.
Many experienced lawyers will seek to resolve a birth injury lawsuit with a settlement agreement because trial verdicts can be risky, costly, and time-consuming.
How Much Are Birth Injury Lawsuit Settlements?
Since the majority of birth injury lawsuits do not reach the trial phase, many cases end in a settlement paid out to the family.
How much compensation your family receives will depend on your specific case. Settlement amounts can vary greatly based on the severity of the injury, lifetime cost of treatment, and other factors.
Some notable birth injury lawsuit settlements and trial verdicts include:
- $13 million for a child born with premature retinopathy
- $9 million for a child with cerebral palsy
- $5.8 million for a child with cerebral palsy and microcephaly
- $975,000 for a child with Erb’s palsy
- $950,000 for a child with Erb’s palsy
These compensation amounts do not necessarily indicate how much you may receive from a case. Your lawyer will be able to determine the value of your claim by calculating your child’s estimated treatment costs.
How a Birth Injury Settlement Can Help
Compensation from a birth injury lawsuit can help your family pay for:
- Adaptive equipment
- Assistive devices
- Mobility aids
- Occupational therapy
- Pain and suffering
- Physical therapy
- Special education costs
- Speech therapy
- Transportation equipment
How Long After a Birth Injury Can You Sue?
It’s important to make sure you file your birth injury lawsuit within your state’s statute of limitations, a law that sets a time limit on how long you have to file your claim. These statutes vary by state. Some states allow as little as one year from the date of the birth injury to file your claim.
Since these cases are so time-sensitive, it’s essential to work with an experienced birth injury attorney who can determine when and where to file your lawsuit.
If you don’t file your birth injury claim within the statute of limitations, you may forfeit your right to sue. However, you should still contact a lawyer even if the deadline for filing has passed, to see if you qualify for other compensation options.
How Long Does a Birth Injury Lawsuit Take?
The timeline of the birth injury lawsuit process can vary depending on your specific case. However, a birth injury attorney can ensure the legal process goes as smoothly and efficiently as possible. This process may be shorter if the case ends in a settlement agreement, as you will not have to experience a lengthy trial.
Your lawyer will keep in touch throughout the lawsuit process to update you with new developments regarding your case.
How Do I File a Birth Injury Lawsuit?
If you believe your child’s birth injury was caused by medical negligence, you may be able to recover money through a birth injury lawsuit. The first step is to find a lawyer who can evaluate your case, determine its value, and file your claim.
LawFirm.com can connect you with a law firm that has the experience and specialized skills to win your case. These birth injury law firms have valuable resources, such as on-staff nurses and access to top medical experts, as well as a track record of success in securing compensation for families like yours.
Your birth injury lawyer will never charge you any upfront or out-of-pocket fees to work with them. The birth injury lawyers we partner with work on a contingency-fee basis, meaning your legal team will only get paid if you win compensation from your lawsuit.
These cases are time-sensitive, so don’t wait. Get your free case evaluation today.