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Who Qualifies for Birth Injury Settlements?
To qualify for a birth injury settlement, your child must have been harmed during, before, or shortly after birth due to medical malpractice by a doctor or other health care professional. Most of the time, successful birth injury lawsuits are settled out of court without going to trial.
Many birth injury lawyers have registered nurses on staff who can help determine what your child’s condition may be and if they developed it due to medical negligence. Generally speaking, speaking with a qualified birth injury attorney is the best way to determine if you qualify for a birth injury settlement.
What Injuries Lead to Birth Injury Settlements?
Any birth injury due to medical malpractice or negligence could lead to a birth injury settlement.
Here are some common birth injuries that prompt families to file lawsuits:
- Cerebral palsy: A group of motor disorders that affect balance and movement
- Erb’s palsy: A brachial plexus injury that causes weakness or numbness in the arm and/or shoulder
- Horner’s syndrome: A rare disorder often characterized by decreased pupil size and a drooping eyelid
- Infant brain damage: May cause physical symptoms (misshapen head, irregular eye movements, seizures) or missed developmental milestones
- Klumpke’s palsy: A brachial plexus injury similar to Erb’s palsy that can cause weakness or stiffness in the lower arm and hand
- Neuropraxia: A peripheral nerve injury that can cause burning, stinging, or other painful sensations
What Is the Average Birth Injury Settlement?
A 2019 study of 1,215 neonatal (birth injury) malpractice claims by The Doctors Company (TDC) Group found that the average payout was $936,843. That number is the average of birth injury settlements (cases settled out of court) and birth injury verdicts (cases that proceeded to trial).
Some notable birth injury settlements and verdicts include the following:
- $13 million for the mother of a child born with premature retinopathy
- $9 million for the family of a 5-year-old with cerebral palsy
- $5.8 million for the family of a 1-year-old girl with CP and microcephaly
- $4 million for the family of a 7-year-old child with cerebral palsy
- $975,000 settlement in the case of a 6-year-old boy who has Erb’s palsy
Many factors affect how much someone can recover through a birth injury settlement, including the extent of the damages they’ve suffered and the severity of the injury.
What Kind of Compensation Is Available in a Birth Injury Settlement?
A birth injury settlement compensates a family for all past and future costs — financial and emotional — related to their child’s birth injury.
These may include:
- Adaptive equipment
- Home alterations/accommodations
- Lost wages or loss of earning capacity
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Physical or occupational therapy
If your child has suffered a birth injury like cerebral palsy or Erb’s palsy, a birth injury law firm can help you calculate how much your potential case could be worth.
What’s the Difference Between a Birth Injury Settlement and Verdict?
A successful birth injury lawsuit will resolve as a settlement or a verdict. In over 90% of cases, the person who filed the claim (plaintiff) and the negligent party (defendant) decide to settle the case before it goes to court. When this happens, the defendant pays the plaintiff an agreed-upon sum of money, and the plaintiff withdraws their claim.
In the unlikely event that lawyers can’t achieve a settlement, the case proceeds to trial. At trial, a judge and jury will determine how much compensation (if any) the plaintiff is owed. This amount is known as a jury verdict or award.
Because there’s no way to know how a jury will rule, trials are considered riskier than settling a case out of court. Birth injury trials also take longer than settlements. For these reasons, attorneys on both sides usually prefer birth injury settlements to verdicts.
How Do I Get a Birth Injury Settlement?
If you think you’re eligible for a birth injury settlement, you should reach out to an attorney as soon as possible.
A birth injury lawyer may be able to help:
- Determine if you qualify during a free case review
- Ensure you file your claim on time
- Gather evidence and consult with medical experts
- Gauge your potential case value
- Negotiate for compensation
Every state has laws known as statutes of limitations, which are deadlines to file birth injury claims and other lawsuits. These statutes can vary significantly — which is why it’s so important to talk to a birth injury attorney as soon as possible, so you don’t miss your shot at justice.
What’s the Best Law Firm for Birth Injury Settlements?
If your child has suffered a birth injury, and medical malpractice or negligence may be to blame, the lawyer you choose can make all the difference for your financial future.
Many law firms are willing to take on birth injury cases, but few have the resources and experience necessary to maximize your settlement.
The best birth injury law firms usually have the following qualities:
- A track record of successful settlements and verdicts
- Free, no-obligation case evaluations
- Nationwide reach
- No upfront or out-of-pocket costs
- Registered nurses on staff
- Years, if not decades, of experience
We can connect you with a top birth injury firm in our network that is well-suited to your potential case. Contact us for a free consultation and learn if you can pursue a birth injury settlement.