Working as a birth injury lawyer can be one of the most difficult duties in the legal profession. It’s fair to compare the despair, pain, and turmoil it causes the unfortunate family to the feeling a doctor has as they struggle to save a patient. You can have all the training and knowledge in the world, but sometimes, outstanding circumstances can inadvertently inhibit any medical malpractice lawyer from doing their job successfully.
Even though birth injury law stems from the negligence or mistakes of a healthcare professional, there are things that parents can do along the way that will help improve the odds of a positive and fair verdict. This is not to shift blame or responsibility in the least, but rather a fact of life that people need to be aware of to prevent the wrong outcome from happening.
Here are three questions every prospective parent should know the answer to long before their baby is ready to be born that can help guide you if you find yourself in a birth injury law circumstance.
- What Should I Do First? A lot of parents have no idea what to do when a birth injury occurs. Their first instinct might be anger, fear, finger-pointing, or any other combination of reactions, but it’s important to try to keep a level head. The first step is identifying and reporting any condition that might have been caused by a birth injury.Many parents are hesitant of this because they see it as the doctor’s responsibility/expertise, which it should be, but unfortunately, that’s not always the case. How many people are the first to point out their own mistakes after they realize they’ve made them? Getting as much documentation/records of the event and the baby’s condition will help you and the birth injury lawyer you eventually hire in the long run.
- When Should I Seek Legal Counsel? As soon as your child has been diagnosed with a birth injury. As with anything else, the longer you wait, the greater chance there is of something wonky happening that could disrupt your case. Many hospitals will even send in their own legal/insurance representatives to try and entice you with a quick settlement. This is almost never a good idea to take. This is also a good reason to have a potential birth injury lawyer scouted out ahead of time, just in case, so that they can begin work helping you almost immediately after the birth.
- How Long Will it Take for the Case to Be Resolved? It really depends. As with any legal proceeding, these types of cases can go on for years in court. Conversely, sometimes they can be settled quickly if the hospital/doctor chooses not to fight and provides adequate compensation. Going back to the first point, the better prepared/documented you are in everything that happens, the easier/quicker time your lawyer will have fighting the case for you.
Just under 1% (0.7) of babies will be born with some type of birth injury, or about 28,000 every year, according to birth injury statistics. While there are some inherent risk factors that can cause these conditions, such as low birth weight to cerebral palsy, they are often the result of medical malpractice or negligence. Knowing the answer to these three questions will help you be better prepared if it happens to you.