The birth of your child should be one of the happiest moments of your life. But when something goes wrong, things can quickly become scary and confusing.
If you think your baby has suffered a birth injury due to medical malpractice or negligence, a birth injury attorney can help you understand your rights.
Read on to learn more.
How to Recognize a Birth Injury
Most birth injuries can result in permanent disfigurement or disability if not treated immediately. Although many injuries can be detected while the child is still at the hospital, other problems can take longer to show. The sooner the injury can be detected, the better the chances of successful treatment.
If your child is displaying any of the following symptoms, you should consult your physician immediately.
- Excessive drooling
- Arching of the back while crying
- Nausea or vomiting
- Difficulty eating, sucking, or swallowing
- Sensitivity to light
- High pitched crying and/or grunting
- Excessive fussiness with no apparent reason
Remember that you are your child’s advocate. If you are not satisfied with the answers you receive, don’t hesitate to get a second opinion.
Immediate Steps for Dealing with a Birth Injury
If you believe your child has suffered a birth injury, the first step is to seek immediate medical attention. This will help to minimize the potential for future damage. Once the condition has been properly diagnosed, the doctors should develop an immediate treatment plan.
When you are confident with your child’s medical care plan, it’s time to start considering how you will deal with the long-term costs.
Contacting a competent birth injury attorney may help ease your mind. Your attorney will explain your rights and make sure you to fully understand the process.
Reasons to Seek a Birth Injury Settlement
When your child has been injured during birth, there may be no way to undo the damage that has been done. No amount of money will fully make things right. However, seeking compensation for your child’s birth injuries can help ensure that you are able to give your baby the best life possible.
The cost of care for a child with a severe birth injury is often much more than a typical family can afford. In fact, according to the CDC, the lifetime cost of care for a child with cerebral palsy is 10 times higher than the cost for a child who does not have this condition.
Not only does a birth injury lawsuit help families provide proper care for the injured child, it also holds the offending party responsible. This can help reduce future medical mistakes and prevent other families from suffering the same results.
What Does a Birth Injury Attorney Do?
As a parent dealing with an injured baby, you may feel overwhelmed and exhausted by the prospect of going through a legal trial. Rest assured, a birth injury attorney will take care of most of the work, making the process much easier on you and your family.
The attorney will start by thoroughly reviewing the details of your case, conducting research and interviewing witnesses and medical professionals. Once the lawsuit has been filed, the attorney presents the evidence of your case and negotiations begin.
Determining Potential Compensation
There are many variables that go into determining the value of your child’s case. A qualified birth injury attorney can help estimate the expected verdict. This is usually done with the assistance of a life care planner and economist.
Generally, the jury will consider the following estimates when determining the final amount awarded:
- Past medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Noneconomic damages
Past Medical Expenses
The calculation of past medical expenses is fairly straightforward and easy to document. It’s simply the total of medical bills and cost of care from the day the child was born until the date of the trial.
Future Medical Expenses
Your child’s doctor and other medical professionals will use their experience and expertise to estimate the amount of money that will be needed to cover the child’s needs throughout his or her lifetime. This includes:
- Medical procedures
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Behavioral therapy
- Cognitive therapy
- Special education expenses
- Medical equipment
- In-home nursing care
Rules and limitations regarding noneconomic damages vary by state and typically include:
- Loss of companionship
- Mental anguish
- Emotional damage
Many victims of medical malpractice or negligence don’t realize that a lawsuit isn’t their only option. Alternative methods like arbitration or mediation can often be used to reach a settlement.
These options are often less expensive and may settle more quickly, but a trial may be more advantageous as juries are often very sympathetic towards injured children.
Most birth injury lawsuits settle before they ever go to court, so you will need to weigh your options. No matter which route you decide to go, you should have a qualified birth injury attorney by your side. This will help ensure that your best interests are front and center throughout the entire process.
There are many advantages to settling your birth injury case before it goes to trial. Decreased expenses, reduced stress, and a higher level of privacy are important factors to many parents seeking damages.
In addition, settlements are usually resolved far more quickly than a full trial and you won’t have to worry about dealing with an appeals process.
Proper Administration of Settlement Money
Once your claim has been settled, the parties who are owed money will be paid first. This includes payment of your outstanding medical bills, attorney’s fees, and reimbursements to the parents for costs that they have paid out of their pocket.
The remainder of the settlement is typically placed in a court-controlled account that is set up to ensure that the funds are used for the benefit of the child. Money paid to the parents for pain and suffering or economic damages is not court-controlled. Your birth injury attorney will help you understand what money can be spent so you don’t get yourself in trouble.
Still Have Questions? Call for a Consultation
If you aren’t sure whether pursuing birth injury damages is right for you, a free consultation can help you decide.
Contact the Law Offices of Joseph M. Lichtenstein today. We will go through the details of your case and help you determine the best course of action for your unique situation.