If your child incurred a birth injury during labor, then you already know how emotionally painful this experience could be. This includes injuries inflicted on your child before, during, and after labor and delivery. While some birth injuries can be minor, there are injuries that can cause permanent damage to your baby due to negligence or malpractice of your doctor. So, if your child has suffered from birth trauma (excessive pressure on the head or body), infection after delivery, or permanent disability, you might want to consider taking legal action. In this guide, we will walk you through what you can do to get proper compensation for your child’s injury.
Be Careful What You Say to Any Officials
When your child is diagnosed with a birth injury, the hospital, doctors, and nursing staff will be aware of the fact that they’re guilty of your child’s injury. Thus, they might send out a hospital representative or an insurance representative to try to offer you financial compensation and, ultimately, avoid any legal disputes between you and the hospital, as this will eventually reflect on the hospital’s image and the staff’s reputation.
The doctor responsible for your baby’s injury will face serious consequences as well, so they will try their best to talk you out of pressing charges to avoid all that. It might be tempting to accept these requests, especially when the insurance company attempts to compensate you with a considerable payment. However, you should be aware that this compensation won’t cover your child’s medical care fees, especially if your child’s birth injury is a brain injury that resulted in cerebral palsy. So, it’s important that you don’t acquiesce to their demands or sign any documents until you consult an expert on the matter.
Hire a Birth Injury Attorney
Most families in the US can’t afford to pay for the medical costs of a birth-related injury, especially when the injury is severe and require more medical care than what is required with minor injuries. With tens of thousands of preventable birth injuries each year, the need for legal help in this regard is increasing, especially in San Diego, where the birth injury rate is particularly high. You can click here to find more about how these rates are affecting the income of many families due to negligence or a mistake on a doctor’s part. Additionally, hiring a lawyer is an important step, so you’ll have the guidance of an expert when a hospital or insurance representative attempts to offer you an alternative to filing a birth injury lawsuit. A proficient birth injury attorney should be aware of the types of birth injuries and will help you understand what your legal options are. He will also guide you through every step of the way if you choose to submit your case to court.
Know the Type of Damages You Should Seek
With the help of your attorney, you can know the type of damages you can seek for your case. Both punitive and actual damages can be obtained through the case if you play your cards right. This should be determined by examining how much your child’s injury will affect your income in the future, the medical expenses that you’re going to need later, and whether or not you’ll need special gadgets for your child when he grows up or home modifications. Once you’ve calculated these costs, you can ask for damages for:
- Current and future income loss
- Current and future medical bills
- Necessary home modifications
- Pain and suffering both to you and the child
- Emotional distress to your family and child
Understand the Process of Filing a Birth Injury Lawsuit
In order for this process to start, you’ll have to compile all related information to the case. For example, copies of medical records of your child, witness statements, etc. and your attorney will use this evidence in your case. Once you hire your attorney, you won’t have to worry about the process. If you’ve gathered all pertinent information, the law firm that you’ve hired will file the lawsuit on your behalf with ease. Despite how hectic this time might be, you should provide your child with the proper medical care.
Many states implement a set of special requirements in birth injury cases, so it’s important that you have information about these requirements before filing the lawsuit. Your attorney should be aware of these requirements and tell you whether or not your case qualifies for them. Here are two of the most common requirements.
You Should File the Case Right After the Injury
Like most medical malpractice cases, the sooner you file the case, the more likely you will get compensated. This should be determined according to the statute of limitations in your state, but it is preferable that you file your case between six months and two years from the date of the injury. The start of this period can also vary according to your state. For example, this period starts right after the injury has been inflicted in some states, but other states’ laws dictate that it starts when the patient finds out about the negligent act.
A Review Panel
In some states, a patient will have to submit their case to the medical malpractice review panel in order for the argument to be reviewed and the evidence to be examined. This is to ensure that medical malpractice has actually occurred. The results that the panel comes up with are often presented in the case and the court usually looks into the findings of the panel first before deciding that the case should go to trial. While a review panel won’t replace your lawsuit, it is still another requirement that you will have to go through to present your case to court and get compensated.
You may not be able to identify a birth injury right after the damage has been done, as it’s not often easy to recognize these injuries, which is why it’s imperative that you start following these steps once you notice a sign of birth-related injury. Expect a powerful defense from the hospital attorneys, and make sure to hire a competent lawyer who can break through these defenses.