Birth Injury Settlements: How to Value Birth Trauma Cases?
Doctors and hospital staff have the legal and ethical duty to deliver safe, quality care to every patient. Families rely on physicians and their teams' skills, expertise, and competence to ensure safe delivery.
Unfortunately, some medical professionals fail to adhere to their duty of care, resulting in birth injuries during the birthing process. Their negligent acts caused severe birth injuries that left families struggling to care for an injured child and unable to pay for medical expenses.
The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC are legal advocates for families struggling with birth injuries caused by negligence.
What Is a Birth Injury?
While many newborns suffer from injuries, these are relatively minor and may disappear in a few days. However, some babies suffer from severe birth injuries, which can cause lifelong physical and mental impairments.
Childbirth injury statistics in the US reveal that 6 in 1000 newborns suffer from serious birth injuries. The injuries include fractured bones, brain injury, Cerebral Palsy, neurological disorders, and developmental disorders.
The most common type of birth injury is Cerebral Palsy, diagnosed in 4 out of 1000 births. In addition, children may also experience
- Erb’s palsy
- Fetal stroke
- Facial nerve palsy
- Caput Succedaneum
- Other types of birth injury trauma
Medical practitioners and other healthcare professionals can be held responsible for malpractice if they fail to follow standard practices resulting in injuries to the newborn.
If your child suffered a birth injury, you have the right to file a birth injury lawsuit. Call Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC; we can advise you on your legal options and assist you while going through the legal process.
Birth Injury and Medical Malpractice
Medical practitioners should provide high-quality medical treatment during childbirth. They are expected to possess the skills, expertise, and knowledge to handle complicated birthing situations.
However, there are instances when medical professionals deviate from medical standards resulting in a child’s birth injury. Below are medical malpractices that can result in a child’s birth injury:
- Misinterpretation of fetal ultrasounds
- Lapses in recognizing signs of fetal distress resulting in a delay in providing appropriate treatment leading to severe trauma or brain injury
- Delay in performing an emergency C-section, even when the mother or baby’s condition of the neonate requires it.
- Incorrect use of forceps and other delivery instruments causes the baby’s brain injury.
Medical malpractice may also occur even after the delivery of the baby. Doctors and other health care professionals must continuously monitor the baby for any complications even after delivery. They can be held liable for medical malpractice if their negligence caused harm to the newborn.
Reaching a Negotiated Settlement for a Child’s Birth Injury
A birth injury settlement refers to the amount a negligent medical practitioner agrees to pay to the family of a child injured during delivery.
A child who suffers from permanent birth injury may require continuous and life-long medication, physical therapy, and other forms of care. The birth injury lawsuit settlement amount serves as a source of financial support for families who need substantial resources to pay for medical costs and care for an injured child.
Is your newborn a victim of medical malpractice? Speak to a birth injury lawyer to get a free case review of your medical malpractice claim.
A lawyer with experience in handling birth injury cases can increase the success of a medical negligence lawsuit.
Filing Birth Injury Lawsuits
A birth injury claim is a legal claim made on behalf of a child who has been injured during the birthing process. Family members who plan to file a birth injury settlement claim are expected to prepare the evidence that the medical professional’s negligence resulted in the child’s birth injury.
It is also important to keep account of all the medical bills paid and future medical expenses associated with the child’s treatment. The birth injury settlement claim may also include ongoing therapy and treatment costs, in-home care, adapted equipment, and transportation for medical appointments.
Financial compensation claims for birth injury cases may also include intangible costs for your family’s pain and suffering.
Reasons to File a Birth Injury Settlement Claim
Settlement claims provide indemnity for families faster than going to trial. Most birth injury attorneys choose a settlement over a court trial because medical malpractice lawsuits can be costly and time-consuming. Also, plaintiffs may not receive any compensation if jurors do not decide in their favor.
A birth injury lawsuit settlement also holds health practitioners responsible for their negligence. While nothing will make up for a child’s injury during delivery, compensation from the at-fault parties will ease the family’s pain and suffering.
In most birth injury lawsuit settlements, the parties will reach a fair settlement based on actual damages, agreeing to settle out of court.
Filing a Birth Injury Settlement Claim
The initial step in filing malpractice claims involving children includes hiring a birth injury attorney to file the claim on your behalf.
Experienced birth injury lawyers develop a strong case by proving that the healthcare provider's negligence caused the baby’s injuries. They will also present evidence of the family’s pain and suffering, which entitles them to compensation for the newborn’s injury.
Moreover, a lawyer experienced in handling birth injury cases will:
- File the claim as soon as possible
- Gather evidence, including medical records and testimonies, to prove the allegation
- Identify the party responsible for the newborn’s injury
- Negotiate on your behalf for a fair settlement claim
Most medical malpractice cases end up in an injury settlement. The parties agree on a specific amount of compensation to cover medical costs and expenses. If the parties fail to settle, the lawsuit will likely go to trial.
If your child was injured during delivery, contacting a lawyer is the initial step in obtaining injury claims.
Our experienced lawyer at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC offers a free consultation and will work on your behalf.
Factors Affecting the Amount of Birth Injury Settlements
Each case of injury during delivery is unique. Birth injury lawsuit settlements vary based on the facts of the case. Below are some of the most critical elements that influence birth injury lawsuit settlements:
Current and Future Medical Bills
If the newborn’s injury resulted in a life-long disorder, the birth injury settlement award should cover more than their medical bills. Below are some of the common future costs associated with birth injury treatments:
- Continuing medications: While most medicines are not curative, they are an integral part of managing symptoms of certain birth injuries. For example, pain relievers are prescribed to children with cerebral palsy to relieve them from severe muscular spasms.
- Anti-seizure drugs: Medications can help children with brain impairments. These drugs lessen the prevalence of seizures. Also, medical practitioners prescribe medications that help promote growth and enhance strength in children with weak muscles.
- Occupational therapy: Children with Cerebral Palsy due to birth injury may need continuing therapies and treatments. For example, parents may deem it necessary to pay for an individualized occupational therapy treatment plan. The cost of the treatment plan may vary, and a child with cerebral palsy may need to be reevaluated for progress once every six months.
- Physical therapy: Birth injuries may result in weakness and even paralysis. The therapy treatment may aid in improving movement and muscular strength.
- Surgical treatment: Parents might opt for surgical operation if the child suffers from serious birth injuries that require nerve restoration.
- Hypothermia treatment: There’s hope for parents and children who suffered from brain injuries during childbirth. Currently, medical practitioners use hypothermia to treat infants suffering from brain injuries caused by oxygen deprivation. A newborn who incurred a major injury due to lack of oxygen has an improved chance of recovering from the injury. Parents who seek to revise the effect of oxygen deprivation during childbirth may need a hypothermia treatment for their child.
The compensation for a newborn injury may include lost wages. A child who has cerebral palsy, for instance, requires continuing care and monitoring of the baby’s health. Parents lose their income if they may need to quit their job to provide adequate care to the child.
Pain and Suffering
The settlement may also include compensation for pain and suffering. The settlement amount may include the dollar amount assigned to the difficulty of coping with injury.
It is difficult to put a dollar value on emotional anguish. However, one method is to determine the severity of the injury and the prospect of the child recovering from it. In addition, you may also add an amount to cover the impact of the birth injury on the baby and the family.
Birth Injury Settlement FAQs
Families of newborns injured during delivery may have unanswered questions about how they will pursue a medical malpractice or wrongful death lawsuit. Our attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have answers for them.
Contact us today for additional information on birth injuries and what to expect when filing a claim, lawsuit, or case against others.
What Are the Most Common Birth Injury Causes?
Delayed birth happens when labor occurs for more than 18 hours. It is one of the most common causes of fetal distress, as some newborns have a high intolerance for contractions during the birthing process.
The medical professional has to be vigilant of indicators for fetal distress, such as checking for fetal heart rate and performing necessary interventions when needed.
Further, oxygen deprivation for around 10 minutes may result in brain damage in most neonates. Any delay in delivering oxygen to the baby might contribute to the development of brain damage with lifelong consequences. Studies show that oxygen deprivation of about 25 minutes may result in death.
The medical practitioner’s malpractice and negligence may also cause birth injuries. For example, the team may need to perform a C-section if the labor is not progressing enough to cause injury to the brain. Failure to monitor and perform C-sections on time may result in a birth injury to the baby.
What Is the Average Birth Injury Settlement?
The average birth injury settlement for medical malpractice cases that go to trial is $1.6 million. However, the average compensation for a medical malpractice lawsuit based on national verdicts ranges from $295,000 to $370,000. These averages are taken from reported birth injury settlement cases across fifty states in the US.
Despite these averages, each case is unique, making it difficult to arrive at a specific settlement amount. Consulting a birth injury attorney can help determine a fair amount.
What Influences the Value of a Birth Injury Case?
Various factors influence the value of a newborn injury case. Two of the most common factors known to increase the settlement value of a birth injury settlement are the severity of the injuries and the extent of the losses:
- The severity of injuries: The value of birth injury settlement depends mainly on the seriousness of the damage. For example, a neurological injury or severe brain damage demands a higher compensation as these are lifelong disorders that adversely affect the child’s life.
- The extent of the losses: Some newborn injury cases entail a lifetime of pain and suffering. Children injured due to doctors’ negligence during childbirth have the right to demand the cost of past and future medical
What Are Non-Economic Damages in a Birth Injury Settlement?
Non-economic damages refer to the victim’s mental anguish and emotional suffering, including emotional distress and loss of enjoyment of life. A newborn who suffered from a life-long disorder due to the carelessness and negligence of healthcare practitioners is entitled to non-economic damages.
How Long Does It Take to Reach an Agreement?
The birth injury attorney representing you will begin working immediately on the birth injury settlement case. An essential part of birth injury settlements includes gathering evidence and other relevant information to support the claim.
In handling medical malpractice claims involving children, birth injury lawyers examine medical bills and future medical expenses, lost wages, degree of negligence, and severity of injuries.
In most birth injury lawsuits, the law firm gathers relevant evidence and files the settlement claim. If you have a strong case and sufficient evidence, you may reach an agreement in as little as a few weeks.
However, birth injury settlements vary. A birth injury lawyer can help assign an expected timeline for each lawsuit process stage.
Is There a Time Limit on Filing a Birth Injury Lawsuit?
The maximum time to initiate birth injury lawsuits starts right after most states' birth injury is detected. Families that plan to file aclaim must do so before the statute of limitations in their state expires.
For example, if a birth injury was detected the day they were born, the time limit to file a birth injury settlement case starts from that day. The discovery rule supports that where the injury was not diagnosed until later, the statute of limitations commences at the time of discovery, not at birth.
However, not all states follow the discovery rule. Speak with an attorney to learn more about your state's birth injury statute of limitations.
Pursue a Birth Injury Settlement Today
Talk to a personal injury lawyer at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers. LLC, we will fight for you and your family to ensure that you are adequately compensated for your losses. We have access to all the necessary legal resources to successfully resolve birth injury lawsuits.
Call us for a free no-obligation consultation through our contact form or call our legal team at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call).
Our legal team accepts personal injury claims and wrongful death lawsuits on a contingency fee basis. There is never a fee charged unless there is a recovery for you. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our law firm remains private through an attorney-client relationship.