Health, Legal, Medical

Birth Injury Lawsuit: a Guide for Distressed Parents

Baby in Crib

There is no denying that giving birth can be an overwhelming experience. As parents, you may want nothing more than to get over this procedure quickly so you may hold your child as soon as possible. Every parent looks forward to the birth of their child; it is a monumental and joyous occasion to welcome them to the world. Unfortunately, not every delivery begins with happiness; some babies get injured during birth, which is a tragic and painful moment.

According to the American Association of Birth Centers (AABC), more than 4 million babies are born with an injury annually. These are startling numbers and, for any parent, also highly terrifying. Hence, if your child goes through this tragic instance, what can you do? Here’s what you need to know:

Understand the Law Is Here to Help

You are not alone; there are laws in place that are designed to help you. Birth injuries fall into two categories, medical negligence or medical mistakes. In the first case, you will need to prove that the medical staff attending to delivery were careless about your well-being, while in the latter, you need medical evidence to show that the doctors made a mistake.

In both circumstances, you must consult a personal injury attorney and file a claim. These lawyers will investigate what caused the injury and how extensive the damages are; they will ensure you get your due right by filing a claim and holding the hospital accountable. Here’s an outline of the steps you will have to go through with your attorney to file and strengthen a birth injury case.

1. Gather Evidence

To prepare your case, you need evidence that shows clear signs of neglect. Your best defense is all your medical transcripts and documentation of your birthing journey. You need to provide your lawyer with all the receipts, transcripts, bills, and reports. If there are no signs that the fetus was injured, underdeveloped, or struggled during your pregnancy yet somehow was born with an injury, you may be dealing with neglect. Doctors are required to record what happened during your labor and birth. These statements will come in handy as you prepare to hold the hospital body accountable.

2. Mind The Statute of Limitations

Every case has deadlines. The statute of limitations is a timeline that informs you that you have a prescribed period to pursue your claim. Once this time expires, your case cannot no longer get registered. These statutes vary from state to state, but generally, you have two to three years to file a lawsuit. A statute of limitation goes into action once the injury is discovered.

In some cases, like cerebral palsy, a baby doesn’t show signs of a developmental disorder until they’re one. If you’re dealing with cerebral palsy, chances are your statute starts after your child is one, and you can tell something is wrong. If, down the line, your child wants to pursue a case on the injuries they sustained at birth, they can do it once they turn 18. After which, they have two to three years to file a claim. Certain states have special exceptions, and it’s best to consult your lawyer to know if your state has any. For example, in Nevada, the statute of limitations is up to ten years if your child has brain damage because of their birth injury.

3. Document Your Child’s Birth Injury

The more details you provide your lawyer about your child’s injuries, the stronger your case will be. Documents your child’s condition and take note of how the wound impacts them, including their motor, behavioral, and developmental traits. Questions like Is your child too lethargic? Do they experience epileptic fits? Are they unable to sit or stand on their own? These should be covered in your documentation. It would help if you also took pictures of stitches, open wounds, and apparent physical injuries that further reinforce your case. It would also help if you saw a doctor and got their opinion on your child’s condition.

A pediatrician can inform you about the developmental milestones your child should have exhibited by now and walk you through the injuries they can notice in your baby. As a result, if your baby had to undergo extensive physical and occupational therapy based on this diagnosis, submit a copy of the bill to your lawyer.

4. Wait for The Hospital’s Response

Cases don’t automatically go to trial. When you submit a claim, you must give the other party time to reply. Court cases follow a systematic process. If the hospital shows hostility or denies these charges, you may go for a trial; in most cases, hospitals prefer settling outside the court and away from the jury. This is because trials are long, and the more hospitals wait for judgment, the more their reputation tarnishes.

Most juries are also sympathetic towards babies, and there’s a high chance they’re already ruling in your favor. If you win the trial, you can score a bigger pay, and the court may order the hospital to pay an additional penalty.

5. Negotiate for a Settlement

Even though the defendant, which is the hospital, has agreed to a settlement, that doesn’t mean they’ll try to pay you fairly. Most hospitals will try to reduce the cost of compensation by looking for loopholes or may say your documentation is not valid enough; in such cases, your lawyer will help. Leave the negotiations to your attorney and let them decide a figure for you. Your lawyer will know precisely how to deal with, argue, defend, and prove your case to end up with a high settlement. If there is no agreement between the parties, your lawsuit will go to trial.

The court will inform you when your trial will take place. A jury will decide your verdict and may need time for deliberation, so you must prepare for a long journey ahead. But these cases most likely end at settlements, allowing you to focus your energy and emotions on your baby.

Final Thoughts

Hospitals have a minute margin to make errors since these mistakes can quickly become fatal for the patient. Yet despite this knowledge, numerous healthcare sectors still neglect and mistreat their patients. To make matters worse, certain hospitals can also make special days like a baby’s birth extremely traumatizing by neglecting the mother’s health.

Therefore, as a new mom, if you go through something as upsetting as a birth injury, there are avenues like a lawsuit to help you. It’s highly recommended that you pursue a case, as it will allow you to get compensated and seek justice for your child.

More on this topic:

Top Risk Factors For Birth Injuries

Top Risk Factors For Birth Injuries

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