When our child is born, we want it to have the best possible start in life. We never want to think that the doctors and medical professionals were responsible for our baby’s birth injuries. Of course, sometimes deliveries are complicated, and sometimes things don’t always go as planned. Everyone understands each birth process is different. Proper care may not always mean perfect care.
Unfortunately, a birth injury claim is still necessary to ensure that the infant can have a good quality of life, and the parents can be given the financial compensation they will need to care for their child throughout its life. If you believe your child’s birth injury or birth defect was due to malpractice or negligence, you have the right to relief from the financial burdens imposed by your child’s condition.
Breaking Down the Birth Injuries Lawsuit Process
Proving that a birth injury was due to medical malpractice requires meeting certain legal burdens to show that it was specifically the delivery process that caused the injury. Sometimes birth defects can be caused by congenital abnormalities prior to birth. Occasionally these defects only appear after the child is delivered. You will need to meet the following standards:
1. The Birth Injury Lawsuit Falls Within the Statute of Limitations
In Florida, the statute of limitations, 95.11(4)(b) requires that medical malpractice suits must be brought within two years from the time of the injury, or the time that the injury is discovered, but not later than four years from the absolute date of the injury.
In the case of birth injuries, if the suit is brought on behalf of the child, then the legal process can be extended until the child is eight years old.
Suppose the claimant can show that there was deliberate fraud, concealment, or misrepresentation by the medical personnel. In that case, all limitations periods are extended two years but cannot ever exceed seven years from the date of injury.
What all this means is that parents need to establish as soon as possible their child’s injury was caused by an incident during delivery, and that it was due to medical malpractice. This can be very hard on parents struggling to cope with a disabled child. Unfortunately, delay can mean additional time lost to investigation and finding witnesses, which narrows the time for litigation even further.
2. Proof Is Provided That Medical Providers Deviated From Standard of Care
Doctors and medical professionals owe a certain duty of care to their patients and are required to treat patients according to reasonable professional standards, meaning that another doctor in similar circumstances would have done the same thing. Doctors are held to a higher standard of care because of their education and training, and because we have given them our trust and authority to make life-and-death decisions.
To show that a doctor deviated from the standard of care, it is not sufficient to show that the doctor did something that another doctor might not have done under the circumstances. It must also be shown that the injury was foreseeable and that there were no other medically feasible alternatives at the time.
For instance, it is standard for doctors to attach a fetal monitor to a baby during delivery, to keep track of the baby’s heart rate. If a doctor fails to do this, and the baby’s heartbeat drops, it could mean the doctor misses an important sign of fetal distress. However, if the delivery was taking place in the back of a car, and the doctor had no opportunity to attach the monitor, it would not be considered medical malpractice.
3. Mistakes Made by Health Care Professionals Resulted in Permanent Damage or Impacted Quality of Life
Some common birth injuries are not serious, although they are painful and require post-natal care. The most common injuries are broken bones, most frequently collarbones, and they heal quickly without complications. Although these should not be minimized, they are not the kinds of injuries that can successfully be brought to trial.
The mistakes that can be part of a lawsuit must have caused permanent damage or affected the child’s long-term quality of life. Thankfully, most injuries do not cause such lasting damage. But serious injuries like hypoxia, cerebral palsy, encephalopathy, and developmental delays should be addressed in court.
4. A Birth Injury Settlement is Determined To Cover Current and Future Expenses
Your child will be with you for a long time. A child deserves the best life you can give it, but when faced with an infant with chronic health problems due to birth injuries, you may wonder how your baby will get even the basics it needs, much less the life you had planned.
Birth injury lawsuits are intended to provide you with the compensation you will need to cover the current medical expenses and future care expenses your child will need for a quality life. You should not be expected to cover the unexpected costs of taking care of injuries you did not cause.
These include everything that can be calculated. The immediate medical costs of childbirth, injuries to the infant and the mother, Neonatal infant care unit (NICU) costs, future medical treatments (follow-up surgeries, medical devices), therapy, and so on.
Monetary damages can also include costs of modifying the home, loss of parental income if the parents must stay home to care for the infant, cost of a caregiver or aide, and special education costs.
Also called non-economic damages these are things that cannot be shown with bills or bank statements, but still, have a profound effect on the child’s life. They can include pain and suffering, mental anguish, life care planning, loss of companionship, and other losses your child may suffer because of the injury.
For instance, if your child has cerebral palsy due to birth trauma, they will need specialized transportation devices, and special accommodations to travel. Since the option is letting your child stay home, you are entitled to expect this compensation so your child can enjoy a trip to Disney World like other children.
Find an Experienced Birth Injury Lawyer to Get the Financial Compensation You Deserve
If you believe your child has suffered a birth injury that was due to medical malpractice, you should contact a birth injury attorney like Ratzan Weissman & Boldt. The attorneys will fight for your rights both before and during trial, and make sure you and your child are skillfully represented in court.
The purpose of any birth injury lawsuit is to get your family the monetary compensation you deserve for any errors during the birth process that affected your child’s future quality of life. Our legal team will review the medical records and carry out the investigation necessary to protect your rights and get the compensation you need.
Contact us today for a consultation.