Birth injuries are tragic occurrences that can negatively affect a family for many years or forever. Depending on the type and seriousness of the injury, victims of birth injuries may be entitled to significant compensation through a settlement. Just how much depends on various factors that can and typically do impact birth injury settlements.

Medical Negligence and Liability in Birth Injury Cases

When a healthcare provider is negligent and a birth injury results, they can likely be held liable for medical malpractice, depending on the act of negligence. Medical negligence describes medical treatment or care that is below acceptable standards of care. All medical professionals must maintain these standards when caring for patients.

For example, if a birth injury occurs due to a failure to properly monitor a fetus during childbirth, medical malpractice is likely to have taken place.

Other examples of medical negligence during birth include but are not limited to:

  • Improper forceps or vacuum use
  • Use of too much force while removing the baby from the birth canal
  • Cesarean-section errors
  • Improper staffing or supervision
  • Medication and anesthesia errors
  • Failure to diagnose

The professionals that may ultimately be held liable for these acts include:

  • Physicians
  • Surgeons
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Nurses
  • Midwives
  • Doolas

Hospitals and birthing centers may also be called to answer for negligence. Additionally, if a birth injury is caused by a faulty medical device or machine, the device maker, distributor, and retailer may face liability for the injury.

Types of Birth Injuries and Their Impacts on Settlements

Unfortunately, medical negligence is responsible for various types of birth injuries, including:

  • Injury to the brachial plexus resulting in Erb’s palsy or another injury
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Broken or crushed bones
  • Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Hematomas
  • Jaundice
  • Meconium aspiration
  • Wrongful death

In some cases, the injury, although serious, is reversible over time and with the appropriate medical treatment. However, other injury cases involve lifelong treatment and care and a constant strain on resources. As you might imagine, cases involving irreversible serious birth injuries typically command the highest birth injury settlements.

Assessing the Severity of Birth Injuries

One of the most important stages of the compensation process involves assessing the birth injury to determine its level of severity. This process requires the use of qualified medical experts with extensive experience in birth injuries and related matters.

Medical malpractice insurance companies will always seek to downplay the seriousness of an injury or its consequences. If successful in doing so, they can pay less. However, the victim’s attorney will fight to ensure a just assessment of their client’s birth injury.

Long-Term Prognosis and Future Medical Needs

Ultimately, the long-term prognosis and future medical needs of the injury victim will have the highest impact on a birth injury settlement. If a victim’s prognosis involves decades of medical treatment and rehabilitation, the damages payout will be high. The attorney will seek coverage for significant economic and non-economic damages.

Economic and Non-Economic Damages

Birth injury victims and their families require substantial compensation in many cases. Their attorney fiercely pursues economic and non-economic damages on their behalf, which include:

  • Hospital and medical bills compensation
  • Compensation for lost income, wages, and economic opportunity
  • Compensation for medical equipment and devices
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Disfigurement

Economic damages are more readily calculable than non-economic damages. Bills, account statements, and invoices tell a clear picture of the medical expenses involved; pay stubs and work schedules make it easy to document lost income. However, non-economic damages can be challenging.

Attorneys use formulas to put dollar values on intangible harms. The seasoned birth injury attorney will know how to negotiate compensation totals that benefit their client.

The Role of Legal Representation in Maximizing Birth Injury Settlements

The primary responsibility of your birth injury lawyer is to do what every claimant desires — recover the highest amount of compensation available in their case. This goal is accomplished through the use of training, experience, and skill.

Birth injury lawyers are well-versed in the relevant medical issues and use the law to hold medical practitioners and insurance companies to account. Through detailed consultations with medical professionals and thorough investigations, birth injury lawyers build cases that encompass all available damages payable to their clients. 

FAQ

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Birth Injury Claims?

The statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits is two years in Florida. However, for a birth injury lawsuit, the window for filing a claim may be open until the child’s eighth birthday.

How Much Damages Will I Get for a Birth Injury Claim?

Your birth injury lawyer will work diligently to recover the maximum damages payout for your claim, which is primarily based on your injuries and the extent of your losses. If your birth injury claim involves a traumatic brain or spinal cord injury, the payout will be higher than a claim involving a broken finger.

How Long Will My Birth Injury Claim Take?

Ultimately, the facts and circumstances of your birth injury case will determine how long your claim takes. Some cases have more complex facts than others and may involve legal issues that take time to work through.

Other cases are pretty straightforward and find resolution relatively quickly. Generally, you could be looking at anywhere between months to a few years, depending on your situation.

Get Help Recovering a Proper Birth Injury Settlement Today

Hiring an attorney is one of the most impactful decisions you will make when seeking compensation for a birth injury claim. Ultimately, the skill and experience of your lawyer will play one of the largest roles in how much money you receive.

Ratzan Weissman & Boldt is a premier injury firm ready to help you get justice. Contact our team for a free consultation today.