Legal Grounds for Pursuing a Birth Injury Settlement

Shay Morrigan | June 25th, 2013 | Posted in Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit News, Recent Settlements

Birth Injury SettlementWhen a newborn suffers a serious birth injury due to medical malpractice, the whole family is affected. As parents try to cope with the emotional difficulties surrounding the situation, they are also faced with increasing financial burdens as they seek out medical treatments and often, long-term therapies for their child.

In an effort to recover damages and to seek justice against those who caused the injury, parents may consider filing a lawsuit to seek a birth injury settlement or jury award. A mother who delivered her baby in 2004 did just that after one of her twins was born with significant brain damage that resulted in cerebral palsy, allegedly due to doctor error. Her lawyer negotiated a $2.8 million cerebral palsy lawsuit settlement prior to trial.

Who is eligible for a birth injury settlement?

If your baby was the victim of a birth injury caused by negligence on the part of a medical professional or hospital, you may be entitled to seek compensation for the medical expenses, and pain and suffering. The best way to determine your eligibility is to talk to a cerebral palsy lawyer.

Doctors and other health care providers are expected to follow certain standards of care. If a doctor fails to tell the mother of possible complications, makes a misdiagnosis, delays a required Cesarean section, or applies aggressive traction during delivery, causing the baby to suffer a resulting injury, he or she may be found to have committed medical negligence.

Other potential occurrences of medical negligence may include:

  • Failing to diagnose pregnancy problems in a timely manner
  • Failing to determine the fetal weight or position
  • Failing to arrive promptly for emergency situations
  • Lack of planning for a Cesarean section
  • Administering improper medication, or administering the incorrect dosage
  • Failing to properly monitor the baby’s health during delivery
  • Improper use of extraction techniques (using forceps or a vacuum, for instance)
  • Lack of proper attention to a high-risk pregnancy

Who is responsible for medical negligence

Medical negligence during delivery can lead to a number of injuries, including brain damage, broken bones, bruising, loss of nerve or muscle function, swelling, and broken blood vessels. Some of these injuries can result in life-long consequences, with the child requiring ongoing medical care. Injured children may also require occupational and physical therapies to help them manage as they grow older.

If the doctor or other medical personnel made any of the mistakes listed above and an injury resulted,  then they may be found liable in a birth injury lawsuit. The hospital or medical care facility where the delivery occurred may share the responsibility for failing to uphold certain standards such as hiring unqualified staff members or failing to adhere to hourly work limits.

When a cerebral palsy lawsuit settlement may be preferable

Some birth injury lawsuits go to trial, but in many cases, the parties are able to negotiate a settlement prior to trial. If the evidence shows that the doctor, other medical care professional, and/or hospital made obvious mistakes, it may be in the defendants’ best interests to settle out of court.

A cerebral palsy lawsuit settlement may be negotiated between the two parties if the medical reports show that the doctor was too aggressive in applying traction during delivery. The settlement amount will depend on the severity of the injury and the details of the case.

Plaintiffs always have the choice to refuse the settlement offer and go to trial, but they may prefer to avoid the challenge of a court case if the settlement amount seems fair. If they believe the defendants are offering much less than they deserve, however, a family may choose to proceed to trial in the hopes of winning a substantial verdict.

Pursuing a birth injury settlement

Parents of children who suffer from a serious birth injury are urged to consult a medical malpractice attorney at Balkin & Eisbrouch. An experienced professional can help guide families through the difficult process of bringing claims against a doctor, nurse, and/or hospital. Call today for more information and a free case evaluation.

Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, Potentially Avoidable Injuries to Mothers and Newborns During Childbirth, http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/statbriefs/sb74.jsp