Birth Injury Settlements and Jury Awards

Staff Writer | July 10th, 2013 | Posted in Recent Settlements

Birth Injury Settlements If medical malpractice or doctor negligence during pregnancy or delivery resulted in an injury to your child, you and your family may be entitled to compensation in a court of law.

Birth injury settlements and jury awards can cover the costs of medical care and treatment, rehabilitation, and other care and assistance your child will need because of the injury. Settlements or jury awards may also offer monetary compensation for pain, suffering, and emotional distress that you and your family suffer.

Medical wrongdoing

Health professionals that care for you owe you a duty to provide reasonable care in accordance with established medical standards. When doctors, nurses, midwives or others fall short of that responsibility, you can hold them accountable for any injuries that result from their negligence. In birth injury cases, negligence or malpractice often include failing to diagnose problems in the pregnancy, ignoring or mistreating signs of fetal distress, or attempting to deliver a baby using too much force.

Jury trial and awards

Medical malpractice cases usually demand a trial by jury. In a jury trial, an expert witness will testify as to the appropriate standard of care and how the defendants fell short of that standard. If the jury finds negligence, a monetary award will be granted that takes into consideration the extent of the injury, the potential or actual permanent damage that occurred as a result, and the costs of medical care for the injured party. In extreme cases, juries may also consider punitive damages if the defendant is found to have acted with reckless disregard for their patient. Jury awards in malpractice cases can amount to millions of dollars when all factors are considered.

Examples of jury awards in birth injury cases:

  • In Massachusetts, one jury awarded nearly $40 million to a boy and his family after their doctor waited more than five hours to deliver the child despite his signs of fetal distress. The child suffers from cerebral palsy and severe developmental disorders.
  • In Iowa, a family was awarded $5.5 million after a baby girl lost the function of her right arm and shoulder due to a brachial plexus injury at birth caused by medical negligence.

Settling a birth injury lawsuit

Many birth injury malpractice lawsuits are settled out of court. If the evidence points to medical negligence, the parties may agree on a settlement in order to avoid a lengthy and expensive trial. Experienced birth injury lawyers can often negotiate a settlement on a plaintiff’s behalf that is comparable to what a jury would have awarded had the case gone to trial.

Examples of birth injury settlements:

  • A mother in Kansas settled a lawsuit against her doctors and hospital for $4.72 million after her obstetrician and medical staff made several mistakes during delivery, leading her child to develop cerebral palsy.
  • A family settled with a New York hospital for $900,000 after their baby was born with Erb’s palsy because the medical staff pulled too hard on the infant’s head during delivery.

Statute of limitations

Many jurisdictions limit the amount of time an injured party has to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. If too much time passes after the injury, you may lose your eligibility for an award or settlement. If your child was injured at birth and you suspect medical malpractice or negligence, speak with a birth injury lawyer right away to find out if you have grounds for a lawsuit.

Talk to a birth injury lawyer

Birth injury lawyers at Balkin & Eisbrouch have a proven track record of success at negotiating settlements and winning jury awards for their clients. If you or someone you love has been the victim of medical malpractice or doctor negligence, call today to speak to an experienced attorney who will evaluate your case free of charge.

Boston.com - Baby's brain damage leads to record jury judgment http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2005/08/18/babys/