Expecting mothers and their unborn children are in a precarious condition during the pregnancy and delivery process. Therefore, medical professionals should assess pregnant mothers with extreme diligence to avoid any severe consequences. Although the delivery procedures are much safer now due to the advancements in medicine, there are still times when complications might arise. However, it is the responsibility of the obstetrician to address those complications instantly.
If your child has been a victim of birth injury, undoubtedly, it can immensely shatter your emotional and mental health. These injuries may result from the negligence of gynecologists, pharmaceutical companies, or the medical staff failing to discharge their duties and mandate. Given that, settling well into the new routine is already difficult for the new parents. Now, add the life-long injuries and unique needs of your child, too. If you could use one word to express your hurt and pain, it would be ‘betrayal.’ Who would have ever thought that the happiest and most awaited moment of your life would get ruined? And that too, by the hands of those whom you entrusted for the best quality care and services?
And the most hurtful part? Unfortunately, such healthcare practitioners don’t even bother to accept their mistakes. Instead of feeling remorseful, they try to cover their slipshod mistakes. These feelings of hurt and betrayal compel parents to hire an expert attorney to hold the concerned party accountable.
The following is a step by step guide for you to navigate the birth injury lawsuit:
- Investigation of the Case
Childbirth injuries can occur due to various reasons such as malpractice, delayed birth, inappropriate medications, or oxygen deprivation. However, if your newborn’s neck has extended to one side during the complicated childbirth, you deserve answers. Therefore, it is prudent to hire an Erb’s palsy lawyer to fight for rightful compensation. Your selected attorney will investigate and find evidence against the physician who used inappropriate means or tools that caused Erb’s palsy.
Even if you are unsure of what happened during the labor process that led to the newborn’s injury, you still don’t need to fret. Your lawyer will figure out the answers to the following questions:
- How, when, and where the incident took place?
- What happened pre and post the delivery process?
- Was it the healthcare professional’s ineptitude or negligence that caused the injury?
- Primarily, was the injury avoidable?
- File the Birth Injury Claim
After the collection of evidence, the lawyer will file a lawsuit in your name. The plaintiffs are the ones who file the case, and the opposing party becomes the defendants. However, ensure to file the legal claim before a given timeline, known as the statute of limitation. The statutory period varies for each state; therefore, watch out for the time frame. As soon as it expires, you will have no legal right to take any action against the healthcare professionals or the facility.
Now, the court will schedule the case and send a notice letter to the defendants. Suppose the accused party doesn’t get back with a response in the given time limit. In that case, the claimant will automatically win the case. However, be extra cautious during this duration. Any interaction with the healthcare personnel or the insurance company can impact the case significantly.
- More Discovery
If the defendants respond to the notice letter sent by the court, the discovery stage begins. Again, the court sets out the duration of this phase. During this period, your attorney will dig deeper into your case and find more information to prove the medical malpractice. For instance, your attorney might ask for the following details:
- Medical records of the mother as well as the newborn
- Medical expenses and bills
- Hold depositions for the evidence
- Images of the injuries
- Previous allegations on the healthcare professional or the hospital
- Conduct testimonials from medical professionals to testify
- Negotiation for a Settlement Offer
In some cases, the lawsuit does not even reach court. Instead, the tortfeasor offers a settlement for such cases to avoid negative press and the time-intensive court trials. Sometimes, the claimants too give in and agree to the settlement offer for the sake of a lump sum money by the defendants. With a trusted legal representation, your child can receive the best medical treatment, and you might not have to pay the expensive court trial fees. That way, none of the parties gets declared as winners or losers.
However, before settling on any compensation offer, it’s pivotal that you realize the intensity of the injuries and the financial challenges that may arise with the injury. These may include the potential costs of life-long medical treatments, income loss, home-based care, special case equipment, and other hardships. It is often the straightforward and fastest method to close the case. However, sometimes, the defendants offer an unjust settlement amount or refuse the birth injury claim from the outset. And this eventually leads to the court process.
- Court Trials
If both plaintiffs and the defendants cannot negotiate the settlement offer, the jury decides the final verdict. The judge will hear the point of view of both sides and then arrive at the final decision. Suppose your lawyer succeeds in proving the medical negligence of the healthcare professionals. In that case, the court might give the judgment in favor of you. And you might receive financial compensation much more than that offered in the settlement offer. However, if the court doesn’t side with you, you will not receive any compensation.
Anyone who loses the case, either the plaintiffs or the defendants, has the right to appeal the decision. However, unfortunately, that means the case might get stretched for far too long, and your child’s financial recovery might be left hanging in the air.
Every parent wishes to have a healthy newborn. And the news of childbirth injury is the last thing they want to hear. Unfortunately, suppose your child has suffered from a birth injury, which was preventable in the first place. In that case, it’s about time you demand the justice you downright deserve. Either it is delinquency, needless oversight, or the incompetency of physicians, it will be in your best interests to hire an expert attorney. Don’t let the healthcare providers and the insurance companies intimidate you and force you to close the case. Instead, provide the details of your lawsuit to the malpractice attorney. These professionals understand the fears of expectant parents and, thus, will go to lengths to achieve the best possible outcomes for your case.