Damages in a Birth Injury Case
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What Is a Birth Injury?
Birth injuries are human errors that can be preventable and avoided. Common types of birth injuries include:
- Failing to perform or schedule an emergency cesarean section (C-section)
- Improperly pulling or twisting the infant during delivery
- Improper use of medical tools during delivery
- Giving the wrong amount or type of medication
Birth injuries are not the same as birth defects. Birth defects are linked to the genetic DNA of a child. Birth defects include:
- A cleft palate
- Heart murmur
What Damages Can Parents Typically Recover in Birth Injury Cases?
Birth injuries can cost several thousands to more than one million dollars in treatment during the life of a child. Many families seek financial help from grants or government assistance. If medical malpractice caused the injuries, then your family may seek damages from the healthcare provider.
Damages are available for medical negligence cases and the damages available in birth injury cases include:
- Funeral expenses: Only available if the child or the mother dies during childbirth
- Medical expenses: These will vary depending on the extent of the child's injury and time spent in the hospital
- Non-economic damages: Many states also allow parents to recover for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering or loss of consortium. In the case that parents sue for loss of consortium, the damages are based on an estimate of the money value of a child's love and companionship
How Does the Death of a Child Affect the Damages in a Birth Injury Case?
In most cases if a child dies from a birth injury, damage awards decrease. When a child dies the lawsuit goes from being a medical malpractice case to a wrongful death case. Wrongful death cases are usually filed by the parents for their own benefit. In a wrongful death action, there are generally no damages awarded to the child. Few exceptions apply, such as damages that may have arisen when the child was alive (as for example, pain and suffering).
Are There Limitations on How the Money May Be Spent?
In general, limitations are not placed on how parents can spend the damages they receive in a wrongful death case unless agreed to by the parties.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Assistance in a Birth Injury Case?
Yes. If you believe that your child was injured during birth, then you should contact a medical malpractice attorney. An experience attorney can assist you in filing your claim and help you recover for the proper amount of damages.
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Last Modified: 03-02-2015 04:00 PM PST
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