A birth injury lawsuit is a type of medical malpractice claim. Although the ways in which such lawsuits proceed depend on the laws of the state where your child is born, there are certain events they all have in common.
Once you decide to pursue legal action, your lawyer will file a lawsuit against your doctor, your hospital, or any other party who might be responsible for your child's birth injury or notify the parties that you intend to file a lawsuit. The involved health care providers will then notify their medical malpractice insurers about the lawsuit. At that point, the handling of the defense of the lawsuit is turned over to the medical malpractice insurer and the medical malpractice defense attorneys.
What Happens Once the Birth Injury Lawsuit Has Been Filed?
After your attorney files the birth injury lawsuit with the Court in your area, both parties engage in discovery. During discovery, each side collects information about the opposing side. The other side will ask for your child's medical records, including any records for subsequent pediatric surgery performed to correct the injury, and possibly your medical records, financial records, and other documents. You will exchange questions and answers called interrogatories. Your child will most likely be required to undergo an Independent Medical Examination (IME) and if brain injuries are involved, a MRI by a physician chosen by the other side. Many of the individuals involved in the lawsuit (i.e. parents and treating physicians) will be questioned by the opposition's lawyer in what is called a deposition.
How Do Most Birth Injury Lawsuits Turn Out?
Many birth injury cases are settled during the initial discovery stages of collecting information. Your lawyer will talk to you about appropriate settlement amounts. When the other side offers to settle, you have the final say. If you decide to settle, the lawsuit ends. If you and the other side can't agree on a dollar amount, your case goes to trial.
How Quickly Do I Have to File a Birth Injury Lawsuit?
Every state has its own time limits for filing lawsuits, called statutes of limitation. In many states, the statute of limitation is longer when the lawsuit involves an injured child. For example, in Texas, an adult victim of malpractice has two years to file suit, while a child under twelve has until the age of fourteen.
Do I Need a Medical Malpractice Attorney?
Since you only have a certain amount of time to file a birth injury lawsuit, you should contact a medical malpractice attorney to discuss your claim the minute you suspect something went wrong during the birth of your child. If you don't get your lawsuit filed on time, you may lose your right to file it at all.