Birth Injuries and Their Aftermath
Some birth injuries resolve themselves. For example, minor bruising or even some types of paralysis like Erb’s palsy can heal fully within a few months of birth.
Others do not.
Severe birth injuries can lead to lifelong complications. Most will affect a child and his or her family for the rest of their lives. When medical errors or negligence cause harm to a child, that child is entitled to compensation. In a legal case filed on behalf of the child, all the costs—physical, fiscal, and emotional—are counted, and settlements usually involve a life care plan.
What Is a Life Care Plan?
Life care plans are legal documents that estimate the total costs for a child’s birth injury over the course of the victim’s lifetime. Life care plans are drafted by a group of specialists: medical experts, physicians, and attorneys who speculate on the amount of money (adjusted for inflation) that the injured child and family will need so as not to endure undue financial hardship.
In general, a life care plan will include provisions for the following:
- Medical care of the injury victim from infancy through adulthood
- Medical procedures anticipated throughout the injury victim’s life
- Any necessary therapy, such as occupational, speech, physical, and emotional therapy
- Professional in-home care
- Adaptive equipment needed, such as wheelchair lifts for modified vehicles, etc.
- Household modifications needed, such as ramps, handrails, special bathtubs, etc.
- Special transportation
- Special education
Additional allowances for parents may also be included in a life care plan, including:
- Respite care
- Lost wages
- Loss of career
- Extreme changes to lifestyle
- Emotional anguish and mental duress
Why You Should Have a Life Care Plan
A birth injury can result in severe mental and physical disabilities requiring professional care.
If the parents are qualified and choose to be the child’s primary caregiver, this can mean the loss of a career or a major reduction in earnings. Severe handicaps from birth injuries can also demand special equipment and household and vehicle modifications, like special beds, wheelchair ramps, and lifts. And it’s very likely that the child will require special schooling, corrective surgeries, and years of physical therapy—all very costly things.
And let’s not forget the change in a parent’s lifestyle a birth injury can cause; not to mention the pain and suffering, isolation, and alienation the child is going to have to endure. These future expenses are why many birth injury settlements involve a life care plan—to plan and provide for the child who was hurt.
If your child has a birth injury due to medical negligence, you have rights. To find out more, speak to birth injury lawyer Laura Brownin for a free consultation.
What Are the Steps for Filing a Birth Injury Lawsuit?
- Consultation. If your baby suffered a birth injury, your first step should be to learn about your legal options by consulting with an experienced birth injury attorney in your area to review the specific circumstances surrounding your case. Each case is different, so it’s important that a knowledgeable attorney looks at the facts of your unique case to determine if medical malpractice and negligence was the culprit. At Brown Trial Firm, your first consultation is free.
- Filing. Once our birth injury attorneys have determined that a lawsuit is warranted and you hire us, the next step is to file a claim with the appropriate court system and serve the defendant a notice of your lawsuit.
- Discovery. Before your case goes to trial, there are several pre-trial steps to undergo—starting with “discovery.” Discovery is when the plaintiffs and defendants exchange information about their respective arguments in order to allow all parties to understand what evidence the other side intends to use.
- Depositions. Depositions are another pre-trial step that involves getting sworn testimony from witnesses. This testimony can be used to shed light on your case—for example, by revealing what medical providers actually knew about the conditions that caused the birth injury before, during or post-birth.
- Investigation. From the moment we accept your case and file a lawsuit, our attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation into your baby’s birth injury by consulting with medical experts to determine if the standard of care was breached and who is responsible for your baby’s injury.
- Mediation. Mediation is the last pre-trial step, and it’s where most birth injury cases are settled. During mediation, our attorneys will push for a full and fair resolution of your case out of court, while also ensuring that the other party is negotiating in good faith.
- Trial. If the other party is unwilling to settle or negotiate in good faith, we are ready to represent you and your family in court before a judge and jury. Our skilled litigators will back up your case with strong evidence and testimony from expert witnesses. While going to trial is always a risk, we will give your case the best possible odds of succeeding.
Nobody looks forward to filing a lawsuit. On top of the monumental challenge of taking care of a newborn with special needs, pursing legal recourse against a doctor or hospital may seem overwhelming and impossible.
But that’s where we can help.
Our birth injury attorneys can help you make an informed decision about what steps to take next and if filing a lawsuit is truly in your family’s best interests. Contact the Brown Trial Firm today to schedule your free consultation and take the first step.