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How is the Value of a Birth Injury Claim Determined?

Posted August 10, 2016 | Birth Injury

If your baby was injured by an act of medical malpractice, your family may be entitled to compensation.  While no amount of money can ever make up for your child’s pain and impairment, compensation can help to alleviate the financial strain from medical bills and healthcare expenses, ensuring your son or daughter receives high-quality treatment for as long as it’s needed.  But how is the worth of a birth injury claim or lawsuit calculated?

Was Your Baby Injured During Childbirth or After Delivery?

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Even with modern medicine, childbirth can be a dangerous process.  However, OB-GYNs and other doctors have a duty to take precautions to minimize the risk of patient injury or wrongful death.  A surgeon, nurse, OB-GYN, midwife, or other healthcare worker’s failure to take necessary precautions may constitute malpractice if patient harm results.

Compensation is available for victims of medical malpractice in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including the victims of birth injuries.  Some common examples of birth injuries caused by malpractice are shoulder dystocia, which can occur if a doctor pulls too hard on an infant’s arms or upper body during delivery, and infant cerebral palsy, which is caused by oxygen deprivation.  The mother can also suffer serious injuries during or after childbirth, such as hemorrhaging, eclampsia (seizures), or C-section infections from poor post-operative care.   

When a mother and/or baby are injured at any stage of a pregnancy, cesarean delivery, or vaginal delivery, the death or injury should be investigated to determine whether medical malpractice occurred.  If you suspect that your doctor made a mistake or acted negligently, you should speak to an experienced Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer immediately.  Your family may have a right to get compensated for the losses, expenses, and suffering caused by the injury.  

Getting Compensated for a Birth Injury: How Much is Your Malpractice Claim Worth?  

Families sometimes hesitate to seek compensation after a birth injury because they do not want to go through a trial.  While trials sometimes become necessary, many malpractice claims, like other personal injury claims, are actually resolved without going to court.  Through tough and persistent negotiation, it may be possible to come to a settlement agreement.  But how much birth injury compensation can a successful claimant or plaintiff expect?

It is difficult to answer that question without knowing the details of your family’s case, because the circumstances surrounding a personal injury — which can be very different from one case to the next — play a significant role in determining the ultimate worth of a claim.  Some examples of factors that impact the outcome of a birth injury settlement include:

  • Your family’s medical expenses, including anticipated expenses.  Depending on the nature of the injury or health condition, you child might have medical bills for surgery, hospitalization, medication, physical therapy, or neonatal intensive care. In addition, the costs of a life care plan for a birth injury can be enormous
  • The severity and permanence of the disability or impairment resulting from the injury.  A baby who suffers severe physical and/or cognitive impairment due to a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury, for example, may need professional in-home care or assistive devices for the rest of his or her life.  Children with severe cognitive impairments also have special educational needs.  Depending on the nature of the disability, it may be necessary to remodel certain parts of the family home.  These types of costs should all be accounted for when calculating an award or negotiating a settlement agreement.
  • Future Wage Loss / Earnings Impairment.  A child who has severe mental or physical impairments will have a lower earning capacity upon reaching adulthood, if he or she is able to work at all.
  • Pain, suffering, and psychological distress.  The physical pain and emotional suffering caused by an injury are more impactful than any medical bill.  Victims or parents may struggle with debilitating depression or anxiety, and may need to undergo extensive counseling, therapy, and/or treatment with prescription drugs as a result.  Though impossible to objectively valuate, compensation may be available for physical and emotional pain caused by a birth injury.

In addition, some states have laws limiting the amount of compensation a personal injury plaintiff can recover. You can read more about this in our article on injury compensation limits in Pennsylvania.  Fortunately for medical malpractice victims, Pennsylvania currently does not have damages caps limiting a plaintiff’s recovery.

Philadelphia Birth Injury Attorney Representing Parents and Families

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If you, your wife, or your baby was severely injured during the course of pregnancy or childbirth, you should speak to an experienced Pennsylvania birth injury lawyer as soon as possible.  If you or your child was the victim of OB-GYN malpractice, such as a delayed C-section, diagnostic error, or inappropriate use of forceps, you may be able to get compensated.  

Your family deserves justice.  An aggressive personal injury lawyer can help hold the negligent doctor accountable, while fighting for the maximum compensation on your behalf.  To discuss your New Jersey or Pennsylvania malpractice claim in a free legal consultation, call the Wieand Law Firm, LLC at (877) 654-3887.  

*Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes and is not legal advice. The Wieand Law Firm, LLC is based in Philadelphia, PA, and proud to serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.*