Sometimes during birth, infants can incur an injury. Some of these injuries can get fatal, which in itself is devastating for the family. Various factors cause birth injuries, and you are well within your legal rights to file a claim. However, without the proper guidance and direction, this can quickly morph into a never-ending trial. Medical lawsuits are expensive. You may need to lay a substantial amount of money to get the best lawyer.
Even then, there is a chance you may lose the case. So through this article, we will guide you on what you need to do before you make a birth injury claim. If you win the case, the money you get may help you take care of your child as you adjust to a new lifestyle. Here’s what you need to know about birth injury claims:
- What do you need to prove the injury?
A birth injury is any harm to a baby that occurs either during labor. These injuries include oxygen deprivation, excessive pressure on the baby’s head, neurological damage, or cutting the baby. At the same time, some injuries during labor are minor and don’t leave a lasting impact. Injuries that either cost a baby’s life or lead to permanent disabilities are usually a result of negligence and malpractice. So, if you’re filing a lawsuit, you need proper evidence that proves the baby got injured because of the staff. The proof you need should cover:
- Injury reports
- Implications on the quality of life
- Proof of neglect
- How to prove negligence and the cause?
A doctor can administer care in various ways. The difference in medical procedures alone doesn’t constitute medical negligence. You need to prove that perhaps the hospital didn’t help the pregnant woman on time. Maybe the healthcare staff was rough with the procedure and tools and pushed her to give birth faster, causing harm to herself and the baby. Perhaps the healthcare worker held the baby too tight and pulled the baby out while it was crowning. Such incidents come under negligence.
The physical harm that you can prove makes room for what happened due to this neglect. Maybe the way the healthcare worker held the baby squeezed the neck too hard. There can be forceps marks on the baby. As long as the court sees the evidence, you have a better shot at winning a claim.
- How to ensure your claim is successful?
You need to be forthcoming with medical records to prove your claim. You need to provide all medical information about your child to a lawyer. Sometimes, hospitals withhold information and don’t give you all the relevant documents that the hospital compiled during your stay. In those cases, your lawyer can use the court to issue a release. When the documentation is complete, a lawyer will arrange them and look for obvious gaps in the record. A medical expert on the panel will review these documents and answer questions related to the procedure to establish if negligence did happen. These medical experts can also explain how to perform the process and where the hospital in question went wrong. After which, this is the following set of events to follow:
- A letter of claim goes to the hospital with details of the negligence. A hospital then has a limited timeframe of about three months to submit a response. They can either admit to the claim or file for a defense.
- If the hospital denies the claim, your lawyer will draft particulars of the claim. These particulars specify the nature of the allegations and what they are being held accountable for. This document is essential and needs both your and the medical expert’s approval for filing before the court.
- After you file the claim, the defendant has limited time to appear in court. Once they agree to appear for their defense, that’s when a trial starts.
- How does a claim get resolved?
If you want to resolve your claim faster, you need to go for negotiation instead of a trial. Going for a settlement means your case will end much quicker. You also get an opportunity to either raise your demands or find a better alternative. Trials are tricky. Sometimes the evidence is not enough to get a favorable outcome. There is also a chance that the trial will go on for months, and you may have to pour resources consistently. These include your time, getting more medical experts to look into your case, and money.
- What is the time limit for court proceedings?
During birth injuries, as a parent, you can continue a trial till you reach your child’s 21st birthday. The trail also stops after three years of the child’s death. However, if the child cannot carry on with the legal proceedings independently, you may continue the case. Therefore, you must talk about limitations at length with your lawyer to ensure that you don’t miss crucial deadlines.
- You need copious patience
Medical negligence cases are not easy to resolve. The degree of the injury is under constant scrutiny. You need to have ample evidence to make the case go further, and that can take years. Most hospitals are also ready to counter with the best team of lawyers. It’s almost like a battle of wits. You may feel tired and cheated during the trial, especially when the defense team doesn’t hold back. It would help if you found ways to hold onto your peace. While it is painful watching your child suffer, you should reassure yourself you’re doing all that you can for them. The unfortunate reality of having a permanent injury is whether you like it or not, you have to plan. Focusing on your lawsuit should get your time and attention but also help your child get better.
It is painful to witness your child get injured because of simple negligence. When you’re on your way to becoming a parent, the last thing you want is your baby’s first moments to be painful. Medical negligence is a serious issue. You have every right to take the guilty hospital to court. However, you need to know what to expect from such a legal case. As you’re preparing to go against a hospital, they are also preparing their team to counter. You need to understand how to collect evidence, get medical experts on board and prepare yourself for the long haul.
No matter what happens, remain steadfast and receive compensation for your child.