One of the most common birth injuries in Utah is Erb’s palsy. Often preventable, nerves in the infant’s shoulder are damaged by stretching or pulling the neck or using birthing tools incorrectly during a difficult delivery. The result is weakness or paralysis in the arm, causing the child temporary or long-term struggles.
If your baby suffered an injury during delivery, you may be entitled to receive damages to cover medical costs, rehabilitation, lost wages, and other expenses. Contact a Utah Erb’s palsy lawyer to evaluate your case and discuss the compensation that could be available to your child because of others’ negligence.
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When to Contact a Utah Erb’s Palsy Lawyer
While some complications during childbirth are unavoidable, there are certain precautions that can be put in place to avoid the risks. Some actions taken by your doctor that could indicate professional negligence include:
- Applied excessive pressure to the infant’s shoulders and neck.
- Failed to recognize the need to perform a c-section.
- Ignored evidence of shoulder dystocia.
- Incompetent use of vacuum extraction or forceps.
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Erb’s Palsy and Medical Malpractice in Utah
You can pursue compensation for medical malpractice if your attorney determines that your child’s Erb’s palsy is the result of a medical professional’s negligence or incompetence. The medical malpractice claims process in Utah typically begins with your attorney sending a demand letter to the medical provider’s insurance carrier.
The carrier generally has 30 days to accept or deny the claim or offer a settlement. If the insurance company refuses the claim or offers an unrealistic settlement, your attorney can file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Before filing a claim, your attorney sends a notice of intent to file suit to each of the named providers and the insurance company 30 days before filing the lawsuit. Included in the notice are the grounds on which the claim is based. It’s accompanied by a qualified medical expert’s certificate of merit stating that, after analyzing the details, the medical professionals failed to provide the appropriate standard of care.
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What Compensation is Available for Erb’s Palsy?
Because your baby has been diagnosed with Erb’s Palsy, you will be responsible for more medical bills than is necessary for the average child. You may also be required to miss work to meet required medical appointments. Compensation in civil cases is divided into three categories.
Actual and quantifiable costs are included in economic damages. Any out-of-pocket expenses or verifiable losses you’ve incurred are placed in this category, such as:
- Medical equipment.
- Home equipment and care.
- Therapy and rehabilitation.
- Past, present, and future lost wages.
- Lost reservations or use of memberships.
Although more subjective than economic damages, non-economic damages compensate accident victims for the non-monetary aspects of their injuries, including:
- Pain and suffering.
- Disability or disfigurement.
- Loss of the enjoyment of life.
Punitive damages are only awarded in specific situations in which the court has deemed the defendant acted with wanton disregard for others. Such compensation is determined in addition to the economic and non-economic awards. As the name suggests, punitive damages are meant to punish the guilty.
Utah’s Medical Malpractice Damages Cap
Utah does not cap compensation for economic damages in medical malpractice cases. It does, however, impose a limit of $450,000 for non-economic damages as detailed in Utah Code §78B-3-410. Limitations are set according to the date the injury occurred.
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Statute of Limitations for Filing an Erb’s Palsy Lawsuit
The statute of limitations as detailed in Utah Code Annotated §78B-3-404 stipulates that individuals have two years from the discovery of the injury to file a malpractice claim. The total is “not to exceed four years after the date of the alleged act, omission, neglect, or occurrence.”
Time is of the essence, however. Witness memories are clearer, and evidence is more accessible when you proceed with legal proceedings sooner rather than later. You may also receive the compensation you deserve in a timelier manner.
What to Expect From an Erb’s Palsy Lawyer in Utah
An experienced Erb’s palsy attorney will advocate for you and your child. They help alleviate your stress by managing all communication and fielding calls and mailings on your behalf while remaining accessible to you. Some of the work your attorney does in support of you includes:
- Investigation: Attorneys conduct a full investigation of the circumstances. They evaluate the scene and the conditions that contributed to your child’s injury.
- Filing: The attorney’s office is responsible for filing the appropriate documents within the designated time frame.
- Mediation: Attorneys for both parties attempt to negotiate a fair resolution before trial.
- Settlement: If you have a strong case, the defendant may offer an initial settlement number. However, a seasoned malpractice attorney works on your behalf to negotiate the highest possible compensation.
- Trial: When a pretrial settlement can’t be reached, you proceed to trial with your attorney. You should expect your attorney to provide aggressive representation advocating for your child’s and your rights.
As a point of reference, Erb’s palsy cases are typically settled out of court. Settlements conclude much quicker than a trial, and you’re assured of receiving some compensation. If you pursue a trial, there’s no guarantee the judge and jury will find in your favor.
Contact a Utah Erb’s Palsy Attorney Today
If your child was injured because of your doctor’s negligence, you may have a medical malpractice lawsuit. We have a successful track record of representing those who’ve been victimized by others’ incompetence.
Contact an Erb’s palsy attorney in Utah to arrange a free no-obligation initial consultation. A knowledgeable lawyer can evaluate the circumstances and advise you on the most effective way to proceed.