Every birth injury claim is different, so it is difficult to say how much you can recover in your situation until your lawyer reviews your case. There are quite a few factors that can affect the amount of compensation you can pursue.
Some of these elements include the severity of the birth injury, the temporary nature or permanence of the effects, the amount of the financial losses, and other circumstances. There are multiple types of damages possible in these cases.
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How Much Compensation People Get in Birth Injury Claims
A birth injury can cause a brief stay of a few days in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit), or it might change the lives of the infant and parents from that point forward. Some birth injuries do not have long-term impacts. The baby recuperates fully and gets to enjoy a typical life. Other birth injuries can cause physical, intellectual, and developmental impairments that last a lifetime.
The amount of compensation you can collect will depend on the circumstances of your case. These are some of the factors that will control your damages:
Types of Birth Injury
Some state statutes define birth injuries as adverse medical events that happen during labor, delivery, or shortly after birth. Lack of oxygen to the baby during a difficult delivery is a frequent cause of birth injury.
The process of entering the world often causes minor injuries like swelling and bruising of the scalp and scalp scratches from forceps, vacuum extractors, and monitor leads. Some babies sustain more significant injuries, like damaged nerves and broken bones. Examples of severe birth injuries include things like oxygen deprivation or asphyxia, skull fractures, brain hemorrhage, and blood clots. Also, a baby can suffer nerve damage, like:
- Facial nerve injury, which can cause a lopsided facial expression
- Brachial plexus damage, which can result in arm or hand weakness
- Harm to the phrenic nerve, which can lead to difficulty breathing
- Spinal cord injury, which can cause paralysis
These are but a few examples of the birth injuries that can occur. The type of birth injury suffered will be an essential factor in the settlement value of a claim.
The Severity of the Birth Injury
Each type of birth injury has a range of potential severity. For example, some nerve damage can cause numbness and tingling for a few days, then resolve without the need for medical intervention. Other injuries to a nerve might cause permanent paralysis. A simple, closed fracture can heal better and quicker than a compound fracture that requires surgery, pins, and plates.
Whether the Effects of the Birth Injury are Temporary or Long-term
Because babies are growing and developing at such a fast rate compared to adults, an injury can have far-reaching consequences. A situation in which the baby can achieve a full recuperation will usually result in a reduced amount in damages than a case in which the birth injury causes long-term limitations for the child.
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Damages in Birth Injury Lawsuits
Each case is unique. The damages in your birth injury case could be vastly different from another baby who was in the NICU at the same time as your infant. Compensation is fact-driven in these lawsuits. Here are some of the things that often govern the amount of financial recovery in birth injury cases:
Because your baby has his entire life ahead of him, the cost of the birth injury over the years could be astronomical. The initial hospital bill could easily reach or surpass six figures. Some newborns have to stay in the NICU for weeks or months. They have to undergo surgeries and other expensive procedures.
You might have the expense of renting or buying medical equipment to use when you take your infant home, like monitors and breathing equipment. There will likely be bills for ongoing medical treatment, frequent doctor office visits, specialists, and prescription drugs. You might need home modifications, wheelchairs or other mobility equipment, and an adapted vehicle.
Pain and Suffering
Your baby might have experienced physical discomfort from the birth injury. As your child grows up, he might experience painful medical procedures, emotional distress from the medical condition and how other people treat him, depression, and sadness over how the long-term effects of the injury will impact his life.
Parents of children with significant birth injuries often miss a lot of time from work without pay or have to cut back their hours or stop working to care for the child. The parents also experience distress and anxiety over the child’s condition and what the future will hold for their child.
Getting Legal Help with Your Birth Injury Case
You already have your hands full dealing with the “new normal” that you did not anticipate for your child or your family. When you have a birth injury lawyer champion your damages claim, you can focus your attention on getting through your daily challenges at home.
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Birth Injury Claim News
Prison Inmate’s Baby Dies Due To Neglect From Prison Staff, Settlement Paid
A former inmate at a prison in South Carolina has received a settlement from the state after inadequate medical care killed one of her twins when she gave birth there. The State has the story.
The inmate was in a prison that was supposed to be for those with medical needs. She was pregnant at the time but suddenly went into labor at 26 weeks back in 2012.
She tried to go to the medical facility several times, but the doctors there did not examine her pregnancy or take her to see an OB/GYN. Late in the evening, she went into labor and delivered a child 14 weeks premature in the toilet.
The child was still wrapped up in the amniotic sac. Other inmates called for help but none came. They placed her in a wheelchair and took her to the medical station to deliver the second child.
Then the inmates tried to rescue the child in the toilet, but guards forbid them to touch it despite the baby drowning in fluid. Later, an autopsy showed that the child might have survived had the sac been opened.
The mother has since been released but has suffered trauma due to the incident. The second baby did survive.
It took years, but the state has agreed to pay $1.15 million in a settlement over what happened. Reporting by The State says that medical neglect in prisons in South Carolina is rampant and there have been several large settlements.