As a parent, you don’t want anything to happen to your child. Some things you can control, and some things you can’t. If a doctor’s negligence during childbirth meant that your child was injured, it could have long-lasting consequences for your child and yourself. Lack of adequate medical care during and after birth is considered medical malpractice. When a birth injury such as hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) occurs, you and your family should know your rights and legal options.
If you are in California and your child or someone in your family has suffered HIE, a California hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy attorney can help you establish whether the birth injury was due to the negligence of your healthcare provider. If so, you may be entitled to recover your damages in a birth injury lawsuit, and your attorney can help you navigate this complex process.
Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy lawyers in California can help you get compensation. Read more about HIE and what an attorney can do to help your claim. When you’re ready to talk to a professional about your case, you can get a free initial consultation.
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How a California Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy Lawyer Can Help You
A hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy attorney can help you pursue compensation if your baby has suffered a birth injury such as HIE. They will listen to your story and ask a few clarifying questions. If a consultation is all you require, they may provide one at no cost and advise you on your rights and possible next steps.
An objective assessment of your situation is critical because, in an emotional moment, you may make an irrational decision that weakens your case. Your attorney can help you in the following ways:
Investigating Your Case
Determining the exact underlying cause of your baby’s injury is critical to understanding whether you have a case. Although a California hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy attorney is well versed in the medical and legal aspects of birth injuries, they will consult with medical professionals to recognize the subtle signs of malpractice.
They can work with medical care professionals and use their valuable perspectives, experience, and knowledge to gain insight into the errors that may have occurred before, during, or after birth. Access to reputable nurses and doctors Can strengthen your case.
After concluding that medical malpractice was the underlying cause of your child’s injury, your attorney will begin collecting evidence to prove negligence. There are hundreds of different types of evidence that could be relevant to your case. Some of them include:
- Medical records
- Hospital records
- Healthcare policies and regulations
- Expert witness reports
- The nature of the injury
Your attorney will gather the necessary evidence to prove the doctor owed you and your child a duty of care that they breached by deviating from what a reasonable doctor would do.
A hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy attorney in California can help you determine the amount of compensation the negligent party owes. The total amount of damages depends on your child’s past, present, and future medical expenses or, if the injury was fatal, funeral expenses. They can also include lost wages if you missed work or left your job to care for your child; compensatory damages for pain, suffering, and emotional distress; and even punitive damages to punish the negligent party.
If you try to calculate the amount yourself, you may unintentionally leave out several factors, resulting in less compensation. Also, because this is likely your first experience with a birth injury, you may not properly estimate your expenses. Your lawyer can help you calculate the total amount to ensure you are fully compensated and the negligent party is held accountable for their error.
Negotiating Compensation with the Other Party
During a medical malpractice case, settlement negotiations usually involve alternative dispute resolution. Your chances of receiving fair compensation are higher if you work with a California hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy lawyer during these negotiations since they have experience handling the opposition’s intimidation tactics.
Fighting for You in Court
If you decide to proceed to trial after failing to reach a settlement with the negligent party, your lawyer will argue your case in front of a judge and fight for you to receive justice.
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What Kind of Damages You Can Recover in an Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) Lawsuit
If your attorney succeeds in proving that the medical professional was negligent and their negligence fully or partially led to your child’s birth injury, you can recover:
- Future medical and rehabilitation expenses for your child
- Additional care costs if they require assistive care
- Disability accommodations such as home modification
- Mobility devices such as wheelchairs
- Lost income from time spent in recovery or caring for your child
- Past medical expenses
- Future special education costs
- Compensation for your pain, emotional suffering, and distress
- Other related economic and noneconomic damages
If the negligence resulted in a fatality, your lawyer can help you file a wrongful death claim.
The Amount of Compensation You May Receive for HIE in California
There’s no cap on the amount of compensation directly related to economic losses and medical bills resulting from medical malpractice. However, the amount awarded for noneconomic damages (pain and suffering) is currently capped at $250,000.
Under California Assembly Bill (AB) 35, the cap will increase from $250,000 to $350,000 in January 2023 and increase each year by $40,000 until it reaches $750,000. In cases involving a patient’s death, the cap will increase to $500,000 and then grow to $1 million over the next 10 years.
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Birth Injury Medical Malpractice Claims for Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy
When a birth injury happens, there’s always a chance it was an unavoidable accident. However, that’s often not the case. In many birth injury cases, a caregiver (whether it’s a doctor, nurse, midwife, hospital, or even an equipment manufacturer) had a level of fault in what happened.
When someone else is at fault for an injury, there’s often legal recourse for the victim or the victim’s family to collect compensation. That way, they don’t have to pay for the financial damages that someone else caused. However, to be eligible for compensation, the following has to be true:
- Your caregiver has to have owed you and your child a duty of care. This is the basic standard of responsibility that anyone in a specific position owes others. In your caregiver’s case, the duty of care is doing anything they can to protect your child and prevent birth injuries.
- Your caregiver has to have breached the duty of care. This can, technically, be on purpose, but more often than not it is due to negligence.
- The caregiver’s breach of duty must have caused your child’s injury.
- The breach of duty and your child’s injury must have caused both economic and non-economic damages.
To prove those, you need to have specific evidence and documentation that shows not only how the at-fault party caused your child’s HIE, but also why you deserve compensation for your child’s injury. The best way to do this is to have a birth injury lawyer working on your claim.
What Is Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy?
Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy is a condition in which a newborn’s oxygen and blood flow are cut off, causing damage to their brain. HIE can be very serious, causing lifelong disability or even death. The condition is treatable if caregivers take action immediately, but even in those situations, your child could be affected for the rest of your life.
Common causes of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy that could be due to medical malpractice include:
- Poor cardiovascular health in the mother
- Fetal infection
- Issues with the placenta during birth
- Umbilical cord complications
- Low blood pressure in the mother
- Abnormal fetal position
- Premature birth
Many conditions that lead to HIE, even if they aren’t directly caused by malpractice, are avoidable with the right monitoring. If a doctor or nurse fails to call for a necessary C-section or other procedure, they could be held negligent.
The treatment for symptoms and consequences of HIE can be long-lasting and expensive. Your child could need physical therapy, speech therapy, or other rehabilitation. That can become pricy, especially if you have to miss work to take your child to sessions. A California HIE attorney can help you recover compensation.
Talk to a Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy Attorney in California
A birth injury as severe as HIE can have a devastating impact on your entire family. It is expensive to treat and stressful to deal with, and you may even have to give up your job to care for your child. When your child has suffered a birth injury, the effects can ripple through your entire family. Paying for your child’s rehabilitation and dealing with the stress that the situation causes can be extremely difficult. Our birth injury lawyers can help take the pressure off of you.
Hiring a California hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy attorney from Birth Injury Law Group can help you get past this difficult time. Call us or contact us online for your FREE initial consultation. Our team is available to talk to you today.