When your baby’s oxygen is restricted before, during, or immediately after birth, they can develop a serious birth injury known as hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). In some cases, this can be caused by the actions or negligence of medical staff, and you may have the right to pursue compensation.
Michigan hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy attorneys can help you get the settlement or court award you need to set your child up for the best possible life. From handling paperwork, abiding by deadlines, and gathering evidence to support your claim to negotiating with the opposing party and representing you in court, we have your baby’s best interests at heart.
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Why You Should File a Birth Injury Lawsuit
An HIE diagnosis can be devastating, even more so when it is caused by your medical team’s negligence. Birth injuries like HIE affect your child throughout their life, as they will need specialized care to manage and treat the disease. Filing a lawsuit can help you recover monetary damages for treatments.
A child with HIE may fail to achieve crucial milestones, such as walking, talking, or eating on their own. Though a lawsuit won’t reverse your child’s condition, it will provide the justice of knowing that the negligent doctor has been held accountable.
Filing a lawsuit against a particular doctor or hospital can alert other families who have suffered due to negligence, and they can file a similar lawsuit to receive compensation.
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How Much Compensation Is Your Child Owed in a Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy Claim?
Determining compensation in a Michigan hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy claim is often difficult. It requires compiling all the damages that your child and family have suffered as a result of the injury. These are typically categorized into economic harms and non-financial harms.
The first category includes all the ways that your child’s hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy has affected them and your family financially. Examples could include:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Lost income due to needing to care for your child
- Your baby’s lost earning potential for the future
- Accessibility equipment needed for your home
Since these items have clear-cut price tags and dollar values attached to them, this is often the easier category to understand.
Your child and family also suffer in more subjective ways due to HIE. Some non-economic damages include issues like your child’s lost quality of life, their physical pain, and their mental or emotional suffering as a result of the injury.
Compensation for this type of harm is limited by Michigan Compiled Laws § 600.1483, though the cap is much higher if your baby suffers from permanent harm like brain damage or paralysis. The limit is adjusted every year, so it’s best to speak with a birth injury attorney when determining how much your child is owed for non-economic damages.
When to File a Michigan Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy Claim
The deadline to file a claim is called that claim’s statute of limitations. In Michigan Compiled Laws § 600.5805(8), the deadline for malpractice claims is set at two years from the date of your child’s initial injury.
However, it’s often best to consult with experienced hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy attorneys in Michigan as soon as possible after your child is injured. Not only does this give your attorney time to compile the proper paperwork to file your claim, but there may also be additional deadlines you must meet due to the specific circumstances of your case.
Failing to file your claim within the statute of limitations may mean that you are unable to pursue compensation for your child at all.
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Types of Damages You Can Claim in an HIE Birth Injury Lawsuit
Due to the widespread nature of birth injuries, the damages can be significant. Parents pursue compensation to seek justice for their child and recover some of the considerable costs related to their care. You may be entitled to receive both economic and noneconomic damages.
The average economic damages awarded by juries are between $1 and 2 million. However, the value could be higher depending on what your attorney can prove in court.
In Michigan, there are no punitive damages; however, the state allows exemplary damages. Exemplary damages are meant to compensate you for the defendant’s actions rather than deter future behavior.
Economic damages are meant to financially compensate for your child’s injuries and the expenses associated with their current and future treatment. The damages include:
- Medical costs
- Rehabilitation costs
- Lost earnings
- Equipment for specialized care
The amount of compensation can depend on your child’s injuries and the amount of evidence against the defendant.
Noneconomic damages compensate for the trauma that the incident has caused you and your family. The largest damage in these cases is for pain and suffering, which is divided into three categories.
The first is compensation for the pain and suffering the child experiences as a result of the HIE. The second is compensation for their future discomfort and pain. HIE reduces the quality of life for the surviving victims and impacts every aspect of their lives.
Finally, the damages compensate you as the parent(s) for the pain and suffering of witnessing your child live with this condition.
Process for Filing an HIE Lawsuit After a Birth Injury in Michigan
Before filing a lawsuit in court, a Michigan hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy attorney first builds a case by gathering all the relevant evidence and sending a demand letter. If you and your lawyer cannot come to a settlement agreement with the defendant, the case proceeds to court. The court process involves the following steps:
1. Filing a Lawsuit
Your attorney can file the lawsuit with the court in your location. The court reviews the documents and notifies the defendants of the lawsuit. If the defendant fails to respond within the specified time, you win by default.
If the defendant responds, the case moves to the discovery phase, where both parties have the opportunity to share relevant facts. The judge can set a time limit for this phase, and it can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.
3. Settlement Negotiations
After gathering and sharing all the relevant facts, both sides can meet to discuss a settlement. The defendant pays if an agreement is reached, and the legal action stops. If a settlement is not reached, the judge can set a trial date.
4. Trial Period
Before reaching a verdict, the court hears both sides’ arguments and reviews all the evidence provided during the trial. Either side can win at this point; if your attorney fails to convince the jury, you can lose and will not receive any damages.
The Benefits of Hiring a Lawyer for Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) Birth Injury Lawsuits
If you are interested in filing a malpractice lawsuit, you should discuss your legal options with a birth injury attorney. Remember that you don’t have unlimited time to file a lawsuit due to the statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations is two years from the time you discovered the negligent actions, according to MCL §600.5805. However, the state allows for some flexibility since some injuries are not immediately apparent. If this is the case, you must file the lawsuit within six months of detection.
A Michigan hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy attorney can help file your lawsuit on time and offer the following assistance:
- Collect all the necessary evidence to support your case
- Hire an investigator to determine whether there is cause for a malpractice suit
- Negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf
- Determine how much settlement to request for your case
- Negotiate the best out-of-court settlement for you
- Speed up the claims process
- Prepare you for court hearings and depositions
- Contact an expert witness to help your case
Other Ways That Michigan HIE Law Firms Help Families
When hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy attorneys serve Michigan families, they provide a range of services to help get you through this difficult time. This includes filing the claim on time and determining the monetary value of the compensation you are owed, but it also includes many other services.
Depending on the circumstances unique to your child’s injury, there could be several parties liable for the damage you and your child have suffered. These potential defendants include:
- Medical staff
- Healthcare organizations (such as hospitals or birthing centers)
- Doulas, midwives, and other birth attendees
- Medical device manufacturers
As people with extensive experience handling medical malpractice claims, Michigan HIE lawyers can sift through the evidence in your claim and determine who should be held responsible for your child’s condition.
Partnering With Expert Witnesses
To successfully represent a medical malpractice claim, your attorney must prove that the medical staff strayed from the nationally accepted “standard of care.” This is usually done by bringing in expert witnesses (which are other physicians with experience handling deliveries).
Expert witness testimony goes a long way toward showing that the medical caregivers in your case did not act in ways that reasonable healthcare professionals should.
Negotiating With Opposing Counsel
The idea of going head-to-head with attorneys for large corporations like hospitals can be daunting. However, your HIE lawyer will handle negotiations for you.
Most lawsuits end at the negotiating table when both sides agree to an amenable settlement package. It is best to have an attorney for HIE victims on your side, though, in case the opposing party does not want to provide you with the compensation your child deserves.
Our HIE lawyers are willing to go the distance and take your case to court if that’s what it takes to get a fair compensation package to help you care for your child.
You Can Trust Our Michigan Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy Attorneys
The Birth Injury Lawyers Group was founded by attorney Robert Goldwater, whose own triplets suffered from birth injuries. Our goal is to provide whatever assistance is necessary to families affected by birth injuries, especially those caused by medical malpractice and negligence.
Our compassionate Michigan hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy lawyers are ready to hear from you. We provide a FREE consultation to all clients, and we work on a contingency basis. This means you don’t pay us anything unless and until we win you the compensation package your child needs. Call us or fill out the form on our contact page to schedule your appointment.