How Much is the Average Birth Injury Settlement?
A birth injury caused by a doctor’s negligence is a medical malpractice case. A medical professional’s actions or inactions prior to, during and after the birth of your baby could cause birth injuries. The happiness of holding your child for the first time could be marred by the thoughts of all of the medical care you will need to provide – and whether you can afford it. In some cases, you might not find out that your child suffered a birth injury until months later.
A child with a birth injury is a heavy financial, emotional and physical burden on your family, so you may wonder, how much is the average birth injury settlement? Because of the cost of treating most birth injuries and the time limitation to take legal action, you should contact a birth injury attorney as soon as you suspect your child suffered injuries during birth or while in the womb.
Types of Birth Injuries
The type of birth injury your child has depends on the doctor’s actions and inactions before, during and after the birth of your child. Injuries might include:
- Dyskinetic or spastic cerebral palsy
- Erb’s Palsy / Brachial Plexus
- Herpes encephalitis
- Intrauterine growth restriction
- Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy
- Brain bleeds
- Periventricular leukomalacia
- Persistent pulmonary hypertension
- Brain ischemia
- And more.
Causes of Birth Injuries
The type of injury to your child will impact how much of a birth injury settlement you may receive in your case. Some of the common causes of birth injuries include deprivation of oxygen during labor and delivery, drugs a doctor prescribed during pregnancy, failing to perform a C-section in a timely manner, failing to use appropriate delivery techniques, medication errors during the pregnancy and birth, failing to monitor the mother or the child, failing to interpret fetal heart monitor readings, using delivery instruments improperly, and not treating child injuries.
Damages in Birth Injury Cases
Depending on the severity of the birth injury and how long it will affect your child, you could recover significant damages. So, the answer to the question of how much is the average birth injury settlement is hard to define — there is a wide range of damages between individual cases. Settlements for birth injuries are usually higher than in other medical malpractice cases because of the length of time a child with a birth injury needs care. You could recover:
- Medical expenses, including current expenses and those that you expect your child to incur for the rest of his or her life. Expenses might include prescriptions, ambulatory aids, doctors’ appointments, updates to your home to make it wheelchair accessible, and appointments with doctors and other medical professionals.
- Ongoing care (assisted living) which could cost millions if doctors expect your child to live for an average adult lifespan. Even though your child might not need assisted living in his or her early years, they might require it later in life or should something happen where you can no longer care for them.
- Loss of future earning capacity.
- Pain and suffering, including emotional distress.
- Shortened life expectancy.
- Diminished quality of life.
- Excessive scarring and/or disfigurement.
- Ongoing therapy sessions, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, cognitive therapy and/or psychological therapy.
The amount you could recover because of a birth injury could be in the millions because of future costs, especially when a child suffers from severe injuries and disabilities. Severe injuries such as cerebral palsy that prevent a child from walking mean that the child will need ambulatory aids and will most likely have to have physical therapy for his or her entire life.
In some cases, if the injury is severe enough, the child may not be able to eat or dress himself. Children with severe cases need medical care every day – even into their adult lives. Even children born with less severe birth injuries could require medical care for the rest of their lives, including prescriptions and various therapies.
Determining the Average Birth Injury Settlement
Every case is different. Two children with the same injury caused by the same type of negligence but born to two different sets of parents could have significantly different medical and care needs.
There is no “birth injury calculator.” This is why it is important to retain an experienced birth injury attorney. Insurance companies will try to pay out as little as possible. An experienced legal team will review all medical records and, if necessary, bring in expert witnesses, including doctors who specialize in the type of disability your child has.
The expert witnesses will review the medical records for your pregnancy and the birth of your child, in addition to your child’s medical records. They will write a report to use in settlement negotiations or will testify in court if your case does not settle.
Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations and Birth Injury Cases
You have two years from the date of the injury to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. Your pediatrician can tell you whether your child seems to be developmentally delayed if you cannot tell. If you have any suspicion that your child suffered a birth injury, contact a birth injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Even if you do not realize that your child suffered a birth injury until after the statute of limitations for medical malpractice has passed, you should still contact a birth injury lawyer, as there may be some exceptions to the statute of limitations.
However, do not delay once you suspect your child suffered a birth injury. The sooner you can get your case started, especially if the deadline has passed, the easier it is to recover evidence and convince the courts that you could not have discovered the injury any earlier.
Settling with the Insurance Company
How Much Might Your Birth Injury Settlement Be?
Some people prefer to settle with the insurance company themselves. Because of the complexity of determining a fair and reasonable settlement and the number of defendants that might bear the responsibility for your child’s birth injuries, we recommend contacting a Pennsylvania birth injury attorney. The main concern of the insurance companies is that this claim is going to put a big dent in their profits. They will attempt to twist what you say to put the blame on you or will try to convince you that the doctor was not negligent.
At Wapner Newman, your initial case evaluation is free. Additionally, if we do not win your case, you do not pay us. We understand that you already have enough financial and emotional stress and will help make this process as easy as possible for you. We will help you through this difficult time and protect your rights during your birth injury settlement negotiations. We will not hesitate to file a court action if the insurance company does not offer a fair and reasonable settlement.
Contact our birth injury lawyer at Wapner Newman at (215) 569-0900 or by filling in our contact form for a free case evaluation