Any time mother or infant suffers a significant injury during the birthing process, it can cause a great deal of trauma for the entire family. What should you do to help protect your family financially following a significant birth injury? By following these steps, you can potentially file a birth injury lawsuit that can help you seek compensation for the damages and suffering faced by your family following an injury during childbirth.
1. Get in Touch with a Birth Injury Lawyer
The first step in filing a birth injury lawsuit is getting in touch with a Georgia birth injury lawyer. A birth injury lawyer can help you walk through the rest of the steps of the claim process.
Establishing if You Have the Right to a Claim
A birth injury lawyer can help you determine whether you have the right to file a claim for the injuries a mother or child suffered during childbirth. Of course, any type of birth injury feels traumatic for the entire family. However, in order to file a birth injury claim, you will need to establish that the care provider responsible for the mother or child’s care committed an act of negligence that led to the injury. Negligence can include:
- Inadequate care during pregnancy. For example, the care provider might have ignored signs of a serious problem, like growth delays or high blood pressure, that could indicate the potential for serious problems during birth.
- Inadequate care during childbirth. The provider might, for example, fail to properly monitor both mother and child during labor and delivery, which could cause the care provider to fail to issue needed interventions; or, despite monitoring, the care provider might fail to provide needed interventions that could protect mother or child.
- Using unnecessary interventions that led to injury. Some care providers may push interventions, including forceps or vacuum-assisted delivery, to speed up the birthing process, rather than because the mother or child’s state during delivery indicates the need for those interventions.
- Failing to intervene after birth. If the child shows serious signs of injury after birth, and the care provider does not react to provide appropriate care, the care provider may bear liability for those losses.
A Georgia birth injury lawyer can help determine whether you have the right to file a claim, which can make it easier for you to move forward and protect your family’s rights.
2. The Demand Letter
Your lawyer will issue a demand letter that shows what damages your child suffered during childbirth and why you feel that the doctor bears liability for those damages. Sometimes, the doctor and the doctor’s insurance company will agree, after seeing the letter, that you have the right to compensation for those damages, and the insurance company may agree to pay out for those demands. Often, however, the doctor will not respond to the letter directly, or you will not receive compensation according to your demands. The doctor may not want to pay out for your losses, despite clear liability. However, a demand letter can help get the process moving.
3. Building Your Claim
Once you have submitted the demand letter and received an initial response, you will work with a lawyer to build the details of your claim. Your lawyer will gather evidence related to your claim, including:
- Copies of your medical records, especially anything that might note a specific type of malpractice. For example, your medical records might note that your doctor failed to respond to dropping fetal heart rate.
- Statements from any witnesses who want to speak about the incident. Your labor and delivery nurse, for example, might testify against a doctor’s malpractice or at least offer a witness statement. You, your spouse, and anyone else present in the delivery room may also want to issue a statement.
- Testimony from an expert witness. An expert witness can help look over medical records and any evidence from the birth, including photos of the birth, to help determine what malpractice the doctor likely committed and what steps the doctor should have taken instead to protect the health of mother or child.
- Hospital bills and medical expense reports that lay out the costs you have faced because of the injuries your child sustained during childbirth.
- Medical documents that lay out the extent of your child’s injuries.
All of that evidence can come together to clearly establish what damages your child and your family sustained because of birth injuries. At the same time, however, lawyers for the defense, including your doctor or hospital’s malpractice insurance company, will look for evidence to disprove your claims and reduce the compensation the insurance company has to pay out to you.
4. The Negotiation Phase
Once you have clearly established your evidence, you will have the chance to negotiate with the medical malpractice insurance company. Sometimes, the company will start with a low settlement offer: a token offering that does not reflect the damages your family actually sustained because of those losses. As you negotiate, however, you can often come to a fair agreement that can provide you with the compensation you need to cover medical bills related to a birth injury.
Most birth injury claims do reach a settlement through negotiation. Sometimes, however, you may need to go to court in order to settle your birth injury claim. If you do have to go to court, your lawyer will lay out your case before the judge and, if necessary, jury.
Having a Lawyer Can Guide the Claim Process
If your family suffered significant financial or non-financial losses due to a birth injury, you may have the right to compensation. Having a lawyer on your side can go a long way toward guiding that process, from providing you with vital insight into whether you may deserve compensation for your losses and what compensation you can expect to helping you negotiate with the insurance company for reasonable compensation for your losses. Contact Cambre & Associates to learn more about your family’s rights following a birth injury.