Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that over 3.6 million babies were born in the U.S. in 2021, averaging more than 10,000 births per day. Modern medicine makes childbirth safer for mothers and infants, but birth trauma still affects a significant number of families every year.
Some maternal or infant injuries and deaths are unavoidable, but those resulting from mistakes made by medical professionals may provide grounds for a lawsuit. D.C. Metro Area attorneys from Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis, LLP, explain more about this distressing issue and discuss birth injury lawsuit settlements.
What Is a Birth Injury?
The birth of a child should be a joyous occasion, allowing parents to welcome a healthy newborn into their lives. When birth injuries happen, though, that happiness can quickly turn into sadness, frustration, and despair.
Most birth injuries occur during labor and delivery, impairing a newborn’s body, functioning, behavior, or development. While the effects of some injuries are minor and temporary, others can impact the child throughout their life:
- Cerebral, Bells, or Erb’s palsy
- Brain damage, head, or spinal trauma
- Shoulder dystocia
- Internal bleeding
Facial injuries or paralysis are also common. Some babies are born with congenital issues that aren’t anyone’s fault. To be classified as a birth injury, the physician, midwife, birthing facility, or other healthcare personnel must cause the trauma due to medical negligence.
New mothers can also experience birth injuries:
- Ruptured uterus
- Pelvic fractures or damage
- C-section errors
- Vaginal tearing
- Nerve damage
Birth injuries, whether affecting the mother or child, often damage the mother-and-child bonding process. When determining how much your birth injury lawsuit settlement is worth, your attorney will take every consequence into consideration.
What Causes Birth Injuries?
Some pregnancies have associated issues that present a higher risk of birth injuries:
- Mothers who are very young or mature, are extremely under- or overweight, or have underlying medical conditions such as diabetes
- Infants with large heads
- Low or high birth weight
- Premature or multiple births
- Difficult labor
Trained physicians and midwives should recognize these and other warning signs and take appropriate precautions for safe delivery. Unfortunately, several common yet preventable mistakes often lead to birth injuries:
- Not detecting or responding to fetal distress
- Not using birthing instruments when necessary or not using them properly
- Failing to diagnose or treat maternal conditions
- Failing to perform a C-section when warranted
- Inadequate care of the newborn or mother immediately after birth
If a mother or child experiences birth injuries because healthcare professionals are negligent, you may be entitled to compensation through a birth injury lawsuit.
What Is Medical Negligence?
Legally, negligence is failing to exercise the same level of care that a reasonable person would in the same situation. Medical professionals are held to a higher duty of care than most people because their actions or inactions often directly affect other people’s health.
To prove negligence, you must show that:
- Someone owed you a duty of care.
- That party failed to provide the duty of care.
- The breach directly caused an injury.
- The injury caused damages.
With this type of medical negligence, one or more parties may share responsibility for birth injuries. Physicians, midwives, nurses, hospitals, and birthing facilities are potentially to blame. If faulty medical equipment contributes to a birth injury, the manufacturer might also be at fault.
Proving medical negligence is sometimes challenging, often requiring an in-depth investigation. Most new parents in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia don’t have the experience or resources to conduct these investigations. Fortunately, the Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis, LLP, legal team can help.
How Are Birth Injury Lawsuit Settlements Determined?
There is no such thing as an average settlement amount. Every birth injury is different, producing various consequences and impacting lives in a variety of ways. Each settlement uses case-specific circumstances, so amounts can vary significantly.
Birth injuries often require extensive medical treatments for current and future needs. Some children will need medical assistance, around-the-clock care, and accommodations for their entire lives. Parents may be unable to work because they must care for the child. Home and vehicle modifications might be necessary to accommodate the child’s condition.
Economic birth injury lawsuit settlement amounts should include enough funds to cover potential future expenses as well as immediate costs:
- Medical treatments, medications, surgeries, necessary medical equipment, therapy, and rehabilitation
- Lost wages for parents who can’t work due to caring for their injured child and lost earning capacity for the child if their injury will prevent them from earning a living
- Costs associated with home modifications
Medical malpractice insurance companies may offer a fast settlement, but the initial offer typically doesn’t include enough money to cover all associated expenses adequately. Your attorney can negotiate a higher settlement.
Birth injuries can result in untold emotional and mental anguish. If you or your baby suffered an injury during the birthing process, you may be able to seek compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Losing the ability to enjoy life
- Permanent disfigurement or disability
Severe birth injuries likely have a more profound impact. The more seriously the child’s life is affected, the higher birth injury lawsuit settlements will probably be.
Insurance companies often balk at paying non-economic damages because most of these conditions are intangible and more complicated to prove. Fortunately, the experienced attorneys at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, and DePaolis, LLP, know how to navigate these challenges to obtain the maximum compensation you deserve.
People with an experienced attorney on their side typically receive a substantially higher settlement than those who handle their case alone.
How Can Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis, LLP, Improve Your Birth Injury Lawsuit Settlement?
When birth injuries happen, the compassionate attorneys at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis, LLP, will fight for your right to fair and reasonable compensation. We have served Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Maryland residents for over 40 years, recovering more than $1 billion in compensation through various personal injury claims. We will not let insurance companies take advantage of our clients.
Let our team put our experience to work for you. Contact us today to request your free case consultation. We will assess your claim, tell you how much your birth injury lawsuit settlement is worth, and how we can help.