New legislation could drastically alter how birth injury cases operate in Maryland. In response to judgments for medical malpractice cases, some lawmakers in the state are attempting to create a fund to pay for the medical expenses and other damages of babies harmed by both natural and medical accidents during birth. While this plan could prove beneficial for some, many are still skeptical about how the fund would assist birth injury victims and their families.
The proposed legislation in Maryland aims to create a fund to provide compensation to families for medical bills, lost earnings and other costs associated with children who suffer from certain birth injuries. A family that applies to the birth injury fund would need to provide proof of injury, and then a judge decides whether to provide compensation for the child from the fund.
This fund does not take away the right families have to pursue medical malpractice lawsuits against those responsible. Parents of a child with serious birth trauma can bypass the fund and sue the medical provider for causing injury. If the lawsuit fails, a judge could order the case to be filed with the fund for compensation.
Doctors and hospitals that have obstetrics and gynecological practices as well as malpractice insurers would pay annual fees that go into the fund. Maryland would be one of only a few states, including Virginia, to have this resource available for birth injury victims.
There are numerous major medical providers, including John Hopkins Hospital and the University of Maryland Medical System, that sponsor the bill. However, many stand in opposition to the fund. Some doctors and hospitals are concerned that the malpractice costs could cause some medical practices to go out of business, which could potentially make healthcare less available to the public.
Critics of the bill state that the fund does not encourage hospitals to prevent negligence from occurring, since causing a birth injury would not force them to pay any additional costs. Others argue that the legislation should confront the problem of poor healthcare and incentivize hospitals to take measures to prevent birth injuries as well as other forms of medical malpractice. The birth injury fund is likely to be a subject of debate for some time.
At Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis & Lightfoot, L.L.P., our attorneys understand how devastating birth injuries can be for families. Our Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. injury attorneys want children with birth injuries and their families to gain the compensation they deserve, and hold medical professionals and healthcare facilities accountable for their negligence. For free attorney advice, Maryland residents can speak with our Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia injury lawyers by calling (301) 345-5700. You can also get in touch with us filling out the contact form located on our website.