3 Steps of Filing a Birth Injury Lawsuit
Birth injury malpractice lawsuits can be based on a wide variety of causes. Conditions such as cerebral palsy and Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn can result from a difficult birth or because of negligence on the part of a medical practitioner. What can make birth injury cases more complicated is that often there is a lapse between when the injury occurs and when it is finally recognized and diagnosed.
Hiring an Attorney
The first step in filing a birth injury lawsuit is hiring a birth injury lawyer. Attorneys may specialize in specific types of birth injuries or in birth injury cases in general. An attorney can help you review medical records and gather evidence to determine if filing a lawsuit is the best option. Your attorney will assist you with working within the statute of limitations.
Those statutes vary widely from state to state, especially in cases involving minors. Most states have some window of time after the injury is discovered. This can range from two to ten years. Some states limit filing on behalf of a minor to a specific age. In Virginia, minors below the age of eight have until their tenth birthday regardless of the date of the injury.
This can be crucial in the case of birth injuries. As soon as the damage is discovered is when the statute of limitations begins. If you don’t act during that time, your window to file a birth injury lawsuit has closed. A birth injury lawyer can advise you on the best way to move forward, given the laws in your state.
Once a lawsuit is filed, the next step is to work with your attorney to review medical records and gather evidence. Your attorney and lawyers representing the physician or medical practice are required to share evidence with each other. This process is called discovery. It can take some time to complete, but once it is finished, both sides have a complete picture of the case. You will have a better idea of your chances of winning.
Settlement or Trial
This is where the possibility of negotiating an agreement comes into play. That process can continue right up until a case goes to trial. If a settlement is reached ahead of time, then the trial is unnecessary.
However, when you’re negotiating a settlement in a birth injury case, there are a lot of considerations. You must take into account the cost of any medical treatments your child might require while they are a minor, plus consider the future. Is the birth injury to the extent that your child will require lifelong care that might extend beyond your own life?
Such questions need to be taken into account as you work with an attorney. Whether there is a settlement or a trial, in a birth injury case, there are usually trusts or annuities established to make sure that the child receives benefits that extend into adulthood, if necessary.