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Birth Injury Lawsuit Settlements

Birth injury lawsuit settlements cover the extensive physical, psychological, and financial damages stemming from the injuries mother or child suffers during the birthing process caused by a health care provider’s negligence. A birth injury lawyer can help you file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the negligent providers to obtain a birth injury settlement.

Financial compensation is no substitute for the joy that is supposed to follow a birth. However, a birth injury settlement can provide the family with the necessary resources to provide long-term care for a severely injured child or pick up the pieces after the wrongful death of the child or mother.

What is a birth injury lawsuit settlement?

A birth injury medical malpractice case may lead to several outcomes, including:

  • Dismissal of the case by a judge
  • Withdrawal of the claim by the plaintiff
  • A verdict for the plaintiff or defendant
  • A pre-trial settlement

A birth injury settlement is a legally binding, voluntary agreement that specifies the compensation the health care providers will pay to the plaintiffs, usually the infant’s parents, in exchange for not taking the case to trial. 

Settlement agreements generally include a nondisclosure agreement, making them confidential. Settlement agreements may be reached with or without an admission of fault. They can be finalized at any time before a jury returns a verdict, even while the jury is still deliberating.

What is the average birth injury settlement?

Birth injury settlements may be substantial. In one notable case reported by Philadelphia Magazine, an $8 million settlement was reached against Temple University Hospital. 

In that case, a child developed cerebral palsy, visual impairment, a seizure disorder, and microcephaly after a doctor delayed seeing the mother for three hours after nurses notified him the baby was in peril.

Benefits of a Birth Injury Settlement

Approximately 95 percent of personal injury cases are resolved through settlements, according to The Law Dictionary. This is unsurprising since pretrial settlements usually serve the best interests of personal injury plaintiffs. 

Cases that go to trial are less predictable than cases that settle. Juries have been known to rule against plaintiffs with strong cases, resulting in severely injured plaintiffs getting nothing. 

Trials are public and can bring private medical information to light. The defense may resort to upsetting tactics, such as minimizing your loss or accusing you of faking your injuries and grief.

A trial can take a year or longer to conclude, and even if it ends with a verdict in your favor, the defense can appeal and drag the case on for years, denying you the right to collect the compensation you need and deserve to care for your injured child.

Settling a case generally offers the following benefits:

  • Receiving compensation significantly sooner compared to going to trial
  • Eliminating the stress and uncertainties associated with a trial
  • The inability for an appeal to take place and reverse the settlement
  • Privacy
  • Lower attorney fees and costs

What determines birth injury settlement amounts?

Settlement amounts are based largely on the harm suffered, but negotiations are often driven by how much the defendant stands to lose if the case goes to trial. For example, defendants may be willing to offer more generous settlements in the following circumstances:

  • The health care provider’s guilt is undeniable.
  • The case is newsworthy, and failing to settle will harm the defendant’s reputation.
  • The financial cost of litigation is significantly burdensome to the defendant.
  • The health care provider’s conduct was sufficiently outrageous to qualify for punitive damages if the case were to go to trial.

When calculating a fair and reasonable birth injury settlement amount, your attorney will consider economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are the provable financial losses related to the injuries. Non-economic damages are the pain and suffering losses. 

During settlement negotiations, the attorneys will consider the following economic and non-economic damages:

  • The severity of the injuries and whether they will result in permanent disabilities
  • The financial cost of the injuries, including medical bills and long-term educational and social needs
  • Whether the injured mother or child will require a full-time caregiver
  • The grief and psychological damage caused by the injuries
  • Lost wages of the parents, including long-term future earnings
  • Whether the injuries have resulted in chronic pain, permanent disfigurement, or permanent disability

State laws can also impact settlement negotiations. Some states place limits, known as caps, on non-economic and punitive damages in medical malpractice cases. Some states prohibit punitive damages or only allow them when the health care provider intentionally causes harm.

Defendants with less to lose by going to trial tend to be less generous in their settlement offers.

Newborn crying while mother carries him

Who pays out a birth injury lawsuit settlement?

The health care provider’s medical malpractice insurance generally pays birth injury settlements. It is not uncommon to name multiple defendants in birth injury lawsuits. As a result, payouts can come from multiple medical malpractice insurers.

How to Prevail in Birth Injury Settlement Negotiations

Successfully negotiating a settlement requires knowing what to say and what not to say. Seemingly harmless statements can drastically harm your case and give the insurance company an advantage in negotiations. To prevent this, you should avoid:

  • Speaking to representatives of the health care provider or the insurance companies
  • Talking to unknown individuals about your case unless your attorney is present
  • Posting anything related to your case on social media
  • Talking to the media about your case or otherwise publicizing it
  • Attempting to represent yourself instead of hiring an experienced birth injury lawyer
  • Hiring a lawyer that lacks experience handling birth injuries

How much time do I have to pursue a birth injury settlement?

Every state has a statute of limitations that sets the deadline for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. In most states, the time limit is one to three years, but cases require extensive work before they can be filed and negotiations begin. 

Therefore, it is imperative to contact a birth injury lawyer promptly after the injury occurs or you become aware of it. If the statute of limitations expires before you file your birth injury lawsuit, you will be time-barred from filing your case and collecting compensation.

If you cannot take your case to court, a defendant has no financial motivation to settle the case. Settlement negotiations may occur before the case is filed, but this does not affect the statute of limitations. Settlement negotiations can continue after you file your lawsuit until the case is concluded.

Gavel and stetoscope

When will I receive the proceeds from a birth injury settlement?

It takes an average of 30 days to receive birth injury settlement proceeds, but this can vary. Some states limit a defendant’s time to pay and give plaintiffs the right to charge interests and penalties for late payments. Your attorney can assist you with collection efforts if necessary.

How to Pursue a Birth Injury Lawsuit Settlement

To pursue a successful birth injury settlement, you will need the timely assistance of an experienced birth injury lawyer. Your lawyer will need your medical documentation, bills, and receipts. You must also sign a release form allowing your attorney to retrieve your medical records.

Medical malpractice cases are complex with strict requirements. Some states require you to file a notice of claim within a specified period before filing suit. Some states require a medical doctor with the same qualifications as the defendant to certify the case. 

Your attorney can handle these details, ensure your case meets all requirements,  and file it on time. This will demonstrate to the defendants that your lawsuit is viable, giving you leverage in settlement negotiations. 

If your family has experienced a birth injury because of medical negligence, contact the Birth Injury Center today to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced birth injury lawyer.

Written by:
Birth Injury Center Team

The Birth Injury Center aims to create informational web content and guides to help women and their families seeking support and guidance for birth injuries caused by medical negligence. All of the content published across The Birth Injury Center website has been thoroughly investigated and approved by medical expert Natalie Speer, RNC-OB, Attorney Ryan Mahoney, and Attorney Rick Meadows.