Birth injury is the pain and physical impairment inflicted upon your newborn due to the negligence of the on-duty medical team. The responsible party may include doctors, nurses, and midwives. Sometimes the hospital management is also considered a culprit in the crime if they are accomplices in this act.
Birth injury is devastating for the parents and the child. Luckily, the law is on the side of the victims and gives relief to families affected by the ignorance of other parties. The victim can file a legal complaint in a court of law and demand justice in the form of the cancellation of the medical license of on-duty doctors. They can receive compensation for their pain and suffering, medical bills, job loss due to child responsibility, and so on.
Filling a birth injury lawsuit is not straightforward and involves working through various steps to reach the final stage. Below are some steps to get justice for your child.
- Be Sure About Your Eligibility
First, ensure that the injury your child received is categorized as a birth injury that resulted due to negligence of the medical team. Get some knowledge about some common types of birth injuries. Consult doctors about the physical or mental impairment in your child.
You can also use various online and offline resources. Visit childbirthinjuries.com, an extensive online resource that discusses birth injuries, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and so on. Once you are sure that the birth injury in your child is caused by medical negligence, you can move forward with the process.
- Hire An Experienced Birth Injury Attorney
Hiring an experienced attorney to take your lawsuit forward is extremely necessary. Experienced attorneys deal with such cases all the time. They know the procedure and the tricks of the opposing parties, who might avoid paying you the rightful compensation.
If you file a lawsuit yourself, chances are you will omit important details, fail to collect the evidence, and, in return, lose your chance of getting compensation. Therefore, when it comes to lawsuits as tricky as a birth injury, always go with an experienced attorney.
- Send A Demand Letter
Often birth injury lawyers send a demand letter to the blamed party before starting the complaint-filling procedure in court. The demand letter explains why you think the injury to your child resulted from the medical staff’s negligence. It also mentions the amount of compensation you must be paid for your damages.
Demand letters help speed up the process; if the doctor agrees to pay the compensation, there might not be any need for a court complaint. But it is seldom the case when the defendants accept their mistake so easily and pay the compensation unless they strongly think your chances of winning the case are substantial.
- File The Complaint In The Court
If the doctor refuses to pay the compensation, you must start the actual litigation process. Ask your attorney to file a complaint in court to demand justice. The complaint will list all the facts that justify why you are filing this grievance report.
Your lawyer will file the complaint with all the required documents with a trial court. After your complaint, the court will send a formal notice to the defendants, who will be required to respond within a given period. If they don’t respond, the defendants lose the case automatically. It rarely happens that the court is unable to locate a defendant even after trying various means. But when this happens, your lawyer can request the court for “substituted service.” It means posting the complaint documents to the defender’s last known address and giving an ad in the newspaper.
- Discovery Phase
Discovery is the most important and challenging step of the whole litigation procedure. Your lawyer and their team will collect all the evidence to support your medical malpractice case. The goal of any legal team during this phase is to look at all the details deeply to discover important information and facts to make the lawsuit as robust as possible.
A birth injury attorney can use the following means to collect more evidence:
- Depositions (primary details from those present on the scene, such as medical professionals)
- Hospital receipts and expense reports of your child
- Documents that prove the birth injury of your child
- Any other related documents
- Similarly, the lawyers on the defendant’s side will collect the evidence for quashing or discrediting your details and strengthening their defense.
- Negotiations and settlements
Most cases are settled after the discovery phase. Both parties have already gauged the strength and weaknesses of each other. The defendants are often ready to settle if they think going to the trial will be costly. Likewise, your lawyer may be eager to settle the case if they think going forward with a trial will make their chances of winning compensation thinner. The defendant may ask you for a settlement amount.
A settlement is a form of compensation you receive without a court trial. If the defendant and the plaintiff come to an agreement on the settlement amount, the case closes, and the victim gets the money. When a lawsuit closes with a settlement, no side wins or loses. Most lawyers want a birth injury lawsuit to close with a settlement to speed up the process of winning compensation for their clients. But if the case does not end with a settlement, both parties go for a court trial.
- Court Trial And Appeal
A court trial is the last step of the whole litigation process. The judge and jury consider all the arguments made by both parties. If you win the case, the court orders the defendants to provide you with compensation.
While a court trial can give you a higher payment, you get nothing if you lose the lawsuit. Therefore, going for a trial is always very risky. After the verdict, the defendants have the right to appeal the ruling. A higher court reviews the case at a later date. You will get no compensation until the appeal period is over.
Filling a birth injury lawsuit is a complex procedure that can take months before a verdict is out. Before you start the process, get the required information about its various steps. Always work with a practiced attorney who can help you win higher compensation in less time.