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Expert Testimony in Birth Injury Cases

Attorneys Representing Baltimore Families in Medical Malpractice Claims

When a child suffers an injury at birth, it not only causes the child’s family to suffer anguish and heartache, but it typically also requires them to expend considerable funds to pay for the child’s medical treatment and care. While people can seek recourse for the harm caused by a birth injury via a medical malpractice lawsuit, they must prove the cause and extent of the losses to be compensated. In most cases, therefore, expert testimony is needed in birth injury cases to establish a nexus between the defendant’s acts or failure to act and the harm alleged. If your child sustained an injury at birth, it is important to determine what evidence you may need to recover damages from the providers responsible for your child’s harm. At Arfaa Law Group, our capable Baltimore birth injury lawyers can gather the evidence you need to pursue your claims.

Proving a Medical Provider Should be Liable for a Birth Injury

In Maryland, a party alleging that a child suffered an injury at birth due to the acts or omissions of a medical care provider will generally assert a negligence claim against the provider in a medical malpractice lawsuit. A plaintiff seeking to hold a medical provider liable for negligence must establish that the provider had a duty to provide treatment commensurate with the applicable standard of care. The standard of care in birth injury cases is the care that a practitioner in the same specialty, with similar experience and training, would provide when presented with the same set of facts.

After the plaintiff establishes the standard of care, he or she must show that the defendant care provider acted in a manner that constituted a deviation from the standard of care. Common examples of a deviation from the standard of care are the failure to conduct diagnostic tests or to address abnormal test results, delays in inducing labor or performing cesarean deliveries, and inappropriate use of forceps during delivery. Lastly, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the departure from the standard of care proximately caused the child’s birth injury. In other words, the plaintiff must show that absent the departure, the child would not have suffered an injury. A plaintiff that successfully establishes liability may be able to recover compensation for the economic and noneconomic damages suffered by both the child and the child’s parents.

Expert Testimony in Birth Injury Cases

Typically, birth injury cases involve complex questions regarding the duties imposed on the defendant provider that are beyond the comprehension of the average person. Thus, the plaintiff will usually need to retain a medical expert to explain both the standard of care and the manner in which the defendant deviated from the standard of care to the jury in layman’s terms. A knowledgeable birth injury lawyer can help you identify experts who would be qualified to offer testimony in your case.

Pursuant to Maryland law, a person offering expert testimony regarding the standard of care in a medical malpractice case must either have clinical experience or must have taught medicine in the same practice area as the defendant within five years of the date of the plaintiff’s harm. Some individuals, including people who have a financial stake in the outcome of the case, are precluded from testifying as experts.

The plaintiff will also most likely need to retain one or more experts to establish the damages caused by the defendant’s negligence. Medical experts will usually offer testimony regarding the lifetime cost of the child’s treatment and care. Depending on the severity of the child’s injury, an economics expert may have to testify regarding the diminished earning capacity suffered by the child as well. Generally, defendants will rebut plaintiffs’ expert witness testimony with testimony from their own experts. As such, in many cases, the jury will find in favor of whichever party presents the most compelling expert witnesses.

Consult a Seasoned Birth Injury Lawyer in Baltimore

Birth injuries can cause lifelong devastation. If your child sustained harm of this nature in Baltimore, you can consult a seasoned medical malpractice attorney who can advise you regarding what expert testimony is needed in your birth injury case. At Arfaa Law Group, we have the knowledge and experience to help you navigate this process and advocate aggressively for your rights. We can be reached through our form online or by calling 410-889-1850 to schedule a confidential and free meeting.