Settlements in Birth Injury Cases
When parents unexpectedly have to contend with the ramifications of an injury their child has suffered at birth, they are often angry and dismayed and seek to hold the providers responsible for their child’s harm accountable. Thus, many parents of children who have suffered injuries at birth file medical malpractice lawsuits. Even if it is clear that a physician caused a child to suffer harm at birth, however, there is always a risk that a jury may improperly evaluate liability or damages, resulting in an unjust verdict. Thus, in some instances, it makes sense to settle a malpractice lawsuit rather than proceeding to trial. If your child suffered an injury at birth, you may be able to pursue damages from the party responsible for your child’s harm. The capable Baltimore birth injury lawyers of Arfaa Law Group can evaluate the circumstances surrounding your child’s harm and help you assert your legal rights.The Plaintiff’s Burden of Proof in a Maryland Birth Injury Case
In Maryland, parties pursuing a medical malpractice claim following a child’s birth injury generally must establish that a medical provider’s negligence caused the child’s harm. Specifically, they must show that the medical provider had a duty to provide treatment that complied with the appropriate standard of care, which is the care that a practitioner in the same specialty and with like training and skill would provide under similar circumstances. The parties must then prove that the provider departed from the standard and that the departure proximately caused the child’s harm. In other words, they must produce sufficient evidence to establish that the child would not have suffered a birth injury absent the departure. In most cases, this is done via testimony from a medical expert. Lastly, they must show quantifiable damages.Settling a Birth Injury Case
Regardless of the strength of the evidence, there are risks associated with trying a birth injury malpractice case. Additionally, due to the fact that the parties often have to retain numerous experts, the costs of trying a case are often significant. As such, in many birth injury cases, it is prudent to come to a settlement agreement rather than proceeding to trial. There are multiple ways settlement can be effectuated. First, the parties have the right to come to an agreement amongst themselves at any point during litigation. Secondly, there are laws in place that promote settlement in medical malpractice claims. Specifically, when a party files a medical malpractice claim in Maryland, the court will set forth an order requiring the parties to participate in alternative dispute resolution (ADR), which is a means of settling a case without a trial, as soon as possible. While the parties can choose not to participate in ADR or may be excused if the court finds it will not be productive, in most cases, it is helpful. ADR includes an evaluation of the case by a neutral third party, mediation, or a settlement conference, and is a means of settling a case. The parties have an option to choose a neutral party to conduct the ADR proceeding, or one will be appointed by the court. Any settlement agreement entered into during ADR will bind the parties. Your attorney can help you navigate the specifics of pursuing settlement negotiations.Establishing Damages in a Birth Injury Case
Regardless of whether a case is tried or settles before trial, it is critical for the injured parties to determine the full extent of their damages. Notably, in most birth injury cases, both the parents and the injured child may be owed compensation. Damages often include the cost of any medical treatment the child had to undergo for his or her injury, or that they will need in the future. As many birth injuries render children permanently disabled, the costs of providing lifelong care can be astronomical, and it is important that they are accurately assessed. Damages may also include loss of earnings if the injury diminished the child's ability to earn an income in the future. In addition to economic losses, birth injuries also typically cause significant emotional and mental trauma, which the parties should be compensated for as well.Speak with a Skilled Birth Injury Lawyer in Baltimore
Although the majority of birth injury cases settle before trial, all birth injury cases should be handled as if they will be presented to a jury. If your child suffered an injury at birth in Baltimore, you can speak with an attorney to discuss what you must prove to recover damages. At Arfaa Law Group, we will work diligently to help you and your child seek the full amount of compensation you may be entitled to recover, regardless of whether your case settles or is tried. We can be reached at 410-889-1850 or through our form online to schedule a complimentary and confidential consultation.