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Legal Settlement Options for Birth Injury & Medical Malpractice

legal settlement options

Every loving parent wants a healthy, happy child. That’s why birth injuries – some of which go undetected until years after a child’s birth – are so frightening. The effects of birth injury range from brain damage to physical impairments affecting motor skills; some symptoms are temporary while others last for a lifetime. Lifetime care is very expensive; knowing your legal settlement options and winning a birth injury lawsuit may be the only way to cover your expenses.

What are legal settlement options in birth injury & medical malpractice cases?

A legal settlement is a resolution between disputing parties, reached before or after trial. Most Seattle birth injury lawsuits are settled before trial in the form of a legal settlement. Pre-trial settlements offer many advantages over going to trial including less stress (not having to face questions by a defendant’s attorney), more privacy, quicker resolution and possibly bigger settlement.

Plaintiffs may receive economic damages for past, present and long-term medical expenses, rehabilitation and physical therapy, special education assistance, cognitive and behavioral therapy, specialized equipment and technology-based aids, in-home care and even lost wages for the care-giving parent. In some cases non-economic damages are also awarded for such things as pain and suffering, mental anguish, impairment, destruction of the parent-child relationship, disfigurement and loss of companionship. Note: each state has its own cap on non-economic damages that may be awarded. See the rules for Washington State here.

If your child has suffered a serious birth injury there are steps that you should take:

  • Seek medical evaluation and treatment
  • Get a second opinion
  • Gather recommendations for therapy and other specialist care
  • Discuss medical goals and corresponding care/treatment
  • Contact an experienced birth injury / medical malpractice attorney without delay. He or she may recommend drafting a Life Care Plan* with dollar figures attached to care. He or she will also inform you of your legal settlement options and fight for the justice and damages that you deserve.

*Life Care Plans have become a tool increasingly used by medical malpractice attorneys in the United States. They are useful in managing and identifying the costs of treating catastrophic illness and injury. The plan should be a well researched document presenting a comprehensive assessment of the medical needs of the individual backed up by standard medical practice. It presents current and future health care needs with their associated costs.

Common forms of birth injury that lead to legal settlement options

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Brachial plexus injury
  • Erb’s palsy
  • Klumpke’s palsy

Serious medical malpractice injuries that lead to legal settlement options

  • Failure to diagnose serious medical conditions
  • Surgical errors
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Emergency room errors
  • Pharmacy or medication errors

How can a medical malpractice attorney help?

If your child has suffered a serious birth injury as a result of medical malpractice, you may feel too overwhelmed and exhausted to file a birth injury claim. The truth is that a qualified birth injury lawyer can help to ease the financial, emotional and physical burden of your child’s birth injury. A legal settlement for a birth injury may be the only way to stay on top of the expenses of your child’s care and treatment. The cost of caring for a child with cerebral palsy, for example, is often outside the budget that a family can afford. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the medical costs to care for a child with cerebral palsy is over 10 times the amount of medical costs for children who do not have the disorder. A medical malpractice lawsuit also serves the purpose of holding the medical professional(s) responsible for their error, which may prevent future injuries to their patients.

Once a birth injury lawyer has taken your case, he or she will handle some of the work that has been exhausting you.

Here is what a Seattle birth injury lawyer will do for you:

  • Gather medical documents and other evidence
  • Interview all witnesses and retain medical experts who can help to prove your case
  • Serve “a complaint” to the defendant
  • Begin the “discovery phase” where he or she discusses the details of the case with the defense attorney. A decision will be made between the parties about whether the case can be settled out of court or should proceed to trial. This is typically the longest phase of the process.
  • The last step is a pre-trial settlement or a trial with resulting settlement. Once a case is settled, damages are usually paid within a few months. The bigger the size of the settlement, the more likely it is to come in monthly installments instead of a lump sum.

Why shouldn’t I make a settlement directly with the hospital?

Often settlement money comes from hospitals and/or hospital insurance plans. Sometimes the hospital will contact the parent of an infant injured in a birth injury and offer a settlement that may sound large to you but will, in reality, not be anywhere near enough to cover the cost of care and treatment. When you hire a birth injury lawyer you are likely to receive a settlement several times what you could negotiate on your own.

The Seattle birth injury lawyers at Morrow Kidman Tinker Macey-Cushman, PLLC have years of experience representing families harmed by medical malpractice. We seek justice for patients who have been harmed by preventable medical errors including birth injuries, hospital-acquired infections and wrongful death in Seattle and across Washington State. There are no fees or expenses to file a personal injury case as we only receive payment if we recover damages on your behalf. Do not delay; personal injury claims come with a Statute of Limitations, which means they must be filed within a certain time frame of the injury.

Call us now at 206-842-3330 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our compassionate, experienced attorneys.