Often parents of a child with a birth injury say they didn’t think they would one day file a birth injury lawsuit, so they were completely blindsided when it came to selecting a law firm and moving forward with a lawsuit. Some people have no idea what the first step is, how to get to the first step, how to navigate having a child with a birth injury the same time you’re working through this legal process, or a thousand other questions that come to mind. If you are likewise at a loss as to what to do in regards to an upcoming birth injury lawsuit, take a look at the common questions that many parents have.
What is the First Step?
When you suspect your child of having a birth injury, the very first step is to get some help for your child. Don’t waste any time, because some birth injuries are very time-sensitive, getting worse the longer you wait to diagnose and treat a birth injury. After you’ve gone through all of the immediate steps to get your child taken care of (often a list of steps dictated by the kind of birth injury your child has), then you can do the necessary research to find a law firm that is experienced and successful handling cases of birth injuries.
Should I Take Legal Action for My Baby’s Birth Injury?
Sometimes kind parents don’t want to step forward and make things uncomfortable with their doctor. However, kind parents don’t realize that in so doing, they’re doing an unkind thing, as this dangerous doctor is free to injure other babies. While that is reason enough to take legal action for your baby’s birth injury, another reason that justifies taking legal action includes funding. If your baby has a severe birth injury such as cerebral palsy, you will be in for a lifetime of exorbitant medical expenses that include medication, wheelchairs, therapy, perhaps a new mode of transportation that accommodates a wheelchair, in home care with a nurse, and countless other expenses. Sometimes these expenses can go into the millions, and the average family can’t afford millions in specialized healthcare. Often, the financial awards from legal action are the only way that families can properly care for their children with birth injuries.
When Should I Take Legal Action for My Baby’s Birth Injury?
If your child has just been diagnosed with a birth injury, it’s important to start the ball rolling on legal action. Start speaking to a lawyer as soon as possible because as soon as the hospital knows that your child has a birth injury, the hospital will send a representative or an insurance specialist to speak to you regarding the event. These representatives are often well-practiced people who will get you to settle for a sum of money that sounds large but, in fact, doesn’t cover the medical costs that your child will need.
Additionally, it’s important to approach a lawyer immediately upon the birth injury diagnosis as the care for you child has already started. You want to be able to approach a Life Care Plan Specialist and get a detailed, experienced, and thorough list so that you can start the treatment plan for your child immediately. Often, these steps cannot be taken unless the family has the funds to take them, and often the only way these funds are available to the family is through a lawsuit. Unfortunately, the lawsuit process can take anywhere from months to years, so the sooner you speak to a lawyer, the sooner you can get your child exactly what he or she needs.
How Do You Navigate Having a Child with a Birth Injury While Working Through the Legal Process?
It is extremely difficult caring for a child with a birth injury, especially if you are the primary caretaker. You need to be there for your child more than anyone else is, and it’s hard to imagine taking any time out of that schedule even if it is to serve that child in a different way. Most law firms understand that and make the process as smooth as possible so that you can primarily take care of your baby, and only then take care of something that will also take care of your baby.
How Long Does a Trial Take?
Some trials take years. Ultimately, it depends on the kind of birth injury your child has and the kind of documentation you have to support your case. If you have a number of hard facts as documented through paperwork, your case might proceed faster than a case that is subjective with only a few witnesses relied on fallible memory. That isn’t to say that witnesses won’t help you in a trial –just that documentation makes a trial progress faster.
What Kinds of Documents Do I Need to Assemble?
Collect everything that you’ve ever been given from the hospital and from the medical staff you’ve worked with. Even if the paperwork you’re using doesn’t involve the staff person responsible for the malpractice, keep the paperwork because it proves that the child’s health and your pregnancy and delivery was otherwise progressing normally. Try to take down the names of all medical personnel that you spoke with or came across, and try to remember the events exactly as they happened. You want a deposition that compliments the factual details in the paperwork.
What Needs to Be Included in My Deposition?
Your deposition should not be a narrative of the emotions regarding your case. The jury as a group of humans will clearly see how you feel about the matter and will ascertain the kinds of effects that it’s had on you and your family. Your deposition needs to be compiled of as much factual information as possible, omitting all emotional narratives and explanation of the events. Your deposition needs to remain only as the events that unfolded. What time did you go into labor? Did you have any doubts about your doctor or the medical staff before you went into labor? If so, why? (Hard facts, remember, no feelings, but actual exchanges of dialogue or actions.) What happened during labor? How did the medical staff act before, during, and after labor? Did the nurses or doctor act like anything was wrong at any point –even if no one verbalized it? How did the baby look when he or she came out? How much time passed before you realized there was a problem with the baby? What, exactly, were the symptoms of the birth injury that you recognized in the baby? What did the medical staff say when you brought these symptoms to their attention? Did anyone admit to anyone having made a mistake during delivery? Did a hospital representative or an insurance representative try to talk to you after your child was diagnosed? What did the representative say, and could this be considered an admission of guilt? Be very careful about the details that you select for your deposition, but make sure you include as many factual details as possible, including dates, times, names, and exact dialogue if you can.
Do I Need Witnesses in a Birth Injury Case?
Witnesses could be either helpful or useless. Useless witnesses are people who think that they may have seen or heard something, but they’re not sure, or perhaps they had a feeling about something and their testimony is subjective. However, an excellent witness that could be very beneficial in your case could include a witness that heard a medical professional admit to making a mistake, or a witness that was present in the delivery room to see the mistake firsthand (generally family members can be this kind of witness).