Infant brain damage can result in long-terms problems and disabilities, regardless of how minor the injury may seem. If the damage is curable, the brain can take years to “calm down” and to restore itself to a brain of normal health.
Brain damage is especially dangerous to a developing brain as it doesn’t develop neural pathways as it should, thus affecting the brain and creating damage that may last a lifetime.
In addition, when brain damage occurs before, during, or shortly after birth, a child can be left with a number of learning and intellectual disabilities, requiring medication and therapy, which can be quite expensive.
If your infant suffered brain damage due to the negligence of a physician, medical staff, or any other responsible party, you have the legal right to file a brain damage lawsuit.
What are Some of the Lifelong Expenses of Infant Brain Damage?
If your child’s birth injury manifests as brain damage, there will be a few up-front expenses such as medical imaging tests to see if there is a brain hemorrhage or if there is a skull fracture. These medical imaging tests (generally MRIs and head CT scans) are extremely expensive and doctors only order them if they are necessary.
Another necessary up-front test your doctor may order is an EEG, a test that evaluates the electricity in the brain. This test is used to determine whether the neural pathways are operating as they should.
Other expenses may include surgery, especially if the brain is swelling and if pressure needs to be relieved. Pain medication costs are almost always a factor during and after surgery.
After the type of brain damage and the severity of the injuries is diagnosed and treated, physical and occupational therapy usually follows. These expenses can last a lifetime in many cases. The severity of the brain damage dictates what kind and the amount of therapy needed.
In some instances, only occupational therapy is needed to monitor behavioral and developmental progress, but if the brain damage is severe, the patient may also need physical therapy.
Both methods of therapy may require years of treatment, in addition to years of expenses and costs.
Based on the patient’s progress and the severity of the brain damage, another lifelong expense could include medication in any of the many groups of medications. Patients of brain damage, particularly infants as they grow older, sometimes need to be on behavioral modification medication, and other patients may need to be on pain medication depending on the neural damage.
What is the Prognosis of Infant Brain Damage?
Since there isn’t one answer for the treatment of brain damage, it’s hard to determine the prognosis. Some patients may be fine once their brain “calms down,” while other patients may endure a lifetime of medical issues associated with brain damage.
Prognosis will greatly depend upon the severity of the injury as well as how well the patient responds to treatment.
Can a Lawsuit Really Help Pay for Infant Brain Damage?
If your infant’s brain damage was due to the negligent and careless actions of another party, such as a physician or medical staff, the best way to win compensation for your losses and expenses is to file a brain damage lawsuit. Most brain damage injuries can get quite expensive, and depending on the seriousness of the injuries, some families may pay over $1 million over the span of the injured child’s lifetime. A brain damage lawsuit can help you seek compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Physical pain and trauma
- Emotional pain and trauma
- Punitive damages
- Costs of in-home care
- Costs for specialized equipment
- Costs for special education assistance
In addition to compensation, one of the most important things a brain damage lawsuit can do is hold the liable parties responsible for negligent medical behavior.
Almost all physicians and other healthcare professionals take an oath to provide highest quality medical care in accordance with the standards. When they breech this oath, the injuries caused by their carelessness can cause someone to live with disabilities and disorders for life.
It’s important to note, however, that in order to have a valid infant brain damage lawsuit, your case must have a basic legal premise that gives reason for a personal injury and/or medical malpractice suit. Your case must show that:
- The defendant acted in a negligent way that caused your baby’s injuries
- The defendant did not act with care considered reasonable
- The defendant’s actions is what caused the injuries (negligence alone without any injuries is not a common cause for filing a lawsuit)
- The baby suffered from injuries that considered a measurable loss under your state law
Do I Need to File a Lawsuit Right Away?
Brain damage lawsuits fall under personal injury and will usually follow the statute of limitations for personal injury cases in your state. For example, some states mandate that you must file the lawsuit with two years of the time of the injury or within two years from the time the injury was discovered. Other states may have a three-year statute of limitations.
However, in cases of brain damage, there is some leeway for filing if the victim is minor. Some states allow parents to file at anytime before children reach their 18th birthday. Some states may also allow children to file their own brain damage lawsuit once they turn 18.
It’s recommended to find a reputable and experienced brain injury lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney will be able to assist you in understanding all of your options, your state’s statute of limitations, and other pertinent information.
How Long Does a Brain Injury Lawsuit Last?
Most medical malpractice and personal injury cases take a great deal of effort and research before an attorney gets to the settlement or trial phase of your case. Infant brain damage cases, on average, are one of the most difficult types of lawsuits, requiring extremely detailed research. Consequently, most brain damage lawsuits usually take numerous months and sometimes even years.
In addition, a brain injury lawsuit entails providing proof to the other party and allowing them time to negotiate a settlement with your attorney. This phase in itself may take quite a while as the evidence is presented and the defendant’s attorney mulls over a settlement agreement and other various factors of the case.
It’s best to prepare for a long time period, although in some rare instances, brain injury lawsuits are settled quickly.
When Will I Receive Compensation?
Most brain damage lawsuits usually takes months and even years, as previously mentioned. If your attorney is able to negotiate a settlement amount that you agree with, then you’ll typically receive compensation much sooner than if your case goes to trial.
If your case goes to trial, prepare for the fact that it may take longer than usual. On a good note, however, any expenses related to the medical care of your child that occurs during the trial period will be factored into your compensation along with past and future expenses. It’s important to remember, however, that once you win your trial, the defendant has the legal right to appeal the decision, which may tie up even further.
This information is not meant to dissuade you from going forward with your lawsuit, but to give you a realistic picture of the process. Keep in mind that once your case settles or once you win your trial, you’ll be compensated and have justice for your baby’s injuries.
How Much Compensation Will I Receive?
It’s difficult to pinpoint an exact amount you’ll receive after you file your brain damage lawsuit as each case is different and will depend a variety of factors, including the anticipated amount of expenses in caring for the disabled child, the expected loss of income if a parent needs to provide full-time care, past and present expenses, and much more.
While some lawsuits yield millions, others may result in the plaintiff winning several thousand. Your attorney will be able to help in determining an amount after researching your case.
What if I Can’t Afford a Brain Damage Attorney?
Most families enduring the mounting expenses of caring for an infant who experienced brain damage injuries are not equipped to handle attorney fees.
The good news, however, is that many experienced infant brain damage lawyers work on a contingency fee, meaning you’ll pay attorney costs after your case is closed and you receive compensation for your baby’s injuries. In other words, you pay nothing up-front and will not have to worry about attorney costs until you get win your case.
In most instances, if you don’t win, your lawyer doesn’t get paid. However, if an attorney takes on your case, there is a great chance of success as most lawyers will not take cases that are less than uncertain.