The brain is a complicated organ and is, in fact, the organ that scientists know the least about. Just when doctors think they have figured more out regarding the brain, they come across something else in their research that seemingly sets us back again. It almost seems that the closer we think we are to understanding the brain, the further we actually move from fully comprehending its functions and processes.
That being said, brain damage is an unusual thing. When adults endure brain damage, doctors don’t know if the patient will have a behavioral change of personality or not. The same mystery beholds doctors regarding infants who endure brain injuries as a birth injury: doctors don’t know what the prognosis will be and whether the brain will fully heal –or if the child will have a learning or intellectual disability that will last his or her lifetime.
Since there is so much unknown about the healing of the brain, it’s important to contact a lawyer to make sure that you can make provisions for your child in case the brain damage turns into a lifelong struggle.
What Are The Expenses of Infant Brain Damage?
Since every brain damage case is different from the next, it’s difficult to say what your child will experience. If your child’s brain injury case is something like a skull fracture, you’ll have a few up-front expenses such as medical imaging and pain medication, and the child is likely to heal from this without any permanent damage.
However, if your child stopped breathing for anywhere up to six minutes, the damage to the brain could be quite extensive, leaving your child with an intellectual disability of some kind. These lifelong expenses could include medication and doctor visits for a lifetime, and if the brain damage is more severe as in the case of cerebral palsy, expenses could include adaptive equipment, the cost of in-home care, institutionalization, and other unforeseen costs. Ultimately, it boils down to what the initial injury is and the status of your child’s brain based on your doctor’s diagnosis.
Other common expenses include:
- Occupational and physical therapy
- X-rays and CT scans
- Psychiatric support
- Speech therapy
According to the Center for Head Injury Services, the average cost per year in the United States for traumatic brain injuries is over $48 billion. The costs associated with severe brain injuries typically costs over $4 million and usually requires up to 10 years of medical services and rehabilitation.
How Can Finding an Infant Brain Damage Lawyer Help?
If your baby was victim to careless and negligent medical behavior by your physician or members of the medical staff, you have the legal right to file a birth injury lawsuit and seek the damages you are entitled to. As aforementioned, the expenses of caring for a disabled child can be overwhelming and is usually more expensive than the average family can afford.
Additionally, these types of cases are extremely complex and require the assistance of an experienced attorney in order to have the best chances of success. A knowledgeable brain damage lawyer not only understands the ins and outs of brain damage cases, but can also collect evidence, interviews witnesses, and uncover laws that most people are unaware of.
Should I Find an Infant Brain Damage Lawyer or a Birth Injury Lawyer?
Lawyers specialize in different kinds of injuries and lawsuits. There are lawyers both for brain damage and for birth injuries. Since brain injuries are a common part of birth injuries, most brain damage lawyers are well-versed in birth injury cases. The main criteria to look for is a knowledgeable attorney who has in-depth experience in both brain damage cases and birth injury cases.
Often, brain injury lawyers are accustomed to dealing with brain injury patients of all ages, but primarily, adult brain injuries stem from non-medically-related accidents. Newborn brain injuries are in many cases, birth injuries, and and attorney who is strong in defending birth injury cases of all kinds will be familiar with how to successfully represent you against the medical personnel.
Yet, it’s ideal to find a birth injury attorney who specifically specializes in infant brain damage cases, or least an attorney who has extensive experience in successfully handling a plethora of infant brain damage cases. You should always feel free in ask a potential attorney for credentials, including the success rate and amount of infant brain damage cases that they’ve handled.
What Does an Infant Brain Damage Lawyer Do?
First and foremost, a brain damage attorney will determine if you have a valid case. For example, there must be substantial proof that your infant’s brain damage was the result of the negligence of another party, such as a physician who carelessly made medical mistakes or a medical staff that didn’t follow proper procedures. In addition, the following must be present in order to have a valid case:
- Proof that the defendant’s actions, whether willful or not, caused damage to your infant
- Proof that the defendant failed to act in a reasonable way and uphold the required standard of medical care
- Proof that your infant’s injuries were caused by the defendant’s negligent actions
Once it’s determined that you have a valid case, a brain injury attorney starts the case by gathering pertinent documents, evidence, and information. Most attorneys offer a free case consultation in order to review your case. If the attorney feels your case is indeed valid and that you have a successful chance in winning your lawsuit, they’ll offer you their services.
After gathering important documents and researching the details of your infant’s injuries, a brain damage lawyer will attempt to negotiate a settlement with the defendant in the case. Typically, the defendant’s attorney and/or insurance company will speak and negotiate on their behalf.
During this time, known as “discovery,” an attorney generally starts the process of proving the defendant’s negligence by working with medical expert, and witnesses. The information is then provided to the defendant in order to show proof of medical negligence that led to your baby’s brain damage.
This is an intricate process that involves a great amount of research and detailed work, but an experienced brain damage lawyer understands the procedures and will fight to ensure the needed evidence is found in order to prove your case. In addition to working with medical experts, a brain damage lawyer may also work with an economics expert who will be able to explain the total economic costs involved in caring for a disabled child.
It’s important to note that most medical malpractice cases, including infant brain damage cases, end with a settlement. However, if a settlement cannot be reached by both parties, a trial is the next option.
Is an Infant Brain Damage Lawyer Affordable?
Attorneys generally have their own set of fees, so it’s difficult to ascertain a set price. That being said, however, it’s common that most families have to endure extremely high medical expenses associated with a baby who is suffering a devastating birth injury that led to brain damage. Most attorneys understand this and offer a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay no up-front fees for the attorney’s legal service. When you win your lawsuit and you’re compensated, a fee will be taken from your compensation for attorney costs.
It’s a good idea to only work with a lawyer who offers contingency fees. You can rest assured that the attorney has the up-front financial resources to thoroughly research your case and represent you. An attorney who will only work with you if you pay up-front may have the financial backing to give you the best chances of winning your lawsuit.
What is My Verdict or Settlement Worth?
Keep in mind that each brain damage case is different, so it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact amount that each case is worth. However, in most instances, plaintiffs in a brain damage lawsuit may be entitled to damages for:
- Medical Expenses: Compensation for medical expenses usually entails past, present, and future expenses for any type of medical care your child needs, including medication, doctor visits, therapy, in-home medical care, and specialized medical equipment.
- Lost Wages: Lost wages may not only include past and present wages lost due to the care of your disabled child, but may also represent future wages that could have been earned if not for your child’s disorder.
- Pain and Suffering: Pain and suffering includes both physical and emotional pain caused by brain damage.
- Punitive Damages: In some instances, plaintiffs may be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages are meant to “punish” the defendant for reckless, neglectful behavior. For instance, if a physician isn’t paying attention during delivery and leaves your infant deprived of oxygen for too long, it may fall under reckless behavior, resulting in punitive.