Infant brain damage is a devastating condition that can develop due to a variety of reasons. When it happens as a result of medical negligence, however, you have the legal right to file a compensation claim against the responsible party. I many situations, infant brain damage is linked back to medical negligent care that could have otherwise been prevented with the correct safety precautions and measures.
What is Infant Brain Damage Compensation Claims?
An infant brain damage compensation claim is a medical malpractice lawsuit, also known as a birth injury lawsuit, usually brought on by the parents or legal guardian of an infant who was injured before, during, or shortly after birth. Compensation claims are a way for loved ones to recoup expenses associated with the baby’s brain damage, including both economic and non-economic damages.
Who Can File an Infant Brain Damage Compensation Claim?
As aforementioned, the parents or legal guardian of the infant can typically file against the responsible party. Some states, however, allow the claim to be filed by the victim, once they turn 18. Although this may be a viable option for some, it’s generally recommended that a claim should be filed as soon as possible by the parents or legal guardian. The sheer amount of medical expenses and other costs involved in caring for the victim is usually a lot more than the average family can afford.
Infants who develop brain damage almost always need lifelong medical care, rehabilitation, special education costs, home accommodations, and much more. Depending on how severe the brain damage is, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that costs associated with long-term care for infants with brain damage can reach into the millions. Securing compensation immediately will help with the mounting expenses as soon as possible as opposed to waiting until the infant is an adult.
How To Tell if You Have a Valid Infant Brain Damage Compensation Claim
Before starting an infant brain damage compensation claim, it’s important to determine if you have a valid case. If you feel your infant’s brain damage is a result of medical negligence, an experienced infant brain damage lawyer can assist you in determining if your case is credible.
The following, however, are some of the most common reasons for infant brain damage compensation claims:
According to the the American Journal of Neuroradiology, oxygen deprivation is one of the leading causes of infant brain damage. In fact, 2 to 10 out of every 1,000 infants will experience oxygen deprivation. Although there are instances in which the cause is unknown, many times the causes of infant oxygen deprivation is linked back to poor and negligent medical care.
For example, if a physician fails to properly monitor fetal distress, it may lead to lack of oxygen, which can ultimately lead to brain damage. Additionally, failure to schedule an emergency C-section, failure to detect umbilical cord issues, and failure to detect and treat placenta problems can all lead to lack of oxygen and brain damage.
Although many people think that jaundice is a common newborn condition that clears up on its own, in some instances, this is not true. In fact, if severe jaundice is not treated, it can lead to a form of brain cancer known as kernicterus. Physicians have the obligation and duty to ensure that infant jaundice is diagnosed and treated immediately.
Physical Trauma During Birth
Excessive pulling, difficulties in pushing the infant out, and improper use of birth-assisting tools have all been linked to injuries that can lead to brain damage. For instance, during a difficult delivery, if an infant remains stuck in the mother’s pelvic area for too long, oxygen deprivation may occur, which heightens the risk of brain damage. This may have been prevented with the proper safety precautions, such as scheduling and carrying out an emergency C-section.
In addition, there are certain requirements that need to be met in order for your claim to withhold. First, there must be proof that a doctor/patient relationship existed when your baby was injured. In most cases, if the physician was responsible for delivering your baby, then the relationship of doctor/patient was already in place. However, a physician whom you’ve never been treated by cannot be sued unless there was an established relationship. For instance, a doctor who simply gives you the wrong advice yet is not your primary doctor cannot be sued.
You’ll also need to establish that the injuries occurred during the time that the physician was treating you (such as during delivery), and that the injuries occurred due to medical carelessness and negligence.
What Can Be Recovered in an Infant Brain Damage Compensation Claim?
In general, plaintiffs in infant brain damage compensation claims can recover both economic and non-economic damages. Keep in mind, though, that each state has its own rules, and in many cases, non-economic damages have a cap, meaning there is maximum limit of compensation that can be awarded.
Economic damages generally include:
- Medical costs, including medications, treatments, hospital and doctor visits, and any other expense associated with the medical care due to the infant’s condition
- Physical, occupational, and rehabilitative therapy
- Home accommodations, such as ramps, rails, etc.
- Special education costs
- Counseling and psychological therapy costs
- Lost wages, should a caregiver need to leave work to care long-term for the medical needs of the infant
Non-economic damages include:
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of joy of life
- Physical pain and suffering
How Can I Afford Legal Representation?
Most birth injuries attorneys understand that parents or legal guardians are already dealing with a lot of financial stress with their infant’s injuries. As a result, most experienced lawyers will offer a contigency-based payment plan, in which you’ll never have to pay anything up-front.
Once your case is won, your attorney will generally take a percentage of your compensation. In other words, you do not need to pay anything for attorney representation until you yourself are paid from the claim.
For additional information on infant brain damages attorneys and how they can assist you with your compensation claim, refer to our article Infant Brain Damage Lawyer.