Those who have had a child injured at birth understandably want to know what kind of medical malpractice payout or verdict they could be looking at. Injuries sustained after birth frequently necessitate continuous medical care and other forms of support for the kid, which can be costly.
Birth injury cases’ potential settlement or verdict value is higher than any other personal injury tort lawsuit. Birth injury lawsuit generally results in verdicts and settlements three times as large as those in different types of individual injury cases and thirty percent larger than the average value of other medical malpractice claims.
Here, we’ll look at real-world examples of birth injury settlements and verdicts and analyze the aspects that make these cases valuable.
Why Do Birth Injury Lawsuits Have Such a High Value?
The severity and form of the injuries and the extent of the economic damages are the two key variables that work together to make the award value of birth injury cases higher than any other claim for medical negligence.
Severity of Injuries
Birth injury malpractice cases typically involve some of the most tragic injuries and situations, which drives up the award value of these cases.
Injuries to the brain during birth, such as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), can leave a child with lasting problems, such as cerebral palsy. Consistent medical care and assistance may be needed for the rest of a person’s life, even in mild or moderate cases of cerebral palsy.
Children with moderate cerebral palsy typically have fundamental needs that must be met, such as physical therapy and occupational therapy, electric wheelchairs, walkers, and other mobility aids, as well as special education programs.
Economic Damages for Birth Injuries
The fact that birth injury malpractice lawsuits typically involve significant economic damages is the other component that contributes to the high potential value of these types of cases.
Claims for financial losses that extend into adulthood are commonplace in cases of birth harm.
However, economic damages are NOT bound to these maximum restrictions; if you have a case in which you may claim significant financial losses, it will push up the value of your claim.
When calculating economic damages, two things are always taken into account: (a) future lost income (or loss of future earning potential) and (b) past and future medical expenses.
In the United States and other nations, there are no limits placed on the amount awarded for economic damages. Because birth injury malpractice lawsuits typically involve a significant amount of monetary damages, this boosts the amount of money that could be settled in a birth injury case.
Some Examples of Verdict and Award Amounts in Birth Injury Cases
Below, you’ll see the summary of each birth injury lawsuit that was settled and publicly publicized verdicts.
Common types of birth injuries are used to classify verdicts and payments.
Cerebral Palsy Verdicts and Settlements
Infants who experience prolonged hypoxia during labor and delivery are at increased risk for developing cerebral palsy. Because cerebral palsy can be a severe injury with long-lasting effects, litigation involving cerebral palsy typically result in very high settlement values.
- Nevada (2022) $5,000,000 Settlement: The newborn child was injured twice because of a lack of oxygen. In the cerebral palsy case filed by the family, the family stated that the delivery team had neglected to diagnose several chorioangiomas and anemia in utero. In their lawsuit, they claimed that medical staff ignored obvious indicators of fetal distress and delayed delivery.
- New York (2021) $13,500 Settlement: Allegedly, HIE and a severe spastic cerebral palsy arose from a failure to monitor the fetal heart rate and respond with an emergency C-section.
- Missouri (2021) $34,107,628 Verdict: An inappropriate dose of Pitocin led to an overstimulation of the contractions that occurred during delivery, which resulted in a significant reduction in oxygen intake. A diagnosis of the most severe form of cerebral palsy will leave the child permanently crippled, followed by the news of the child’s brain injury.
Erb’s Palsy Verdicts and Settlements
Injury to the nerves in the baby’s shoulder and neck during delivery is a common cause of Erb’s palsy, which manifests as paralysis of the baby’s arm.
- New York (2022) $1,000,000 Settlement: As part of their complaint over their child Erb’s Palsy, the family claimed the doctors and nurses should have recognized the symptoms of fetal distress and performed an emergency C-section. The parties reached a settlement agreement that would pay one million dollars.
- Pennsylvania (2020) $850,000 Settlement: Due to the doctors’ failure to notice risk factors for shoulder dystocia and conduct a preventative C-section, the child suffered from Erb’s Palsy and an arm fracture. A lasting partial paralysis of the child’s left arm was the result of the injury.
- Utah (2020) $956,504 Verdict: The shoulder dystocia was not handled properly, and the baby was born with severe Erb’s Palsy and irreversible paralysis. The jury awarded economic damages totaling $350,00 and damages for the plaintiff’s agony and suffering.
Brain Damage Verdicts and Settlements
Traumatic brain injuries during birth, such as HIE, are among the most devastating kinds of birth traumas because they can cause permanent disability or even death.
- California (2021) $5,700,000 Settlement: Hyperstimulation and oxygen deprivation occurred when Pitocin was administered negligently in contravention of hospital regulation. The child sustained an HIE brain injury, which has rendered him incapacitated for the remainder of his life.
- Illinois (2021) $2,000,000 Settlement: Shoulder dystocia and a nuchal cord are said to have been mishandled during the delivery of the child. Because of the lack of oxygen that the child endured during birth, the child’s brain suffered some damage.
- Maryland (2022) $13,300,000 Verdict: Although the mother began Pitocin, the labor process took longer than 17 hours. Her blood pressure was raised, and the fetal heart rate sensor revealed distress signals. The plaintiff claimed the University of Maryland Medical Center was at fault for her birth injuries by not performing a C-section.
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