What Types of Damages Can I Seek in a Birth Injury Claim?
A birth injury is the last thing that parents expect to happen when welcoming a new baby. Unfortunately, doctors and OBGYNs can make dangerous mistakes and lapses in judgment that put infants’ lives at risk during pregnancy, labor and delivery. While nothing can ever right this terrible wrong, obtaining fair financial compensation (damages) from the at-fault doctor through a birth injury claim in Louisville can make it easier for your family to move forward.
Past and Future Medical Costs
Every case is unique. The damages that may be available to you through a birth injury claim might not be the same as in another case. However, medical expenses are almost always reimbursed from case to case. Many birth injuries are serious enough to result in thousands of dollars in necessary medical care over a victim’s lifetime. A settlement or judgment award could pay for all of these costs, which may include:
- Time spent in the NICU
- Life-saving care
- Doctor’s appointments
- Travel expenses
- Tests and x-rays
- Surgeries and other treatments
- Specialized medical equipment
- Physical therapy
- Speech therapy
- Occupational therapy
- A live-in or full-time nursing aide
The medical expenses alone connected to a birth injury can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars. If an infant suffers a permanent injury, the family could be looking at millions of dollars in necessary medical care and rehabilitation throughout the child’s life. Keep all of your medical bills and records connected to the birth injury to prove this type of loss. Then, work with a financial expert to estimate the future foreseeable costs of treating your child’s condition.
Disability Accommodations or a Lifetime Care Plan
Many birth injuries are severe enough to result in long-term or permanent disabilities. One example is cerebral palsy – a permanent developmental disability that can affect movement, coordination, muscle tone, balance and posture. Your family may qualify for financial compensation to accommodate a disability and pay for a lifetime care plan. This may include coverage for medical necessities, home and vehicle modifications, special education, live-in care, and many other out-of-pocket costs.
If you or your spouse had to take extra time off of work to care for your newborn because of a birth injury, you could qualify for reimbursement for your lost earnings. You could also seek damages for your child’s lost future capacity to earn if he or she has a disability that will foreseeably impact his or her ability to earn a living wage as an adult.
Pain and Suffering
“Pain and suffering” falls under the category of noneconomic damages. Unlike economic damages, noneconomic damages reimburse a victim for the personal or intangible losses associated with a birth injury. These may include the child’s physical pain and emotional distress, the parent’s emotional suffering or mental anguish, a permanent disability, psychological harm and trauma, lost quality or enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, depression, anxiety, and inconvenience.
Punitive damages are only available in some birth injury cases in Kentucky. They are granted when a judge believes that a defendant’s gross negligence, malicious acts, recklessness, or wanton disregard for the safety or lives of others warrants additional compensation to punish the defendant. These damages are also referred to as exemplary damages, as they set an example for others in the community to discourage future such negligent acts.
Demand Maximum Compensation With Help From a Lawyer
It is important to fully understand your losses and the damages that you can recover before settling a birth injury claim in Kentucky. A physician, hospital or insurance company may try to take advantage of you by offering less than your birth injury claim is worth. Rather than rushing to accept a fast settlement, contact an attorney in Louisville to discuss the value of your case. A lawyer can help you achieve the best possible case results when your child’s future is on the line.