What Is a Birth Injury Settlement?
Birth injury settlements occur when plaintiffs and defendants agree to a compensation plan before the lawsuit proceeds to trial. The plaintiff is usually the child’s parents, while the defendant(s) is/are typically the health care provider(s) that delivered the child.
Birth injury settlements provide families with the financial aid needed to care for a child that suffered from a preventable birth injury. Some birth injury settlements have awarded millions of dollars to children and families in need.
To access the money your child deserves through a settlement, reach out to a lawyer with experience handling other birth injury cases. Having a lawyer represent you will strengthen your case and increase the likelihood of a fair settlement.
Benefits of Birth Injury Settlements
When your child’s well-being is at risk, money may be the last thing on your mind. However, whether your child’s injuries are temporary or permanent, they will likely need long-term — and often expensive — medical treatments to ensure they have the best possible quality of life.
Birth injury settlements can help your child and your family by:
- Covering immediate and ongoing medical expenses, such as surgeries and medications
- Paying for occupational and physical therapy to improve mobility and strength
- Providing compensation for time off work
- Installing home assistive devices and other special care equipment to support the injured child
- Repaying for emotional and psychological distress
Reaching a settlement — as opposed to going to trial — can also reduce stress and help you receive payment sooner.
How To Pursue a Birth Injury Settlement
To secure a birth injury settlement, you first need to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit with the help of a lawyer.
Birth injury lawyers can build a strong case on your behalf that explains how your obstetric team’s actions fell below an appropriate standard of care, as well as why your family deserves compensation.
An experienced lawyer will:
- Gather testimonies, medical records, and other evidence
- Identify who may be responsible for your child’s birth injuries
- File the lawsuit against the defendants
- Work on your behalf to negotiate a fair settlement
A settlement is reached when both sides agree on a compensation amount to cover the costs associated with the birth injury. If no settlement can be reached, the case may move forward into the trial phase.
One factor that is often involved in a settlement is a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). This prevents the details of the settlement from becoming public. An NDA can be helpful if you want to keep the details of your child’s birth injury private. Doctors or hospitals may also want you to sign an NDA so the details of the incident do not affect their reputation.
However, not all cases will require an NDA to be signed. A lawyer can give you more insights into the benefits and drawbacks of NDAs.
Get a free case review with a lawyer today to learn about your options.
Factors Affecting Birth Injury Settlement Amounts
Birth injury lawsuit settlements vary depending on the specifics of each case. Below, learn more about key factors that affect settlement amounts.
If a preventable birth injury caused your child to develop a long-term disability, your settlement award should cover most or all of their health care costs. For example, a child born with cerebral palsy may need medications and therapy on a regular basis, as well as semi-regular surgeries.
The average lifetime cost of caring for a child with cerebral palsy is nearly $1 million.
Quality of Life
Cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), and other birth injuries do not just affect a child’s immediate health — they impact a family’s entire life experiences.
For example, some patients require adaptive equipment to get around properly, or families may have to modify parts of the home to fit their child’s needs. Without these changes, the child’s quality of life may suffer.
Additionally, one or both of the child’s parents may have to quit their job to provide sufficient care, leading to a loss of income. While this can help manage the child’s immediate health care needs, caregiving duties and less money can place a lot of stress on parents.
Birth injury settlements must account for these potential costs to ensure plaintiffs are compensated fairly.
State Laws and Regulations
When someone files a lawsuit for their child’s birth injury, they will claim medical malpractice or negligence caused their child harm. Each state has limits on how much money can be paid out in a malpractice case. Some states may only put limits on money awarded for emotional suffering, while others may cap on the total amount of a settlement.
Talk to a lawyer to see how state laws may affect the amount of money you receive.
Do you suspect your child’s birth injury was caused by medical malpractice?
Attorneys take a small percentage of the overall winnings after they have secured a birth injury settlement. Make sure the lawyer you work with explains how much their services will cost.
Further, many families choose lawyers who offer a free consultation with no upfront fees. Working with this type of lawyer means you won’t have to pay unless they win financial compensation for you.
Average Birth Injury Settlements
The amount of money you may receive through birth injury settlements depends on the specific nature of your case. Without seeking legal counsel, there is no way to know your exact case value. That said, some birth injury settlements have awarded families millions of dollars.
National Birth Injury Settlement Examples
- $7.1 million: A New Jersey family received this amount in December 2019 after filing a lawsuit against a hospital and its staff. The lawsuit claimed the staff failed to prevent the family’s son from developing a brain injury (in this case, hypoxic ischemia) at birth.
- $6.5 million: After a routine hernia surgery caused an infant to suffer permanent brain damage, this settlement was reached in February 2020.
- $10.2 million: This amount was awarded to an Army veteran in October 2019 who gave birth to a son with quadriplegic cerebral palsy. This compensation came from a hospital, the veteran’s obstetrician, and the United States government.
Legal Support for Pursuing Birth Injury Settlements
If a doctor or medical professional caused a preventable birth injury, a settlement can help you afford treatments to keep your child as healthy as possible.
To access this financial support, seek legal help from a lawyer with experience in medical malpractice cases. Birth injury lawyers can guide you through matters like costs, timeline, and your case’s potential outcome before you move forward with filing a claim.
Learn more about accessing birth injury settlements through legal help by contacting the Birth Injury Justice Center. Our caring Patient Advocates will listen to your story and help you connect to a skilled attorney.
Get started today with a free legal case review.
Common Questions About Birth Injury Settlements
How much money will my child get?
This depends on many factors, including the type of birth injury they have and the available evidence linking it to medical malpractice.
Consult with a lawyer to see how much money may be available in your case. These skilled and caring lawyers can provide examples of past birth injury settlements they have secured for other clients.
Should I settle my birth injury case or go to trial?
When you file a birth injury lawsuit against a doctor or hospital for medical malpractice, a settlement — rather than a trial — is usually the preferred outcome.
Drawbacks of going to trial:
- Costs: Trials mean higher legal fees and travel expenses.
- Stress: In a trial, you aren’t guaranteed to win.
- Time: The case can take months or years to resolve.
Lawyers at birth injury law firms will prepare your case to be as strong as possible in the event that a trial is needed.
When will I receive money from my settlement?
Some birth injury settlements have been reached within a few months, while others take several years. Settlement timelines vary depending on the doctors or hospital you’re suing, the evidence you present, and a wide variety of other factors.
Speak with an attorney to get a better idea of when your medical malpractice lawsuit will reach a settlement.