Birth Injuries: Legal FAQ
My child has a serious birth defect or injury. Can I sue the doctor?
Not necessarily. Although doctors are trained health care professionals and are held to a high standard of care in treating their patients, they are not in the business of guaranteeing results. Sometimes birth defects and/or birth injuries occur even though a thoroughly qualified physician, assisted by an able staff, has diligently and competently done everything possible to bring about a safe, normal delivery. A lawsuit based on birth defects or birth injuries is a form of medical malpractice action and requires proof that the defendant was negligent in rendering professional services and that injuries occurred as a result. These types of suits can be difficult to prove and you would probably need to consult with an attorney.
Is there a time limit on filing a lawsuit against a doctor?
Yes. Like all civil lawsuits, this type of claim is subject to the statutes of limitations. Statute of limitations is a law that sets forth the time period during which a lawsuit can be filed. If the time period passes before the lawsuit is filed, whatever claim might have existed is forfeited. It is important, in cases like this, to contact a birth injury attorney as soon as you suspect there may be a problem. Your cerebral palsy lawyer can lead you safely through the statute of limitations and other procedural obstacles your lawsuit may face.
My child is only three months old. How can someone so young file a lawsuit?
The answer is that a three-month-old cannot file a lawsuit on their own, but would require the child's "guardian ad litem" to file a lawsuit. Your birth defects lawyer knows how to prepare a petition to have the court appoint you as your child's "guardian ad litem." The lawsuit will be filed in your name, but only as the child's representative.
What if the hospital destroys my child's health records?
Generally a hospital will retain a child's health records for a set period of time. If you've waited too long to pursue the claim this could be a problem. One advantage in retaining a competent birth defects lawyer in the early stages of a lawsuit is that proper steps can be taken to make certain all evidence, including medical records, is preserved.
How can I prove my case against the doctor?
Medical malpractice cases hinge largely on expert witness testimony. An expert witness is someone who has been shown to be an expert in their particular field. Your birth injury lawyer will have your case thoroughly evaluated by highly qualified medical experts. It is through their expert testimony that you are able to prove whether the doctor's actions fell bellow standard for medical care in your community, that there was a breach of that standard by your doctor, and that the damages that occurred were a result of the doctor's actions.
How Much Can I Get For My Child's Birth Injuries?
There is no exact number for how much your damages could be. However, you can recover things like past and future damages for medical bills, lost wages, reduced earnings capacity, pain and suffering, and sometimes even punitive damages (damages to "punish" the person).
The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.
Additional Birth Injury Articles
- Childbirth Brain Injuries Caused by Medical Malpractice
- Birth Injuries: Legal FAQ
- Cerebral Palsy: Basic Legal Concepts
- Cerebral Palsy: Legal FAQ