Calculating the Lifetime Care Costs for Birth Injuries Caused By Medical Malpractice
Serving Clients in Berkley, Lapeer, Battle Creek, Detroit, Oakland County, and Throughout Michigan
After nine months of anticipation, the birth of a child can be one of the most exciting and happiest events in most parents’ lives. Tragically, approximately 8 out of every 1,000 infants will experience a severe birth-related injury, many of which are caused by medical malpractice as the result of negligent medical care. When birth injuries are caused by medical malpractice, we are there to demand full compensation from all those who are responsible for causing birth injury.
The Lifelong Consequences of Birth Injury
Birth injuries can be permanent, leaving children with lifelong disabilities that can require millions of dollars in treatment and care. Negligent care during birth can also result in a lifetime of pain and suffering, including the social stigma from cognitive, developmental, and physical disability. For most families, the fear of the financial and emotional unknowns can be daunting, leaving them feeling stressed and hopeless, on top of the emotional trauma resulting from their newborn’s condition.
As experienced birth injury lawyers, we understand the concerns and issues that the parents of injured infants face. When birth injuries are due to negligence and medical malpractice, we work tirelessly in seeking full and fair compensation on behalf of those injured, so that parents can focus on getting their child the help that is needed and preparing for their family’s future.
We have helped many injured infants and their families secure the full compensation to which they are entitled. The compensation desperately needed to cover past, present, and future medical costs, pain and suffering, astronomical care costs, and extensive damages that have been suffered (and which will continue).
Our role is to document through evidence and medical opinion a client’s case for birth injury due to medical malpractice and negligence, and to work tenaciously in seeking justice and the full compensation deserved from those responsible, so that parents and guardians are not left shouldering the enormous financial burden caused by a preventable birth injury.
If you believe that your child may have been injured through a birth injury due to medical malpractice, call our office to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. We work with physicians and nurses to meticulously review cases to determine whether it is likely that birth injury occurred.
We accept birth injury cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning that there is no fee for our services unless compensation is recovered. We also advance the significant costs that arise in birth injury cases, including the costs required to retain physicians and other experts needed to prove fault and damages (these costs are often repaid through a settlement or jury award).
Determining Damages in Birth Injury Cases
The costs associated with birth injuries are often significant. The initial hospitalization costs alone can be staggering; even short hospitalizations can exceed the amount that most people earn in a year. If a child requires lifelong care or long-term treatment, these expenses can include in-home professional nursing care, surgical intervention, ongoing specialized medical treatment, home renovations, prescriptions, medical equipment, and other expenses.
In a birth injury case, an injured child is entitled to all past costs and damages incurred, as well as all future costs and damages likely to be incurred over the course of the child’s lifetime, as the result of the birth injury. Such damages include past and future pain and suffering (such as both physical pain and mental anguish), compensation for not being able to participate in the normal social, physical, and other activities enjoyed by those who have not sustained a birth injury, and the loss of income as a result of the birth injury (which may include an impaired future earning capacity or the inability to be gainfully employed).
It is important to understand that every birth injury case will be different depending upon the severity of the injury and the future care and other needs of the child. As a result, the damages and compensation discussed in this article do not discuss all of the damages and compensation that may be required in a specific birth injury case. Instead, this article is intended only to provide an overview of the common types of significant damages that are compensable in birth injury cases. Once we meet with a client and learn about their child’s injuries, we can provide a more comprehensive list of the damages to which their child may be entitled under the law based upon their child’s circumstances.
Calculating Economic Damages
“Economic damages” in an injury lawsuit consist of those damages that are directly related to expenses that must be paid, or costs that are reasonably incurred, as the result of the injury and negligence of another person. Under the law, a person injured by negligence (including medical malpractice) is entitled to recover all economic damages incurred from those who are legally responsible.
In a birth injury case, these economic damages can include costs and expenses relating to:
- Medical treatment and care
- Diminished earnings capacity
- Medical equipment
- Required household modifications
- Other damages relating to the birth injury
Compensation for economic damages includes both all past and current costs and expenses, as well as all future costs and expenses likely to be incurred.
In recovering economic damages, it’s important to note that care costs and expenses include those for professional medical care where such care is required by a child. The parents of a birth-injured child are entitled to seek compensation for the costs of reasonable professional care required for their child; they do not (and should not) forsake professional care for their child simply because it may be costly.
Calculating the full damages resulting from a birth injury requires retaining a variety of medical, vocational, and care experts to determine the care and medical treatment that likely will be required for the child, as well as other matters, such as whether the child will be able to work. In birth injury cases where a child will require round-the-clock care by experienced nurses or other qualified caregivers for the remainder of a child’s lifetime, the cost of such care must be calculated for the life expectancy of the child.
As part of our representation, we retain physicians, medical providers and care experts to calculate these and all other costs and expenses likely to be incurred. The present value of all of these costs and expenses are then determined, which make up the economic component of the damages in a birth injury case.
Calculating Pain and Suffering (Non-Economic Damages)
Calculating non-economic damages must also be included in a medical malpractice birth injury case. Non-economic damages consist primarily of pain and suffering (including the associated psychological damages, such as the stigma that a child may have to endure as the result of cognitive and physical issues, and not being able to participate in ordinary social and life activities).
Unlike economic damages (which can be measured against the likely “out-of-pocket” costs that will arise), damages for pain and suffering cannot be readily associated with a dollar amount. Instead, at trial, a jury is presented with the full range of pain and suffering that a child has incurred and will likely incur over the remainder of their lifetime, and the jury must take into account such damages in determining fair monetary compensation for pain and suffering.
Pain and suffering will vary depending upon the type and severity of the birth injury. Some children will face a lifetime filled with physical and psychological pain as they try to fit into a world in which they are significantly handicapped. They also will not be able to engage in the same types of activities as those who are not mentally or physically challenged. Just as every birth injury is unique, so too is the pain and suffering associated with the birth injury that must be endured.
We work with physicians, nurses, and others to determine the struggles that a birth injured child will likely endure. Once we know the likely prognosis, obstacles, painful medical treatments, and other hurdles likely to be endured, we can make a demand for the compensation that should be awarded to fairly compensate a birth-injured child for pain, suffering, and associated psychological damages.
Settlement Negotiations, and Will a Trial Be Necessary?
Typically, in a birth injury case, there may be one or more mediations to determine whether a case can resolved prior to trial. Additionally, settlement negotiations also typically take place separate from mediations.
When severe birth injuries occur and a lifetime of care is needed, the compensation required will be significant. If the defendants are not willing to pay what they owe, as birth injury trial lawyers we will not hesitate to proceed to trial, where we will present our case and detailed damages to a jury so that they can determine fault and damages.
At trial, we use expert witnesses to convey to a jury the full range of all economic and non-economic damages. For non-economic damages, experts are used to convey to a jury the full range of pain and suffering that a client is likely to suffer as they progress through life. Jurors can then appropriately determine a dollar amount for this aspect of compensation.
Call Our Office to Schedule a Free Consultation
At Olsman MacKenzie Peacock & Wallace, we have decades of experience successfully pursuing birth injury claims, and have a reputation for being meticulous litigators in proving liability and the full damages due to our clients.
If your child suffered a debilitating birth injury because of the negligent care by a physician or other medical provider, we want to help you. Call today to schedule a free consultation to learn about your options. We accept birth injury cases on a contingency fee basis, and we advance all costs of litigation, so that you will not need to pay any fees or costs while your case is ongoing.
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- How Do I Know if I Have a Birth Injury Case?
- What Constitutes Birth Injury Malpractice?
- Retaining Birth Injury Experts
- The Birth Injury Legal Process
- Birth Injury FAQs & Fees
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- Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy
- Developmental Delays
- Help for Families
- Seizures in Newborns
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- What a Cerebral Palsy Diagnosis Means
- Brachial Plexus & Shoulder Dystocia Injury