When your infant suffers injuries under suspicious circumstances at birth, you will no doubt have many questions about your rights, compensation options, and how you go about pursuing your rights. At the outset, you should note that birth injury claims are grounded in Maryland medical malpractice laws. The focus is on the methods and decision making involved when a medical professional provides care, including the care before, during, and after delivery. Though you should trust a Baltimore County personal injury attorney for details that are custom-tailored to your situation, some answers to frequently asked questions about birth injuries should be helpful.
What do I have to prove in a birth injury claim?
In any medical malpractice case, you must prove four essential elements:
- The existence of a provider-patient relationship, which general arises any time a practitioner treats you;
- A deviation from the standard of care that other providers would have delivered when offering treatment;
- The departure from this standard of care was the direct cause of the birth injuries; and,
- The losses you suffered as a result.
Are all birth injuries actionable?
No, not every situation involving a birth injury will allow you to recover compensation. The key is a careful review of element #3 above – the injuries must have been preventable, and they only occurred because of a deviation from the standard of care. In other words, if there were other contributing factors besides a medical error, you may not prevail in a birth injury claim.
What types of birth injuries may indicate medical malpractice?
Some examples of bodily harm that may point toward an actionable claim include:
- Brachial plexus injuries, a condition caused by putting too much force on the infant’s neck and shoulders during a difficult delivery;
- Cerebral palsy, which could be caused by a shortage of oxygen to the infant’s brain;
- Brain damage or bruising to the skull due to improper use of forceps; or,
- Inappropriate decision making regarding a C-section.
How long do I have to file a birth injury claim?
Under Maryland’s statute of limitations, you must file a medical malpractice lawsuit within:
- Five years after the date of the injury; OR,
- Three years after the date you discovered the birth injuries to you or your baby.
What are the limitations on monetary damages in a birth injury case?
Maryland does have a statutory cap on the non-economic damages you can recover in a medical malpractice case. The amount increases every year, and it is based upon when you file a lawsuit. Therefore, the applicable statutory caps include:
- $800,000 for 2018;
- $815,000 for 2019; and,
- $830,000 for 2020.
Contact a Maryland Personal Injury Lawyer About Birth Injury Cases
While the answers to common questions should be useful as an overview, you will need personalized details if you suspect birth injuries caused harm to you or your baby. To learn more about your legal options, please contact attorney Michael A. Freedman. We can set up a free case evaluation to explain how these cases work.