Liability in birth injury lawsuits refers to the legal responsibility of medical professionals or hospitals for any negligence, malpractice, or wrongful actions or inactions that lead to the birth injury. When a child suffers a birth injury, the family may seek to hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions or lack of proper care during pregnancy, labor, or delivery. Establishing liability is a crucial aspect of pursuing a birth injury claim to seek compensation for the harm caused to the child and their family.
The following are important legal terms and concepts in understanding liability in birth injury cases:
Birth injury cases fall under the category of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice happens when a doctor, medical professional, hospital or other medical institution fails to provide care that meets the accepted medical standards.
Duty of Care
The key legal concept to establishing liability is proving that the medical professional had a duty of care to the injured baby. Healthcare providers have a legal obligation to provide a certain standard of care to their patients. This duty of care applies to the mother and the unborn child during pregnancy and extends to the baby during labor and delivery. This duty applies to all members of the healthcare team.
Breach of Duty
In order to convince the judge or jury of the medical professional’s liability and prevail in a medical malpractice case, the plaintiff must show that the healthcare provider breached the duty of care owed to the mother and baby. A breach can be proven by showing that the medical professional’s actions or omissions deviated from the standard of care expected in similar circumstances.
It’s not sufficient to prove that a breach of duty occurred. The plaintiff must also demonstrate that the breach directly caused the birth injury. This can be an exceedingly difficult aspect of the case, as birth injuries can have multiple causes, and the plaintiff must prove that the medical professional’s actions or negligence played a significant role in the injury.
Standard of Care
The standard of care is established in birth injury cases through a thorough examination of medical records. Additionally, testimony from expert witnesses is critical to establish the appropriate standard of care and whether the Medicare provider met it.
Medical professionals, hospitals, and other medical institutions or their insurers may present various defenses to defeat a claim of liability. These defenses can include arguing that the injury was an unavoidable complication or that the provider followed the appropriate standard of care.
Statute of Limitations
Birth injury cases in Florida are subject to a medical malpractice statute of limitations, which sets the time limit within which a lawsuit must be filed.
Negotiation and Litigation
Birth injury cases can be complex and emotionally draining. Often, the parties may try to settle the matter before pursuing litigation, or during litigation but before trial. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, the case may proceed to trial.
Proving liability in birth injury cases can be quite complex and requires sophisticated medical malpractice attorneys. You should seek legal advice as soon as possible to understand your rights. Contact a Haliczer Pettis & Schwamm Fort Lauderdale birth injury lawyer today for a confidential consultation.