What Happens During a Birth Injury Lawsuit?
A birth injury is a nightmare scenario for expectant parents. During pregnancy, all parents hope for is a safe birth and a healthy baby. Finding out your child has been injured during the birthing process can be devastating. Finding out that the injury was avoidable and due to negligence can be horrifying. You are most likely going to want to pursue legal action in this type of situation.
During a lawsuit, your lawyer will build your case while trying to negotiate a settlement with the legal representation of the doctor or hospital responsible for your child's injury.
Hiring a Lawyer
When you bring a lawsuit against a doctor or hospital for medical malpractice or neglect, you will be looking to recover costs associated with the injury. This way, you can provide your child with the best opportunities to thrive in life despite their injury. When you meet with a lawyer to first discuss your case, you will probably want to find out how much you can recover.
Beware of lawyers who make promises. A qualified lawyer should be able to give you a ballpark figure of what they think is a reasonable amount to expect after they have thoroughly gone through all of the specifics of your case. However, guarantees are red flags. There are no guarantees in birth injury lawsuits.
Steps of a Lawsuit
Once you have hired a lawyer, they will begin to build your case. They will file a lawsuit and prepare your case for court. However, there are several steps before you get to the courtroom. After gathering evidence, your lawyer will begin litigation, which includes:
- Filing the lawsuit
After gathering evidence to support your claim, your lawyer will formally file a lawsuit with the court against the responsible parties. After the suit is officially on record, your lawyer and the legal team for the hospital or doctor will share documents and evidence during discovery. After discovery, depositions will be given. A deposition involves witnesses and experts being called in to give recorded evidence on your case.
Finally, the two sides will enter into mediation. Mediation involves both sides coming together with a trained third party to try to come to an agreement that each side is comfortable with to try to settle the case. If the lawsuit is not settled at this point, then the case will go to trial.
Throughout every stage of the litigation process, your lawyer will be in contact with the lawyer(s) for the other side in an attempt to settle the case. The goal is almost always to avoid court if possible. While you might be able to get a larger payout by going to trial, the risk is rarely worth the reward. If you can reach a settlement agreement that you are happy with, your lawyer will encourage you to take the offer.
Both sides would rather avoid court as the costs are going to be higher for a trial, it will take longer, and there is uncertainty. Even if a case seems like a slam dunk, there is always the possibility that a jury will not see things the same way. When it comes to the future of your child, it is much better to play things safe.
Going to Trial
If you are unable to come to an agreement, then the case will go to trial. A jury will hear out all of the evidence presented by both sides and then issue a verdict. If the jury does not find with you, then you have the option to appeal the decision. You may be able to appeal your case multiple times to higher courts. This process can take years, and in the meantime, you will be without financial support for your child.
The extended length of time to get a payout is why it best to settle quickly if possible. Birth injuries tend to require a lot of immediate care, and your child needs the money from a settlement to get the best care possible.