Baltimore personal injury lawyer

What Damages Can Be Claimed in a Birth Injury Lawsuit in Maryland?

A birth injury can change a joyous day into a traumatic one for families in Maryland. If a negligent medical professional injured your child during delivery, you can claim certain damages by filing a lawsuit.

Birth injuries lead to various damages for families in Maryland. Infants and mothers might need extensive medical care following traumatic births. Injured children might need diagnostic testing to confirm birth injuries and their cause. Emotional damages are common as well. While compensation for non-economic damages in medical malpractice claims is capped in Maryland, plaintiffs can recover intangible losses during lawsuits. You can get compensation for damages due to a birth injury by settling or going to court. If your case goes to trial and the jury agrees that the defendant was grossly negligent when causing your child’s birth injuries, it might award punitive damages as well.

Call Rice, Murtha & Psoras’ Maryland birth injury attorneys for a free case review today at (410) 694-7291.

Common Damages Due to Birth Injuries in Maryland

Birth injuries are traumatic for both the child and the parent. In addition to the emotional distress due to a distressing birthing experience, you and your family might incur considerable economic damages as well.

For example, your child might need specific medical treatment depending on the type of birth injury they sustained. They might need diagnostic testing and specialized care, the costs of which could add up quickly.

For example, fractures due to excess force used during extraction might require surgery, splints, or casts. Some birth injuries, like anoxic brain injuries due to a lack of oxygen during delivery, are permanent, and victims with these injuries might need life-long care or assistance.

There is also emotional trauma to account for. Giving birth is challenging in and of itself. Add an injury on top of that, and the parent and child might suffer extreme emotional distress. If doctors use vacuums or forceps to assist with difficult births, parents could sustain physical trauma themselves. Using these tools when unnecessary could cause a wide array of birth injuries to an infant and physical injuries to the mother.

Trauma and injuries from birth could extend a parent’s leave from work, resulting in compensable lost wages. Our lawyers can consider all damages to your family because of a birth injury, both economic and non-economic, so that you know your claim’s value before filing in Maryland. For example, even transportation costs to and from the hospital might be compensable in your claim.

Documenting Birth Injuries and Damages in Maryland

Documenting birth injuries when they happen is crucial. Without medical records confirming your child’s injury, it could be harder to hold the negligent doctor or hospital accountable in Maryland.

Immediate Documentation

The moments after birth can be chaotic, especially if the birth itself is difficult. Medical staff might whisk your infant away or tell you everything is fine when it isn’t. While this might be done to keep you calm after a distressing birth, it could also mean you do not know what is happening with your child and if they are okay.

It is important to assert yourself as the child’s parent and demand that nurses and doctors tell you what is happening. If your child is injured, medical professionals should record those injuries.

Continued Documentation

Continue to take your child for routine assessments. Some birth injuries, like cerebral palsy, might not be obvious until a child fails to meet certain developmental milestones. This could take months or years. Prioritizing your child’s care following a traumatic birth can allow their pediatrician and other doctors or specialists to diagnose and treat birth injuries.

As you incur damages from your child’s treatment, give copies of bills to our lawyers. Our Baltimore birth injury attorneys can consider all losses due to your child’s birth injury and carefully calculate your deserved recovery. We can also explain the importance of continuing your child’s care throughout your claim. If they have any unexplainable gaps in their medical treatment, that could hurt the case.

Does Maryland Cap Damages in Birth Injury Lawsuits?

Maryland limits compensation for non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases, including birth injury claims. However, it does not cap compensation for economic damages or punitive damage awards from juries.

Non-Economic Damages

According to Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art., § 3-2A-09(b)(ii), Maryland’s limit on non-economic damages in birth injury claims increases by $15,000 annually. Currently, the cap is $890,000. This is the most common way plaintiffs can recover damages for pain and suffering, but it is not guaranteed. That said, juries often understand how birth injuries can forever change a family. Our lawyers can also get experts to testify about your child’s likely pain and suffering due to their specific birth injury. Experts can explain the physical pain the child is likely experiencing and how such an injury would affect them emotionally.

Economic Damages

There are no compensation caps on economic damages for medical malpractice claims in Maryland. This means that families can recover all financial losses due to a birth injury, provided they can prove they have incurred them. Our lawyers will help document and organize your financial damages so we can present them as evidence of your losses.

We can use expert testimony to get compensation for future economic losses as well. For example, if your child’s birth injury requires life-long treatment, a medical expert could testify to that fact.

Punitive Damages

Juries might make grossly negligent doctors or hospitals pay punitive damages to victims in Maryland. Gross negligence during birth could lead to devastating birth injuries and possibly death in infants or birthing parents. Gross negligence could take many forms, such as damaging a parent’s internal organs during a C-section and failing to monitor the baby’s heartbeat during or after birth.

If our lawyers think getting punitive damages is possible, we will request them in your complaint filed with the court. If the jury agrees, it can award your family punitive damages to punish the defendant for their gross negligence or reckless conduct. Maryland does not cap punitive damages in medical malpractice cases or other injury claims, so the jury will award whatever amount it sees fit based on the evidence.

Causing a birth injury does not automatically mean that the defendant was also grossly negligent, so punitive damages are not available in all Maryland birth injury lawsuits.

Who Can You Get Damages for a Birth Injury from in Maryland?

Before you can recover damages, and before you can file a lawsuit for that matter, you have to identify the defendant or defendants in your Maryland birth injury claim.

Generally, parents can sue the negligent doctors who caused their child’s birth injury. However, you might be able to bring a claim against the doctor’s employer as well, which would be the hospital. This is because of vicarious liability, which makes an employer responsible for certain actions of their employees.

To identify the proper defendant or defendants in your case, our lawyers will carefully review your medical records from birth and your child’s. Although this might not tell us the full story of what happened, it will help as we build your case.

When a birth is traumatic, parents might have difficulty remembering exactly what happened. Tell our lawyers what you can recall about the birth. Did the doctor tell you they would be using forceps before doing so? Did they alert you to your child’s birth injury right away, or did they try to hide it? As we build your case, we can identify all parties who, whether directly or indirectly, contributed to your child’s birth injury and the resulting damages to your family.

Can You Get Damages for a Birth Injury by Settling Your Case in Maryland?

Settling can result in fair compensation for birth injuries, but plaintiffs should not rush into settlement agreements. If they do, they might unknowingly accept bad offers.

Doctors and hospitals often want birth injury and other medical malpractice claims to stay out of court, especially when they are at fault. Because of this, defendants might offer settlements to victims and their families right out of the gate. While you might want to accept this offer right away to get immediate compensation, you could get more through negotiations.

Our Laurel, MD birth injury attorneys can leverage evidence against the defendant during negotiations. We can discuss alternative settlement agreements that cover more of your damages while letting you keep your case out of court. Some families prefer settling so that they can close these traumatic chapters quickly. While that’s understandable, rushing into a settlement could leave you without fair compensation.

If the defendant does not give a fair offer at any point during settlement negotiations, we can take your case to court instead. At a trial in Maryland, we will present evidence of the defendant’s negligence. To prove fault, we must show that it is more than likely that the opposite side is liable for your injuries. The jury will then decide the case and award you compensatory damages if it decides in your favor. Jury awards might be greater than some settlement agreements, depending on the case.

What Could Jeopardize Your Recovery After a Birth Injury in Maryland?

When plaintiffs do not file birth injury lawsuits on time in Maryland, they risk being barred from recovery entirely. Waiting to initiate your case could cause evidence issues, which might also jeopardize your recovery.

Filing your case late could hurt your chances of getting compensation for your baby’s birth injury. According to Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art., § 5-109(a), the statute of limitations for these claims is five years from the date of injury or three years from the date of discovery, whichever comes sooner. If you discovered your child’s birth injury the day they were born, you would have three years from that date to initiate your lawsuit against the negligent hospital or doctor.

Maryland’s statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims can be confusing, causing some plaintiffs to file late. When this happens, the court might dismiss claims, leaving victims and their families without any path to recovery.

Furthermore, delaying your case, even if you file before the deadline, could negatively impact your recovery. When plaintiffs wait to initiate birth injury claims, they might face evidence issues.

Some birth injuries, like cerebral palsy, can also be congenital conditions, meaning they are not always caused by negligence during birth. Waiting to file could welcome questions about the cause of your child’s condition and whether or not the doctor acted negligently at all.

How Will You Get Damages from a Birth Injury Lawsuit in Maryland?

You can get compensation from a birth injury lawsuit via a lump sum or structured payments. This could depend on several factors, like the defendant’s financial ability, the parameters of your settlement agreement, or the jury’s award.

When plaintiffs get lump sum settlements, they receive the full amount from the defendant at one time. Negligent hospitals might offer seemingly large lump sum payments at the beginning of negotiations. It is important to determine whether these lump sum offers are fair or just appear fair.

If you get your compensation through structured payments, you will recover it over time. Defendants will make regular payments to plaintiffs in these cases. For some families, structured payments are preferable, as they can be used for a child’s continued treatment. For others, their existing damages are so great that a lump sum settlement is best. Following a successful birth injury lawsuit in Maryland, our lawyers can negotiate a payment plan that favors you and your family.

Call Our Lawyers in Maryland About Your Birth Injury Case Now

Call our Parkville birth injury attorneys at (410) 694-7291 for a free case evaluation from Rice, Murtha & Psoras.