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What Is the Average Birth Injury Settlement?

On Behalf of | Feb 22, 2022 | Birth Injury

Millions of babies are born every year in the United States, with almost 70,000 of those births taking place in Baltimore, Maryland. Of those millions of babies, approximately one in every 9,000 is born with a birth injury, which could result in minor and temporary injuries or, tragically, in more serious and long-term injuries or disabilities. If your child suffered injuries at birth, you could be eligible to pursue damages through the assistance of a birth injury attorney.

Even if it’s obvious to you that your baby suffered injuries at birth due to the actions of a physician, it’s not always guaranteed that a jury will agree, or be willing to consider compensation that recognizes the trauma your family has experienced. In order to make sure that your family’s best interests are represented, and that the best possible outcome can be reached during the court case, it’s essential to engage the services of an experienced and skilled attorney.

What Is the Average Birth Injury Settlement?

Depending on the type of injury sustained and other complicating factors, the average settlement in a birth injury case that has gone to trial will be between $1.3 million and $1.6 million. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of birth injury cases and settlements are kept confidential, especially those which are more serious and more inflammatory, so this average figure which is compiled from publically available information is actually lower than what is likely the true average.

The settlement for a birth injury malpractice suit that doesn’t go to trial is usually lower, between $400,000 and $500,000 on average. This is because cases that don’t require the involvement of courts are generally less complex and so are settled for lower sums of money but are also resolved more quickly since they don’t involve court proceedings. In either case, the settlement for a birth injury is on average higher than the settlement for a regular medical malpractice suit.

What Influences the Value of a Birth Injury Settlement?

Birth injury settlements are driven by a combination of forces, primarily the severity of the injuries that have been sustained and the economic damages that are suffered as a result of the injuries. When it comes to the severity of the injuries sustained during the birth, it is worth noting that the age of the patient suffering injury has a big impact on the average value of the settlement that is reached. Injuries sustained at birth have an especially long-term impact.

Injuries sustained at birth can include damage to the brain, resulting in neurological damage that can cause permanent disabilities in a child. This is an important factor in the decision of a settlement’s value because the injuries sustained are both serious and long-lasting. The second factor, economic damages, can refer to both the medical costs immediately resulting from the injury and also the medical costs that occur over the course of the child’s entire life, such as care or treatment.

Types of Injuries Sustained At Birth

There are many injuries that can occur during the birth of a child, either as a result of natural difficulties in the birthing process or as a direct consequence of the actions of the medical personnel who are overseeing the mother and baby. The most common medical conditions resulting from these unfortunate circumstances are the following.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is the name given to a group of disorders that have an impact on a person’s capabilities regarding movement, balance, walking, or other related activities. In most cases, it is the result of abnormal brain development either prior to birth or as a result of injuries sustained at birth. There is no cure for this disorder, though there are a range of treatments available to those suffering from it to assist with mobility, balance, and other things.

Erb’s Palsy

A difficult birth can result in an injury to a group of nerves in the baby’s shoulder, called the brachial plexus, if the baby’s shoulder becomes stuck or otherwise compressed during birth. This could be the result of a natural difficulty occurring during the birthing process, or it could be caused by some form of negligence on the part of a physician or nurse attending to the mother.

The most common result of this injury is Erb’s palsy, which results in weakness in the affected limb and even in some cases results in total paralysis of the baby’s arm. Fortunately, the majority of these injuries are resolved through surgery or natural means in the early years of a child’s life, but a minority do sadly result in lifelong issues.

Hypoxia

Hypoxia is the term given to a patient suffering from a lack of oxygen to the brain, and it occurs in around four of every one thousand births. If the lack of oxygen is only for a short period of time and is quickly resolved, most babies will recover without any problems, but if the loss of oxygen lasts for too long this will result in serious problems.

In some cases, even if the issue is resolved speedily, the lack of oxygen may still result in long-term damage to the brain including seizures, palsy, or motor skills impediments.

Birth Injuries and Birth Defects

It may be common to use the words ‘injury’ and ‘defect’ almost interchangeably when describing what a person has suffered, but in the case of problems caused by a physician during the birth of a baby the two are quite distinct in their meaning. A birth defect is an issue with the baby that is the direct result of a genetic condition common to one or both of the parents or caused in some other way by the genetic makeup of the baby.

A birth injury refers to a medical condition that isn’t the direct result of a genetic condition, and it can refer to a medical condition that appeared naturally during the birthing process or to something that was directly caused by the physician responsible for delivering the child. Whereas a birth defect is not the result of negligence and cannot be sued over, a birth injury is good grounds for seeking a settlement against the physician responsible for causing the injury.

Finding a Birth Injury Attorney in Baltimore, Maryland

The birth of a child is a momentous and overwhelming time in the life of any parent, and this emotionally charged time is made much more draining and upsetting by an injury sustained by the baby during birth. It is a very difficult thing for parents to care for an injured child and try to deal with the trauma of that injury, let alone attempt to hold those responsible to account. Birth injury attorneys are here for precisely this reason, to help support and guide you through the proceedings and get the best settlement possible. Getting a lawyer who is committed and experienced in this area of the law is essential, to allow you to focus on what needs the most attention– your family– and let the professionals fight for your interests at the judicial level.

So if you or someone you know is dealing with the birth of a child who was injured during the course of delivery, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the birth injury attorneys at Peter Angelos Law in Baltimore, MD, to begin your journey towards proper recognition and compensation. Get in touch with an attorney at Peter Angelos Law today to find out more.