Medical problems are expensive. Nerve damage can be particularly pricey, requiring multiple surgeries and lifelong therapy and support. Sometimes, nerve damage is the result of an unavoidable genetic mutation or developmental defect. Other times, nerve damage is the result of carelessness or negligence by your medical care providers.
When your child is injured by the negligence of a medical care provider, the law gives you the right to claim compensation for the injuries.
Compensation For Nerve Damage
In cases of medical malpractice, the goal of a lawsuit against the medical care provider is to get compensation for the costs of the injury. In legal terms, this compensation is called “damages.” Damages can be economic or non-economic. Economic damages include compensation for quantifiable costs such as past and future medical expenses and the wages your child will forego in the future as a result of the injury. Non-economic damages are meant to compensate you and your child for the non-monetary costs of the injury, such as pain and suffering.
Medical Malpractice Cases For Nerve Damage
If your child is injured, you can file a lawsuit against your doctors, your nurses, the hospital or clinic where the injury occurred, or any combination of these. Your attorney will help you decide which parties to sue. For ease of use, we’ll talk about cases against doctors specifically, but cases against each type of defendant have the same requirements.
A medical malpractice claim has four parts. You’ll need to prove that the doctor had a duty to your child. You’ll need to prove that she failed to uphold that duty – that’s called “negligence.” You’ll need to prove that your child was injured. Finally, you’ll need to prove that the negligence of your doctor caused that injury – that’s called “causation.”
The first point is easy. If the doctor treated your child in any way, that creates a doctor-patient relationship. Where there is a doctor-patient relationship, the doctor has a legal duty to treat the patient according to the standard of care in the field.
The second point requires the help of expert witnesses, usually other doctors in the same field. These witnesses will describe the appropriate standard of care. For example, forceps should be used in a particular way to avoid harm to the baby’s cranial nerves. The expert witnesses and your attorney will then show that your doctor failed to uphold the standard of care in some way. For example, the doctor may have used the forceps incorrectly, as evidenced by the pattern of bruising on the baby’s head. The failure to meet the standard of care constitutes legal negligence.
The third point will involve medical records and the testimony of other care providers that treated your child for the injury. Scans of nerve damage and test results can demonstrate that your child suffered an injury.
The fourth point often requires a combination of expert testimony and medical evidence. Your expert witnesses will explain that the type of mistake your doctor made causes the type of injury your child suffered. There must be a clear link of causation between your doctor’s actions and the injury. If your doctor negligently failed to perform a routine test on the baby but that test was unrelated to the injury, there is no case.
Is A Lawsuit Right For You?
A lawsuit is a time-consuming and labor-intensive endeavor. You’ll need to weigh the potential benefit of winning against the time, energy, and money you’ll spend on the case. If your child is severely disabled as a result of medical malpractice, you can win enough compensation to ensure that your little one is provided for forever. If your child suffered more minor injuries, the compensation you can receive may be too low to justify a lawsuit. Remember that this type of lawsuit can months or years to resolve.
If you believe your child was injured by medical malpractice, gather the medical records and make an appointment to speak to an experienced attorney. Most offer free consultations, so it doesn’t cost you anything to look into your options. At the initial consultation, the attorney will go over your case with you and give you an idea of the strength of the case. Ask about how much compensation you may be able to win, how long the case is going to take, and how strong your chances are. You should also ask about attorney’s fees. Some attorneys will charge hourly fees, but many take medical malpractice cases on a “contingent fee” basis. That means they will be paid a percentage of the damages you win. If you don’t win any money, you don’t have to pay.
It’s better to speak to an attorney sooner rather than later if you’re considering filing a lawsuit because the law gives you a limited amount of time to file a case. This “statute of limitations” is usually a couple years from the time you learn of the injury. After that, you lose the right to sue. It’s better to speak to an attorney as soon as possible so you have plenty of time to make a decision about what’s best for you and your child.
No amount of money can undo the pain of seeing your child injured, but compensation for medical malpractice can help you afford the medical care that your child needs going forward.