A settlement in Massachusetts netted $5M to the family of a child who was brain damaged when born, according to recent reports. The lawsuit only took 8 days to hear in court before the defendants settled. This particular case reveals some of what goes on in many of these types of claims.
Birth injury lawsuits usually aren’t settled or heard right away. In fact, at the time that the settlement was reached, the boy was already 11 years old. If you file one of these lawsuits, it may take time before you get the money that you’re seeking.
In this particular claim, the plaintiffs alleged that the mother went in for a medical exam shortly before her due date. The mother had noticed that the fetus was not as active as it had been before, according to the report, and she was scheduled for an exam. The exam was supposed to be rendered by a certified nurse midwife, but that midwife left during the exam and a student conducted the exam.
The student did notice some problems and the lawsuit alleged that those issues should have been reported to a doctor or nurse immediately. Because they were not, according to the lawsuit, the child suffered brain damage, low birth weight and a range of other issues. The child is hearing impaired and blind, according to the report. He also suffers with spasms and seizures that result from the lacking medical care.
Settlements are generally offered when the defendants are sure they’re not going to win a birth injury medical malpractice claim in court. This sometimes happens before the claim is even brought to court or, in cases like the one detailed in the report, it sometimes happens after the trial is underway. There’s no way to know beforehand whether a settlement will be offered or when.
There are cases where the family may be offered a settlement before they even get an attorney. In such cases, it’s never advisable to take it without at least consulting with an attorney first. The attorney will be able to let you know whether or not you’re being offered a fair sum or if they believe that you should go ahead and sue for a jury award. Sometimes, the settlement amount will be increased after the defendants are confronted with a client who is ready to explore their legal options.