California Birth Injury Lawsuit Advice From A Legal Expert
UPDATED: August 5, 2019
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California birth injury lawsuits, a type of medical malpractice claim involving any injury to either a mother or a child in connection with the delivery of a baby, can be very difficult from both legal and emotional standpoints. J. Niley Dorit, a California attorney whose practice represents birth injuryvictims, provided the following advice to those contemplating filing a lawsuit:
- Seek compensation for your child's injuries. If the injury is such that it’s going to impact the person’s life and if it in fact was caused because of the wrongful conduct of a healthcare provider, then they should be compensated tor that. I often speak to potential clients at no cost to the client to help advise whether they have a case that should be investigated or not.
- Help maintain medical standards. One of the consequences of bringing this type of case is that medical malpractice lawyers essentially act as policeman in the healthcare industry. If something really bad and unacceptable happens to a patient, the claim is brought to the attention of the medical board, which has authority to license doctors. So whatever happened to the patient hopefully will not happen to the next patient that comes down the road. That will help to maintain minimum standards so that people in California at least get a certain minimum level of respect, attention and proper treatment from the healthcare industry.
- Evaluate potential damages. All California malpractice cases are expensive. It’s much more difficult to pursue a wrongful death case for a newborn because of the cost involved. With a cerebral palsy case involving a newborn, you’re looking at a lifetime of care and that expense can run into the millions of dollars. So as a practical matter, both for the family and for the attorney, it’s a much larger and more serious financial issue that has to be evaluated.
The recovery in a birth injury case involving cerebral palsy can be multiple millions of dollars, whereas the recovery for the family in a death case – for a child or a newborn – can be limited to $250,000. You may be able to get another $250,000 for the mother, but generally speaking, you’re certainly not going to get into anything close to a seven-figure range.
- Understand possible limitations. It's important to keep in mind that sometimes you have birth injuries that are due to things that really are not within anybody’s control, like genetic problems, issues about the mother’s behavior during the pregnancy or accidents which occur during the pregnancy. Putting that aside, a wrongful death of a newborn, unlike a serious injury of a newborn, is going to be tremendously limited in terms of the ability to recover a dollar value on the case because the value of the wrongful death is legally capped in California at $250,000 for the death itself.
- Have your case evaluated at no charge. There’s no charge to my clients or prospective clients for me to evaluate their cases and I do that on a daily basis with people who call me. I might spend an hour talking to somebody or I might spend three to six months getting records, evaluating their cases and hiring experts. However, if it turns out that they don’t have a case, there’s absolutely no charge. Essentially it’s a free review to see if they have a case. Their time involvement is extremely minimal. It’s basically an introduction, an interview and providing some information; then the lawyer goes to work.
If you've been injured due to a hospital or HMO's negligence, contact an experienced California birth injury attorney to discuss your situation and evaluate your options. You may be entitled to compensation.