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What Types of Compensation Can Be Recovered in a Birth Injury Lawsuit?

Birth injuries are a particularly distressing occurrence, altering the course of lives even before they have truly begun. If you find yourself in the unfortunate circumstance of dealing with a birth injury in Maryland, it’s crucial to understand the legal landscape and the types of compensation available to you. Keep reading to learn the general situation and be sure to contact a birth injury attorney in Baltimore for specifics to your case.

What Types of Compensation Can Be Recovered in a Birth Injury Lawsuit?

Non-Economic Losses

One category of compensation in a birth injury lawsuit, general damages, covers non-economic losses. These damages reflect the physical and emotional pain and suffering and loss of life’s enjoyment experienced as a result of the birth injury. While more difficult to quantify than other damages, they are profoundly important. In Maryland, a cap exists on non-economic damages in malpractice cases at $920,000 in 2023.

Economic Damages

Special damages cover the more tangible losses. These encompass medical expenses, both those already incurred and funds you may need to pay for ongoing care. You can seek compensation for hospital stays, physical therapy, medical equipment, necessary home modifications, and more. Special damages also include lost wages, particularly pertinent if a parent must leave employment to care for a child affected by a birth injury.

Lifetime Care Damages

For birth injuries resulting in permanent disability or impairment, you may be entitled to lifetime care damages. This compensation covers the estimated costs of the child’s future care, potentially spanning decades. It includes ongoing medical treatment, therapeutic interventions, and any special education services that the child may require. Accurate calculations, often involving expert testimony, are vital in ensuring fair compensation in these cases.

In a birth injury lawsuit, the financial impact typically extends far beyond immediate medical bills. A child may face lifelong challenges that necessitate ongoing care and support. Future medical costs, ongoing therapy and rehabilitation, adaptive devices, and even costs of necessary home modifications can all be claimed. For children with severe disabilities, costs may also include in-home care or residential facility care in adulthood. These are all important considerations when calculating the compensation required to truly address the needs of an injured child.

Impact on Family Dynamics and Relationships

A birth injury not only affects the child, but also significantly impacts the family unit. Parents may find themselves in a full-time caregiving role, resulting in lost career opportunities and diminished quality of life. Siblings may also be impacted, with family resources redirected to accommodate the needs of the injured child. While these changes can be challenging to quantify, they are important elements of a claim and can be included in the calculation of damages.

Punitive Damages

Although not frequently awarded in Maryland, there are situations where punitive damages may be applicable. These damages aim not to compensate for a loss but to punish the responsible party and deter similar misconduct in the future. Maryland courts only grant punitive damages in cases where the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious.

Loss of Parental Consortium Damages

In some cases, a child or spouse may be able to claim for loss of parental consortium due to a birth injury in the mother. This compensation reflects the loss of companionship, affection, and care. While the claim can be hard to prove, it acknowledges the personal loss experienced and may be worth considering in your case. Your attorney will be able to tell you more.

Birth Injury to Mothers

While our focus so far has primarily been on injuries to the child, it’s crucial to recognize that mothers can also be victims of birth injuries due to medical negligence. A mother may have a claim for physical injury, emotional distress, and any associated economic losses, such as medical expenses and loss of income, stemming from the birth injury.

Caps on Compensation

As previously noted, Maryland law enforces a cap on non-economic damages in malpractice cases. This cap, subject to annual adjustments, is a key factor in determining potential compensation for a victim of birth injury. Importantly, there is no cap on economic damages: you are permitted to sue for the entire cost of your economic damages.

Importance of a Birth Injury Lawyer in Baltimore

In a birth injury case, thorough medical records are a critical piece of evidence. They provide a clear timeline of events, indicate what care was given, and can demonstrate any deviation from the standard of care. Your attorney will meticulously review these records to build a robust case. Visit this page to learn more.

Tackling a birth injury lawsuit involves understanding the vast array of compensation possibilities and having a comprehensive view of the injured child’s current and future needs. With the complexities of Maryland law and the profound impact that birth injuries can cause, engaging a competent attorney remains the single most crucial decision you can make to ensure the best outcome ​after tragedy strikes.