Disclaimer: the material presented in the article below should only be considered as a general overview regarding the legal process following a birth-related injury. Should you, or anyone you know, find yourself in this situation, it’s best that you speak to a local attorney who is well-versed in medical malpractice cases involving pregnancy.
Giving birth is one of best miracles a woman can experience, but there are times when this magical experience becomes tragic one. Birth injury may occur to the mother and the child, and if you’re a mother who has been affected by a birth injury, you may live to endure these wounds for a lifetime. Aside from physical pain, you may end up paying expensive medical bills, experiencing emotional and psychological distress, and losing essential working time. Fortunately, you and your family can now file for damages against the people responsible for the birth injury. The question now hangs, what to do legally if you had a birth injury after pregnancy?
There are legal steps that you can take, as the victim, to successfully file a lawsuit. Here they are:
1. Getting the lawsuit ready
When filing a lawsuit, you need to ask yourself the following:
a. Do I have the legal capacity to sue?
In every state, you need to be over 18 years of age and in a good mental state to file a lawsuit. If you are deemed to be mentally incompetent or are under 18 years of age, you need to have a guardian.
b. Do I have the legal standing to sue?
To file a personal injury lawsuit in a state court, you must have suffered an injury or was harmed at the hands of the person you’re suing. You also need to make sure that there’s a way to compensate for the injury.
c. Where do I file my lawsuit?
Remember to file your lawsuit in a court that has the jurisdiction in the matter. Usually, you can submit the case to a court where you live.
d. Do I have the time to sue?
Each state has a different time period for a person to file a lawsuit. When submitting a suit, make sure to check the statute of limitations to know whether or not you still have time to file a lawsuit.
2. Hiring a lawyer
Lawsuits are difficult and challenging, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the process. You may need to find someone who specializes in this type of case. Make sure that the lawyer you hire can guide you all throughout the trial, and help you achieve the winning verdict.
a. The right type of lawyer
Make sure to hire an accredited personal injury lawyer. Personal injury lawyers specialize in cases that include injuries from accidents, injuries from assault and injuries from medical malpractice.
b. Lawyer with experience
You can ask your family and friends if they know a lawyer who has experience in this kind of case. If you want, you can request a referral from local and state legal associations. You can also look through bar associations of your state to check for your prospective lawyer and determine if there are complaints against any lawyer.
c. Review the lawyer’s background
Evaluate the reputation and credentials of your prospect lawyer. Read reviews from clients of your prospective lawyer.
d. Meet with the prospective lawyer
Meet and discuss your case with the lawyer. When meeting your prospect lawyer, don’t forget to:
· Discuss his/her fees for the services.
· Ask how long will the trial take.
· Bring the necessary documents.
· Share all the details that you know about the case.
· Take down notes of what occurred in the meeting.
· Inquire if they’ll check medical records (i.e. respiration, blood pressure, oxygen levels) to determine medical malpractice.
3. Prepare your case
Throughout this process, you’ll need to fill out necessary paperwork and consider how you’ll support your case.
a. Write down every detail of what happened
As soon as you can, write an account of what happened. Keep track of what happened to you after the injury occurred, including the actions you’ve made, appointments with your doctor, lost work, and everything else that happened because of the injury.
b. Check if your insurance policy covers the injury
Doing this may help you figure out if you have a chance of collecting monetary damages from filing a suit.
c. Collect evidence
Take photos of the injury and where it has occurred. Also, make sure to have the necessary documents. For example, medical bills you’ve paid because of the injury.
d. Have the names and contact information of witnesses
If there’s anyone to serve as a witness of the occurrence of the injury, make sure to have their names and contact information. When speaking to a possible witness, make sure to record the conversation. Take note of the date and time that you talked.
4. Filing your case
With the help of your attorney, file the case promptly and thoroughly.
a. Notify all defendants
As soon as you finish determining all the persons involved, you can inform them that you’ll be filing a lawsuit against them.
b. Attempt to settle
You can attempt to resolve the case by letting the defendants know how much money you’ll accept for the claim.
c. File the suit in court
If you and the people liable can’t come to an absolute agreement, you may now start filing the case so that it has the potential to be settled in-court.
As a mother and a victim, while no amount of money may heal the wounds created, there’s always satisfaction when justice will be served. And even if you decide to not pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit, it’s always good to know what are your options and rights as the victim. It’s best to know where you stand legally.
Scott Jeffreys is a promising young law enthusiast that hopes to bring his youthful spirit in his field. He is currently writing for the Dolman Law Group, and tries to add a refreshing modern take to topics on the legal world that people can learn from. Scott enjoys his free time with friends and family, and loves to cook for them.