If you or your new baby were injured during childbirth, then you may be entitled to compensation. Consulting with an attorney will help you determine whether the injury was caused by negligent hospital staff.
What to Expect When You Hire a Birth Injury Lawyer
1. You’ll Have a Consultation
The first step when making any claim is the consultation. You’ll choose a law firm and have a free consultation with several of the attorneys working there. This consultation can occur over the phone or online, but you may also have one face-to-face if time allows for it. The attorneys you consult can advise you on whether or not you have a case of medical malpractice on your hands.
During your consultation, you’ll try to see how well you and your lawyer work together. You’ll determine your comfort level with them, their experience and proven track record of success, and more. The attorney will also scope you out to see if your case is suitable for them. They need to know they have a good chance of winning your case, and they need to ensure they have the time to dedicate to it.
2. You’ll Have a Case Assessment
Once you’ve chosen a lawyer to work on your case, it’s time for a case assessment. This is where all the details of your case are laid out. You’ll answer questions about your labor and birth process, and you’ll discuss the injuries you or your child sustained.
Your attorney needs to know every last detail of the process that led to this birth injury. You may feel embarrassed, but that’s why you need to ensure you’re working with a lawyer who makes you feel at ease. You should also be aware that your lawyer is bound by attorney-client privilege and can’t share anything you ask them to keep private.
3. You’ll Discuss Payment
You’ll need to discuss payment once your lawyer decides to take your case. You’ve already likely paid a lot in medical bills for the birth and the injury, so it’s not a great time to pay out-of-pocket. You don’t need to worry about that with a good birth injury attorney.
Birth injury attorneys typically work like personal injury and medical malpractice lawyers: on a contingency fee basis. This means they won’t receive any payment until they win your case. Their fee is taken out of your settlement.
4. You’ll Consult a Physician
You or your attorney must consult an appropriate healthcare professional before officially filing a claim. Medical malpractice requires what’s called an affidavit of merit with the claim, and this is how you’ll receive it. The healthcare professional must believe there’s “reasonable and meritorious cause” for the suit you wish to file. The physician must have expertise in your injury and be a currently practicing medical professional or teacher.
5. You’ll File the Claim
There’s a lot of paperwork to fill out when filing your birth injury claim, so your attorney will likely take care of this for you. They’ll file it with the courts in the appropriate county. Be aware there’s a deadline for filing, so ensure you hire an attorney and promptly go through the first steps of this process.
In Maryland, you have five years to file your birth injury after it occurs. An excellent birth injury lawyer in Baltimore will know this and help you work within this time constraint. If the injury was discovered some time after the birth, then you have three years from the time of discovery to file your claim.
6. You’ll Wait for a Response
There’s a deadline for the defendant to respond when you file a medical malpractice claim. This is typically a period of 30 days. They will either accept or deny the claim. You can take your defendant to court if they deny it.
7. You’ll Start Building a Case
You can use your waiting time to begin building your case. Your attorney will gather evidence to prove the defendant’s negligence concerning the birth injury. Photographs of injuries, statements from witnesses present at birth, your medical records, previous complaints against the physician, and the testimony from the physician you consulted, all count as evidence.
8. You’ll Start Negotiations
You’ll start negotiating compensation once the defense accepts the claim. Most of the time, cases like yours can be settled successfully outside the courtroom. Your settlement will usually consist of a payment for your medical expenses, emotional damages, future medical costs, and future special education needs for your child.
If you or your child have suffered a birth injury, then we understand how worried you must be going forward. However, an excellent birth injury attorney will do everything in their power to win justice for you and your child. It’s a frightening process at first, but it’ll become straightforward with a great lawyer by your side.
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