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Birth injury lawsuits rise, settlements grow higher

Between 2000 and 2006, there was at least a 20 percent decrease in the number of avoidable birth injuries in Texas and across the U.S, according to the Healthcare Research and Quality Agency. The CDC recorded 23,161 infant deaths in 2016, but birth injuries were not as prominent a factor in them as congenital issues, low birth weights, premature delivery and sudden infant death syndrome.

Despite the decrease in the number of birth injuries, recent years are not only seeing more birth injury cases but also higher figures for the settlements. Whereas some birth injury cases end in a settlement of around $50,000 to $100,000, others head into multi-million dollar territory. For example, an obstetrician was ordered to pay $3 million to the family of a baby whose arm became paralyzed during delivery. An infant brain injury case ended with a $41.6 million settlement, and a case of infant cerebral palsy led to a $53 million settlement.

One reason for this trend is that plaintiffs and their legal counsel are better able to calculate medical costs, expenses for the care of lifelong conditions (including equipment cost and the cost of professional support) and emotional damage on the part of the parents. Some cases end in the defendant paying punitive damages as well when they recklessly disregard the objective standard of care.

Proof of negligence is vital to a birth injury case. Therefore, a parent who wishes to file a claim may want to hire a lawyer. Personal injury lawyers normally have networks of professionals, including investigators and medical experts, who can find the necessary proof that can lead to a fair settlement.

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