Following preventable birth injuries, victims and families have the right to hold negligent medical care providers liable for the damages they caused. Given the profound physical, financial, and emotional toll that coincides with birth injuries, especially injuries that result in long-term or permanent impairment, these cases can provide families with the opportunity to recover substantial compensation awards. These recoveries are vital to helping families not only cover the costs and damages they have endured, but also to rebuilding their lives and covering the expenses and challenges they will face moving forward.
At Beam Legal Team, our Chicago birth injury attorneys have handled birth injury cases throughout the nation, and have worked closely with families who have suffered substantial physical and emotional harm due to medical negligence and error. When speaking with victims and their loved ones, we are often asked about the value of a potential case. Because every case, injury, and its impact on the lives of victims are different, however, the answer to that question is always: it depends.
While it may not be possible to put an exact figure or estimate on a case, victims can gain a better understanding of the compensation they may be eligible to recover in a birth injury lawsuit. This includes:
- Economic damages – Economic damages refer to the verifiable financial losses victims experience following preventable injuries. Common examples of economic damages include past medical expenses and lost wages, as well as the projected costs of future medical needs, lost income, and even the lost earnings of a child who may not be able to engage in substantial gainful employment due to their injuries. Economic damages can be reasonably calculated based on not only medical bills, but also estimates and projections. For example, our attorneys work with medical experts to identify how birth injuries will impact both children and their families financially. This may include estimation and tabulation of future procedures, doctor’s appointments, therapy, daily care, and accommodations that need to be made in order to help a child as they grow and engage with the world.
- Non-economic damages – Unlike economic damages, non-economic damages cannot be easily calculated in monetary sums. This is because non-economic damages are intended to compensate victims for intangible and emotional losses such as the pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment or quality of life, physical disability or impairment, loss of companionship, and mental anguish experienced by victims and their loved ones. Because birth injuries have an overwhelming potential for long-term or life-altering ramifications, it is often the case that victims and families are awarded substantial sums for non-economic damages.
- Punitive damages – Punitive damages, also referred to as exemplary damages, are not considered compensatory damages like economic or non-economic damages, and they are not awarded in every personal injury or birth injury case. Instead, they are reserved for cases in which an at-fault party’s conduct was egregiously negligent, or when an injury results from fraud, malice, willful or wanton wrongful acts, or even deliberate violence. Essentially, punitive damages are intended to punish wrongdoers for excessively bad or inappropriate conduct, and to deter them and others from committing similar acts. When punitive damages are available, our firm pursues them aggressively in order to secure additional compensation on behalf of our clients.
It is important to note that some states implement caps on the amount of damages victims may be able to recover, even if a jury were to award more than the limit. While a few states have passed umbrella caps on all forms of damages in medical malpractice cases, more than half of all states have placed caps on non-economic damages only. For example, the state of Michigan caps non-economic damages in a single medical malpractice claim at $280,000, but may increase that cap to $500,000 under certain circumstances, such as when victims suffer paralysis or permanent disability. Because caps similar to this are implemented by many states, it becomes important to work with experienced attorneys who can help you understand the role non-economic damages will play in your case, and whether any caps may be involved.
When helping clients seek a fair recovery of their damages, our legal team utilizes extensive resources and experience to explore the full scope of our clients’ losses. This is why we work personally with our clients, and take the time to understand how a preventable birth injury has impacted their lives. Additionally, we work with experts and leverage our insight in these cases and the common types of injuries that result to clearly and convincingly present a case that exemplifies how birth injuries will impact victims and their loved ones in the future. By taking the full extent of our clients’ past and future damages into perspective, we aim to recover the maximum compensation possible.
Have questions about a potential birth injury case and the compensation you may be entitled to recover? Contact Beam Legal Team for a FREE consultation. Our firm is available to help birth injury victims nationwide.