New Jersey Birth Injury Attorneys
Birth Injuries in New Jersey
If your child’s birth injury was caused by negligence, you can file a medical malpractice lawsuit against doctors, nurses, and hospitals that were responsible. Like all injury lawsuits, the goal is to get financial compensation. What makes birth injury cases different is that the child might be disabled for life and need medical care for 80 more years, depending on the life expectancy.
What will happen when you are too old to care for your child and your other children have their own families? The lawsuit must do everything to secure the child’s future needs and to get compensation for the loss of enjoyment of life.
How do I Know if the Birth Injury was Caused by Negligence?
There is a difference between a birth defect and a birth injury. There are injuries that can occur because the medical professionals did not take into account a birth defect that should have been known during the pregnancy. There are also injuries that can occur without malpractice.
Because birth injury cases are complicated, they are reviewed by at least one expert. The case is usually reviewed by an OB/GYN. It might also need to be reviewed by a nurse, anesthesiologist, surgeon, neonatologist, and/or pediatrician.
If the expert gives an opinion that there was negligence, the expert must also give an opinion that the negligence caused the birth injury. If it did cause the birth injury, the lawyer will go ahead and file the lawsuit.
You must remember that the other side will have experts that will deny that there was negligence and, if there was negligence, the negligence did not cause the injury.
Who Makes the Decisions for My Child?
In most New Jersey birth injury lawsuits, the parents of the child will bring the lawsuit on behalf of the child. The parents will make decisions with the advice of the lawyer. The biggest decision comes if the insurance company makes an offer to settle. The parents will decide whether to accept or reject the offer.
However, any settlement on behalf of the child must be approved by the Court before it becomes final. The Court will look at what gets paid and when it gets paid. Many settlements will set up an annuity to make payments to and on behalf of the child. The Court will take into account the need to make payments for medical care and treatment. If the parties agree to a settlement, the Court cannot change the terms of the settlement by itself, but it can say no to the settlement. If the Court rejects the settlement, the parties can attempt to re-negotiate the settlement or continue with the case.
Whose name is on the lawsuit?
In most birth injury lawsuits, the parents of the child will bring the lawsuit on behalf of the child. The parents can request that the child’s initials be on the lawsuit papers. The parents’ names are usually on the lawsuit papers where they are named as guardians of the child.
Who Controls the Money After the Lawsuit?
New Jersey courts know that children should not be allowed to access all their money from a lawsuit at a young age. New Jersey courts also know that some parents will be tempted to use the money for other things if it is available. That is why the Court will look for a structure for payment of the money. For example, there might be large payments for the child between ages 18 and 22 to cover the expectation of college expenses.
The Most Common Causes of Birth Injuries in New Jersey
- Anesthesia, medical malpractice, failure to diagnose, and medication/prescription/surgical errors
- Head trauma and brain compression
- Cyotec and Pitocin administration
- Delayed birth and/or prolonged labor
- Fetal distress
- Forceps misuse
- Oxygen deprivation and Hypoxia
- Negligent pre-natal or post-partum care
- NICU negligence
How Long Will the Birth Injury Lawsuit Take?
Birth injury lawsuits in New Jersey take longer than regular personal injury lawsuits. Less complicated birth injury lawsuits usually take 2 to 3 years after filing the lawsuit. More complicated birth injury lawsuits can take longer. Of course, if a case settles, it can move much faster.
These are the significant steps in a typical New Jersey birth injury lawsuit:
- A complaint is filed with the court*
- The doctor and medical facility is then served with he complaint
- Answer to the complaint filed by doctor and medical facility
- Affidavit of Merit filed by the plaintiff’s lawyer
- Court convens a conference to discuss any issues with the Affidavit of Merit
- Both sides provides answers to interrogatories and subsequent depositions
- Experts provide reports and then depositions
* Notice of Claim might be required before filing Complaint depending on doctor and/or medical facility.
Can I get Compensated as a Parent for My Pain and Suffering?
Birth injury to a child impacts the entire family. Parents and siblings have to adjust to a life that was never expected. New Jersey is not generous in compensating parents when the child suffers the injury. However, if a parent witnesses the malpractice or the suffering of the child in the immediate aftermath of the malpractice, the New Jersey courts have allowed that parent to sue for pain and suffering when the parent suffers severe emotional distress from what they witnessed.
What is The Statute Of Limitations On a Birth Injury Lawsuit?
In New Jersey, a birth injury lawsuit for a child born after July 2004 must be filed before the child’s 13th birthday. This is different from malpractice cases brought by a minor for injuries suffered after birth, e.g. a negligent cleft lip surgery at 3 years of age.
Contact Our Experienced New Jersey Personal Injury Attorneys
At Lesnevich, Marzano-Lesnevich, O’Cathain & O’Cathain, LLC, our team of New Jersey personal injury lawyers are experienced, dedicated, and committed to help those going through very difficult times. Contact us today at 201-488-1161 for a legal consultation.