Although it can be stressful and time-consuming, the litigation process is often necessary to defend and secure the rights of parents and children touched by birth injuries. Legal action may be the only means of obtaining justice for parents and their child in this situation; a lawsuit may be the only path that can provide the resources necessary to support the child throughout a lifetime of challenges.
Understanding the litigation process is helpful because it takes the fear and uncertainty out of the process, and it ultimately allows a parent to feel in control and well-informed throughout the pendency of the case. At Stern Law, PLLC, we don’t just file medical malpractice claims; we approach every case with the mindset of providing parents not only with experienced legal counsel but the tools to become empowered and informed. For a free consultation, please call (800) 462-5772 today.
Understanding the litigation process
The legal system in the United States is designed to respect and protect the rights of citizens—those harmed and those accused. For the plaintiff in a civil action, the litigation process is a way to lawfully seek justice and compensation for harm that has been caused by a third party. For the defendant, the litigation process is a way to defend against the charges being made. For a parent of a child injured before, during or immediately after the birthing process, the legal system is a way to hold responsible parties accountable for the harm they caused to a child. Although the ability to pursue justice may be a worthy motivation to some, the benefit derived from the process can lead to compensatory damages made available to the parents for the ongoing and future care their child will require.
The majority of birth injury cases are not caused by medical negligence. However, for those injuries that are the result of negligence and improper care, the law allows a parent or legal guardian to pursue compensation. In birth injury and medical malpractice actions, the law recognizes that there are some mistakes that can have a profound impact on how a child will live and function for a lifetime. Compensation does not reverse the child’s medical condition, and does not change the fact that a parent will need to help a child adapt to a very different life than the one a parent anticipated. However, compensation can help diminish symptoms because parents will be able to pay for intensive treatments and therapies.
Compensation also enables parents to purchase adaptive equipment, assistive technologies, communication devices, or home and automobile modifications. In the legal field, this is sometimes referred to as “Lifetime Benefits.” Not every child qualifies for Lifetime Benefits, but for those that are eligible, the financial challenges can be greatly eased.
Medical negligence that results in a birth injury generally involves a situation where, but for the injury, a child’s life would be vastly different. The seriousness of the injury varies from child to child, but no matter what the severity, the impact on the family is devastating. The law recognizes the monetary challenge, additional medical care, and restrictions placed on the child’s ability to function in daily life when a birth injury takes place. Although most people do not relish suing their child’s doctor, or a healthcare system, parents have a right, within a specified time frame governed by law, to pursue the compensation their child deserves. When parents make the decision to file a claim, they typically think only about their child’s needs. When the daily challenges a child endures are due to medical negligence, those responsible must compensate the child’s family. This is fundamental in our legal system, subject of course to various limitations.
The benefit of understanding the litigation process
The legal system may appear complex and challenging, especially to a parent that is adjusting to a child’s injury. Laws constantly evolve and change. Each new court case can establish a new precedent under which all future litigation must be adjudicated. In addition to case law, state and federal regulation, laws that affect civil litigation are enacted by local municipalities at the county, city, township, and village levels. Even the manner in which court cases proceed can vary between federal, state, and local levels.
Hiring an attorney that focuses on medical malpractice and that has a successful track record in litigating birth injury cases can prove extremely valuable. For more than thirty years, attorney Ken Stern has dedicated himself to helping parents cope with the devastation of birth injury. He would welcome the opportunity to meet with parents, and to review and discuss their eligibility to pursue a claim for Lifetime Benefits. Parents interested in the services of Stern Law, PLLC can call 800-642-5772 to schedule a consultation.
When considering filing a claim, it is helpful to learn the nuances of the litigation process to fully appreciate how attorneys concentrating in a single area of the law – medical negligence and birth injury – can be most beneficial. The following is an eight-step overview of the litigation process.
The litigation process: Eight steps detailed
The process of pursuing medical malpractice litigation can generally be organized into eight stages each with their own particular goals and requirements. The timeline for moving through these steps will differ depending on case and court requirements. At any time in the process, a case can be settled out of court, or closed.
The eight steps to the litigation process include:
- Step 1: Obtain medical records
- Step 2: Contract with a qualified lawyer
- Step 3: Obtain an internal and external case review
- Step 4: File a complaint
- Step 5: Discover and collect evidence
- Step 6: Trial
- Step 7: Verdicts
- Step 8: Appeal process
Together, the professionals at Stern Law, PLLC can help parents take control, and fight for their child’s rights. For a free case review, please call (800) 462-5772 to speak with a member of our team.