It is easy to develop the assumption that all birth injury cases result in a settlement or judgement for the plaintiff. But that is not true. News stories and blog posts are simply far more likely to discuss cases that result in liability as illustrative of the ways in which the legal system works and preventable injuries can affect the birthing process. But just because you hear more about the cases where plaintiffs are successful does not mean that doctors are almost always found liable.
In fact, the opposite may be true. When a case goes to trial, the burden is still on the plaintiff (injured child and family) to produce sufficient evidence to prove negligence. Sometimes that burden is hard to meet, and judges and juries routinely find for doctors. This basic concept is important to reiterate whenever faced with arguments from those seeking to change legal rules as a result of “runaway verdicts” or excessive lawsuits.”
For example, just this month the Press Herald reported on a case in which a birth injury lawsuit verdict went against the plaintiff. According to the report, the case was filed by a mother who essential claimed that excessive force was used during delivery. That force apparently led the child to suffer a brachial plexus injury–the nerve bundle near the shoulder that control’s ones’ arm, hand, and finger.
The case eventually went to a trial that lasted for six days. Shortly thereafter the jury returned a unanimous verdict for the defendant. They did not believe that the doctor acted negligently causing injury to the child. In fact, per the rules of the state where the trial took place, a medical malpractice “screening panel” had previously heard evidence in the case and issued a ruling. Their ruling was similar to jury’s –unanimous in favor of the doctor.
Experienced Birth Injury Lawyers
For one thing, the above case is a reminder of the reality that plaintiffs often lose these medical malpractice cases. In addition, it is also a way to reiterate one often overlooked fact: the skill of the advocate matters. That is not to say that the legal professionals in this case could have done anything more to change the outcome. Instead, it is just a reminder that not all legal advocates are the same.
Attorneys can take the same set of facts and pursue different strategies to best show that negligence occurred and liability should be found. Similarly, seasoned professionals are best able to understand the likelihood of success of any case given the circumstances of the injury and evidence available to prove malpractice. This plays into possible settlement negotiations before the trial.
For local residents this is a reminder that experience matters. There is a world of difference between having the aid of a legal team that has only worked on a few cases like yours or having an advocate on your side that has worked on birth injury cases for decades. The experienced attorney is simply better adept at understanding the possibility of recovery and using that to shape fair settlement negotiations or trial strategy.
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