Some criticize filing a lawsuit following a birth injury under the assumption that it is better to just move on. After all, a lawsuit will not change the fact that the injury occurred, right? And so what is the point of pointing fingers and engaging in a legal battle over something that is over and done with? On top of that, lawyers working on these cases often deal with accusations that these cases are all about money-a power grab or get rich quick scheme.
Because of these opinions it is crucial to explain the reality of life for those whose children suffer a serious injury at birth. The sad fact remains that there is a huge difference in care provided to those children whose parents have a way to pay for the treatment they need versus children who are forced to rely on state support for survival. The difference between the long-term prospects for those children is large. For that reason, it is entirely logical and prudent for families to seek accountability from the wrongdoer when the underlying injury was caused by negligence.
Surviving After a Birth Injury
Cerebral palsy is perhaps the most well-known injury affecting children at birth. Those with cerebral palsy often need a wide range of support–which is expensive. How does a family provide that support? On one hand, the family may have means on their own to pay for things like daunting medical bills, special equipment, lifelong extra educational care, nursing support, and more. But these costs eventually reach hundreds of thousands (even millions) of dollars. Most families do not have that money.
So what is their alternative?
The only other option is to rely on support for state and federal assistance programs-funded by taxpayers. But it would be remiss to say that the public support is just as good as anything provided by those with their own means. It isn’t. Budget problems are well-known, and so support for individuals with special challenges (like those suffering from cerebral palsy), keep getting cut.
In addition, the living arrangements for children with cerebral palsy are limited when funds are provided by the public. For example, in some state children with cerebral palsy may be sent to live in nursing homes (traditionally reserved for elderly community members). A recent story in the Mason County Daily News, for example, explores how the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating Florida for potential violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act in just this regard.
According to the story, some children with cerebral palsy (and other disabilities) are being forced out of their homes and moved into institutions. Many parents of these children wish they could live with them, but the state does not provide at-home support services. The families do not have the money to pay for the at-home support on their own, and so the children often languish away from their family and friends in nursing homes for years.
Birth Injury Lawsuits
The bottom line is that there is a world of difference between life for a child with cerebral palsy who has an independent means of support and those who rely on public bodies for financial help.
Those who cause serious injury to others have a responsibility to pay for the consequences of that injury. This should not be a controversial idea. Once we get away from the misleading belief about these lawsuits being a money-grab, we can get to the truth about why fair access to the civil justice system in these cases it of the utmost importance. Pursuing the best for our children should matter to everyone, no matter what difficulties the child faces down the road.
See Our Related Blog Posts: