HIE and Medical Malpractice

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) often results from medical negligence during pregnancy or the delivery process. When infants contract HIE due to medical negligence or malpractice, they may suffer cerebral palsy and other serious medical complications, including impaired vision and hearing, intellectual disorders, eating difficulties, seizures, and orthopedic problems.

If your child has received an HIE diagnosis, and you blame medical negligence, consult an experienced birth injury lawyer in your area. A knowledgeable and compassionate lawyer can meet with you to discuss the situation and your child’s symptoms.

Your attorney can also begin an investigation into your case and consult with an independent medical expert to determine if medical negligence or malpractice likely occurred. If so, your lawyer can file a medical malpractice claim with the medical provider’s insurance company.

As part of a claim or lawsuit for medical malpractice, you and your child can recover various types of monetary compensation and damages. Those economic damages can then cover your child’s future medical treatment and the costs of any necessary long-term care your child might need.

Although no money can fully compensate you or your child for a birth injury resulting from medical negligence, it can bring about a sense of justice for your family and alleviate some of the financial uncertainty.

After filing a medical negligence claim on your behalf, your attorney can negotiate with the medical provider’s insurance company and pursue fair settlement compensation. If the insurance company challenges liability or refuses to offer you and your child reasonable monetary compensation, your attorney can explore potential legal options for your case.

Finally, if your case must proceed to a civil jury trial or other litigation proceedings, your lawyer will aggressively represent you in court and pursue the highest monetary recovery available to you and your child.

At every stage of the insurance claim process or legal proceedings, your attorney will be by your side, zealously advocating for you and working to ensure that you and your child recover the total compensation you deserve in your case. Hiring a compassionate birth injury attorney is the best way to protect your family and seek the compensation you need for HIE injuries.

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How Is HIE Related to Potential Medical Malpractice?

Unfortunately, HIE commonly results from medical negligence by a careless or inattentive healthcare provider.

Negligent medical providers may include:

  • Delivery room doctors
  • Delivery room nurses
  • Anesthesiologists

When a medical provider fails to properly monitor the mother and the baby during pregnancy as well as during the delivery process and neonatal period the baby may not receive the oxygenated blood it needs. As a result, the child may ultimately develop HIE.

Some of the most common types of medical provider negligence that can result in HIE development include:

  • Failing to properly manage an issue that involves the fetus’ position in the mother’s womb
  • Failing to properly and continuously monitor the fetus’ heart rate during the labor and delivery processes
  • Failing to take the necessary precautions when the mother is in a high-risk pregnancy
  • Failing to account for the mother’s severe medical complications during pregnancy, including hypertension and diabetes
  • Failing to be aware that a fetus is experiencing distress (such as that it is not receiving the proper oxygen it needs during the delivery process)
  • Failing to be aware of and resolve certain medical conditions that involve the umbilical cord, placenta, or uterus
  • Failing to provide hypothermia therapy to a child who is suffering from HIE to try and reduce any brain damage

Possible Consequences of HIE

A child who suffers from HIE during the birthing or delivery process may develop other serious medical complications, including cerebral palsy. If a child ultimately develops cerebral palsy, they may experience ongoing medical complications for the rest of their life.

Common issues that arise from cerebral palsy due to HIE include:

  • Physical deformities
  • Difficulty speaking and developing language skills
  • Lack of coordination and motor skills
  • Difficulty performing daily tasks, including dressing oneself without the help of an adult
  • Learning disabilities

If you believe that your child’s cerebral palsy might have resulted from medical negligence or malpractice, a knowledgeable and compassionate birth injury lawyer can assist.

Your lawyer can review pertinent medical documents and consult with an independent expert about whether or not medical negligence likely occurred. If it did, your attorney can explore your available legal options and help you make informed and intelligent choices while your case is pending.

Your lawyer can also negotiate with insurance company representatives on your behalf and help you decide whether you should accept a pending settlement offer or pursue medical malpractice litigation in the court system.

Proving Medical Negligence in a Birth Injury Case Involving HIE

In medical negligence and malpractice cases, the claimant or the individual alleging birth injuries and damages has the sole legal burden of proof in the case. The treating medical provider and their insurance company do not have to satisfy any legal burden or prove anything. Instead, successfully establishing the legal elements of proof in the case rests entirely with the medical malpractice claimant.

First, the malpractice claimant must establish that a healthcare provider owed a duty of reasonable care under the circumstances. Few parties dispute this legal element since medical providers automatically owe their patients a very high legal duty of care.

Specifically, they have a responsibility to act as a hypothetical reasonable medical provider would act in the same or similar circumstances. This means that they must not fail to do something that a reasonable medical provider would do in the same scenario or take some action that a reasonable medical provider would not take. In many instances, medical specialists must follow a national standard of care.

In addition, a medical malpractice claimant must legally demonstrate that the treating healthcare provider made a severe medical mistake or that they behaved unreasonably under the circumstances.

To satisfy this breach element of a medical negligence claim, the claimant must have an independent healthcare provider on board. That provider must be willing to review all of the medical evidence in the case and determine whether the treating healthcare provider likely deviated from the prevailing medical standard of care. The independent provider must then reduce this opinion to writing and state their opinion and conclusions to a reasonable degree of medical certainty.

An independent medical expert must also be willing to establish that the treating doctor or another healthcare provider’s breach of the standard of care (like their negligence) proximately caused HIE or some other birth injury to develop in the child.

Assuming the medical malpractice claimant can fully satisfy their legal burden, they may recover various types of monetary compensation for their child. That compensation can then help to provide the child with future medical care and treatment.

Proving the legal elements of a medical negligence claim can often be difficult. Therefore, the sooner you retain experienced legal counsel to represent you, the higher your chances of obtaining a favorable monetary award in your case. Your lawyer can retain an expert and satisfy your legal burden of proof so that you recover a favorable monetary damage award.

Pursuing Favorable Settlement Compensation from a Negligent Medical Provider’s Insurance Company

If your child suffered HIE or some other birth injury due to a provider’s medical negligence and you can satisfy the above-referenced legal elements you can pursue and recover various types of monetary damages in your case. You can recover these damages by way of a favorable medical malpractice settlement or litigation result.

The claims-filing and negotiation processes in a medical malpractice case are often very tedious and time-consuming. Your lawyer can forward all of the necessary medical documentation, including the affidavit/report from your independent medical expert, to the insurance company for your treating doctor.

The insurance company will then review all of the necessary documents and determine if they are going to make an offer to resolve the case amicably through a monetary settlement.

Settling a medical malpractice case, especially at the onset, can be extremely difficult. This is because insurance companies have a powerful incentive to offer as little monetary compensation as possible to resolve a claim.

Insurance companies and their adjusters frequently make low offers because insurance companies are big businesses. In fact, an insurance company only makes money when it collects premium payments from its insured medical providers. However, an insurance company can stand to lose a lot of money if they have to pay out a large medical malpractice settlement or jury verdict.

Given the inherent conflict between a medical malpractice claimant and the treating healthcare provider’s insurance company, it may take significant time to successfully resolve a malpractice claim.

The negotiation process typically begins when the claimant’s attorney makes an opening settlement demand and the insurance company adjuster responds. Negotiations will then proceed back and forth until the medical malpractice claim either settles or the parties decide to pursue litigation.

Medical malpractice litigation begins when a claimant’s attorney files a lawsuit in the state court system. However, even after this step occurs, the parties can still resolve their case through settlement at a later point in time. In fact, the vast majority of medical malpractice lawsuits settle sometime during the proceedings. It may just take a significant amount of time for the parties to reach an agreeable settlement number.

If the parties cannot agree to settle their case, the matter may proceed to a civil jury trial. At a trial, the jury will decide the outcome of all disputed issues, including the amount of monetary damages to award the medical malpractice claimant.

Your attorney can help you determine whether a particular settlement offer from the insurance company is a favorable offer, given the nature and extent of your child’s birth injury and the likelihood of future complications and medical expenses.

If you decide to litigate your case, your lawyer will be by your side each step of the way, aggressively advocating for you and pursuing a favorable damage award on your behalf.

Recovering Favorable Monetary Damages in a Medical Negligence Case

In a medical negligence case, you can pursue and recover various types of monetary damages for your child’s benefit. The types of economic recovery that you receive will depend primarily upon the severity of your child’s injury or injuries, along with other fact-specific circumstances.

Some of the most common damages that claimants may recover in medical negligence cases stemming from birth injuries include:

  • The costs of anticipated medical procedures and treatment
  • Past and anticipated pain and suffering that the child must endure for the rest of their life
  • Long-term care costs
  • Mental distress and anguish
  • Permanent inability to use a body part, such as from paralysis

Your attorney will do everything possible to maximize the total monetary award that you recover in your case to make you and your child whole to the greatest extent possible.

Your attorney can also help you decide between settlement and litigation when it comes to maximizing your total monetary recovery in the case. Your lawyer can offer this advice because they have experience in dealing with these types of cases.

Consult With an Experienced Birth Injury Lawyer about Your Legal Matter Today

Tatiana Boohoff, Lawyer for Birth Injury cases near Tampa area.
Tatiana Boohoff, Birth Injury Attorney in Tampa.

Given the medical malpractice statute of limitations, individuals have a relatively short amount of time to bring a claim or lawsuit for medical negligence arising from a birth injury.

If a medical malpractice claimant files their lawsuit belatedly, the court will prevent them from recovering any monetary compensation for their child’s birth injuries resulting from medical negligence.

Birth injuries and medical malpractice cases are complicated matters, and they require medical expertise to fully understand. Therefore, given the potential consequences, act quickly in your case and that you retain skilled legal counsel to represent you as promptly as possible.

Your personal injury attorney in Tampa can help you handle every aspect of your medical malpractice claim and work to secure a favorable monetary recovery for you and your young child.

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July 12, 2023
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