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The ins and outs of filing a lawsuit following a birth injury

No matter how many preventative measures birthing facilities in Louisiana take, birth-related injuries still happen, and they happen more often than people think. If a mother or a child is harmed due to the actions or inactions of medical providers, compensation for any losses sustained may be sought through legal means. This week, this column will address the ins and outs of filing a lawsuit following a birth injury.

In order to pursue a medical malpractice claim, certain elements must exist in one's case. First, there has to be proof that the injury was the result of a medical provider acting below the standard of care. Second, the victim or his or her family must have experienced losses -- physical, financial or emotional -- as a result of provider negligence.

Those who believe these elements exist in their case may file lawsuits against any provider or facility thought responsible for their losses. According to state law, a health care provider is defined as anyone licensed by the state to perform any type of medical service. So, following a birth injury, on top of filing a claim against the hospital or birthing facility where the injury occurred, one may file claims against:

  • Physicians
  • Midwives
  • Nurses
  • Nursing assistants
  • Laboratory Personnel
  • Respiratory therapists

The list goes on, but the point is, anyone who played a part in the birth injury may be held accountable. Those wishing to file medical malpractice lawsuits must submit their claims in a certain time frame, however, or chance losing out on compensation. The statute of limitations for filing such claims in Louisiana is one year from the date the injury occurred or one year from when the damage was discovered.

Before filing a civil claim following a birth injury, one's claim must be reviewed by a medical panel. From its findings, cases are often settled or dismissed. Those cases where an acceptable resolution cannot be reached out of court may require litigation.

Pursuing compensation following a birth injury is not an easy thing to do. These cases can take a significant amount of time to bring full circle, which can be frustrating -- understandably so. Legal counsel can help one seek maximum relief in the swiftest manner possible.

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