Birth injuries sometimes result in significant physical, financial, and emotional damage. Valuing a birth injury claim requires a complex process of calculating the current and future repercussions of medical malpractice.
In the end, damages generally fall under the categories of economic and non-economic.
Economic damages include any quantifiable expenses related directly to the injury. The most obvious kind of economic damage is medical expenses, which can include:
- Current treatments related to the injury, such as surgery or therapy
- Ongoing treatments that the child or mother may need for long-term care
- Assisting devices, such as a wheelchair or leg braces
If the child suffers an injury that affects cognitive development, the parent or guardian may seek the cost of special education services or therapies. If the home requires modifications or a specialized vehicle is necessary, these also fall under economic damages.
Non-economic damages include any losses that do not have a definite monetary value. Some examples include:
- Pain and suffering for both the mother and the child
- Loss of companionship or support
- Loss of a body part
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Emotional distress or mental anguish
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Evidence for non-economic damages may come in the form of family testimony and professional evaluation, and value is sometimes subject to a federal cap.
Plaintiffs may only receive punitive damages if they can prove that the medical professional acted maliciously or fraudulently.
The damages in a birth injury case vary depending on several factors, including the severity of the injury and the person or persons injured.