In Iowa and across the U.S., the number of birth injuries is steadily declining year after year, and infant mortality rates are going down as well. At the same time, the number of birth injury lawsuits is growing, and the settlements that result are reaching previously unthinkable figures.
The CDC recorded 3,945,875 live births in the U.S. in 2016 and 23,161 infant deaths. Frequent factors in these deaths were premature delivery, low birth weight, sudden infant death syndrome and congenital issues. Birth injuries ranked fifth among the causes of death, often leading to the development of lifelong conditions. These ailments can require great expenses from families.
Settlements for most birth injury cases range from $50,000 to $100,000 to cover specific medical expenses, but recent figures have reached multimillion-dollar levels. For instance, an obstetrician was required to pay $3 million for causing a baby’s arm to become paralyzed during delivery, and an infant brain injury ended in a $41.6 million settlement for the family. A case involving infant cerebral palsy resulted in a $53 million settlement.
There are several reasons for these large payouts. Families and lawyers can more accurately calculate what a lifetime of medical care will cost, including the cost of equipment and professional support, and can sue for emotional trauma. More are also suing for punitive damages to punish the doctor.
Those who believe they have a valid case under birth injury law will want to see a lawyer, who, in turn, can hire investigators and medical experts. These third parties will gather proof against the negligent doctor and measure the extent of the baby’s injuries, including the medical care that those injuries will necessitate. An attorney could negotiate on the family’s behalf for a reasonable settlement, taking the case to court if the other side refuses to pay out.