Questions to Ask Your Birth Injury Attorney at the First Meeting
Birth injury cases are civil lawsuits that provide victims and families with the opportunity to secure justice and financial compensation for the preventable harm they have suffered. Because birth injury claims involve concepts of medical malpractice – such as what constitutes substandard care and whether injuries could and should have been prevented – they can make for difficult cases and cause considerable confusion among families. This is why it becomes critically important for victims to voice their questions and concerns personally with their attorney.
At Hampton & King, our Houston birth injury lawyers prioritize close-working relationships with our clients, and encourage them to ask any and all questions they have regarding their rights, the legal process, and the work we do in their fight for justice. Backed by decades of combined experience and millions of dollars in recoveries over the past 35 years, our team has the ability to ensure our clients know their rights and what to expect in their legal journeys.
- Who can be held liable? – When pursuing a birth injury lawsuit, victims allege that a health care provider’s failure to deliver acceptable care more likely than not resulted in their child’s injuries, as well as a mother’s injuries and other applicable damages, depending on the case. Because every case is different, the health care provider – or multiple providers – named as a defendant in your case will depend on the unique facts involved and whether their negligence can be demonstrated. Commonly, claims are filed against attending physicians who were negligent during pregnancy, delivery, or birth. They may also be filed against other parties that provided substandard care, such as a nurse or even an entire hospital or health care facility (which can be the case when their employees are negligent). If a birth injury occurred at a federally funded health care facility, such as a VA or military hospital, lawsuits may be filed directly against the government.
- What was the underlying cause of injury? – Birth injury cases must provide evidence as to how the underlying cause of an injury amounted to negligence, as well as how it could and should have been avoided. If you are not yet sure about the cause your child’s birth injuries, it is important to ask your attorney what they believe may be to blame. Since there are numerous potential causes of birth injuries, ranging from trauma during delivery to C-section mistakes and errors in monitoring fetal heart rate, determining an underlying cause, and how it constitutes negligence, may require further investigation and collaboration with medical experts. Feel free to pursue this line of inquiry so you understand what your attorney knows or suspects may be the cause, and how they intend to gather supporting evidence to prove it as such.
- What damages can be recovered? – Because birth injuries can have a tremendous impact on a family’s financial wellbeing, many victims ask their lawyers how much their case is worth. Unfortunately, this is a difficult question to answer, as case value also depends on the facts involved and how injuries impact children and families who must care and provide for them, most of which is not yet known in the early stages of a case. Rather than asking for an estimate, ask your attorney what damages you would likely be able to recover in your case. These include economic damages involving past medical expenses and future medical needs associated with caring for your child, and non-economic damages such and pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of quality or enjoyment of life. An experienced attorney can explain how damages are awarded, what you would likely be able to pursue, and how those damages can be maximized to provide the compensation you need.
- How will the case be resolved? – Beginning a legal journey can be a stressful and unfamiliar experience, which is why many victims want to know when a case will conclude. As with any injury claim, the duration of a case will always depend on the unique facts at hand. This is because birth injury lawsuits can be a process that requires investigation, medical evaluation, and treatment and assessment of your child’s injuries. While these factors can lengthen cases, they may also prove critical in how a case is resolved – including whether a fair recovery can be negotiated as part of an out-of-court settlement, or whether a case will proceed to trial. A knowledgeable lawyer can explain how these cases are typically resolved, as well as your options, their strategies, and what can likely be expected as your case progresses.
- What can you, as a victim, do to help? – While victims and families must deal with profound repercussions following preventable birth injuries, it is still important to understand they can take an active role in helping their attorney and their case. As such, feel free to ask what may be needed of you and how you can help your lawyer. An experienced professional who handles birth injury claims can take on the legal work in your case, but they may periodically request documents, medical records, and statements from you.
- What will you do to ensure the strongest possible case? – Aside from asking questions about the process, your rights, and what to expect, you should be candid in voicing questions as to how your attorney will work for you. At Hampton & King, we make it a point to keep our clients apprised of the work we do for them, and to help them understand how every action we take is intended to strengthen their case. These may include initial and independent investigations (both into the underlying cause and records of health care providers involved), collaboration with medical experts, including our on-staff M.D. and Ph.D. nurse, who can provide evidence or testimony regarding medical mistakes (i.e. how they caused preventable injury and why they should have been prevented), and assessments of injuries and damages to calculate victims’ losses and project future needs. Birth injury lawsuits center on negligence, and we want our clients to know just what we intend to do to prove the role negligence played in their cases.
Questions are a critical component of understanding your rights in the civil justice system, and you should always feel you can speak freely with your lawyer about any concerns you have. In addition to answering our clients’ questions and helping them understand how the process works, our firm leverages experience and insight to build the most effective case possible, and fight aggressively for the compensation they deserve.
If you wish to discuss a potential birth injury case and would like to ask our award-winning attorneys questions, do not hesitate to call (713) 489-0993 for a FREE consultation.