There is a new proposed law in Maryland that will create a birth injury fund for hospitals and the families that sue for birth injuries. Under the current system, Maryland hospitals are potentially liable for birth injuries, and families of children born with birth injuries can file medical malpractice suits against the hospitals. The current system has come under fire because of a number of high-profile mega-verdict cases in Baltimore over the last couple of years. Proponents of the law are saying that hospitals and obstetricians need protection, and cite the significant decline in obstetricians as a result of the problem.
The new proposed law would take birth injury claims out of the traditional civil court system and place them in a no-fault administrative system. Hospitals would pay into a fund that generates about $25 million per year. Families and their attorneys would then participate in administrative hearings to determine damages.
Opponents of the proposed law are worried that $25 million will not always be enough to compensate the families in a given year. The number was calculated under the assumption that there would only be seven serious birth injury cases each year, but many attorneys say that the number is too low. They argue that many families will not be fairly compensated if this law is passed.
What Does This Mean for You?
If your child is injured during birth, you are currently entitled to participate in the tort lawsuit process. With the help of your lawyer, you will be able to fight for adequate compensation either through negotiation with the hospital or in front of a jury. It is still hard to predict how this law will affect birth injury settlements in the future. It is possible that awards will be less frequent and lower than in the past, which could disadvantage future families.
The new administrative process will still allow you to hire an attorney, and your attorney will still be able to help you calculate the costs and argue for fair compensation, but removing the threat of a large jury verdict may give a lot more power to the hospitals. It may be more difficult to negotiate fairly if the hospitals know they won’t have to eventually appear in trial.
Was Your Child Injured During Birth?
There are hundreds of birth injuries in Maryland every year. Though some are unavoidable, many are examples of negligence. If your child was recently injured during birth, you should contact a qualified attorney. He or she can help you determine if you have a viable case.
It is very important that you hire an attorney who has the experience to help you. Birth injury cases can be very technical and require significant medical knowledge. Our attorneys have experience with personal injury and medical malpractice. If you or your child was injured by a medical professional, you should get in contact with us as soon as possible. We will do everything we can to help you get the compensation that you deserve.