If your child suffers from cerebral palsy, and you believe that the condition was caused by medical malpractice or negligence, then you may have a case for recovering damages. Taking care of a loved one with CP can be tough and expensive. Those who sue for malpractice usually want to know how much a settlement or verdict amount is worth, but it’s hard to figure that out up front. Different factors affect a final settlement amount, and knowing what you’re up against will help you to prepare.
What are Damages?
In a medical malpractice case, which is what cerebral palsy lawsuits fall under, “damages” refer to the impact of the event. These might include the cost of medical care, pain and suffering, lost wages from being unable to work, and loss of quality of life, among other things related to the case. Different states set individual guidelines on what someone can claim in a personal injury case. You might be limited, for example, on how much you can claim for the emotional impact of your child’s CP diagnosis. Other states may have no such limits.
Verdict vs. Settlement
If your case goes to trial, a jury or judge will hear the facts and offer a verdict based on whether they believe the plaintiff or the defendant. Personal injury cases and medical malpractice claims often go the settlement route instead. This is when you — the plaintiff representing your child — and the defendant – the doctor, hospital or medical personnel responsible for your child’s injuries – agree to a figure for damages outside of the courtroom.
In settlement situations, you won’t have to go through hearings and other court proceedings, which can be a relief for families who just want to move forward with their lives. On the other hand, settlements might be lower than a jury would award. Some families choose to settle because they don’t want to go through the rigors of the courtroom. Defendants usually prefer to settle for similar reasons. The value of your cerebral palsy claim depends on a variety of factors, including:
- The fault or actions of the medical team
- The value of your medical expenses – past, present and future
- The physical and emotional impact of the case
- Specific laws and guidelines in your state
Settlement and verdict amounts vary widely for cerebral palsy cases. In 2016, an Illinois plaintiff was awarded $53 million in a jury verdict for her son’s birth injuries. In 2015, a couple in New York settled for $575,000 for their daughter’s injuries. A Florida woman sued her hospital in 2015 for failing to diagnose and treat preeclampsia, which led to her son’s CP, and settled for over $23 million.
The route you take – settlement or jury trial – will depend on your situation, which is why hiring a medical malpractice attorney gives you your best chance of pursuing your case. An experienced attorney will review the details of your case and determine how much your claim is worth.
The attorneys at Diez-Arguelles & Tejedor are very experienced in cerebral palsy cases and are passionate about helping their clients. Call them today to learn more.