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Birth injury fund payment might operate like a settlement offer

It seems only fair to hold someone accountable for a birth injury caused by medical negligence. Yet according to a recent article, some victims of malpractice don’t bring a lawsuit against the allegedly responsible doctor or health professional.

An attorney that focuses on medical malpractice law knows that the legal claims underlying such suits can be complicated. Simply obtaining all of the relevant medical records can be a challenge, and their interpretation may require a medical expert who is versed in medical terminology and theories.  

One medical director has suggested a novel approach: a birth injury fund. Doctors and hospitals would contribute to the pool of money, and parents whose newborns suffered a birth injury could receive an award from the fund. However, that payment would come in exchange for giving up the right to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit.

An attorney might provide helpful insight into the decision of whether to accept a payment from such a birth injury fund. As in the case of accepting a settlement offer, a thorough analysis should take into account the litigation hazards of a medical malpractice suit, as well as calculations of damages. An attorney may have the tools or connections to prepare an accurate estimate of damages and long-term medical expenses.

Yet some commentators may question whether the fund would hold doctors, nurses and other medical professionals responsible for their negligence. Medical malpractice suits often attract media coverage, which can have several benefits: It may remove unsafe medical professionals from practice, increase public awareness of potential safety issues and potentially mobilize lawmakers into action. 

Source: Baltimore Business Journal, “A birth injury fund would offer care equality for child malpractice victims, Mercy Medical Center official says,” Sarah Gantz, April 11, 2014

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