In Maryland, lawmakers are considering creating a no-fault birth injury fund for the parents of children who are injured during labor and delivery. This would allow the parents to receive compensation from an established state fund instead of by filing claims against hospitals and physicians in court.
According to Maryland's hospital operators, medical malpractice lawsuits are taking such a financial toll that some hospitals are considering shutting down their maternity wards. The birth injury fund, according to these officials, would provide parents with a method of recourse while lowering the risk to hospitals. But establishing such a practice is controversial, with two distinct sides to the argument:
- Proponents of the birth fund claim that it would create a sustainable, lifelong source of compensation for parents.
- Opponents - particularly those who have legally represented birth injury victims or been victims themselves - say a no-fault birth fund would only serve to hurt the families who are most seriously impacted in birth injury cases.
In a system without a birth fund, parents file malpractice claims if the mother or baby is hurt before or during birth as a result of a physician or other caregiver's negligent action or inaction. The claim may result in a settlement or go to court. In a trial, a jury determines how much compensation the family deserves based on the unique details of their case. The proposed fund would strip parents' rights to go to court over birth injuries - instead, the maximum amount of damages awarded to birth injury victims and their families would be determined by a schedule rather than a jury. By eliminating this individual determination, the families of severely injured children and mothers would be more likely to suffer a serious undue financial burden.
It's only fair that negligent doctors and other healthcare practitioners are held fully responsible for the injuries they cause due to negligent errors. Furthermore, a family's right to legal recourse is an important civil privilege. To learn more the compensation to which you may be entitled after suffering a birth injury,contact a Chicago malpractice attorney at Jeffrey M. Goldberg Law Offices.