A settlement is a negotiated amount of money that is agreed upon between the plaintiff and defendant outside of court.
Within a cerebral palsy lawsuit, the plaintiff is usually the parents or caregivers. The defendant is usually the physician or medical center that is being sued for medical negligence.
Birth injury cases are filed to prove negligent medical professionals were responsible for a child's brain damage.
Examples of birth injury cases include:
- An emergency cesarean section (c-section) was not performed in a timely manner
- A medical provider improperly used forceps or vacuum extractor
- A newborn suffered from a lack of oxygen or asphyxia causing brain injury
- An obstetrician failed to detect fetal distress or fetal heart rate
There are various reasons that a cerebral palsy lawsuit can end in a settlement. It is important to note that parents are not obligated to accept a proposed settlement amount at any time.
If your case against your healthcare provider is strong, they may offer you a settlement. A settlement is a proposed amount of financial compensation that the defendant offers. Your lawyer will be able to negotiate this figure on your behalf. If both parties are unable to agree on a settlement amount, your case will proceed to trial.
Many parents decide to settle since it tends to be a fast and less stressful way of obtaining financial compensation. Parents prefer settlements because there is a guarantee about the exact amount of money being awarded. If your case goes to trial, the amount of damages will be up for deliberation by a jury.
If parents are debating whether to settle their case, the best person to consult with is your cerebral palsy lawyer. They will have the most complex understanding of the details of your lawsuit, as well as past experience with other CP lawsuits. Your lawyer will be able to advise whether your family would benefit most from accepting a settlement, or if you should take your case to trial.
Benefits of settling
Many cerebral palsy lawsuits end in a settlement. Settlements provide families with an appropriate amount of compensation to cover their child’s treatment costs.
Legal compensation can relieve any financial strain caused by CP treatment costs.
Arriving at a settlement is also beneficial because it can significantly reduce the length of a lawsuit. The average timeframe of a CP lawsuit depends entirely on the details of your case and the state in which you are filing. However, these cases typically take up to several years to be resolved.
Settling allows parents to spend less time on legal proceedings and spend more time caring for their child. This would alleviate the stress of a trial and let parents focus on finding CP treatment.
Both parties would avoid the risk that comes with arguing their case in court if they settle. Defendants will typically offer to settle if there is a substantial amount of evidence against them. However, just because this may be the most logical option for the defendant does not mean that parents should accept an amount they feel is unfair.
Settling a CP medical malpractice lawsuit can alleviate any emotional burdens. The process of going to trial and fighting for their child’s case can be mentally and physically exhausting for many parents. It may be painful to relive moments or situations where medical mistakes were made that have impacted their child’s entire life.
Juries in trials can also be unpredictable. There is no way to guarantee a jury verdict will be in favor of the family affected by cerebral palsy. The jury awards may be less than what a family may have received through a settlement.
Risk factors associated with settlements
While there are many benefits to settling your case, parents should also be aware of any risks of a settlement agreement.
These risks may include:
- Being required to maintain confidentiality about the terms of your settlement
- Clearing the defendant of any further liability
- The defendant is not required to admit liability for medical errors, as the negotiation takes place off public record
It is important to work with an experienced cerebral palsy attorney to weigh the risks and benefits of negotiating your case. A lawyer can determine if a settlement is right for your family.
Negotiating a settlement
Settlement negotiations usually take place during the mediation phase during a CP lawsuit. Mediation is an opportunity for both parties to openly discuss the details of the case.
Unlike other steps in the lawsuit process, mediation is a chance to have an open conversation about the case to work towards a resolution.
Both parties will compare the risks and rewards of going to trial. If you decide that going to trial is not the best option for your case, you may decide to settle.
The defendant may agree to a settlement if they think they have a higher chance of losing the case if it goes to trial.
The details of a settlement will be handled by your cerebral palsy lawyer. Parents ultimately decide whether a settlement takes place or not. You are not required to take the settlement if you do not agree with the offered amount.
Determining case value
A large part of a cerebral palsy settlement is agreeing on an amount of legal compensation to be awarded. There is no way to determine the amount of damages you will be awarded. This can depend on your specific case's facts and evidence.
Cerebral palsy lawsuits can vary. One lawsuit might be a clear case of medical malpractice, while another may be harder to prove. These issues will factor into the amount of any settlement.
Lawyers will take many variables that can affect your case value into account. These factors include medical expenses, loss of future earnings, and more.
Your lawyer may consider the following factors when determining a reasonable amount of compensation:
- Emotional distress
- Loss of future earning potential
- Past and future cost of medical treatment
- Physical deformities
- Physical pain and suffering
- Strength and weakness of the medical evidence
Your lawyer will provide you with an estimate of your case value after evaluating all the details of your situation. They will also determine whether a settlement is the best option for your specific case.
Deciding to file a lawsuit
It is important to find an experienced lawyer at a birth injury law firm. Your attorney must have experience with medical malpractice cases to prove that your medical provider is responsible for your child's condition.
Lawyers with experience in cerebral palsy cases will be able to secure the maximum amount of compensation when negotiating a settlement. Get a free case evaluation today to learn more about pursuing legal action for your child's cerebral palsy.