The damages to a child and the family in a cerebral palsy birth injury case are almost incalculable. It is hard to quantify the harm to a child and the family of a lifetime of physical and mental disability. It is harder still to reduce to numbers the lifetime of emotional and financial stress on the family that these cases will cause.
In a medical malpractice birth injury case, these damages must be put in dollar figures. It is not hard to see, when looking at all the harm to the child and the family and the various elements of recoverable damages, how these cases result in what some might view as rather staggering settlements and verdicts.
When viewing the actual harm and financial costs associated with cerebral palsy birth injury cases, it is clear that these cases if anything are often under-compensated leaving the costs to taxpayers through Medicaid and Medicare.
Each element of harm along with the resulting recoverable damages of cerebral palsy medical malpractice cases merits a discussion of its own. To get started, here is an abbreviated list of the possible damages taken from the New Mexico Uniform Jury Instructions. These recoverable damages should be considered in pursuing a cerebral palsy birth injury case against a doctor, hospital or other medical provider.
- Medical expenses which include past and future expenses can easily exceed $10 million over a lifetime of care in very serious cases.
- Lost wages over a lifetime can also run into the millions. This is a very difficult and contentious issue since the injured child will obviously have no earnings history and it is hard to predict a healthy child’s earnings potential over a lifetime of work.
- Non-medical expenses can be huge over a lifetime for a host of expenses such as in home care, counseling, occupational therapy, alterations to the home, special vehicles, equipment and so on.
- These cases also involved permanent and irreparable damages which fall under the New Mexico Jury Instruction 13.806 which allows for damages based upon the “nature, extend and duration” of the injuries. Additional damages may be awarded for disfigurement under this jury instruction.
- Pain and suffering damages are recoverable for these cases. The lifetime of pain and suffering to an injured child and family resulting from these types of cases defies calculation. However, it must be done and it is then left to the jury to decide.
- Loss of consortium damages are available to the parents for the loss of society and companionship between the parent and child. Again, this is a very difficult calculation since the relationship between a parent and child is priceless.
- Punitive damages may be awarded in rare cases of where the actions of the medical providers were “malicious, willful, reckless or wanton.” Most of these cases involve simple medical negligence which would not result in punitive damages. However, there will be cases where the actions or inactions of the medical providers is so outrageous that punitive damages are merited.