As a parent, your child's well-being is your top priority. If you believe your child has been the victim of medical malpractice, taking legal action is often the best way to obtain the compensation you need to ensure your son or daughter's future needs will be met.
Examples of Pediatric Malpractice
Pediatric malpractice cases can be divided into several different categories. For example:
- Birth injuries. This type of malpractice claim alleges that the child was left permanently disabled by an error during the birth process. Brain injuries caused by forceps or cerebral palsy caused by a lack of oxygen due to umbilical cord compression or prolapse are examples of birth injuries that could warrant a malpractice suit.
- Medication errors. Since children are so much smaller than adults and their bodies are still developing, medication must be given carefully. If a child receives the wrong medication or a dose that's too high for his body weight, severe consequences can result. Drug interactions are another form of medication error that could potentially be classified as malpractice.
- Failure to diagnose. Children have a limited ability to describe their symptoms, which means they're vulnerable to diagnostic errors by untrained or overworked physicians. For example, the symptoms of appendicitis are very similar to urinary tract infections in young girls. Meningitis is also commonly misdiagnosed in children.
- Surgical errors. Surgical errors can turn a minor operation such a tonsillectomy into something much more serious. Children may experience infections or require additional operations to repair a surgeon's mistake.
Pediatric malpractice claims can involve anyone who provides care to your child in a professional capacity. This includes doctors, surgeons, nurses, nurse practitioners, nursing assistants, physical therapists, and occupational therapists. In some cases, it may also be appropriate to name the hospital or healthcare facility in your claim.
Malpractice compensation is based on a number of factors. Your claim can include:
- Previous medical care your child has required
- Cost of your child's future medical needs
- Loss of future earning potential, if your child has been left permanently disabled
- Loss of your income, if you've needed to quit your job to become a full-time caretaker to your child
- Cost of any accessibility modifications necessary to your home
- Cost of hiring a home health aid
- Your child's pain and suffering
- Loss of your ability to enjoy your child's companionship
To successfully win a pediatric malpractice case, you must establish duty, breach of duty, harm, and cause:
- Duty. The defendant has a doctor-patient relationship with your child.
- Breach of duty. The defendant was negligent in providing proper medical care to your child and failed to meet the standard of care for your child's condition.
- Harm. Your child suffered physical and/or emotional injuries.
- Cause. The defendant's conduct was the cause of your child's injuries.
A pediatric malpractice case will involve a thorough review of your child's medical records, as well as testimony from experts on your child's condition. Expert testimony helps establish the correct standard of care, as well as your child's future prognosis.
Statute of Limitations
Malpractice lawsuits have a strict statute of limitations. You must file your claim within one year of the injury or within one year of the date the injury was discovered and no more than three years after the date of the actions that caused the jury. Although some states allow a longer statute of limitations when a medical malpractice case involves a minor child, Louisiana has no special rules for pediatric cases. Acting quickly is essential.
Advocating for Your Child's Needs
If you believe your child has been harmed by a healthcare provider's negligence, seeking the assistance of an experienced attorney will help your ensure your child's rights are protected. Together, you can advocate for the compensation your child needs to reach his full potential. Contact the dedicated legal team at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault for a free, no-obligation case review to help you explore your legal options.