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Did Your Newborn Suffer Cerebral
Palsy or Another Brain Injury Before
or During Labor and Delivery?

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Our Birth Brain Injury Resource Guide

the guide

Get a FREE guide of resources available throughout Ohio to children and families of children who were born with brain injuries.

Our guide can help you build a foundation of knowledge and tools that will help you help your child
now and in the future.

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Neonatal Birth Injury Verdicts

When a child is born with a severe birth injury it can be devastating for the family. Parents face difficult challenges including both emotional and financial. When the injury was caused by negligence on the part of the doctor, medical team or hospital the parents could file a lawsuit. While many lawsuits end with settlements, some do not. In cases where a settlement is not achieved the case proceeds to court. A judge or jury will determine the outcome of the case with a verdict.

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Settlements and Verdicts

Elk & Elk

Although they are different, you may see the terms used interchangeably. Technically speaking, a settlement is a resolution of a lawsuit that generally refers to those made outside the courtroom. A verdict is the decision reached by a jury after a trial. Verdicts are then finalized by the judge presiding over the case. In a trial the judge or jury must first find the defendant guilty. This is done through presentation of evidence, facts and witnesses during the trial.

Settlements can be possible in cases where both parties are willing to negotiate. This can occur more often in situations where the doctor or medical facility wants to avoid negative publicity. Settlements are contractual agreements between the parties without input from a judge or jury. It is not uncommon, however, for a settlement to occur during a court case. If that happens, the court case is ended and the resolution is made with a settlement contract.

Neonatal Birth Injury Cases

Neonatal birth injury cases can be extremely complex. Several important issues must be proven in order to prevail in a medical malpractice case. First, there must have been a doctor-patient relationship. Once that is established it is necessary to prove that negligent care was provided. Doctors and other medical professionals are held to a high standard of care because of their education, training, skill and experience. It is important to know what the doctor did wrong in comparison to what he should have done based on standard practices and similar circumstances.

Information and documentation must be gathered regarding the medical treatment that was provided. Expert witness testimony may be needed to confirm and explain why the treatment rendered is considered negligent. The negligent behavior must have caused the injury and there must be proof of harm that could include both economic and non-economic damages.

Verdicts in Neonatal Birth Injury Lawsuits

In Ohio, a jury awarded $31 million to the parents of a baby who suffered cerebral palsy as a result of a birth injury due to medical malpractice. The baby was born at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton. The infant was deprived of oxygen for a period of 18 to 20 minutes during delivery. As a result he suffers from cerebral palsy and is not able to walk or speak. He requires around-the-clock care. Cerebral palsy is a permanent disability in which the patient may have seizures and has brain damage that limits muscle coordination, movements and brain function. The baby was born in 2000 and the final verdict was reached in 2009. At the time it was the largest jury award of its type in Ohio.

A 2015 ruling by the Court of Appeals Eleventh Appellate District Trumbull County, Ohio, affirmed a jury verdict that awarded $13.9 million to the parents of a baby who suffered brain damage at birth (Cobb v. Shipman T-0117). In the original case, attorneys for the parents provided evidence that the baby sustained permanent brain damage as a result of medical malpractice. The medical team failed to perform a C-section in a timely manner which resulted in brain asphyxia. The defendants appealed the decision but the court upheld the original verdict in the case.

In 2016 an Illinois jury found in favor of the parents of a child who suffered a serious neonatal birth injury. They awarded $53 million in a jury trial. The child, now 12 years old, suffered an injury at birth due to hypoxia, lack of oxygen. The lawsuit alleged that the hospital failed to properly monitor the mother and infant and did not perform a C-section in a timely manner. The negligent actions of the doctors resulted in severe brain damage and cerebral palsy. The child is not able to eliminate on his own and care is required for feeding and other normal activities. The verdict included $28.8 million for future caretaking needs and $7.2 million for future medical costs.