Medical malpractice lawsuits arising out of birth injuries can be complicated and costly to try to verdict, and the outcomes of such cases can be unpredictable, even if the evidence weighs strongly in favor of the plaintiff. Thus, in many instances, it is prudent for a plaintiff to settle with the defendant prior to trial. Settlements in birth injury cases differ from settlements in other cases; however, in that a court must review and approve the proposed settlement, to protect the interests of the injured child. In a recent case, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York discussed the factors weighed in evaluating settlements in birth injury cases. If your child was injured at birth because of incompetent medical care, it is prudent to speak with a seasoned Rochester birth injury attorney to discuss what compensation you may be able to recover.
Factual and Procedural History
It is alleged that the plaintiff was scheduled to deliver her child at the defendant hospital. Due to difficulties encountered during the delivery, however, she was transferred to a second hospital where she underwent an emergency C-section. Her daughter nonetheless experienced brain damage which was caused by a lack of oxygen during delivery. As such, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the doctors and nurses involved in her treatment. Discovery was conducted, and some defendants were dismissed via stipulation and ultimately, the plaintiff and the remaining defendants came to a settlement agreement. The court then held a conference to determine the fairness of the settlement to the plaintiff’s child.
Approval of Settlements in Birth Injury Cases
The court noted that Local Civil Rule 83.2 governed settlements on behalf of infants. Specifically, the rule requires a proposed settlement to include an affidavit from the infant’s representative that sets forth the facts out of which the lawsuit arose, the extent and nature of the damages suffered, the proposed terms of the settlement agreement, and the manner in which the settlement will be distributed, and any other information that is pertinent. Additionally, the attorney for the plaintiff must provide an affidavit explaining his or her reasons for recommending the settlement, and describing the services he or she rendered to the plaintiff.