Kansas Birth Injury Lawsuit

Parents of children born with birth injuries in Kansas may find that filing a malpractice lawsuit is the only way to reasonably assure that future medical expenses will be paid. Birth injuries occur when the medical care team or facility provides care that is negligent or inconsistent with the needs of the situation. These injuries may result in one-time medical complaints that are eventually healed (such as broken bones), or they may result in life-long disabilities and disorders that necessitate the need for constant medical treatment.

Cerebral Palsy and Other Birth Injuries

One of the most common birth injuries that results in a lawsuit in Kansas is cerebral palsy, which is an umbrella term for a type of brain damage, usually caused by a lack of oxygen during the birthing process. This type of brain damage can lead to many different symptoms.

A loss of muscle control, the inability to walk or talk, or the inability to feed oneself without assistance are all common of cerebral palsy. Other symptoms may include delayed mental development, blindness, deafness, and seizures. These types of birth injuries can result in a lifetime of necessary medical care.

Other injuries commonly suffered at birth include shoulder injuries, broken bones, and brain damage, all of which could lead to serious lifelong medical issues like seizures, sensory disorders, amputation, physical or mental disabilities, or other types of palsy.

Statute of Limitations

In the state of Kansas, a family has two years from the date of injury, or from the date of reasonable discovery, to file a birth injury lawsuit. There have been almost no cases that involve the successful appeal of this statute of limitations, and exceptions to the law generally are not made, even in cases where the symptoms of the injury can’t be accurately measured till after the child reaches later developmental stages.

Requirements for a Lawsuit

Malpractice lawsuits in Kansas must meet several requirements before a court will consider them. One of those includes a review panel being convened during the case, made up of three medical professionals to act as expert witnesses, as well as an additional attorney to sit on the panel. The panel is responsible for determining whether, under Kansas state law, and under the medical code of ethics, if malpractice did in fact occur. Their testimony is used as evidence during the trial.

Additionally, prosecution must provide other expert witnesses (that is, witnesses who have been working in the same profession as the defendant for at least the two years prior to the incident) to testify to the negligence of the defendant. The only exception is if irrefutable proof can be provided that shows even a layperson that negligent care occurred.

Damage Caps

Kansas has strict damage caps on all malpractice suits, including birth injury lawsuits. Non-economic damages, or those that are not directly related to the cost of medical care and legal fees, are capped at 250,000 dollars per plaintiff.

Punitive damages may be awarded up to five million dollars, or to the defendant’s highest income in the prior five years. A judge determines the punitive damage amount, which is only available in the case of a birth injury resulting in lifelong medical needs, not a wrongful death lawsuit. A punitive damage is not tied to the specific events of the lawsuit, but is rather a punishment levied against the defendant in light of severely negligent care or reprehensible behavior.

In the 1980s, Kansas damage caps were not so severe, and led to cases in which four or five-million-dollar settlements were commonplace. An attorney who specializes in birth injury lawsuits can help arrange the required witnesses and fight for the proper amount of damages in a birth injury case.

Sources:

http://www.sjblaw.com/4-72-million-settlement-on-birth-injury-case-cerebral-palsy-was-preventable/

http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/medical-malpractice/laws-kansas.html

http://www.birthinjuryguide.org/birth-injury/financial-support/statute-limitations/

 

 

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