Texas Birth Injury Lawsuit

In 2015, a Texas woman filed a malpractice lawsuit against the hospital her daughter was born in three years earlier, after receiving the diagnosis that her daughter suffered from cerebral palsy. This condition was believed to have been the effect of a birth injury she suffered while in the care of the hospital.

The mother was treated with steroids and antibiotics during her prenatal care due to ruptured membranes. When her daughter was born after 39 hours of labor, the child was bruised and showed signs of oxygen deprivation, which is one of the leading causes of cerebral palsy. Upon opening an investigation into the matter, the courts discovered that the hospital’s records stated that the girl was born healthy, and held no mention of the emergency medications or the signs of oxygen deprivation.

That lawsuit is currently ongoing in the Texas courts. It is one example of the types of lawsuits that can be brought against healthcare facilities or professionals whose negligent care caused a birth injury.

Filing Laws

In order to file a birth injury lawsuit in Texas, certain laws must be followed. The first is the statute of limitations, which governs how long a plaintiff has to bring a malpractice suit before the court. In Texas, a birth injury lawsuit can be filed up to two years after the instance, or two years after the injury was discovered. Additionally, if the injury was part of a course of treatment, the two-year statute of limitations begins on the last day of treatment.

Texas also has a statute of repose, which states that no matter when the injury was discovered, or when the treatment ended, the case must be brought before the child’s 10th birthday. Any birth injury lawsuit that is brought more than 10 years after the date of birth is not considered admissible by the court.

Additionally, the plaintiff must provide an expert medical professional who has reviewed the case, and is willing to testify that in their medical opinion, a case of malpractice did indeed occur. This person must be a practicing physician at the time of the injury, or must be otherwise board certified or have substantial training or information in the field (such as a professor who teaches medical practice).

Damage Awards

If the courts find that the defendant is guilty of malpractice in a birth injury lawsuit, there are several things that the plaintiff should know about the way damages are paid according to Texas state law.

The damage cap for non-economic damages (or, damages which relate to non-tangible items like life quality) is 250,000 dollars, and applies to any defendant, including health care facilities. Economic damages are not capped, and can be levied against the cost of previous medical care, legal fees, and the estimated costs of future medical care that will be necessary for the child’s entire life.

If more than one party is found guilty of malpractice in a Texas birth injury case, the defendants each must pay a percentage of the total damages awarded. Texas courts will assign these payments to be paid in installments if the damages are over 100,000 dollars.

In cases like those of the Texas child who suffers cerebral palsy due to the alleged actions of the attending physicians, an attorney that specializes in birth injury lawsuits is invaluable for ensuring that the lawsuit is filed on time, and with the proper expert witnesses in place. Additionally, an attorney can help itemize health care costs and get estimates for future costs so that the Texas courts can award the family damages accordingly.

Sources:

http://www.birthinjuryguide.org/2015/10/texas-mother-files-lawsuit-against-hospital-alleging-birth-injury-malpractice/

 

 

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

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