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How much can I settle my birth injury lawsuit for?

Parents of children with severe birth injuries will want their children to have as normal a life a possible. However, when the birth injuries are permanent and disabling, children will likely require special services and special medical care -- all of which can be costly.

The next concern of parents will therefore be: "How are we ever going to pay for this?" This is where a successfully navigated birth injury lawsuit might come into play.

Be wary of the initial settlement offer provided by a hospital

Depending on the strengths and weaknesses of a particular birth injury lawsuit, the insurers of the liable party or parties may offer a settlement amount to the parents. Parents might receive this settlement offer very early in the litigation process.

This amount could appear significant to some parents, especially those who are in desperate need of funding to pay for their children's care. However, it's vital for parents to consider every detail about their child's current and future needs -- and the projected costs of tending to those needs.

Hospitals and insurance companies will usually seek to minimize their costs as much as possible when making a settlement offer. As such, parents need to know what their child's case is actually worth. Failing to know the true settlement value of a case could leave parents financially strapped if they run out of funding for their child's care after the settlement, and after the true costs become apparent.

Use an expert witness to project the cost of your child's care

Expert witnesses, who are familiar with birth injury cases -- as well as the current and future costs of medical care and services for different medical conditions -- could play an essential role in estimating a fair settlement amount for your child's case.

What about damage caps?

In Pennsylvania, no damage caps will apply to your child's birth injury matter, so parents should be able to seek the true amount of the financial damages caused -- relating to now and in the future -- as a result of their child's injuries. If the parents are seeking punitive damages, on the other hand, a cap of 200 percent of the actual damages will apply to any punitive damages award.

The more parents learn about birth injury lawsuits and the potential costs related to future medical and other expenses caused by a birth injury, the better chances the parents will have of reaching a fair settlement. Parents will also want to incorporate into these calculations the expenses required by a child with disabilities to live an independent and happy adult life.

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