Requirements For Filing A Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
In order to file a medical malpractice lawsuit for a birth injury, you must prove three things:
- That a medical professional was responsible for the well-being of you and your child during labor and delivery
- This medical professional acted negligently by failing to follow the accepted standard of care for their field
- This negligence directly resulted in a preventable birth injury
Building a strong case requires gathering medical evidence, including reports and testimony from medical experts. It also requires the assistance of an attorney who has a detailed understanding of your state’s medical malpractice laws and how they apply to birth injuries.
What Are The Medical Malpractice Laws In Alaska?
In every state, there are several laws and statutory rules which govern medical malpractice lawsuits:
Deadline For Filing A Claim
In Alaska, the standard deadline for a medical malpractice case is two years after the malpractice occurred. However, this deadline is more complicated for birth injury cases, and may vary depending on when the injury occurred, when it was discovered, and numerous other factors. Legally, this deadline is known as the statute of limitations. In order to ensure that you file your lawsuit within this time frame, it’s best to speak with an experienced birth injury lawyer and begin the legal process as soon as possible.
Caps On Damages
In some states, there is a limit on the maximum financial compensation you can recover in a medical malpractice lawsuit. In Alaska, all personal injury lawsuits (including medical malpractice) are limited to $400,000 in damages or the injured person’s life expectancy in years multiplied by $8,000 – whichever amount is greater.
There is an exception for severe permanent impairment or severe disfigurement – damages for these types of injuries are capped at $1,000,000 or the person’s life expectancy in years multiplied by $25,000 – whichever amount is greater.
In order to get a better idea of how much your case may be worth, it’s usually best to discuss the details of your incident with a lawyer who specializes in Alaska birth injury medical malpractice cases.
Alaska medical malpractice cases are bound by a “pure comparative negligence rule” – meaning if you are determined to be partially responsible for your injury, your total damages awarded will be reduced based on your degree of responsibility. For example, if you’re awarded $50,000 in damages but found to be 20% at fault, your total award would be reduced to $40,000. But as long as your degree of fault is less than 50%, you’re eligible to receive compensation in a medical malpractice claim.
Financial Setbacks Of Birth Injuries
Birth injuries often result in financial struggles for the child and their family. While more minor birth injuries may require minimal medical treatment and a short recovery time, more severe conditions (such as infant brain damage caused by hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy) may require a lifetime of medical treatment, home and vehicle renovations, personal care-takers, and other expenses.
Most families are not prepared to handle the costs of a serious birth injury. According to CNN Money, nearly six in ten Americans don’t even have enough savings to handle an unexpected $500 car repair bill. With lifetime costs of severe birth injuries often exceeding $1 million, it’s not hard to see why it’s necessary for most families to seek financial compensation through medical malpractice lawsuits.
Along with providing the financial assistance you need for raising a child with a birth injury, medical malpractice lawsuits also hold medical professionals liable for their negligence. Taking legal action can act as a call for accountability, and may save other families from suffering from medical injuries caused by negligence in the future.