What is the Difference Between a Birth Injury Lawyer and a Child Injury Lawyer?

By | September 22, 2013

Modern parents are more protective of their children than any other generation in history, and they have good reason to be. Children are injured, even killed, every day due to the carelessness or intentional actions of others, usually adults who are supposed to know and do better. Children are most commonly injured during birth, due to improper equipment and product safety or due to abuse from adults or caretakers. There are attorneys who specialize in handling children’s cases. Such an attorney is commonly called a birth injury lawyer or a child injury lawyer.

Key Differences

A birth injury attorney is a more specialized form of attorney that handles only cases related to birth defects or injuries during childbirth. As a result, these attorneys are most adept at handling cases against hospitals or doctors. A child injury attorney has a much broader scope. They usually handle product related cases or abuse cases. Some child injury attorneys also handle birth defects and childbirth lawsuits, creating overlap between the two fields of law. Since the majority of child injury cases are birth injury cases, a specialized attorney is usually a better bet. Such cases are usually very complicated.

What Constitutes a Birth Injury Case? What is Important to Keep in Mind?

A birth injury case is any sort of injury or disabling condition that can be linked to improper procedures during childbirth. Sometimes these injuries are obvious soon after birth, and a case can be made quickly. In other times, the disabling condition may not materialize or be properly diagnosed for months or years after birth. While a case can still be made, every day that passes from the date of birth makes the case that much harder to prove and argue. Such a lawsuit is usually brought against the overseeing physician that handled the birth, but depending on circumstance it can be brought also against any of the hospital staff or the hospital itself.

When considering a birth injury case it is important to know some basics that will be needed to make the case successful. The most important fact is that negligence on the part of the physician, staff or hospital must be proven. Basically, someone must have made a mistake or not done what procedure would normally dictate they do. There can be many natural problems that arise during birth or after birth that can result in disabling conditions. Giving birth to a disabled or injured child does not automatically mean a lawsuit is warranted or possible. Before parents look for someone to blame, they should seriously consider if the condition is truly the fault of hospital staff or if it is simply a terrible circumstance that could not be avoided. That can be a tricky question, and most parents would be wise to seek legal guidance in an attempt to answer that. A birth injury lawyer will be able to give a parent an educated appraisal as to whether there is actually evidence for a case or not.

It is important to keep all records, especially medical or therapy related records, for a birth injury case. Damages awarded in such a case must be quantifiable. The amount is awarded based on added costs of the injury or defect. The more money a parent can prove they spent due to the incident, the greater their damages are liable to be and the stronger the case will be. Some physicians will settle out of court and pay damages using their malpractice insurance. Others may take the family to court. If a case does go to court, solid preparation will be the key to winning the case.

What Constitutes a Child Injury Case? What is Important to Keep in Mind?

Child injury cases are much broader in scope than birth injury cases. A child injury case can be any case involving a minor who is under the age of 18, although most cases involve children under 13. While such a case could involve many injuries to a child, the most common are due to improper or defective equipment or to abuse by a an adult.

In a child injury case involving product liability, the child’s injury must be directly related to defect of a product or other negligence. It is important to remember that defect is not the same as product misuse. If a child is injured while playing on a play-structure, for example, that injury must have been caused due to some failure in the structure or improper design. Children often injure themselves on accident while playing, and this does not always constitute evidence for a lawsuit. If a qualified child injury lawyer does see possibilities for a case, then the lawsuit is usually brought against the product’s manufacturer, although cases can also be brought against the owners or installers of the structure, depending on the particulars of the case. It may be possible that the structure’s location was unsafe or that the structure was not built to manufacturer’s safety specifications, in which case those other parties would be more liable.

Abuse cases are one of the most difficult and emotionally charged child injury cases. Child sexual abuse is the current hot topic, but abuse can mean a much wider variety of actions. Many child abuse cases are physical or emotional. Physical abuse is usually the easiest to identify and track, but emotional abuse can be very subtle and manifest in ways that do not obviously relate to abuse. Victims of abuse often display moodiness, anger, mistrust or neediness that may not be a signal of abuse to most parents. Knowing the signs of abuse is the first step in the process. If abuse is suspected, a qualified attorney is always necessary to sort the facts of a case. Never attempt to confront or charge an abuser without legal support, as this can backfire and may result in further harm to the child or a lack of justice in the end.

As with birth injury cases, child injury cases reward damages based on quantifiable evidence. This can include medical related expenses or therapy expenses. Consultation with a qualified attorney is important in all cases to get the maximum possible damages awarded and justice for a child.





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