If a child suffers harm or other negative outcome from a medical procedure, the child’s parents or guardians will obviously consider pursuing a medical malpractice claim against the provider who performed the procedure. Parents or guardians thinking about filing a medical malpractice claim on behalf of their child who has come out worse following a medical procedure should make the following considerations and take the following steps before deciding to proceed with a legal claim.
Read more: Resources For Parents Of Children Who Suffered Birth Injuries
Injuries and Damages Suffered by Children from Medical Malpractice
When a child is the victim of medical malpractice, he or she may be entitled to compensation for the damages caused by the injuries and harm arising due to malpractice. For a child, these damages usually include pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment or quality of life due to injuries or debilitating medical conditions. If a child is old enough to have a part-time job, he or she may be entitled to lost wages due to missed work because of malpractice. The child’s family will also be entitled to recover compensation for additional medical treatment needed for the child to recover from the injuries and harm inflicted by malpractice.
Read more: Compensability Of Birth Injuries
Because children cannot file legal claims on their own, the statute of limitations may allow a child to wait until he or she turns 18 to bring his or her claim, or more frequently the child’s parents or guardians will bring a legal claim on behalf of the child. However, because the claim technically still belongs to the child, court approval of any out-of court settlement or resolution of the malpractice claim may be required or advisable in order to avoid questions down the road of whether the child still has his or her legal rights to bring a malpractice action.
Potential Legal Defenses to Medical Malpractice Claims Involving Children
In some medical malpractice cases involving children, providers may try to assert as a defense that the child himself or herself was responsible for the adverse outcome to his or her treatment — for example, not following pre- or post-procedure instructions, or getting out and being active when the child should have been resting or recuperating. Younger children can feel better (even if they aren’t better) more quickly after a procedure or treatment, and children may not appreciate the need for taking care of oneself after medical treatment. Care instructions may have been provided to a child’s parents rather than to the child himself or herself, which can also place part of the fault upon the parents.
Establishing Liability for Medical Malpractice
Of course, not every adverse outcome to a medical treatment or procedure is the result of a health care provider’s malpractice. Malpractice only occurs when a provider’s actions fall below the applicable standard of care (or the actions that another reasonably prudent provider of similar training and experience would have undertaken under identical circumstances) and the patient is thereby harmed and incurs financially compensable damages. Typically, establishing that malpractice has occurred requires relying on the testimony of an expert in the same field as your child’s provider, who can opine on the applicable standard of care and how the child’s provider’s actions failed to comply with that standard.
Read more: What A Birth Injury Attorney Can Do For You
Contact A Medical Malpractice Attorney for a Consultation About Your Child Injury Case in Pennsylvania
Were you or a loved one injured due to medical malpractice in Pennsylvania? Then you need to talk to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible for guidance on how to proceed. The Pittsburgh child injury attorneys at Berger & Lagnese, LLC are prepared to assist you with your legal claim. We represent victims of negligent surgeons, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists throughout New Jersey, including Butler, Cranberry Township, Erie, Greensburg. Call us today at (412) 471-4300 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation. Our main office is located at 310 Grant St., #720, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.