A Missouri appellate court ruled that insurers must pay double policy limits in a medical malpractice suit after injuries to both mother and baby. The court came to this decision after weighing that a physician’s negligence usually includes acts and omissions before and during deliveries. Therefore, there are two liability limits instead of just one.
The Orignal Medical Malpractice Suit
During the delivery of her child, mother and child sustained severe mental and physical disabilities after preterm labor complications. The mother’s labor started in the third trimester with contractions and abdominal pain. Her physician admitted her into the hospital to treat and monitor the baby. After four days, the doctor discharged her. However, the mom still experienced pre-labor symptoms. Two days later, the mother returned to the hospital since she was still experiencing issues. The doctor didn’t give her any instructions, so the mother went home. However, three days later the symptoms took a drastic turn. The mother’s blood pressure wasn’t detectable and the child wasn’t moving. The physician performed an emergency C-section in his office. After birth, the child had depressed respiratory and heart function. Since this happened in a medical office, there wasn’t any equipment to resuscitate the child. The office transferred both mother and child to the local hospital. Both suffered injuries so severe that they need longterm care for the rest of their lives.
Arguing Double Policy Limits
To resolve the negligence, the patients, physician, and insurer entered into a settlement agreement. The injured agreed to drop civil charges as long as the policy would pay the injured the max. However, the insurance and lower court said the mother and baby fell under one medical occurrence. The limit to the policy is $1 million.
The Missouri Court of Appeals, however, unanimously reversed the lower court’s decision. They felt the policy doesn’t have a per person limit in regards to birth injuries. The Court of Appeals felt that policy language supports mother and baby being two different medical occurrences since each has his or her own medical issues. In this case, the doctor was negligent in treating the patient during the pregnancy along with the treatment of the child immediately following delivery. Delivering the child without proper equipment to resuscitate showed great negligence. As a result, the Missouri appeals court entered judgment requiring that the insurer pay double the policy limits of $1 million-per-occurrence.
Free Legal Help
Wrongful death actions based on the death of a newborn child or fetus are complicated matters. State laws vary in the requirements necessary to bring such lawsuits. States also have statutes of limitations governing when your time to bring a wrongful death lawsuit runs out. If you believe you a claim, consider getting a free legal evaluation by an injury attorney first.
A wrongful death claim gives you back control. Plus, families feel that justice has been served from the mistakes that led to the wrongful death. Plus, you could win damages to ease the financial and emotional toll of this unfortunate death. Medical tests, funeral costs, and burial expenses can add up quickly.
Birth injuries are often lifelong complications that require consistent medical treatment and rehabilitation. Depending upon the severity of the injuries, the financial costs associated with birth injuries can range from several thousand to over a million during the lifespan of a child with birth injuries.
For instance, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the lifetime costs associated with a child who has cerebral palsy (CP) is around $1 million. The costs associated with a child who suffers hearing loss after a birth injury typically ranges around $400,00.
It is important to remember that if your child’s birth injuries are a result of medical negligence and carelessness, the medical staff, hospital, and/or physician may be liable for damages. A complex litigation attorney can help. At The Michael Brady Lynch Firm, our lawyers have decades of experience helping injured people get justice and full compensation for injuries caused negligence. The Michel Brady Lynch Firm regularly takes on the largest corporations in the world with a track record of proven success and results. Contact The Michael Brady Lynch Firm today, and our attorneys will review your case for free and help you protect your rights. For your complimentary consultation, call our office now.