Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

U.S. Supreme court resolves birth injury lawsuit

We wrote a few months ago about the taking up of a birth injury case by the United States Supreme Court. The case revolved around whether a state could place a lien upon a portion of a child's medical malpractice settlement concerning her birth injuries.

In this particular case, the medical malpractice matter had been settled out for $2.8 million. The state then attempted to place a lien upon one-third of that settlement. The state felt that such a lien was justified because of Medicaid payments totaling about $1.9 million that had been made in support of the girl.

Federal law prohibits states from attaching these sorts of liens except when the state is attempting to recover money for medical care. No attachment can be made for awards concerning pain and suffering, and in this particular matter no designation was made as to how much of the $2.8 million was for medical care as opposed to pain and suffering.

The girl in question had been diagnosed with cerebral palsy shortly after birth, and it was claimed that this condition came about due to injuries sustained when a Cesarean section was performed. The girl is now described as being blind, deaf and mentally retarded. She will also likely require other services for the remainder of her life. What she has suffered due to her claimed birth injuries is unimaginable.

Anyone injured due to medical malpractice would be well served speaking to an attorney experienced in this specific area. Though what hospitals or medical providers offer may seem like an adequate sum, that amount can be depleted due to future care, additional services, and the actions of others that may wish to obtain a portion of that settlement.

Source: Charlotte Observer, "Supreme Court trims N.C. share of disabled child's malpractice settlement," by Michael Doyle, March 20, 2013

  • Learn all about the complexity of birth injury lawsuits at our Pennsylvania lawyers' website.

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