Birth injuries, though not terribly numerous, were among the most costly medical malpractice cases in Virginia. In response to soaring medical malpractice insurance rates in the 1980's local physicians, associations, insurers, lawyers and other concerned parties joined together to find a solution to the problem. Together they worked to create the Virginia Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Program.
Qualifying Birth Injuries
Birth injuries, defined by Virginia law and used under the program, are those that affect the, "brain or spinal cord of an infant caused by deprivation of oxygen or mechanical injury occurring in the course of labor, delivery or resuscitation necessitated by a depravation of oxygen or mechanical injury that occurred in the course of labor or delivery." In addition, qualifying injuries leave the child permanently motorically disabled and developmentally disabled or cognitively disabled because of the above birth trauma.
How to Make a Claim
To make a claim with the program it is recommended that you obtain the services of an attorney. In many cases any fees related to this lawyer will be paid for. The first step to making a claim is to file a petition. The petition will be reviewed by a panel of physicians, reviewed by administrators within the Birth-Injury Program and then heard by a WCC judge within 120 days of filing the petition. After these steps take place the Workers' Compensation Commission will issue a decision. At this point, if denied, the family may file an appeal to the Commission and then, if needed, to the Virginia Court of Appeals and the Virginia Supreme Court.
Benefits of the Program
If the child is eligible for the program and is awarded a claim he or she will receive the following care:
- Residential and custodial care
- Compensation for lost earnings, ages 18-65
- Special equipment or facilities
- Reasonable claim filing costs (including attorney's fees)
- Medically necessary travel
The medical malpractice attorneys at Tavss Fletcher hope that the information provided here will help you better understand the role that the Virginia Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Program plays in compensation for infants injured during birth. If you have any questions or are looking for a lawyer to help you with the claims process please contact an attorney for your free consultation.