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Maryland Legislature Reviews No-Fault Fund for Birth-Related Neurological Injuries

Malpractice by a hospital or as a result of mistakes made by medical professionals can have long-term effects on the victim who must suffer the consequences of injury. Malpractice can become more traumatic when it occurs to someone vulnerable such as an infant. An infant victim of medical malpractice could face a life of serious disability and a significantly declined quality of life. In the past, compensating for medical malpractice that occurs during labor and delivery has been highly controversial. Maryland is looking to remediate some of the trauma by removing litigation as a form of remedy, and putting in place a No-Fault Birth Injury Fund.

When Will the Fund Go into Effect?

The No-Fault Birth Injury fund, as established in Senate Bill 877, looks to institute a system by which claims that arise from birth-related neurological injuries may be adjudicated and compensated without protracted litigation. If passed, the bill would take effect on July 1, 2017, but will only be applied prospectively and not to apply to any cause of action that arises before January 1, 2019.

Who and What Type of Injuries Does the Fund Cover?

According to the bill, the fund would cover any neurological injury resulting from birth, which could mean any live baby who is born with an injury to the brain or its spinal cord, and as a result, there is oxygen deprivation or other injury that occurred during labor, delivery, and after delivery during the period of resuscitation. Additionally, the injury must render the baby physically and neurologically impaired. To be able to receive the benefits of the funds, the injury can not be caused by genetic or congenital abnormality and disability.

The Pros of the No-Fault Fund

Not only does the bill look to relieve the stress of the victim’s parents by ensuring that the neurological injury is addressed and there is funding to treat the victim throughout his or her life, but it also limits medical liability, risks, and associated costs that may weigh heavily on the Maryland hospital systems and obstetric services. This is to preserve the obstetric practices and alleviate the court system from having to adjudicate claims relating to birth-related neurological injury.

Additionally, not only are birth-related neurological injuries the most costly and traumatic types of medical injuries, but sometimes these birth-related neurological injuries are unavoidable even with the best medical care provided and without malpractice.

Accordingly, with the passage of the bill, any baby born with a neurological injury would be able to receive compensation that is fair and equitable for any claims brought against a hospital or obstetric services staff.

The Cons of the No-Fault Fund

There are many opponents to this bill, however, and it has been submitted to the Maryland legislature on multiple occasions. Though the no-fault fund would provide grieving families better alternatives to support their child than through costly negligence and malpractice lawsuits, there is a fear about relieving medical staff and hospitals of medical liability resulting from malpractice and/or negligence. If a hospital repeatedly receives a way out of a malpractice suit through a payout from the fund, then there is no real liability assessed against the hospital and its staff. Additionally it limits the victim’s constitutional right to a trial by jury, which may pay out more money as a result of the claims.

Charles County, MD Personal Injury Lawyers that Fight for You

If your child was injured as a result of negligence or malpractice during labor, delivery, and post-delivery, it is important to consult with an experienced Maryland personal injury lawyer to discuss your claims on behalf of your injured child. Please call the Law Office of Robert R. Castro at (301) 804-2312 for a confidential consultation.