In a study by the Doctors Company investigating the prevalence of medical malpractice claims impacting children from 2008 through 2017, misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis were the most common forms of malpractice. However, the types of trauma endured varied by age group.
If your child is a victim of medical malpractice and you need guidance filing a claim against their provider, Regan Zambri Long PLLC can help.
A child under the age of 18 cannot file a lawsuit on their own as it is likely impossible for them to enter into contracts, hire an attorney, or legally sign court documents. However, if a child is a victim of medical malpractice, their parent or guardian can file a lawsuit on their behalf.
Because medical malpractice cases deal with negligence, despite the case being specific to a minor, the child is still entitled to the same forms of benefits an adult over age 18 would receive. However, the court knows that a child is not paying their own medical bills, which means the parents may have a right to the medical compensation awarded on the child’s behalf.
But, the child may be entitled to compensation for their pain and suffering endured, especially if the injury will have long-term implications. In those cases, the funds awarded may go into an account for the child that is not available until they reach the age of 18. Until then, the parent(s) or guardian will manage the damages awarded.
Be aware that if the parents do not file a lawsuit on the child’s behalf, the child will have the opportunity to do so as an adult once they reach the age of 18. Then, the statute of limitations on medical malpractice begins.
Common Forms of Medical Malpractice Impacting Children
The following reviews are the most common forms of medical malpractice impacting children by age group, compiled by the Doctors Company.
It is estimated that 63 percent of medical malpractice injuries occurred during labor and delivery for neonate children. This was followed by:
These birth injuries can be life-altering and even fatal with common injuries including:
For children under the age of one, the most common medical malpractice claims involved misdiagnosis or delay diagnosis errors at 44 percent of claims.
Other common medical malpractice claims include:
Many medical issues present at this age are birth-related.
When children enter at the age of one and older, many facilities seem to have diagnostic issues when treating these patients. This is because some emergency facilities are not specific to children, making the occurrence of incorrect diagnosis or treatment likely.
Delayed or misdiagnosis occurs at the highest frequency in this age group, as many children are unable to communicate their ailments or common illnesses were incorrectly diagnosed when presenting similar symptoms.
Of these conditions, the most commonly misdiagnosed in children are:
In the Pediatrics journal, 48 percent of doctors working with children cited lack of patient medical history and failure to review charts as the leading causes of diagnostic errors.
Much like all other age groups aside from neonates, the most common medical malpractice case was a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. However, in teenagers from ages 10 to 17, this included an incorrect diagnosis of injuries and illnesses such as:
If your child or a child you serve as a legal guardian to suffering injury or prolonged illness as a result of medical negligence at the hands of a healthcare provider, you have the option to file a medical malpractice claim on their behalf.
To file a medical malpractice claim for your child, you may be faced with a two-part filing meaning the first will be in regards to the actual negligence that caused your child’s injuries. This would include damages for things like medical treatment, therapy, medication, etc. This is because there are expenses that likely fall directly on you as the parent.
The second part is about what impacts the child personally and potentially in the long term. This may include compensation for non-economic losses like disfigurement, disability, or pain and suffering.
In many cases, the funds specific to the child’s suffering will be placed in an account that they can directly access after they are 18 years old.
Know that when you are filing a lawsuit on behalf of another such as a minor, you must seek legal representation right away. Likely the insurance companies and at-fault parties will try to mitigate the losses by throwing questions at the parents/guardians such as:
Further, by not seeking out the advice of a medical malpractice attorney, you may miss out on possible compensation for long-term health impacts and quality of life.
We trust doctors and other medical providers to care for patients, especially those who are too young to advocate for themselves. If your child was a victim of medical malpractice and you now are considering seeking legal action, Regan Zambri Long can guide you through the process.
The Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia medical malpractice attorneys of Regan Zambri Long will take their decades of experience to ensure that your child’s suffering will be documented and compensated for. No amount of money can stop a child’s suffering, but when a medical error results in a lifetime of treatment, you shouldn’t have to come forward with these costs alone.
Our attorneys will get a full understanding of your case by:
Please note: If your child’s case involves military medical malpractice, you must file a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The FTCA allows military dependents and other non-active duty victims to file a claim with the government for injuries resulting from the negligence of military doctors or other health care providers acting on behalf of the United States.
For a no-obligation, free consultation, contact our firm today by calling 202-960-4596 or visiting us online.