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Will establishing birth injury fund benefit Maryland victims?

New legislation in Maryland has been stirring up controversy and much debate among lawmakers and the legal community. The bill seeks to create assured medical funds for infants born with injuries due to birth. If passed, the bill will entitle victims or loved ones on their behalf to use the funds for medical care. However, if a person agrees to utilize this fund, the right to file a medical malpractice lawsuit is forfeited.

The bill, sponsored by the Maryland State Senator, seeks to establish a fund for parents to regain wages lost providing care for their injured babies and to pay for that infant's medical expenses. The state's largest hospitals support the legislation because it is perceived as a means to decrease medical malpractice insurance expenses paid by medical facilities and health practitioners. This legislation came after previous court decisions awarded birth injury victims damages amounting to between $28 million and $55 million.

Trial lawyers oppose the legislation because it limits the damage amounts victims can receive. A birth injury-which can occur before, during or after a baby's delivery-is a life-changing situation. Expenses are also a lifetime commitment. Money received from the fund may not be enough to address the medical issues of that child for life. Lawsuits typically take these issues into consideration. Law professionals are also concerned that the bill will not hold a doctor responsible for his or her medical error.

New York, Florida and Virginia have similar birth injury funds. However, Virginia recently experienced funding issues. If the same occurs in Maryland, help for victims could be compromised.

As the bill remains in limbo, Laurel, Maryland, birth injury victims can opt for the most successful way to hold negligent medical practitioners and hospitals liable-a lawsuit. A legal professional can help determine the appropriate amount to meet a victim's lifelong needs especially if the injuries suffered are permanent.

Source: Wbaltv.com, "Legislators push Maryland birth injury fund," David Collins, Feb. 28, 2014

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