Your baby is the one who is hurt. It is your child who will need medical treatment and it is your child who will suffer the physical and emotional pain of a birth injury. However, your baby is unable to understand the court system, file the appropriate papers, or handle legal and financial negotiations. A minor—even a minor who has suffered a serious injury—does not have the right to file a lawsuit in Kentucky. Instead, your baby is counting on you.
A Parent or Guardian Can File a Birth Injury Case for an Injured Baby
Even though you did not suffer the injury yourself, you may be able to file a birth injury lawsuit in Kentucky. This type of birth injury lawsuit would be filed on behalf of your child. Any settlement money or compensation received through a court verdict will be for the benefit of your child. Settlements must typically be approved by a judge so that the court can make sure the settlement is truly in the best interest of the child who is too young to bring his own case.
Once there is a settlement or court verdict, a Kentucky court may protect your child’s recovery in one of the following ways. The court may:
- Require a blocked account. If your child’s recovery goes into a blocked account, the money will generally be held there until your child turns 18 years old. However, withdrawals that are necessary for your child’s care may be made with court approval.
- Provide parents with full access to relatively small settlements. If your child’s case settles for a few thousand dollars, the court may allow you, as the parent, to manage the settlement on your child’s behalf with the understanding that the money should only be used for your child’s benefit.
- Require a conservator. The court may require that a conservator be appointed to manage your child’s financial recovery. The conservator may allow funds to be used for healthcare, education, or other reasonable expenses and the conservator is responsible for sending an accounting of the recovery to the court annually.
What Happens If a Parent Fails to File a Birth Injury Case?
As a parent or legal guardian, you have the right to file a lawsuit for the benefit of your child. The law recognizes, however, that some parents may decide not to file birth injury lawsuits and that people who suffered birth injuries may decide to pursue birth injury lawsuits as adults.
The law allows a person who suffered a birth injury to file a lawsuit when that person turns 18 if that person’s parent or guardian did not do so earlier. While this is a legal option, there are potentially significant problems with allowing your child to wait 18 years to file a case. By the time your child turns 18, legal evidence may be very difficult to gather and the case may be significantly harder to prove. Even if your child is able to prove his claim, he will have already lived for 18 years without the benefit of a financial recovery.
Learn More About Protecting Your Baby’s Rights After a Birth Injury
You have a lot of important decisions to make. As is the case with all hard parenting decisions, you may agonize about whether you are doing what is best for your child. We understand how difficult this decision can be and how badly you want to do the right thing by your child.
Accordingly, we encourage you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. Let’s talk about what happened to your child and about the pros and cons of pursuing a birth injury lawsuit so that you can make an educated and informed decision about what to do next.
You can learn more right away by downloading a free copy of our book, Family First: How to Get the Help You Need After a Birth Injury to Your Child Happens in Kentucky, and by calling us anytime—24/7/365—to schedule your free meeting.