When is a trial necessary for a birth injury claim?

by John McKiggan

The vast majority of birth injury claims that BILA lawyers take on will be settled out of court, without the need for a trial. Why is this?

First, BILA lawyers carefully investigate all potential cases to ensure that only meritorious claims are advanced. Second, BILA lawyers retain top quality experts to build their case. Solid expert support is an essential foundation of any successful malpractice claim. Third, BILA lawyers are highly experienced litigators who have dedicated their professional careers to acting on behalf of victims of medical malpractice, with particular emphasis on birth injury claims.

In short: when faced with a solid case that is persuasive, well prepared, and proven to be legitimate, most defendants will choose to negotiate a settlement, rather than take their chances in court.

That said, sometimes a trial is necessary. Let’s look at the two main reasons for that:

1. The defendant refuses to settle

While it is exceptionally rare for the plaintiff to refuse to settle, defendants sometimes take a firm stance on the case and will not agree to settle the claim for any amount. This is usually because they believe they have a strong and defensible case on the merits (standard of care, causation, or both).

Other times, defendants refuse to settle because they believe it will reflect badly on their reputation, or they truly believe that they have done nothing wrong, and seek to be vindicated at trial.

2. The parties can’t agree on the amount of settlement

When the parties can’t agree on how much the defendant should pay the plaintiff, if might be necessary to go to trial, though this generally only occurs where there is a vast difference between what the plaintiff seeks and what the defendant is willing to pay.

Regardless of the situation, it is rare that medical malpractice plaintiffs want to go to trial — the idea of going to trial is actually terrifying to most. It is true that trials involve risk, and birth injury trials are especially complex and challenging. That’s why it is so critically important to work with an experienced lawyer who has a proven record of successful trial verdicts in birth injury cases.

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