Update on the Proposed No-Fault Birth-Injury Fund Proposed by Maryland Lawmakers

In an earlier post, we discussed a pending bill in front of the Maryland State Legislature that would establish a no-fault birth-injury fund to help cover the costs associated with having a child with a birth injury. In a recent article by Southern Maryland News Net, the bill is discussed in greater detail.

According to the article, Senate Bill 585 and House Bill 553 would establish a fund to help provide those families who give birth to a child with a neurological injury with the necessary means to care for and treat their child. Specifically, the fund provides money for the “living and care expenses” of the baby. The fund would be created by local participating hospitals that, according to actuarial estimates, would total around $25 million a year.

Pros and Cons of the No-Fault Birth-Injury Fund

The bill has been met by some harsh criticism, some of which is directed at the amount of money that the hospital would deposit into the fund. According to the bill’s sponsors, only about seven babies would qualify to tap into the fund each year. However, according to the Maryland Association for Justice, the number of eligible babies should be closer to 150 per year. If that is the case then the fund will be woefully inadequate to address the needs of all the children born with qualifying birth injuries.

It seems clear that one of the main reasons the medical profession is pushing for the passage of the bill is because it would act to limit their exposure for claims of medical negligence. Proponents of the bill point to “mega verdicts” ranging in the tens of millions of dollars, claiming that these are excessive and are unfair to doctors and hospitals. However, those against the bill argue that these concerns are already accounted for due to Maryland’s cap on non-economic damages.

The bill would certainly act to curb lawsuits against hospitals. However, that may not be a good thing. Doctors and hospitals should always operate at or above the accepted standard of care for the medical profession. That unfortunately doesn’t always happen though. Doctors and hospital administrators are human and can succumb to fatigue, laziness, and errors in judgment. However, under the current system, medical professionals are incentivized to perform at their top level at all times, because if they don’t they could be liable for a substantial amount of money. Remove this reverse incentive and it remains to be seen how the quality of medical care will be affected.

Have You Given Birth to a Child Injured in a Case of Medical Malpractice?

If you have recently given birth to a child injured by the medical negligence of a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional, you may be entitled to monetary damages. However, as you can see from the article above, medical professionals are quick to do anything they can to limit their financial liability, and will likely fight tooth-and-nail to absolve themselves of responsibility. To learn more about how you may be able to recover for what your child has been through, call a Maryland birth injury attorney at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers. The dedicated advocates at Lebowitz & Mzhen have decades of experience securing favorable verdicts and settlements for their clients. Call 410-654-3600 to set up a free consultation today.

More Blog Posts:

Maryland Appellate Court Considers the Cap on Judgments Against Municipalities, Maryland Accident Law Blog, January 16, 2015.

Court Dismisses Accident Victim’s Case Based on Lack of Expert Witness Testimony, Maryland Accident Law Blog, February 23, 2015.

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