It is heart-wrenching to watch your child suffer through a birth injury as impactful as cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy can limit your ability to control muscles, learn new motor skills, and maintain your balance. In addition, you will likely have chronic pain and rely on medical equipment to move around.
If your child developed cerebral palsy due to a doctor’s negligence, you may be able to file a birth injury claim against them for compensation. While most of your focus will be on the medical and financial costs of cerebral palsy, your child may also be eligible for the “personal” costs of the injury.
What Are Non-Economic Damages?
When a plaintiff files a medical malpractice claim, he or she is eligible under New York State law to recover compensation for economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages refer to the financial costs of the injury, which will mainly include:
- All medical costs of the injury, including past and future treatment
- Lost wages if the plaintiff had to take time off work to heal (or the parents lost work due to taking care of a child with cerebral palsy)
- Lost earning capacity if the injury caused the plaintiff to reduce work hours or change jobs
- Cost of medical equipment and assisted living devices
A plaintiff can calculate the economic damages by adding up the costs of his medical bills, long-term treatment, prescription medication, lost wages, and lost earning potential. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, include the non-financial costs of an injury. These costs are harder to pin down, as they rarely involve receipts. In the state of New York, non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering – the physical pain of dealing with cerebral palsy
- Permanent disability or disfigurement – the impact of cerebral palsy on the child’s life
- Emotional distress – the emotional impact of cerebral palsy
- Loss of consortium – impact to the child and parent’s relationship due to cerebral palsy
- Loss of enjoyment of life – how cerebral palsy has affected the child’s ability to play, make friends, and develop hobbies
Non-economic damages are much harder to calculate, as they rarely have tangible costs, but there are ways an experienced New York medical malpractice attorney can calculate how much your child is owed.
Calculating Non-Economic Damages in Cerebral Palsy Cases
There are two methods of calculating non-economic damages:
- Multiplier Method: With the multiplier method, a plaintiff takes the economic costs of his injury and multiplies them by a factor between 1.5 and 5. With cerebral palsy, the factor would be higher due to the severity of the injury.
- Per Diem Method: Sometimes called the “daily rate” of an injury, the per diem method includes multiplying the number of days an injury will impact the plaintiff’s life by his average daily earnings. The per diem method is more common for non-permanent injuries in adults, so it may not apply to a cerebral palsy case.
Parents may also consider a life-care plan for their child. Life-care plans are a way for victims of brain injuries to calculate their overall lifetime costs. A life-care plan will focus on the medical costs and the long-term effects of cerebral palsy, but may also be useful in determining the mental and physical impact of cerebral palsy.
If your child developed cerebral palsy as a result of medical negligence, you should accept nothing less than full compensation in a birth injury claim. For more than 50 years, our team at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, has advocated for children and their parents after an injury. We have won hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients in jury trials and insurance negotiations. Let us do the same for your family.
Call us at (212) 986-7353 to speak to New York birth injury lawyer in a free consultation.