The Legal Process
At ABC Law Centers, we understand that the process of consulting with legal professionals can feel confusing and difficult to navigate. To make it easier for you to understand the course of the legal process, we’ve compiled a short list of FAQs about how we handle birth injury cases.
We’ve provided some short descriptions of the various aspects of our legal practice, along with what you can expect from ABC Law Centers as your birth injury law firm. Please click through these to get a better understanding of what the legal process looks like at ABC Law Centers.
Please feel free to contact our team if you have any further questions; we are available 24/7 via our contact form, email, live chat and phone line.
The Legal Process at ABC Law Centers
Every case is unique, so it can be difficult to predict exactly what each case will entail without knowing more details. The statute of limitations and relevant laws can vary from state to state. That said, there are a few general steps that we go through in every case.
If you would like more specific information about what a birth injury case may involve in your state, please call us and we can walk you through it.
1. Initial contact and intake
The first step in finding out if you have a potential case is to contact a birth injury attorney. At ABC Law Centers, we strive to make the initial contact process as easy as possible. You can reach out to us via Live Chat, email, text message, or a phone call to speak with one of our trained intake specialists about your potential case. The intake specialist will ask you to recount the details of your pregnancy, labor and delivery, and your child’s development. The conversation will allow you to speak about your experience in a confidential and safe environment. We are here to listen to you, and completely understand if the conversation becomes emotional. We are available to speak with you at any time, so please do not hesitate to contact us day or night.
In the following video, our intake nurse Lesley Atton walks you through what it’s like to call ABC Law Centers with case questions.
2. Case Evaluations
Once our intake specialist has acquired the necessary information from you, our attorneys will evaluate the facts to determine if we will be able to assist with your case.
If we decide to investigate your case further, we will send you some documentation to sign up with our firm. There is no cost to you for case evaluation or consultation. No fee unless we win.
There are some situations in which we may not be the best fit for your case, and, in that instance, we may refer you to a trusted attorney or organization who will be better able to assist you. If we decide to take your case on, we then proceed with the intake process.
3. Retainer and medical record authorizations
If we are able to assist you with your case, we will send you a retainer to sign that describes the legal process in your state and the process of your future case. An attorney will call you to explain this document to you in detail and answer any questions you may have. We will send you a copy of the retainer to sign along with a self-addressed envelope to send back to our office.
After we receive your signed retainer, we will send you medical record authorizations to sign.
This is the part of the process where our clients are most heavily involved, and where the bulk of their time with us is spent. We gather as much information as possible about your case. This includes gathering paperwork – especially medical records. If you have copies of your medical records already available, this will speed everything up significantly.
Obtaining the medical records on your case will allow our attorneys to evaluate if malpractice occurred. Our staff will send medical record requests to the facilities where you received prenatal care, where you delivered your baby, and any subsequent appointments your child may have had. Please note the facilities where we are requesting records from will not be informed of a potential legal case. The requests will only indicate that you, the patient, would like to obtain the records for review by our office.
For more information on obtaining medical records, click here.
4. Investigating a Case
Once we have received all of your signed paperwork and any medical records pertinent to your case, we will begin investigating the details of your child’s potential case. We are dedicated to communicating with you to keep you up-to-date on your case status, so we will be in touch with you during this time. You will not, however, need to participate much with this part of the process.
When investigating a case, we will send your medical records to various medical experts whose knowledge is best suited to discuss your child’s specific injuries and disabilities. These medical experts review the medical records and provide their professional opinions on the details of the case. The experts help us determine what kind of medical malpractice took place and where the treatment went wrong. Once we have expert support, we can then file your birth injury case.
5. Pursuing a Case
There are many steps involved in pursuing a birth injury case. After the case is filed, there may be some waiting time while the paperwork is processed. Once the paperwork is processed, you will participate in a deposition. A deposition is a meeting in which the client answers questions about the case under oath. Depositions typically take one day to complete.
In some instances, after your case is filed, your child may need to undergo a medical examination. This examination will be organized at your convenience.
Finally, in pursuing the case, you will need to attend settlement conferences and mediations. These take only a few hours to a day, and are crucial in attempting to resolve your case before trial.
Duration of the case
The duration of cases varies significantly in the medical malpractice field, so it is impossible for us to provide a universal time frame. With that being said, as a general rule of thumb, it can take up to six months to determine whether there is malpractice that can be pursued in court.
After we file a first notice that signals our intent to pursue a case, it typically takes another six months before the case may be filed in court. Many cases, depending on the jurisdiction, take 1.5-2 years after filing from start to finish. Some birth injury cases, however, can take much longer to complete; this depends on many complex factors. Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have and we will be happy to also provide an update regarding your case.
6. Settling a Case
Every birth injury case is different. We work to keep you involved in every step of the process and ensure that you obtain the best recovery for your child. We consult life care planning experts and economists to determine future care needs for each client individually.
Our attorneys will advise you as to your best interests and your child’s future needs based on the opinions of experts. Whether you decide to accept an offer from a defendant to settle your birth injury case is ultimately your decision.
7. Going to Court
In some instances, you may need to go to court for your case. If your case goes to trial, your presence will be required. Feel free to contact our attorneys if you have any questions about this process.
8. After a Case is Closed
After a case is closed, it’s important to have as much information as you can about how to make sure your child has a secure and stable future. We will provide information that will make it easier for you to figure out how to obtain services and support for your child and family. We are not affiliated with any groups outside of our practice, but we work hard to provide free resources and information on groups that can help you and your child after the completion of your birth injury case.
If we are unsuccessful in securing a recovery for your birth injury case: If we do not obtain funds from your case, you do not pay us anything.
If we are successful in securing a recovery for your birth injury case: After you obtain your verdict or settlement, there are some portions that, by law, are distributed to various parties. Each case varies, so feel free to reach out to us for details about how this works in your state. The fees include:
- Attorney’s fees: After the intake phase, we provide you with a document called “Contingency Fee Agreement,” which provides information on how we are paid. The courts will approve the payment of our attorney’s fees, and we will receive a percentage of the recovery from your verdict or settlement. This percentage is set by state law and custom to each individual state.
- Costs incurred: There are various costs incurred during the case. These include, but are not limited to, the cost of obtaining medical records and the cost of obtaining expert opinions.
- Insurance liens: Part of the settlement goes to insurance liens as mandated by law. This happens because your child’s disabilities most likely required medical care. The insurance companies that provided this care will seek to recoup some of the costs of care caused by medical malpractice.
Common questions and concerns
I think my child may have had a birth injury, but I don’t want to seem litigious or confrontational.
One important thing to remember is that medical professionals are exactly that: professionals. They are held to high standards of care because they are experts in their field and lives depend on them doing their job correctly. In the process of providing medical care, these professionals can and do make mistakes that jeopardize the health and safety of their patients. The law holds these professionals accountable for their errors.
Remember that you have an inviolable Constitutional right to access our court systems under the 7th Amendment (the right to a trial by jury). Lawyers are here to help you navigate through the maze of legal procedures as you exercise your right to be treated fairly.
Most of my time is spent caring for my child; I can’t spend huge amounts of time on court proceedings.
We understand that caring for your child is your first priority. We want to maximize the outcomes for your child and handle your case in such a way that you are not pulled away from the care your child needs and deserves. You will be contacted and asked to assist us in only a few circumstances:
- During your initial contact with us and shortly afterward, when we will speak to you over the phone or via email to determine whether or not you have a case. If you do have a case, we will inform you of what kind of paperwork you will need to provide or sign.
- During the case, when we will call you to clarify information or request information.
- During the case, when you may be asked to give a deposition. Depositions usually take no more than one day.
- During the case, when there will be settlement conferences and mediations you need to attend. These will only take a few hours to a day, and they are crucial in attempting to resolve your case before trial.
- During litigation, when you may be asked to answer written questions. This are usually quick and easy process.
- In rare circumstances, the birth injury case does go to trial, you will likely need to attend court. Most cases settle before trial.
Hear two of our clients discuss how ABC Law Centers. works around the busy schedules of their clients:
Do you operate outside of Michigan?
While our firm is headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, we operate locally and nationally. We handle cases in most of the U.S.
Distance is not a limiting factor in securing quality legal representation. When necessary, we will commute to you when we are handling your case. We will be very clear and open in our communications, keeping you informed of all of your case details regardless of where you live.
My child had a birth injury when I was in a military hospital/federally-funded clinic. I’ve heard that I can’t get help because the center was federally funded. Is this true?
No. Just because you had treatment at a military or federally-funded clinic does not mean you can’t seek compensation for your child’s care in the case of medical malpractice. While federal organizations operate under a different set of laws when it comes to medical malpractice, an attorney well-versed in the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) can help you navigate this complicated system. The key difference when it comes to medical malpractice in a military setting (like with the Army, VA, or AirForce) or in federally-funded community health clinics is that you must file a claim with the organization first. You cannot go to court immediately. The organization has to respond to your claim within six months, and, depending on how they respond, there may be a settlement or you may choose to pursue your case further.
Because of the complexities of military medical malpractice, it is important to choose a firm with experience in litigating cases under the FTCA. ABC Law Centers’ attorneys have helped numerous families injured in federally-run medical facilities. We are devoted to helping you secure your child’s future and ensure they get the medical assistance and therapy they need no matter where the birth injury occurred.
I don’t have the resources to pay ABC Law Centers out of pocket. How do I pay for legal services?
At our firm, we understand that the process of caring for children with disabilities can be costly and time-consuming. We aim to increase access to the court system for individuals who may otherwise be unable to afford it. Because of this, we do not charge any fees upfront. Instead, we are compensated using a contingency fee agreement. This means that you do not pay us until we obtain a settlement or win your case. If we do obtain a favorable outcome, then we receive a portion of the settlement to pay for our services and the costs of pursuing your case. Again, you only pay us if we obtain a recovery for your case.
How much money will my child receive from a birth injury settlement?
To learn about how verdicts and settlements are calculated, as well as what the final amount means for your family, please visit this page.
Watch Keziah’s family’s full testimonial here.