Children that are injured during the labor process often require medical assistance to treat injuries. Depending on the severity of the injury, children may require therapies and developmental assistance, sometimes for life. These needs can become very costly and may place a financial burden on the family. Fortunately, there are several ways that families may be able to receive birth injury financial support to help offset the costs.
Birth Injury Financial Burdens
The financial burdens that families of children with birth injuries may endure are often exacerbated by lost wages. At least one parent will often stay home with the child that has suffered injuries to assist with care. This can make it even more difficult to cover rising costs, but child care may not provide the same quality of assistance and the costs of child care for a child with special needs may exceed parents’ means.
Costs stemming from birth injuries may include:
- Medical costs, including surgeries and medications
- Physical therapy costs
- Expenses for needed special equipment
- Costs for counselors
- Costs for special development programs
Government Birth Injury Financial Support
There are a number of government programs in place that can help families of children with birth injuries. While not limited to families with birth injuries, the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) helps families that are in need of financial assistance to afford healthful food and beverages. Different states may also have different programs available to assist with specific birth injuries.
Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association
In Florida, the Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association, or NICA, can help families of children with brain injuries to cover costs. To be eligible to receive assistance from NICA, children must have been born in a hospital and still be alive. Children must have suffered injuries to the brain or spinal cord due to oxygen deprivation or physical trauma during birth or labor. NICA will cover costs associated with medical care and treatment, regardless of the cause of the birth injuries.
Social Security Assistance
Social Security assistance may be provided to families of children that qualify. If families apply to receive Supplemental Security Income, a state-level agency must certify that the child and family qualify to receive the benefits. The family must meet certain income criteria and provide evidence of the qualifying disability. A lawyer may be able to assist with applying for Social Security assistance.
Birth Injury Disability Grants
There are many different birth injury disability grants that families can apply for. The Disabled Children’s Relief Fund provides financial assistance to help with the costs of physical therapy, surgeries, and specialized equipment for families that qualify. The United Healthcare Children’s Foundation also provides financial support for qualifying families. There are many types of grants that may help families of children that have specific disabilities, such as cerebral palsy or Erb’s palsy.
Birth Injury Lawsuits
If a child was injured during the birthing process because of medical negligence, the hospital or physician may be liable for covering the costs associated with treatment and care. An experienced birth injury lawyer can help victims to compile the necessary evidence to prove medical negligence within the timeframe dictated by state laws. Compensation may include pain and suffering and punitive damages in addition to costs of past, present, and future medical expenses.
Life Care Plans
If birth injuries cause a child to be permanently disabled for life, a Life Care Plan may be set up with the medical facility that has been found responsible for causing the injuries. Covered expenses may include medical equipment, medications, physical therapy, surgery, special needs education, and doctor’s appointments. A Life Care specialist will work with birth injury lawyers and victims to create a life care plan that satisfies all needs. Having a Life Care Plan in place can help the family members of children that have been permanently disabled by birth injuries to gain peace of mind that the child’s needs are taken care of for life.
“Birth Injury Financial Support.” Birth Injury Guide. Birth Injury Guide, 1 Jan. 2015. Web. 24 Jan. 2015. <http://www.birthinjuryguide.org/birth-injury/financial-support/>
“Birth Injury.” New Horizons Un-Limited Inc. New Horizons Un-Limited Inc, 30 June 2012. Web. 24 Jan. 2015. <http://www.new-horizons.org/finbin.html>
“Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).” United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service. Whitehouse.gov, 20 Nov. 2014. Web. 24 Jan. 2015. <http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-snap>