The birth of baby is an exciting and wonderful time. Despite the skill and dedication of physicians and hospitals, complications during birth sometimes occur. Although rare, among the more serious of these complications is one that results in severe damage to a newborn’s nervous system – called a “neurological injury.” This type of injury may have a catastrophic physical, emotional and financial impact on a child and family.
In1987, the Virginia General assembly passed a law that offers an alternative to lengthy malpractice litigation when a qualifying neurological injury occurs at birth. The law created the Virginia Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation program.
The law provides that afterwards under the Program are exclusive. That means that if an injury is covered by the Program, the child and his or her family are not entitled to compensation from a malpractice lawsuit. Instead, the child is eligible for a lifetime of benefits from the Virginia Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Program.
Crtieria & Coverage
A “birth related neurological injury” is defined by the Virginia law as an injury to the brain or spinal cord of an infant. The injury must be caused by oxygen deprivation or mechanical injury occurring in the course of labor, delivery or resuscitation necessitated by oxygen deprivation or mechanical injury that occurred in the course of labor or delivery in a hospital.
The injury must render the infant permanently motorically disabled and (i) developmentally disabled or (ii) for infants sufficiently developed to be cognitively evaluated, cognitively disabled. The disability must cause the infant to be permanently in need of assistance in all activities of daily living.
The law only applies to live births. It does not apply to disability or death caused by genetic or congenital abnormality, degenerative neurological disease, or substance abuse in the infant’s mother.
The law only applies to the hospital at which you deliver or the physician/midwife delivering obstetrical services at the birth of your child participates in the Program at the time of birth.
The Program’s benefits are established by Virginia law. The Program may provide actual medically necessary and reasonable expenses for:
- Medical care
- Hospital care
- Rehabilitative care
- Residential and custodial care and service
- Special equipment or facilities
- Related travel expenses
- Loss of earnings for age 18 to 65
- Reasonable expenses for filing the claim, including attorney’s’ fees
- An award not exceeding $100,000 to the family of an infant dying within 180 days after birth
Benefits Not Covered
- Expenses covered by the other government programs
- Expenses covered by prepaid health plans, HMOs or private insurance