Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) is a serious and potentially life-threatening disease primarily affecting premature infants fed with contaminated baby formula. NEC lawsuits can be complex and emotionally challenging, often involving multiple parties and significant medical expenses.
To pursue legal action against the manufacturer or distributor, you must demonstrate that their product was defective or dangerous and caused your child’s illness. It may require specialized knowledge of the law and medical evidence, making it important to seek the assistance of an experienced NEC attorney.
According to the NICHD, NEC affects approximately 9,000 of the 480,000 infants born preterm yearly in the United States. It is a serious gastrointestinal disease and continues to be one of the leading causes of illness and death among preterm infants. In fact, studies suggest that 15 to 40 percent of infants with NEC die from the disease, making it crucial to seek legal action if your child has been affected.
This article discusses the six signs that you may need an attorney for your NEC lawsuit.
1. Serious Injuries or Fatalities
It’s crucial to recognize the symptoms of NEC in your infant to take medical attention promptly and, if necessary, consider legal action. Some common NEC baby symptoms include:
- Abdominal swelling and distension
- Bloody stools or diarrhea
- Feeding intolerance or refusal
- Decreased urine output
- Lethargy or apathy
- Temperature instability
- Unusual breathing patterns
In case your infant shows any of the aforementioned symptoms, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention. An early diagnosis and proper treatment can significantly increase the likelihood of a positive outcome. They may also be important for documenting the progression of your child’s illness if you decide to pursue legal action.
An experienced NEC attorney can help you understand your legal options and work to hold the responsible parties accountable for the harm caused to your child.
2. Multiple Parties Involved
In many cases, multiple parties may be involved in an NEC lawsuit, including the manufacturer, healthcare providers, and hospitals. As a result, it can be challenging to determine who is responsible for your child’s illness, and that’s where an experienced NEC attorney can be invaluable.
Research has shown that formula-fed preterm infants are at higher risk for developing NEC than those fed breast milk. However, according to Frontiers in Pediatrics, infants fed with human milk have a significantly lower incidence of NEC than those fed with formula. In fact, the incidence of NEC is estimated to be 6 to 10 times lower in human milk-fed infants than in formula-fed infants.
If your child was fed with formula, it’s essential to determine if there were any issues with the manufacturing or distribution of the product. In some cases, manufacturers may have failed to meet safety standards, leading to contaminated or defective products.
Additionally, healthcare providers and hospitals may be responsible for failing to diagnose and treat NEC promptly, leading to further complications or even death. An experienced NEC attorney can help you investigate and determine who may be liable for your child’s illness and work to hold them accountable for the harm caused.
Timing is crucial when seeking legal action for NEC, as there are statutes of limitations that set a deadline for filing a lawsuit. Therefore, it is essential to contact an experienced NEC attorney as soon as possible to protect your legal rights and increase the chances of obtaining a positive outcome.
3. Large Sums of Money at Stake
Parents of infants affected by NEC often face significant medical expenses and may incur long-term care costs in some cases. In addition, they may suffer emotional trauma due to the experience of having a sick child.
Given the potential financial impact of an NEC diagnosis, it’s not surprising that significant settlements or verdicts are often awarded in these types of lawsuits. Although compensation for NEC lawsuits is possible, it can be a difficult and complicated process.
This is where the assistance of an experienced attorney can make a difference. With their knowledge and expertise, an attorney can guide you through the legal system and advocate for your rights. It eventually increases your chances of receiving the compensation you are entitled to.
4. Insurance Companies Involved
When it comes to NEC lawsuits, insurance companies are often involved. In addition, healthcare providers and hospitals typically carry malpractice insurance to protect themselves against such claims. As a result, when parents pursue legal action in an NEC case, they may be dealing with insurance companies as well as healthcare providers.
Insurance companies are often primarily focused on reducing their financial responsibility, which means they may not offer a fair settlement to parents of an infant affected by NEC. In such situations, having an attorney by your side can be critical.
According to Torhoerman Law, the settlement amounts for NEC lawsuits can vary greatly and range from $5,000 to over $500,000. However, it’s important to note that these estimated settlement amounts do not guarantee financial compensation for NEC lawsuits. The actual payment amount can vary widely based on the case’s specifics.
An experienced attorney can help you receive a fair settlement or verdict in your NEC lawsuit.
5. Time Constraints or Deadlines
In product liability cases, it can be difficult to detect injuries. Some injuries may not become apparent until months or even years after the initial injury occurs. According to Nolo, each state has different rules for when the statute of limitations begins to run, with some states starting the clock when the injury first occurred while others starting the clock when the injury is actually discovered.
The statute of limitations for product liability cases typically ranges from one to six years, depending on the state and the type of claim. Therefore, it is crucial to consult with an attorney as soon as possible to ensure all deadlines are met and the case can be filed within the appropriate time frame.
Being aware of these time constraints is crucial, as missing the deadline could result in losing the right to file a lawsuit and potentially receive compensation for your damages. Additionally, other important deadlines may be involved in the legal process, such as filing certain documents or responding to motions, which also require careful attention and compliance.
Therefore, if you believe you have a potential NEC lawsuit, it’s essential to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible to ensure you meet all necessary deadlines and have the best chance of success.
6. Difficulty in Proving Fault or Negligence
One of the significant challenges in NEC lawsuits is proving the fault or negligence of the party responsible for the harm caused to the infant. It can be particularly challenging to establish that a particular product, such as a specific baby formula brand, was responsible for the infant’s NEC.
It often requires expert testimony, medical evidence, and detailed analysis of the manufacturing process and safety measures in place.
Additionally, product liability cases involving NEC lawsuits can be complicated and time-consuming. The manufacturer and their legal team often fight aggressively to avoid responsibility and minimize financial liability. An experienced attorney can help you fight for the compensation you deserve and protect your legal rights.
Product liability cases typically result in significant payouts. Forbes reports that the median compensation for such cases is around $748,000. While not all these cases involved NEC lawsuits, it highlights the significant sums of money involved in product liability cases. It also establishes the importance of having experienced legal representation to protect your interests.
Taking Action for Your NEC Lawsuit
Filing an NEC lawsuit can be a complex and challenging process, especially when dealing with medical bills, emotional distress, and other related issues. If you or a loved one has suffered from NEC due to toxic baby formula, it is important to recognize the signs that you may need to hire an attorney.
From recognizing the symptoms to dealing with insurance companies, there are various factors to consider when deciding whether to pursue legal action. By seeking the help of an experienced attorney, you can increase your chances of getting the compensation and justice you deserve.