When Florida parents have a baby who sustains a birth injury with permanent implications for his or her life, a medical malpractice suit is often one of their considerations if they believe the injury may have been due to negligence or error on the part of health care professionals. However, if for some reason compensation is not available through a malpractice suit, there may be another option.
The Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Plan provides benefits for qualifying children who sustain a spinal cord or brain injury during labor, delivery or immediately following birth. The plan, commonly known as NICA, provides benefits to these children for a lifetime.
Benefits provided under the NICA plan include money to help cover the costs of medical care, physical therapy and rehabilitation, custodial and residential care, equipment, medications and other expenses. This can be a significant help to families with a child who has suffered a birth injury.
There are some expenses that are not covered under the plan, however. These include items covered by insurance policies or other programs. The plan is only available if there has not been a settlement received from a lawsuit.
For a child to qualify for assistance under the NICA plan, certain criteria must be met. The baby must have been born alive and at a minimum specified weight in a hospital. He or she must have suffered a brain or spinal cord injury resulting from oxygen deprivation or a mechanical injury either during or just after delivery. The delivery must have involved a "participating physician," as defined under Florida law. As a result of the injury, the child must be "permanently and substantially mentally and physically impaired," according to the Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association.
If your child has suffered a birth injury, your best course of action is to consult with a Miami personal injury attorney who has experience with birth injury cases. He or she can advise you of your options and recommend the best course of action to help you be able to pay for the care that your child needs, now and in the future.
Source: The Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association, "Eligibility & Benefits," accessed May. 12, 2015