By Jenniffer Pickard • February 28, 2017•Features, Guest Bloggers and Profiles of Women in the Law
There has always been a disparity in the ratio of women lawyers as against the male ones. Although a steep rise is witnessed in the percentage of women lawyers over the past decade, the latest statistics of the American Bar Association Market Research Department shows that the legal profession is still male-dominated, and women constitute only 36% of the total strength.
More women lawyers are needed not only to balance the gender inequality in the profession but also to deal with gender-sensitive cases such as medical malpractices related to injuries during labor and delivery.
Here are a few significant aspects about birth-related medical malpractice and why an increasing number of female lawyers are needed for it.
Birth-Related Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice occurs due to the negligence of the hospital, the doctor, staff or midwives that result in causing any one of the following:
- Injury to mother or/and unborn child during delivery
- Wrongful birth, where parents would've avoided or ended a pregnancy if they had known about the birth defects
- Wrongful pregnancy, where the parent's attempt fail to terminate or avoid the pregnancy due to medical negligence.
Birth-related malpractice case lawsuit claims come with their own set of rules and each of the above-mentioned reasons has different clauses regarding litigating and damages recovered.
In all birth-related medical malpractice cases, it is significant to establish the suitable level of care under the circumstances that include the medical knowledge of the physician. This concept is known as Medical Standard of Care. The plaintiff needs to show which of these standards are breached.
Almost 6 to 8 infants out of 1000 are born with a birth injury, and this data needs to be seen with more significance. An appropriate birth injury claim needs proof of medical malpractice and proof of the harm caused to the mother or the baby. The clauses of such cases are complex, and therefore, professional help must be sought to understand the possibilities of the lawsuit.
While it is not statistically proven, characteristics such as gender, race, and sexual orientation of the attorney do have an effect on the juror's decision.
Here are a few reasons that favor the need of women lawyers for birth-related medical malpractice cases:
• Women May Interact More Openly with Women Lawyers
There's no doubt that women think and interact differently than men. They look for emotional responses in the case. These responses hold great importance when discussing about injuries and complications related to birth, labor, and delivery. A woman plaintiff may find it more comfortable to talk about the intricacies of the case and her biology with a female lawyer as compared to communicating with a male lawyer, which makes understanding the case facts much easier.
• Women Lawyers May Be More Empathetic to Mental Suffering
Medical malpractices related to maternity involve certain sensitive issues and details that most plaintiffs are comfortable discussing with a female lawyer. Parents, especially mothers, who go through mental pain and suffering are more relaxed in talking to women lawyers when discussing the issues of the delivery process. There's an advantage of belonging to the same gender and thus, women may be more receptive to the details of their condition than men.
• They Have Litigious Advantages
It is not that a female attorney will be more nurturing than male attorneys in all the cases, but when it comes to medical malpractices related to birth and delivery, women do instil a feeling of ease in the plaintiff. The success of a personal injury case largely depends on the legal professional's relation with the sufferer. It is a trust-based relationship and helps in effective communication with the plaintiff, given the amount of vulnerability in such sensitive cases.
Women lawyers have a great scope in the field of birth-related medical malpractices. It is an area where their level of understanding the pain is the highest as they are of the same gender and know how traumatic such an experience could be. Women lawyers not only touch upon the emotional aspect of the case but also help the sufferer reveal sensitive information that she may otherwise hesitate in sharing with a male lawyer.
If you know someone who has suffered any sort of birth-related medical negligence, encourage her to fight for justice and claim damages.