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Birth Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association (NICA)

An Introduction to Florida’s Birth Related Neurological Injury Laws (NICA)

The Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association  (NICA) was established by the Florida Legislature to protect Florida doctors at the expense of neurologically damaged infants and their families. NICA protects doctors by limiting the amount of money they are responsible for when they cause a baby to have brain damage.

Babies born with serious brain damage or neurological injuries require a lifetime of care. NICA pays for those costs of care incurred by families of infants who are injured at birth and sustain those types of injuries. NICA protects doctors through the entire state of Florida by not allowing neurologically damaged infants or their parents to sue negligent doctors in court.

If a doctor is protected by NICA, he or she cannot be sued regardless of whether he or she is at fault. Instead, infants and their families must apply for NICA benefits in a process very similar to that of worker’s compensation benefits.

NICA Benefits:

  • Actual expenses for care, services, drugs, equipment, facilities, and travel, excluding expenses not including those covered by other entitites.
  • A lump-sum cash payment, not more than $100,000, to the injured infant’s parents or guardians.
  • A $10,000 payment at the injured infant’s death.
  • Reasonable expenses for filing the claim, including attorney’s fees.

Eligibility & Benefits

NICA provides benefits to a child who is the victim of a brain or spinal cord injury due to oxygen deprivation or mechanical injury that occurred during labor, delivery, or in the immediate post-delivery period. See: Section 766.302(2), Florida Statutes.

Parents must file a petition with the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings and an Administrative Law Judge will determine whether the child’s injury qualifies as a NICA eligible injury. NICA eligible children are covered for their lifetimes. However, NICA eliminates their ability to hold the parties who injured them accountable in civil court for malpractice. The other side of that coin is that NICA provides the certainty of guaranteed lifetime benefits.

General Criteria:

* Neurological injury to child’s brain or spinal cord
* Infant born alive
* Birth-weight of at least 2500 grams for single birth or 2000 grams if the mother carried multiple babies.
* The child’s neurological injury must have occurred during delivery.
* The child’s neurological injury must have been caused by oxygen deprivation or mechanical injury
* The birth must have happened in a hospital
* The child’s neurological injury must be permanent and the child must be substantially impaired both mentally and physically. Mental impairment alone is not enough.
* Child injuries from genetic or congenital abnormalities do not qualify.
* The physician must participate in NICA and must have notified the parents, as defined in s. 766.302(7), Florida Statutes

We have the experienced Daytona Birth Related Neurological Injury Attorney to help you on your questions and concerns.

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