CALL (800) 863-5312 TO SPEAK WITH BIRTH TRAUMA ATTORNEYS FOR FREE
Giving birth can be a beautiful experience for a mother and her family. Given the vast improvements in the field of medical technology over the past few decades, most deliveries happen relatively smoothly. However, unfortunately, births also present opportunities for tragic accidents, which can leave you or your child with severe injuries. If you or your family’s childbirth has been mishandled by improper medical care that resulted in injury, call (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with experienced attorneys about a potential birth injury lawsuit.
WHAT IS A BIRTH INJURY?
Birth injuries are much less common than they used to be, and most parents are lucky enough to not experience them. However, for parents who have experienced a birth injury, it is an all too real scenario that can result in sky-high hospital bills, severe emotional wear and tear, and potential future complications. Generally, a birth injury is any injury that is sustained during pregnancy, delivery, or immediately thereafter. Birth injuries can typically be prevented by the careful monitoring of a pregnancy by a licensed medical professional, promptly addressing any issues, and generally following the standards of care for doctors. Failure to do so, however, can lead to birth injuries.
When talking about this subject, it is important to distinguish between birth injuries and birth defects. Birth injuries are injuries to a child during pregnancy or delivery that results from the negligent actions of medical staff. Birth defects, on the other hand, are conditions, like a cleft lip, that develop prior to a child being born. Birth defects are usually not the result of a doctor’s negligence and because of this, it is typically not possible to recover damages stemming from a birth defect.
Read More: Medical Malpractice
TYPES OF BIRTH INJURIES
Birth injuries range from minor issues that can be addressed fairly easily to massive complications that may require life-long attention. A few of the more common types of birth injuries include:
During a delivery, an infant may suffer from bruises and lacerations on their head during contractions or as they pass through the birth canal. The potential for these sorts of injuries can be increased if the delivering doctor uses forceps or vacuum assistance.
Read More: Brain Injuries
During the late stages of pregnancy through the delivery, there are a few situations that can lead to a shortage of oxygen for the child, known as “birth asphyxia.” Not getting enough oxygen during this critical time can lead to brain damage of varying severity.
If a baby is born breech or is otherwise not in the natural birthing position, then traveling through the birth canal can be very precarious. These sorts of unnatural births can lead to broken or fractured bones if the delivering doctor is not extremely careful.
HOW BIRTH INJURIES CAN HAPPEN
Generally, a birth injury occurs when the care delivered by the doctor or other medical personnel involved in the birth falls below the level of what is expected. The legal term for this sort of shortcoming is “negligence,” and negligence can come in many forms. For example, an unprepared doctor may lack the requisite knowledge for the various situations that might confront them during pregnancy, like a breech birth or a baby who has their umbilical cord wrapped around their neck.
In other cases, a doctor or nurse might administer the wrong type or quantity of medicine to a baby, which can lead to serious injuries. It may also be that the medical team is at the end of a long shift and simply makes a mistake because they’re tired. Whether it be because of extreme misconduct or extreme mistake, birth injuries can have a wide array of causes.
WHY FILE A BIRTH INJURY LAWSUIT?
If your child has suffered a birth injury, filing a lawsuit may be one of the most effective ways for you to take action. In the whirlwind following an injury, it is easy not to think about a lawsuit as you focus on the immediate needs of your child. However, a lawsuit may help you accomplish some important tasks.
Cover Your Costs
Anyone who has been to the doctor knows just how expensive it can be. These costs can become astronomical if your child develops an injury that will last the rest of their life, which is certainly a possibility. For example, a family’s expenses will go up almost $1 million over the lifetime of a child with cerebral palsy, which is a fairly common birth injury.
Justice for Your Child
If your birth injury lawsuit ends successfully, then you will be able to hold the doctor who caused your child’s injury accountable. This may be one way to gain a sense of closure for yourself and your family.
Justice for Other Families
Not only does a successful settlement or verdict help your own family, but it can actually help other families. After a lawsuit, other families who might be in the same situation learn about what their options might be and what they might be able to do. It also puts other doctors on notice that their negligence might result in action being brought against them.
HOW TO FILE A BIRTH INJURY LAWSUIT
Because of the wide range of types and severity of birth injuries, no two cases will ever look the same. However, they will generally follow the same pattern and go through the same steps.
Speak with an Experienced Attorney
Before you take any action of your own, your first step should be to speak with an experienced, local attorney. Talking to an attorney may give you a better idea of what your options are and how to go about seeking maximum compensation for your child’s injuries. An attorney may also be able to keep you from making common mistakes that could damage the value of your claim.
Learn More: Why Hiring a Lawyer Will Help Your Case
After you have selected an attorney, they may begin gathering all of the evidence and information that you will need to argue your case. In a birth injury lawsuit, this could include documents like medical records, analysis of what your subsequent medical costs may be, and interviews and depositions from all of the people who were involved.
Once your attorney has all of the necessary information, they may be able to begin settlement negotiations with the medical provider or their insurance company. This step is critical because most claims end in a settlement before they ever go to trial. At this stage, your attorney may be able to present your side of the argument in a unique way to minimize any potential weaknesses while bolstering the arguments for maximum compensation.
For every sort of personal injury claim, there is an associated time limit, also known as the “statute of limitations.” The statute of limitations is the amount of time that you have from the date you suffered your injury to file a claim. For example, if the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in your jurisdiction is two years, then you will have two years from the date of your child’s injury to file a claim—otherwise, you risk having it dismissed and recovering nothing.
It is important to note that the statute of limitations varies depending on the state that you are in and the type of claim that you are filing. Generally, however, it is advisable to contact an attorney as soon as possible after the incident in order to avoid running into timing issues.
HOW MUCH IS MY CASE WORTH?
The damages that you may be eligible to recover for can be divided into two categories—economic and non-economic.
Economic damages include expenses like medications, doctor visits, house accommodations, and any sort of continuing therapy that your child may require moving forward. These sorts of damages can be proven with a fairly high degree of certainty through bills, receipts, and the testimony of experts.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, include the pain and suffering experienced as a result of an injury. In the case of a serious birth injury, it is possible that you and your child may experience significant emotional turmoil. Many states have caps on the amount that is recoverable for non-economic damages.
Learn More: How to Calculate the Value of Case
THE ATTORNEYS AT ZINDA LAW GROUP MAY BE ABLE TO HELP
Zinda Law Group may assist you and your family in a time of great stress and worry. We believe that accident victims shouldn’t need to worry about being able to afford legal representation, which is why we use a no-win, no-fee policy—you don’t pay us anything unless we win your case.
Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.