A birth injury is any harm a baby suffers during or near the time of birth. It could result from complications during the labor and delivery process, or due to improper prenatal medical care. Some birth injuries are minor and have no lasting impact on the baby. However, others could affect the child’s cognitive function, physical function, or both, and result in permanent disabilities.
If a baby has suffered a birth injury due to a doctor’s improper medical technique or improper use of a medical device during labor or delivery, chances are the parents have a valid legal claim against the doctor.
Types of birth injuries
Brachial plexus palsy
A group of nerves that control arm and hand movement suffers an injury in this case. It results if shoulder dystocia occurs during delivery, and medical practitioners do not handle the situation well. It may or may not completely recover, depending on the severity of the injury.
Facial nerve palsy
Applying too much pressure on a child’s facial nerves during delivery could lead to loss of voluntary muscle movement in the face. It may need surgery to fix, and experts link it to the use of labor-inducing medication or epidural anesthesia.
Collar bone fracture
It occurs during delivery if the medical staff does not handle the complication well. For example, improper use of forceps could result in collar bone fracture.
Spinal cord injuries
If a baby suffers spinal cord injuries at the time of birth, it could result in paralysis or neurological damage.
HIE is a type of brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation around the time of birth.
PVL occurs when the white matter of the brain gets damaged during labor or delivery.
Intellectual and developmental disabilities
I/DDs often co-occur with other issues such as cerebral palsy or epilepsy.
There are several other birth injuries such as Perinatal asphyxia, Intracranial hemorrhage, Extracranial injuries, Head trauma, Caput succedaneum, Cephalohematoma, etc.
Causes of birth injuries
Even though some birth injuries could be a result of natural circumstances such as the umbilical cord getting twisted or the baby is too large to pass through the birth canal.
However, in many instances, birth injuries are caused due to the mistakes made by doctors, hospitals, or other medical professionals.
Medical errors causing birth injuries include:
- Failure to identify and timely address of birth complications
- Use of medication leading to dangerous side effects
- Miscommunication within the medical staff
- Complications related to premature delivery
- Misuse of medical equipment
- Oxygen deprivation at the time of birth
- Prolonged labor
Know why you should opt to file a birth injury lawsuit
Sometimes parents do away from filing a claim considering the stress and time involved as they are already juggling through medical appointments and therapies for the baby. Besides, taking daily care of the baby suffering from birth injury is also tough.
But, you must consider that if you have a valid claim, you are entitled to recover several damages and the money will be of tremendous help for the treatment of your baby and your family.
With a lawsuit, you could recover damages for:
- Medical expenses (past, present, and future)
- All healthcare costs including those for specialized medical equipment, therapy, counseling, and even rehabilitation
- Loss of wages you incur for providing care to the baby
- Compensation for pain & suffering
- Damages for loss of enjoyment of life
Even though you might not be interested in the claim, but deep inside you seek justice. Your act could highlight the incident and save others from suffering the same fate.
Hence, it is imperative that you choose the right birth injury lawyer who will take the entire responsibility to handle the legal issues related to your case and allow you to concentrate on your child’s recovery. You could also opt for a suitable lawyer working on a contingency fee, wherein you pay the legal fees out of the settlement that the attorney wins for you.
Discussing how birth injury cases work
If you believe that medical negligence resulted in birth injury to your baby, you should contact an experienced birth injury lawyer. He or she will first determine if you have a valid claim by thoroughly going through your case information.
In the pre-litigation process, the attorney will collect additional evidence, documents, witness and expert list, and go through further intricate details of your case. The lawyer might propose a settlement amount to the defense during this time. If both parties do not mutually agree to a settlement amount, the litigation phase begins.
The attorney will file a complaint against the defendant in civil court, and the defense must answer within the allotted time. The discovery stage will start, and the defense lawyer will see the evidence, witness list, and any other information your advocate has gathered.
Usually, this is the time when most defendants negotiate a settlement if they realize that it will be easier to settle rather than to fight a case in trial. However, there could be instances where the defense lawyer will not adjust and compensate.
If such a thing happens in your case, you should prepare to go to trial. Sometimes the defense could agree to a settlement even after you take the matter to trial. Hence, there are chances that your case could get compensated even in the last week of the hearing.
You must also keep in mind that birth injury lawsuits are usually time-consuming and your attorney might be taking time to ensure that you have the best chances of obtaining a fair settlement.
Selecting the right birth injury lawyer
It is not advisable to confusedly search for a birth injury lawyer. You should list down your expectations and look for specific competencies in the attorney.
Area of focus
You should opt for a lawyer exclusively handling birth injury cases. Several general practitioners and personal injury attorneys will offer birth injury services. They may or may not directly handle your matter.
You need someone who has firsthand experience and in-depth knowledge of handling cases similar to yours. It would be even better if the attorney has previously handled cases concerning the particular birth injury that your baby has suffered.
Even though best birth injury lawyers are themselves knowledgeable in interpreting medical records, they work closely with medical professionals to decipher complex medical information. This practice goes a long way in building a strong case for you.
They also network well among the experts and frequently collaborate with important legal groups and professional association. Staying connected helps them be on the top of their game all the time.
Verdicts and settlements
You can gauge the competency of the birth injury lawyer by checking the record of verdicts and settlements the attorney has achieved for his clients. You could look for reviews online and check the law firm’s website for testimonials.
Attorney fees and costs
You must clarify upfront what will be the fees basis and what will be the connected costs as well as when will you have to pay for those. These details are crucial in avoiding any unpleasant surprises in the future.
Good communication skills
It is essential that you feel comfortable speaking with the attorney. You can check how the lawyer is responding to your questions and making you understand complex legal terms in the initial meeting. Also, you should feel that the advocate is reliable and get an overall good vibe.
LawTally can be of great help to you in finding the best birth injury lawyer. You can use its simple search options and get in touch with as many attorneys as you like. It will save you time and efforts during your already stressful period.