Birth Injury Attorneys
What Are Birth Injuries?
Birth injuries are those that affect the birthing parent, and/or the baby. They are caused by complications during pregnancy and/or birth, and may permanently harm the baby or the birthing parent. If these injuries were caused due to the negligence or actions of a medical professional, or if the harm was avoidable, there could be legal action available for the injured parties. Simply put, birth injuries are human errors that can be prevented and avoided.
Birth injuries are not the same as birth defects. Birth defects are linked to the genetic DNA of a child. Some examples of the most common types of birth injuries include:
- Failing to perform or schedule an emergency cesarean section (“C-section”);
- Improperly pulling or twisting the infant during delivery;
- Improper use of medical tools during delivery; and
- Giving the wrong amount or type of medication.
The birthing parent can also suffer injuries if a medical practitioner is careless or negligent. Any of the following can qualify as birth injuries involving the birthing parent:
- Vaginal tearing;
- Infections; and
- Lack of anesthetic awareness.
A common cause of birth injuries is a doctor’s failure to assess or respond to complications. This includes disorders during the pregnancy or birthing process. Another common cause of birth injuries occurs when the birthing parent is given a prescription drug that ultimately harms the baby, or otherwise adversely affects the pregnancy. Further injuries may also occur during pregnancy or the birthing process, such as surgical error, etc.
What Do Birth Injury Lawyers Do?
In order to recover for a birth injury, the injured party must show that:
- The medical professional owed a duty of care to the birthing parent, and/or child. This element is typically automatically proven as all doctor owe a duty to their patients;
- The medical professional failed to act reasonably or exercise due caution while treating the birthing parent, and/or child. In order to prove this element, the plaintiff must prove that the medical professional failed to exercise reasonable care that a normal physician in that area would have exercised. Typically, proving this prong of a medical malpractice claim involves testimony of an expert witness in the field of medicine that the alleged wrongdoer specializes in;
- The failure by the doctor to exercise reasonable care caused an injury to the child and/or the birthing parent; and
- The injury resulted in damages, such as additional medical bills, etc.
These elements may be proven through expert witness testimony, published medical studies, and res ipsa loquitur. Res ipsa loquitur is a legal term meaning that the injury would not have happened at all if someone had not been negligent.
Birth injury attorneys work to prove the elements of a birth injury claim. They collect relevant information to do so, such as:
- Personal accounts of the incident;
- Medical records;
- Expert testimony; and
- Depositions of various witnesses, such as the doctor, nurses, or other hospital staff members..
In a successful claim, the injured party can be awarded various damages. Some examples of such damages include:
- Compensatory or general damages for pain and suffering;
- Special damages for pecuniary losses, which include past and future medical expenses as well as loss of income; and/or
- Punitive damages intended to punish the defendant for willful or wanton misconduct.
Generally speaking, damages are awarded to the actual injured party. In birth injury cases, the primary injured party is the newborn child. However, an injury that occurs at birth is not only traumatic to the newborn child, but to the parents as well. Because of this, courts have held that in specific circumstances parents may also recover damages for medical malpractice that results in birth injuries. Birth injury attorneys work to ensure their clients receive appropriate damages awards.
How Can a Birth Injury Lawyer Provide Help?
A birth injury lawsuit is a specific type of medical malpractice claim. Although the ways such lawsuits proceed will depend on the laws of the state where your child is born, there are some certain events they all have in common.
Once you have decided to pursue legal action, your lawyer will file a lawsuit against your doctor, the hospital, or any other party who might be responsible for your child’s birth injury. Additionally, they may also notify the parties that you intend to file a lawsuit. The involved health care providers will then notify their medical malpractice insurers about the lawsuit.
Birth injury lawyers generally practice under personal injury law, or medical malpractice law. They can help pursue legal action against all negligent parties, such as filing a lawsuit, and will work to recover damages in order to compensate the victims for their injuries. If you or your child have suffered a birth injury, you should consult with a skilled and knowledgeable personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The attorney will work to ensure your rights are protected and will represent you in court as needed.