The birth of a child is exciting. When a new little son or daughter is delivered and tucked safely in his mother’s arms for the first time, there may be no more powerful moment. But for some families this time of joy is shadowed by an injury to the baby. Either due to misguided prenatal care or a complication during delivery–if the birth injury is due to medical neglect or mistake than the family will want to talk to an attorney to make sure their legal rights are safeguarded.
Why do Birth Injuries happen
A birth injury to a baby occurs due to a complication in the labor or delivery process. It has been estimated that, for every 1000 babies born in the U.S., five will be injured during birth.
Most situations that result in a birth injury to a baby involve either the doctor’s failure to assess or respond to conditions or injuries due to prenatal care possibly because of prescription drugs.
In the first scenario, for example, a doctor may fail to recognize pregnancy disorders like hypertension; failure to perform a necessary cesarean section; improper use of medical devices such as forceps or vacuum; or improper assessment of a baby’s health in the womb. A lawsuit arising from any of these situations could result in a medical malpractice claim against the physicians, other medical practitioners involved, and in some cases a claim against the hospital where the treatment or delivery took place.
In the second, for example, a pregnant woman may have taken a prescription drug under the guidance and supervision of a doctor or pharmacist. If the drug causes injury, the parents may have a claim against the drug manufacturer and the pharmacist who assisted them with the prescription.
Or is it a Birth Defect?
Estimates are that 7% of all babies are born with a birth defect or irregularity, from very minor to severe. It can be difficult to determine if complications were caused by a birth injury or were the result of a birth defect. Cerebral palsy, for example, may result if the newborn was not given enough oxygen during labor (thus an avoidable birth injury). On the other hand, the situation may have been caused by an unpreventable birth defect. To help differentiate between the two, an examination is required.
After such an examination, not all birth injuries will give rise to a successful legal claim. Complications may occur during delivery that, despite an obstetrician’s use of reasonable and competent skill, resulted in unavoidable birth injuries.
Also, if a birth injury is a results of the mother’s own actions during pregnancy, such as alcohol or drug consumption she does not have any rights to a legal recovery for birth injury.
Proving Your Case in a Court of Law
No matter the particular facts of your case, in order to recover for a birth injury you will likely need to show that medical providers and/or a pharmaceutical company failed to give you or your baby adequate medical care or medication advice during pregnancy and/or delivery.
To find a medical professional legally at fault, it must be shown that his or her conduct fell below the accepted standard of medical care. Another expert in the field can speak to the standard or level of care that should be met by those in the profession. Your birth defect attorney will present expert testimony not only as to the applicable standard of care but also testimony establishing that the defendant failed to meet this standard in your case showing that your health care provider’s deviation from the applicable standard of care resulted in his or her injury.
If you bring a lawsuit against your obstetrician, other caregivers, and/or a medical facility for birth injuries to your child, it will be your attorney’s responsibility to show that the defendant (which can include an obstetrician, physician, nurse, medical facility, pharmaceutical company, medical device manufacturer) owed a legal duty of care to your baby (and to you, in some cases), but he or she breached that legal duty or standard of care by acting or failing to act in a manner in which a reasonably competent individual would have. This failure resulted in harm to you or your baby.
Avoidable birth injuries should be evaluated for a potential legal claim. Due to the complexity of the facts and legal issues involved, having an experienced attorney review your case as soon as possible is the best way to ensure the likelihood of your claim’s success. Although having a newborn is an emotionally and physically exhausting time, in light of deadlines for filing a lawsuit, meeting with an attorney sooner rather than later to evaluate your case is recommended.
If a child suffers harm due to an avoidable birth injury, damages awarded as part of a successful lawsuit will typically go to the child, sometimes in the form of a trust. A number of categories of damages are available, and many are not limited to a specific amount. These can include compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and even loss of future earning capacity.
A child born with cerebral palsy (CP) can cause unexpected financial hardship for a family. CP is caused by a lack of oxygen before, during, or after birth. This means that the condition is not hereditary and is sometimes preventable. It can be difficult to determine the exact cause of cerebral palsy in a child, which is why choosing the right cerebral palsy-birth injury lawyer is crucial. Cerebral palsy is denoted by damage to the cerebrum of the brain and can also affect the cortex and the cerebellum. Since there are different types of CP, and different manifestations for each type, hiring an attorney with specific expertise in this area will allow you to proceed with confidence.
There are three main types of cerebral palsy: spastic, ataxic, and athetoid. Each of these is marked by different symptoms, and they are thought to have contrasting causes. Ataxic CP is rare, but can cause tremors that make simple activities nearly impossible; it also affects balance and depth perception. Spastic CP is common in premature infants, and affects motor skills, mobility, and nerve receptors. Athetoid CP is marked by involuntary movements and ill-defined muscle tone, which can interfere with posture, sitting, speaking, feeding, and other coordinated movements. With these symptoms in mind, it’s clear that a child with CP will need near constant supervision, and ongoing medical care. Often, one parent quits work to care for the child, creating even greater financial stress on the family.
How can a experienced birth injury lawyer help you?
A cerebral palsy-birth injury lawyer has proven experience litigating and negotiating such cases. Sometimes, cerebral palsy develops for reasons that have nothing to do with malpractice or neglect. A attorney with experience and insight in issues related to cerebral palsy will be able to advise you on the specifics of your case. If you are entitled to compensation, having an experienced birth injury lawyer in your corner will make the process faster and less confusing. If you’re raising a child with CP, you can probably use a hand. Let an experienced attorney help you provide your child with the support they deserve to be happy and healthy.
Contact The Snow Law Firm today to obtain the help you deserve.