Sometimes, a doctor makes a mistake that results in a birth injury. It’s an incredibly difficult time for the family, and sometimes, it’s hard to know what to do.
If this happens to you, one option is to file a birth injury lawsuit.
It’s not a simple task, but a good birth injury attorney will do everything in her or his power to help you get the compensation you and your child deserve, and likely need.
The question is, how do you find the right birth injury attorney for your case?
In this guide, we’ll do our very best to answer your questions about birth injuries, birth injury lawsuits, and birth injury attorneys.
To begin, please click on the section you want to learn about:
Table of Contents
Know the 6 Common Types of Birth Injuries
It’s no secret that babies are extremely fragile, especially when they’re first born.
Sadly, parents sometimes take their new child home and later find out that they’re the victim of a birth injury.
Below, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most common birth injuries:
► Cerebral Palsy
► Neonatal Stroke
► Injuries Due to Forceps Delivery
► Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy
► Infant Shoulder Dystocia
This condition happens when the baby doesn’t get enough oxygen. In intrauterine hypoxia, the baby didn’t get enough oxygen for a longer period. It’s a risk factor for many illnesses such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy, eating disorders, and ADHD.
Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that affects the movement and coordination of the muscles. It occurs when a child’s immature brain is damaged before, during, or after birth. Babies who are born with CP often cannot properly sit up, roll over, or crawl. They may have muscular issues known as “palsy” or “shakes.
Did you know that newborns are just as likely to have a stroke as an elderly person? Around one in 4,000 infants has a neonatal stroke. They occur when the baby’s blood supply is disturbed and the baby is deprived of oxygen. They can happen within the first 28 days after a baby is born.
When the doctor doesn’t exercise the duty of care when a stroke occurs, your baby might suffer long term damage to the brain. That’s when you have the right to file a birth injury lawsuit against the doctor.
Injuries Due to Forceps Delivery
Forceps are a metal, handheld instrument used to help deliver a baby. They go around a baby’s head and allow the obstetrician to pull and assist the contractions. When doctors use forceps, serious precision and care is vital to avoid injury. Unfortunately, serious birth injuries can stem from the use of forceps during delivery, such as eye trauma, skull fractures, and brain damage. If this happens to your child, you may have a lawsuit.
Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy
HIE happens because of oxygen deprivation, also known as asphyxia. It’s vital that a baby get adequate oxygen before, during, and after childbirth. Otherwise, serious brain damage can occur. Babies that have a hypoxic ischemic injury may experience life-long conditions like cerebral palsy, motor impairment, epilepsy, and developmental delay. Again, if this happens to your child, you may have a lawsuit, which can help pay off your medical bills, which are usually substantial to say the least.
Infant Shoulder Dystocia
Infant shoulder dystocia is a birth injury that happens when one or both of a baby’s shoulders get stuck inside the mother’s pelvis, during labor. It’s often associated with a prolonged labor and can be traumatic for the newborn. Symptoms include paralysis of the affected limb, nerve damage, and pain. Also, the baby’s umbilical cord cord can become trapped between the baby’s arm and the mother’s pelvic bone. This can disrupt the flow of oxygen through the cord, causing brain damage.
If your baby suffered permanent brain damage, injury, or birth defects due to infant shoulder dystocia or one of the other conditions above, you may have a case.
If you believe your doctor made a mistake, we encourage you to call or meet with a birth injury attorney. And if you discover you have a case, you can file a lawsuit.
Infants aren’t the only ones who suffer birth injuries. Mothers can be harmed as well. Read on to learn about maternal injury, and how you can help hold health care providers accountable with a birth injury lawsuit.
Birth Injury Law & Maternal Death Causes
Did you know that the U.S. has the highest maternal morbidity rates among the developed world? For a country brimming with opportunity and technological advances, this is shocking.
Pregnancy should be a magical time, not a worry fest. But the numbers don’t lie. And unfortunately, moms-to-be (in the United States) have reason to worry.
In 2016, the Obstetrics and Gynecology journal reported that the maternal death rate increased by 26.6% from 2000 to 2014. Alarming, to say the least! What’s causing these depressing stats and why are maternal birth injuries on the rise? We’ll seek to answer these questions and more in the next few sections.
Why Do Women Die In Childbirth?
So why is childbirth so dangerous? To answer this question, take a look at this CDC report, which was published in 2019. Here’s what experts found:
► 31% of maternal deaths took place during pregnancy.
► 36% of maternal deaths took place 1 day – 1wk after childbirth.
► 33% of maternal deaths took place between 1wk – 1yr after delivery.
The report also mentions that the leading causes of death among pregnant women were as follows:
► Amniotic fluid embolisms and hemorrhage on the day of delivery.
► Excessive bleeding, infection, and high blood pressure during the first to six weeks after delivery.
► Heart disease such as cardiomyopathy during one week to a year after delivery.
The CDC report then goes on to say that poor medical care was responsible for 60% of maternal death cases. That’s unacceptable.
Now you can see how important it is for malpractice victims to file a lawsuit.
Women aren’t dying in childbirth because their bodies can’t handle it, but because of substandard maternal healthcare.
There are many children who’ll never know the warmth of their mother’s embrace simply because a doctor or nurse decided against following proper procedures.
Common Causes Of Maternal Death
Without immediate and proper treatment, a minor condition can snowball into a death sentence. Doctors and nurses should always monitor their patients with care, and take swift action when something doesn’t seem right. Otherwise birth injuries are bound to happen. Here, let’s take a look at a few conditions and situations that can put mothers at a higher risk:
Preeclampsia: This happens when there’s a sudden spike in a pregnant mother’s blood pressure. It usually shows its ugly head after 20 weeks. If a doctor doesn’t detect preeclampsia in time, it can cause seizures and impair the liver and kidney function. In the most severe cases, it can lead to both the mother and baby’s death.
Uterine rupture: During a difficult childbirth, an expectant mom may be given medication to induce labor. But there have been cases where the medication given can cause the mother’s uterus to rupture and spill its contents (including the baby) into the abdomen. If a mom has previously had a C-section or if the doctor is aware that there’s existing uterine scarring, a natural childbirth may be a no-go! It’s your doctor’s responsibility to advise and avoid unnecessary risks.
Sepsis: Nobody wants to hear the word sepsis, especially during pregnancy. This scary condition can happen when a new mom contracts an infection. In a bid to fight it, the body begins to attack its tissues and organs. Unfortunately, sepsis can lead to death. That’s why it’s so important that hospital staff prevent infection in every way they can! Wounds need thorough cleaning and management to avoid infection, and hospital staff should always wear gloves.
Cesarean Section Complications: C-sections are common and doctors consider them safe. But that doesn’t mean complications don’t arise. The biggest risks with C-sections involve infection, excessive bleeding, and blood clots. All conditions your doctor needs to watch out for.
Anesthesia Or Epidural Mistakes: Many women opt for an epidural during childbirth, to help manage the pain. Some women even need anesthesia. And who can blame them for wanting an epidural! This magical concoction can make childbirth a breeze, relatively speaking. But if a mother’s oxygen levels, blood pressure, and heart rate aren’t met with careful monitoring, disaster can strike. And in the worst case scenario, this disaster can be fatal. If a loved one has passed because of one of the above, you may have a birth injury case.
How Birth Injury Attorneys Help With Your Lawsuit
Birth injury lawyers can help you hold doctors accountable for their errors. They can also help lesson the impact of the tragedy on your family, by guiding you through the lawsuit process.
With that in mind, here’s how to find and choose the right lawyer to represent you.
How to Choose the Right Birth Injury Lawyer
Because of how complicated and specialized birth injury cases are, you’ll want to pick your birth injury lawyer with care. Look for someone who has expertise in birth injuries. This will help increase your odds of success while in court.
Below we’ll explain why filing a lawsuit is important, and what questions to ask a birth injury lawyer before hiring.
How Does a Birth Injury Lawsuit Help?
The obvious reason to file a lawsuit is that someone wronged your baby and deserves to be held accountable. There have to be consequences for malpractice and negligence otherwise standards slip. And not just for the medical professional responsible, but the entire medical field as a whole.
Beyond that, your family has likely been impacted physically, emotionally, and financially by this mistake. You might not realize it, but you can sue for more than just wages lost, medical bills, and future medical expenses. You can also seek compensation for general damages. This includes damages that are hard to put a price tag on, such as:
► Mental Suffering
► Physical Pain
► Emotional Pain and Suffering for the Parents
Yes, a birth injury lawsuit can help alleviate your suffering, but only if you have the right representation to win your case. Follow along as we discuss the questions to ask when searching for a birth injury lawyer.
Questions to Ask Birth Injury Attorneys
Birth injury cases aren’t the same as personal injuries and warrant a special kind of lawyer. That’s why you need someone who understands the medical aspect of your child’s condition beyond the legal recourse.
An experienced birth injury lawyer shouldn’t have any issues with you asking questions, so don’t be shy during your consultation. Here are the questions to ask when choosing a lawyer to represent you and your baby:
How Much Experience Does The Attorney Have With This Injury?
The field of birth injury law encompasses many different medical conditions. Be sure to look at the legal focus of the law firm. What do they specialize in? Have they handled cerebral palsy or how about Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy?
Many firms say they represent birth injury clients, but do they have real experience? In some cases, law firms even contract cases out to more experienced firms. You deserve to know who you’ll be working with, and not be “passed on” without your knowledge!
Don’t be afraid to spend some time researching your child’s condition. Then, find out for yourself how knowledgeable the birth injury lawyer is with the specific condition.
Do They Work With Medical Professionals?
Hiring a law firm that has a medical professional on staff is very important. They’ll analyze medical records and interact with specialists when presenting your case. Their knowledge will help your lawyer pinpoint what went wrong and why, to increase your chance of winning the lawsuit.
Having a medical professional on hand will also help your birth injury lawyer build the strongest case. In the end, the success of your case often rides on the team that’s backing you.
What Is Their Record Of Settlements And Verdicts?
Of course, a birth injury lawyer’s past records don’t guarantee success for every case. But their record may show you how competent they are. It also lets you see how much experience and expertise they have in birth injury law.
Ready to find a birth injury attorney to help you and your baby get the compensation you need for better quality of life? Don’t wait until tomorrow. Remember, you must file a birth injury lawsuit in a timely manner, or you risk passing the statute of limitations.
Contact a Birth Injury Lawyer
The aftermath of a birth injury lasts a lifetime. Mother and/or baby must deal with injury and life-long medical conditions. Enormous hospital bills pile up. The entire family must cope with trauma, or grieve the loss of a loved one. On top of all that, you have to work through piles of paperwork to hold them accountable.
A birth injury lawyer’s guidance is invaluable in the lawsuit process. You don’t have to go through this alone! Also, you’re much more likely to win your lawsuit when you have a good attorney helping you. Getting compensation through your lawsuit can’t erase a birth injury, but it can help your family cope with the new challenges you face.
If you think you or your child is the victim of a birth injury, contact the birth injury attorneys at Hampton & King Attorneys at Law. We’ll help you set up a consultation to review your case and see if you’re eligible for compensation.