It’s hard to think of a more exciting yet simultaneously terrifying experience, than the birth of your child.
You’re carrying a precious life within you. You’d do anything to make sure your baby is healthy and safe.
Which is why you have to be prepared for anything.
While our medical system is better than it’s ever been, it’s still not perfect.
In the US, roughly 6 to 8 babies out of 1,000 suffer from a birth injury, and 76 birth injuries happen each day.* These injuries wouldn’t happen if proper medical care and attention were provided.
Fact is, it’s the hospital’s duty to provide quality care. Doctors, nurses and midwives are in these positions for a reason – they’re trained to be competent professionals. You shouldn’t have to think about your baby being at risk while in their care. But birth injuries still happen, and regularly.
Birth injury is incredibly difficult for the family. It creates physical, emotional, psychological and financial issues. However, when this happens, it’s somewhat reassuring to know that the people who contributed to the injury can be held accountable. And while nothing can ever truly compensate the injury of your child, compensation claims do help. They hold the responsible parties liable, provide justice, and help you recover from the financial toll.
Your birth injury claim can help you recover loss from:
► Suffering and pain.
► Loss of joy and companionship
► Lost income due to caring for a disabled child.
► Medical and healthcare expenses.
What is a Birth Injury Compensation Claim?
While a newborn may sustain injuries in many ways, the most unacceptable cause is negligence.
When a hospital provides negligent medical care during childbirth, they’re liable to be sued and forced to pay compensation. They can be charged to compensate victims for both economic and non-economic damages. However, before you file a birth injury claim, make sure you have legitimate claim. Keep in mind that minor birth injuries like bruising, swelling and discomfort are common problems. These have no long-term effects, so they’re not worth suing for.
But when someone is negligent and complications arise, the hospital and/or medical professional is liable for birth injury claims.
This is especially true when the complications have long-term effects.
Negligence That Often Leads to Birth Injury Claims:
► Delivery instruments (like forceps and vacuum extractors) used incorrectly
► Performing medical duties improperly, generally speaking
► Failure to diagnose problems that emerge during pregnancy and birth, and to treat them (for example; placenta abruption, entrapment of umbilical cord, infections)
► Failure to instruct high-risk mothers to seek out specialized providers for care
► Failure to properly inform other doctors working in the delivery room (especially about issues with the pregnancy or delivery)
► Failure to monitor the newborn during and right after birth
► Failure to identify and handle alterations in the fetus
► Incorrectly deciding against specialized testing for the mother
Complications That Can Occur to Mothers & Newborns:
► Issues with suturing or stitching that cause post-natal infection.
► Delayed or misdiagnosed pre-eclampsia.
► Trauma or injuries caused by caesarean section errors.
► Internal tears or damage to the perineum.
► Premature separation of the placenta from the uterus or placenta abruption.
► Fractures, cuts or wounds found on the newborn.
► Muscular injuries to the newborn such as brachial plexus or Erb’s palsy.
► Brain injuries to the infant such as cerebral palsy.
► Post-natal shock or trauma.
Birth injuries caused by negligence are rare in hospitals with vigilant, responsible doctors and nurses. But when the medical staff is negligent, the results are often a negative, long-lasting impact on newborns.
It’s possible to sue any health professional involved with the delivery process. That includes nurses, doctors, obstetricians and other members of staff.
Medical professionals must comply with a standard of care that ensures the protection of the patients’ health and safety. The fact is, even a small error can cause families grief, distress and financial trauma.
It’s easy to get stressed just thinking about filing a lawsuit. But if you think you have a case and you want compensation, you should get started as soon as possible.
Common Birth Injury Claims
For newborns, birth-related injuries typically occur in sites such as the head, neck, and shoulders. A few other areas that may also be at the risk of sustaining injuries are the lower limbs, face and abdomen.
Birth Injuries That Lead to Birth Injury Claims:
► shoulder dystocia
► brachial plexus palsy/Erb’s palsy
► head trauma
► brain damage
► spinal cord injuries
► perinatal asphyxia
► facial paralysis
► cerebral palsy
► clavicle fracture
► internal hemorrhaging
For a parent, any kind of harm that a newborn sustains can be extremely traumatic. It can be hard to know what to do. Here’s our two cents.
If you think that your child sustained injuries due to a healthcare provider’s fault or because of the hospital, please do not hesitate to file a claim. Not only should the hospital be held accountable – you should be compensated.
How do I Prove They’re Liable for my Birth Injury Claim?
To make sure you have a valid claim, keep this in mind:
► You must have had a doctor/healthcare provider-patient relationship established.
► A doctor/healthcare provider must be clearly negligent during treatment.
► The birth injuries must be direct effects of negligence from the doctor/healthcare provider.
► Clinical errors must have occurred, such as:
– Inadequate and incompetent care before, during, and after delivery.
– Mishandling of medication and birth-assisting tools.
– Putting mother and newborn in dangerous and critical conditions like failure to monitor fetal or maternal distress, for example.
– Failure to recognize and treat possible infections.
– Providing an incorrect diagnosis.
Now that we’ve discussed how to prove liability for a birth injury claim, let’s talk about who can file the claim.
Who Can File a Birth Injury Lawsuit?
Generally, the parents or legal guardians of the infant can file a birth injury lawsuit. After all, the medical expenses from the birth injury fall on their shoulders.
For cases that show delayed birth injury effects, like cerebral palsy or other brain injuries, the child can make the claim. (If he or she is 18 years of age or older.) However, this can vary depending on the state you live in.
The Law & Birth Injury Claims
Medical malpractice encompasses birth injury claims and other medical lawsuits.
In the US, medical malpractice laws are different in each state. The deadline for filing birth injury claims also varies from state to state. In most cases, parents planning to file a birth injury claim or lawsuit must obtain adequate proof.
An attorney can also coordinate and undertake this responsibility. They’re able to use their knowledge and connections with medical experts to establish a strong case for your birth injury claim.
Requirements to file a birth injury claim include evidence. For example:
► Medical standards were breached by a doctor, nurse, or another member of the delivery team
► This medical negligence caused birth injuries or wrongful death
The best way to figure out the medical malpractice laws of your state (and understand the process of filing a birth injury claim) is to get in touch with a good birth injury attorney.
Statute Of Limitations For Birth Injury Claims
If you want to file a birth injury claim against a doctor, nurse, or hospital, your time is limited.
The deadlines for legal action are called the statutes of limitations. Statutes of limitations vary depending on the kind of claim being filed and the laws of your state.
For birth injury claims, the statute of limitations vary by state. Contacting an attorney immediately is crucial, one way or the other. With that said, the statute of limitations for birth injury claims typically starts on either:
a) the day the newborn enters the world
b) the day when the birth injury occurs, or
c) from the date of the discovery of the birth injury.
In many states, the statute of limitations for birth injury cases is two years. Some states, such as Minnesota, give four years from the injury.
Here in Texas, you have two years from the time the injury occurred.
Will my Claim Help me With Attorney’s Fees & Charges?
Most lawyers who agree to take on birth injury lawsuits work on a contingency-fee basis. That means they don’t need you to pay them immediately. Usually, the complainant and defendant will have a settlement agreement. In that case, you’ll be able to settle out of court.
But if you can’t reach settlement, you’ll most likely go to trial. When you win the case and claim reimbursement, your attorney will usually take a percentage of the total compensation claimed. Make sure you have a clear understanding and agreement with your attorney before starting your claim.
How Much Compensation will I get From my Birth Injury Claim?
Every claim is different, with different amounts. Also, some states put a limit on the maximum amount you can claim. (Especially for non-economic damages.)
That said, you can expect compensation for these expenses:
► Physical and/or occupational therapy.
► Medical treatment expenses associated with the injury.
► Home health care provisions.
► Special education expenses.
► Cost of earnings or salary, because you missed work.
► Counseling or other psychological and mental services.
► Special damages which are treatments or rehabilitation for long-term effects of the birth injury.
Will I be Able to Claim my Compensation Immediately?
You won’t receive your compensation immediately. It’ll take time. Honestly, you probably won’t even receive any compensation within the year. But it’s still well worth pursuing.
Just be sure to keep all records and documents of your medical expenses throughout the process, to ensure maximum reimbursement. If you have a strong case, they may have to compensate for both past expenses and future ones.
If you believe you have a birth injury case, please reach out to us or a law firm in your area. We’re here for you.