What Compensation is Available in a Birth Injury Lawsuit?
Most children are born without complications. However, issues may arise during delivery, resulting in the newborn suffering from birth injuries. In some instances, a severe birth injury causes the baby to die shortly after birth.
Some newborns suffer from minor injuries and may eventually recover from the birth trauma. Unfortunately, some babies suffer from severe birth injuries and life-changing impairments that adversely impact their lives and their parents' lives.
If your child suffers from a birth injury and disabilities due to medical negligence, call our birth injury lawyers at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form to schedule a free consultation and get immediate legal advice.
Birth Injury Defined
Birth injury refers to an impairment of the newborn’s body structure and function due to adverse events during the birthing process.
Birth trauma occurs when a supposed healthy baby suffers from injury during delivery; hence it is different from a birth defect. A birth defect is when the newborn manifest impairments that are not a result of the birth process. Birth defects include heart problems, cleft palate, spinal Bifida, and other impairments that cannot be linked to the birthing process.
What Are the Types of Birth Injuries?
Bruising or forceps marks. The doctor may decide to use forceps, especially when the baby is experiencing fetal distress. Forceps may leave temporary marks or bruises on the newborn's face and head that may disappear completely in a few weeks.
However, in some instances, forceps may result in severe brain damage, the leading cause of cerebral palsy. This neurological disorder is permanent and can impair movement and posture.
The American Pregnancy Association estimates that about 20% of cerebral palsy patients incurred this disorder during birth.
Brachial palsy. Brachial plexus injury may happen during a difficult delivery when the physician applies too much force to dislodge the baby. Excessive pressure increases the risk of stretching the nerves resulting in an injury.
Facial paralysis. Excessive pressure on the face of the baby may cause facial nerve injuries. The paralysis may improve in a few weeks; however, severe cases may require surgery.
Fractures. Fracture of the collarbone or clavicle may occur during a breech delivery. A baby with a fractured clavicle may cry with every movement of the affected arm. Nonetheless, healing usually occurs in a few days.
Cerebral Palsy. Brain damage or neurological injury may result in cerebral palsy. As a neurological disorder, cerebral palsy impairs the brain’s ability to control the muscles and the nervous system.
This type of injury requires continuous medication to improve the child's quality of life. Depending on the severity of the disorder, some children may require continuing and lifelong healthcare.
Causes of Birth Injuries
A birth injury often occurs as a result of medical negligence. Here are the common causes of birth injuries that reflect the medical professionals’ failure to adhere to the accepted standard of care:
- Newborns often experience respiratory distress during childbirth. The medical professional’s failure to deliver adequate oxygen in these instances may result in complications, such as brain damage.
- Incorrect use of instruments during the birthing process. For example, a medical professional may deem it necessary to use forceps during delivery. However, the incorrect use of forceps may cause facial deformities, skull fractures, damage to the baby’s brain, and even wrongful death.
- Medical professional’s malpractice may also occur even before the birthing process, such as when the doctor fails to correctly interpret ultrasound results.
Improper pregnancy management and failure to provide professional medical advice are also considered medical errors. Some of these situations that result in complications during childbirth include:
- Abnormal bleeding
- Umbilical cord compression or prolapse
- Prolonged labor and the child suffered fetal distress infection
- Placental abruption
- Maternal infection which was left untreated
Speak to an experienced birth injury lawyer if you suspect that your child’s injury resulted from a medical professional's negligence. Birth injury lawyers can help you file a birth injury or medical malpractice claim against the medical professionals responsible for damages.
What Are Birth Injury Lawsuits
A birth injury lawsuit refers to a legal action filed to seek justice and compensation for the negligent acts of physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals.
Parents are often compelled to file birth injury lawsuits after learning that their child suffered from a preventable birth injury due to medical error and negligence. Below are the types of birth injury lawsuits you can file against a negligent medical professional:
Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
The doctor’s failure to provide the required quality medical care to the mother and the baby constitutes malpractice in the medical profession. This act of negligence warrants the filing of a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Below are some examples of medical errors and negligence include:
- Improper use of instruments such as forceps
- Failure to immediately perform a medically necessary procedure, such as C-section
- Not monitoring signs of fetal distress
- Use of excessive force
- The doctor failed to provide adequate treatment for maternal infections
In filing the birth injury lawsuit, plaintiffs and their lawyers have to present evidence that the negligence of the medical professionals contributed to the child’s birth injury.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
You could file a wrongful death lawsuit if the birth injury resulted in the death of your child. Death from a birth injury may occur due to improper delivery techniques. Birth injury resulting in infant death may also arise from the medical professional’s failure to respond quickly enough to address the birthing complications.
Reduced blood flow, antepartum hemorrhage, and lack of oxygen may complicate delivery. However, a medical professional is expected to have the skills and expertise to address these complications.
Elements of Medical Malpractice
A birth injury lawsuit is a complicated and exhausting legal process. The plaintiffs and their attorneys must prove that the medical professional breached the expected duty of care under the circumstances.
Proving that the healthcare providers breached the duty of care requires proof of the following elements of medical malpractice:
- Filing birth injury lawsuits requires assessing whether the defendant owed the plaintiff a legal duty of care. In a birth injury lawsuit, there should also be an established relationship between the physician and the patient. The former owes the patient a legal duty to provide medical care during childbirth.
- Breach of Duty. An experienced birth injury attorney knows the importance of establishing that the health care professionals breached their duty of care. The attorney will gather evidence to prove that the physician failed to adhere to the standard of care required for the newborn’s condition.
- The third element requires proving that the healthcare professionals’ negligence resulted in the child’s birth injury. Proving that the physical made an error is not enough. It is also essential to show evidence that the child incurred injury due to the doctor’s action or inaction.
- Causation. Winning birth injury cases call for evidence that the doctor’s action or inaction directly caused the birth injury.
Types of Evidence to Prove Negligence in Birth Injury Cases
In developing strong birth injury lawsuits, birth injury lawyers will assess elements of medical malpractice. In addition, they will gather and examine the following evidence the strengthen the birth injury claim:
- Medical records with details of the mother’s medical treatment before and after delivery. The lawyer also wants to present the records of the newborn’s birth injury and medical treatment care
- The employment history of the defendants
- Testimonies from other medical professionals who were with the physician during the delivery
- Expert testimonies, most likely coming from obstetricians, anesthesiologists, and other medical experts
Reasons for Filing a Birth Injury Lawsuit
Filing a birth injury lawsuit has several advantages. A birth injury lawsuit may help the family alleviate the difficulties of caring for an injured child.
In addition, it also helps raise awareness about the child’s injuries and medical malpractice cases. Below are specific reasons why you should file a birth injury lawsuit:
Cover Cost of Treatment and Care
Raising a child with physical impairments, such as cerebral palsy, increases the family’s financial burden. Successful birth injury claims will ease the families’ economic struggles.
They will be awarded monetary and punitive damages. The birth injury settlement funds can help cover expenses relating to the child’s injury, such as:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Medical costs, including medical bills and fees of medical experts,
- Physical therapy for conditions such as Erb’s palsy and cerebral palsy,
- Life care planning for cerebral palsy patients,
- Financial compensation for lost wages
The settlement of the birth injury lawsuit may even include financial compensation for pain and suffering. Note that serious birth injuries may cause severe developmental delays, which can be very stressful for families affected.
In addition to covering medical bills and medical expenses, a birth injury lawsuit can bring a sense of justice to affected families. With the help of a lawyer, you can file a birth injury lawsuit to hold the physician and nurses responsible for your child’s injuries.
Help Raise Awareness
A birth injury lawsuit may also bring attention to a doctor or facility’s medical practices and procedures. Your courage to file a birth injury lawsuit against a physician can alert other families so they can take measures to avoid putting themselves at risk.
Filing a birth injury lawsuit may also serve as an encouragement for families who have had a birth injury to file a case against negligent health care providers.
The Birth Injury Lawsuit Process
Each medical malpractice case is unique, so your best option is to speak with a lawyer in a reputable law firm to discuss your case. A lawyer can assess and help prepare your case, gather evidence, and increase your chance of getting higher financial compensation.
The stages in filing a legal action for a birth injury lawsuit are provided below:
Get a Free Case Review
Before filing malpractice claims, clients must contact a lawyer for a free case review. The objective of a case review is to determine the eligibility for filing a birth injury lawsuit.
If your lawyer determines that you have a strong case, their next step is to assess the birth injury settlement amount.
An expert attorney at Rosenfeld Personal Injury will provide a free case consultation. Complete the contact form or call (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation with a birth injury attorney. Our law firm provides advice on the best legal action that fits a client’s personal injury case.
Your Lawyer Will Gather Evidence
Your lawyer will need relevant evidence to develop a strong case on your behalf. The lawyer will gather evidence to know how the defendant could have taken steps to avoid the injury and prove the latter’s alleged negligence.
They may interview witnesses and other experts to prove that the injuries were due to medical negligence.
Formal Filing of Birth Injury Lawsuit
The attorney will file the lawsuit. After the filing, the court issues a notice of schedule that includes the mediation and trial dates. The defendant will have 30 days to accept the claim and enter into a settlement agreement or deny the claim.
If the defendant denies the claim, the plaintiff has the right to pursue a lawsuit and take the defendant to court.
Resolve by Settlement Agreement or Trial Verdict
Most birth injury lawsuits end in a settlement, where the defendants agree to compensate the victims for their injuries. Engaging the services of an expert attorney is critical in the negotiation process.
An expert birth injury attorney helps in successfully settling the case so clients don’t have to go through a costly and time-consuming lawsuit. You can focus on the treatment and recovery of your child while you get assurance of a fair settlement with the support of an attorney.
A fair birth injury settlement compensation might cover your medical bills, physical therapy costs, special education fees, and other financial losses. A settlement is an inexpensive and straightforward option to get the best out of a birth injury lawsuit.
However, if the defendant refuses to negotiate a reasonable settlement, a birth injury claim may go through a trial.
Factors That Can Affect Your Case Worth
The following factors might have a significant effect on the value of your case:
- The newborn's overall health status after the injury
- The state’s case value limit
- Medical expenses in the management and treatment of the injury
- The severity of the injury
The case value may change as the case progresses. You can expect your attorney to keep you updated on the value of your case while they work for its resolution.
Birth Injury Lawsuit FAQs
Birth injury lawsuits are legal actions that families file against doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals who may be responsible for a newborn's injuries. Below are some of the frequently asked questions about birth injury lawsuits.
What Types of Compensation Do Families Get in an Infant Wrongful Death Claim?
In an infant wrongful death claim, families may recover economic and non-economic damages. The economic damages refer to financial rewards to cover the direct costs incurred due to the baby's death. These costs include medical bills, funeral expenses, and lost income.
On the other hand, non-economic damages compensate for the pain, suffering, and emotional trauma the family has to go through after losing their child during the birthing process.
How Much Compensation Do Families Receive in Birth Injury Lawsuits?
Each birth injury claim is unique, so it can be difficult to determine a specific amount without the relevant facts. However, the following particular circumstances affect the compensation that a family might receive:
- The healthcare professional’s degree of negligence
- The severity of the newborn’s injuries
- Medical costs, including future medical expenditures
- The injury’s impact on the quality of life
- Degree of suffering and pain
- Lost current and future income
How to Calculate the Amount of Birth Injury Lawsuit Settlements?
Injuries during childbirth hurt the lives of victims and their families. They are often left with lifelong health problems and financial struggles due to continuing therapies and treatment.
After establishing that defendant is at fault and negligent, the court will calculate fair compensation for the victim. The court will also determine the amount assigned to the economic, emotional, and also punitive damages, such as:
- Hospital bills
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Long-term care
- Punitive damages
- Wrongful death
Are Birth Injuries Permanent?
Some newborn babies sustain minor injuries during the birthing process. Most of these injuries are not permanent and may disappear in a few days. Unfortunately, severe brain damage and other physical injuries during birth are permanent.
One of the severe effects of brain injury is cerebral palsy, which is neurological damage that often results from the incorrect use of forceps during delivery.
How Much Time Do You Have to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
The time to file a medical malpractice lawsuit depends on the statutes of limitations in each state. However, some states follow the discovery rule, where the clock starts ticking after the injury is discovered.
In Illinois, victims of healthcare malpractice have two years from the date of discovery to file a legal action.
The date of discovery is important and should be appropriately documented. The attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC can help victims of doctors’ negligence establish a specific discovery date.
What Is a Brachial Plexus Injury Lawsuit?
A brachial plexus injury may occur when a physician fails to check the baby’s position, resulting in nerve injuries during delivery. A parent may file a brachial plexus injury case to seek justice for a child injured due to the doctor’s failure to follow standards of care and protocol.
A birth defect is not a birth injury. It is a congenital problem that is most likely carried down through genetic abnormalities. A birth injury is not genetic and results from occurrences during pregnancy or childbirth.
Can I File a Birth Injury Lawsuit for Misdiagnosis During Pregnancy?
You could file a birth injury lawsuit if misdiagnosis during pregnancy resulted in your newborn’s birth injury. Doctors have a duty of care for both the pregnant woman and the baby during pregnancy and delivery.
Remember that this duty of care extends to the physician’s staff, nurses, midwives, and even the medical facility.
The physician is expected to diagnose and determine pregnancy-related problems. An integral part of their duty of care includes requiring ultrasounds and several laboratory tests to assess issues that might complicate the birthing process.
The physician's failure to examine critical factors might endanger the mother and the baby. If the misdiagnosis results in birth injuries, the healthcare professional will be held accountable.
Get Help From an Experienced Birth Injury Lawyer
Do you have a birth injury case? Don’t put off taking action until it's too late.
While it is tempting to wait until you have more information, the time to file a malpractice case is running out. You should contact an expert birth injury lawyer as soon as you get a diagnosis. The sooner you file a complaint, the easier it is to gather evidence to prove your birth injury.
Speak to a birth injury attorney at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers. LLC. Our experienced lawyer will fight for you and your family to ensure that you are adequately compensated for your losses.
Get a free no-obligation consultation through our contact form or call us at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call). There is never a fee charged unless there is a recovery for you. Our law firm provides advice on the best legal action that fits a client’s specific situation.
All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
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