The birth of a child should be an exciting and joyous occasion. Sadly, negligent medical professionals can cause serious and life-altering disabilities for babies or new mothers. Birth injuries can emotionally, physically, and financially devastate an entire family, especially when it occurs at the hands of a medical provider who you trusted to keep your loved ones safe.
The birth injury attorneys at Shegerian & Associates can help you through this difficult time. Please don’t hesitate to contact our team to learn more about how we can fight for you and hold responsible parties accountable for their actions.
Defining Birth Injuries vs. Birth Defects
The term “birth injury” refers to any internal or external condition that occurs to a baby either during pregnancy or during labor and delivery. Birth injuries often occur when a doctor, nurse, or medical staff member acts negligently or makes a medical mistake and leads to injury.
Medical malpractice leading to birth injuries can be the result of delayed response to complications, a failure to recognize or diagnose fetal distress, or incorrectly using vacuum devices, or failing to recognize the need for a cesarean section. Essentially, a birth injury is one that could have been prevented should the proper protocols and safety measures been taken.
On the other hand, a birth defect is generally a congenital condition that occurs due to an abnormality in a baby’s genes. It can occur spontaneously, be passed down from either or both parents, or occur because of other environmental factors.
Conditions like congenital heart defects, cleft palettes, or Down Syndrome are all the result of complications that occur through differences in genetics or during the early development of a baby versus the result of a negligent medical provider. In other words, a birth defect is not something that could have been prevented through the actions of a doctor.
Common Results of Birth Injuries
Birth injuries can occur throughout different stages of pregnancy, labor and delivery, or post-delivery. Some ways that birth injuries that occur due to medical negligence include:
- Improper monitoring
- Improper prescription of medication
- Failure to detect fetal distress
- Failing to diagnose a medical condition
- Oxygen deprivation that occurs when there is a problem with blood supply from the placenta and through the umbilical cord
- The baby remaining in the birth canal for too long
- A delay in a C-section
- Improper use of forceps or vacuum extractors
- Untreated preeclampsia
There are countless birth injuries that can arise when doctors and medical providers make mistakes or fail to recognize medical risks and take the proper steps to ensure safety. The most common types of birth injury lawsuits that we handle include:
- Birth hypoxia
- Brain damage
- Brachial plexus palsy
- Breech birth complication
- Cerebral palsy
- Erb’s palsy
- Incorrect medication
- Nerve injuries
- Shoulder dystocia
- Fetal death
When a Birth Injury Is the Result of Medical Malpractice
Not every birth injury is the result of medical malpractice. Some may be due to environmental factors or abnormalities that are outside of a doctor’s control. However, if your child sustained a birth injury, it is in your best interest to contact a birth injury attorney who can review your case and determine whether malpractice occurred.
In order to prove that a birth injury was the result of medical malpractice, you and your attorney must show that four factors were present:
- Duty of Care. The party owed you a professional duty of care. Any medical professional that has anything to do with your treatment or diagnosis owes you a duty of care.
- Dereliction of Duty. This refers to a failure to fulfill one’s duty of care. In terms of medical malpractice, this can involve any act or omission that any other reasonable and prudent medical professional would have made in the same or similar circumstances.
- Direct Causation. It must be shown that there was a direct causation between the medical professional’s dereliction of duty and injury, illness, or death.
- Damages. This refers to the fact that a medical malpractice victim must have sustained some type of compensable losses in order to be compensated for the breach of duty. Losses may include past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost quality of life.
Liability for Birth Injuries and Potential Damages
Children who experience birth injuries are often left with life-altering conditions that affect their physical and mental abilities. As a result, families of these children often experience tremendous physical, emotional, and financial burdens. When these injuries are preventable, victims and their families have every right to pursue compensation related to:
- Past, present, and future medical expenses
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Lost wages due to a parent having to be home with the child
- Future care for the child once he or she becomes an adult
- Reduced ability to earn future income
- Adaptive equipment and home modifications
- Pain and suffering
- Lost quality of life
- Punitive damages
Liability for birth injuries can be difficult to decipher because there are often many factors involved in determining who had a duty of care and what types of negligent acts were committed. Parties that generally may be held liable for birth injuries include:
- Pharmaceutical companies
- A product manufacturer
We Will Fight for Your Family
Unfortunately, even the best doctors make mistakes. If your child suffered a birth injury at the hands of a negligent medical provider, please know that you have legal rights to file a lawsuit against any and all negligent parties. Time is of the essence when it comes to birth injury claims to ensure that all evidence is preserved and to avoid losing your right to file a lawsuit.
At Shegerian & Associates, we understand that this is most likely an excruciating time for you and your family. While we understand that no amount of money can negate the trauma that you have experienced, our birth injury lawyers believe in holding responsible parties accountable for their actions and ensuring that you have the compensation you need to ensure your child’s quality of life. Please don’t hesitate to contact our birth injury law firm today for trustworthy and reliable legal counsel.