A birth injury is any kind of damage sustained to an infant as direct result of the childbirth process. Sometimes these injuries are accidents caused by complications that cannot be predicted, like a genetic abnormality or a heart defect. In other cases, though, birth injuries are caused by preventable errors made by a doctor, midwife, nurse, or other trusted medical caregiver.
If your child was born with a birth injury like brain damage, a skull fracture, or nerve damage, you want answers. You want to know if someone was responsible and if someone’s mistake did cause your child’s injury, you probably want justice. A birth injury lawyer can be your ally and representative as you fight for that justice against hospitals, insurance companies, and health care administrators. A lawyer with the right expertise can get you justice and compensation for your child.
What Are Birth Injuries?
A birth injury is a physical injury, brain injury, nerve injury, or some kind of medical condition caused by complications of pregnancy, labor, delivery, and the time shortly after a baby is born. These injuries may be caused by a variety of factors. For instance, illness in the mother that is not treated, like an infection or preeclampsia, can cause harm to a baby. If the child is born with an illness like jaundice that is not treated, that too can cause damage that is considered a birth injury.
Birth injuries may also be caused by physical trauma during childbirth. Pulling too forcefully on the baby, or the baby getting stuck in the mother’s pelvis, can cause physical damage. Inappropriate use of forceps or vacuum extractors, using them with too much force, can also cause physical damage to a baby being born.
Cerebral palsy is the most common type of birth injury and it is caused by any factor during childbirth that leads to brain damage. Other examples of birth injuries included Erb’s palsy, caused by damage to nerves that control the arm, brachial plexus injuries, skull fractures and other bone fractures, cranial nerve damage, spinal cord injuries, and in the most extreme cases, the death of the newborn.
How Can You Prove Negligence?
If you believe that your child’s birth injury was caused by an error made by a medical professional you trusted to care for you and your child, you may be able to prove negligence played a role. To make a case against a hospital, doctor, midwife, or anyone else involved in the birth you need to be able to prove three main factors:
- The medical caregiver or caregivers in question had explicit responsibility for your care and your child’s care. It needs to be shown that this person was expected to care for you and your child.
- The medical caregiver made an error. This could be an action, such as using too much force with forceps or a failure to take an action, like failing to perform a Cesarean section when it was clear that there would be complications during labor.
- Finally, you have to be able to prove that the above error contributed to your child’s birth injury, or that without that mistake your child would be healthy and uninjured.
How Can a Birth Injury Lawyer Help?
Having a child with a birth injury is tragic. It means that your child will face challenges that other children don’t have to face. Depending on the severity of the injury your child may be facing severe and debilitating challenges that prevent her from living a normal life, now and in the future. If you think someone is responsible for this injury, you probably want justice for your child.
A birth injury is not only devastating for your family; it is also expensive. Again, depending on the severity of the injury, your child may need a lot of expensive care for years to come. There may be immediate treatments and surgeries, ongoing physical therapy, educational interventions, emotional and behavioral therapy, and even the cost of live-in or institutional care for decades into the future.
What a good birth injury lawyer can do to help you is make the case that will win you and your child both justice and compensation to cover all the associated costs. A birth injury lawyer is someone who is experienced with these kinds of cases, with medical malpractice laws, and with winning compensation, either through settlements or jury trials, for their clients.
What Kind of Compensation Can a Birth Injury Lawyer Win?
A birth injury lawyer gives you the best chance of winning the compensation that will help you give your child the best care possible. Compensation claims can include money to cover current medical bills, future medical bills, costs of ongoing therapy, costs of adaptive devices and in-home medical care, and it can also cover the intangible costs of pain and suffering as well as emotional pain for both you and your child. Compensation may also be claimed for lost wages. Many parents with a child suffering a birth injury need to stay home to provide care.
How Can You Find the Best Birth Injury Lawyer?
To fight for the justice and the compensation that your child deserves you need to be able to work with the best representation. Start by finding a lawyer that specializes, not just in medical malpractice, but birth injuries. Some of these lawyers are even more specialized and may cover only cerebral palsy cases, for instance. The more expertise your lawyer has the better your chances of making a successful case.
You may also want to find out what other clients have to say about a lawyer before making a choice. A good birth injury lawyer should have testimonials or references from previous clients, the people for whom they have already won justice and compensation. Before you make your choice, be sure that the lawyer is able to answer all your questions and that he or she makes you feel comfortable going forward with your birth injury case.