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Birth Injuries: Getting Justice For Your Child

No child should have to suffer throughout their life because of how they were brought into the world. Birth injuries consist of any short-term or long-term physical damage to children during labor.

Families affected can file a claim for compensation to help cover the past, present, and future financial loss from caring for their injured child. These unfortunate events can occur by many different factors, but families can get justice for their children.

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Factors of Birth Injuries

Maternal factors are not necessarily at the fault of medical personnel, but interpreting the situation incorrectly and bad decision making is what puts them at fault. Some maternal factors that could affect a mother’s delivery are being overweight, having a small stature even while pregnant, or internal health issues such as diabetes. There could also be characteristics of the baby that could increase the risk such as low birth weight.

Malpractice

A doctor is legally obligated to provide skilled service to their patients, known as their duty of care. However, doctors have breached this duty by making wrong decisions from incorrect medication prescriptions to unsafe delivery methods. Their negligence is often decided in court unless an early settlement is reached.

Delivery

What mainly causes birth injuries statistically are the mechanical forces behind forceps and vacuum deliveries. Hospitals are using these types of deliveries less, but they still could occur.

You have the right to refuse these methods of deliveries, but doctors may suggest one of the methods due to other complications. Complications that occur where doctors may suggest these deliveries are:

  • The mother’s health issues
  • The baby is not moving through the birth canal
  • The baby’s heart rate drops

Medication

Medications that are either incorrect or prescribed at the wrong dosage have affected children at birth. It could be medication prescribed during the pregnancy or it could be medication given at the time of labor. Even certain antibiotics can cause birth injuries such as epilepsy.

Results of Birth Injuries

Physical effects on the child during delivery could be as minor as bruising but could be as severe as cerebral palsy or fatality. The most common areas of the body where birth injuries occur are the:

  • Head and face
  • Shoulders
  • Neck
  • Limbs
  • Abdomen

The forceps and vacuum tools used to deliver babies create a higher risk of damage from force and pressure on a delicate newborn baby. Using these tools during labor has been known to cause:

  • Head trauma
  • Lesions
  • Fractures of the skull, ribs, or femur
  • Hemorrhages (i.e.: intracranial hemorrhages)
  • Nerve injuries
  • Soft tissue injuries (i.e: lacerations)
  • Erb’s Palsy
  • Cerebral Palsy

Other results of birth injuries can happen, but it comes down to the severity of the injury in addition to the doctor’s negligence to file a claim.

The Process for Birth Injury Suits

It’s always best for families to file a claim for birth injuries as early as possible. There is a statute of limitations in place in these cases, and they vary from state to state.

Families should consult with an attorney, and any details on the case should be disclosed so the attorney can help determine if there is a valid case. If so, families can file a claim against the medical personnel responsible for the birth injury.

Any evidence involving the case is gathered to back up the claim. From there, the case could go in one of the following ways:

  • A settlement can be reached and the claim does not go to trial. A disclosed settlement amount will be awarded to the family to compensate for financial loss.
  • The case will go to trial and possibly in front of a jury. A verdict will be made on behalf of the court. If the family is awarded, the settlement amount will be at the discretion of the judge.

Being Compensated for Birth Injury Lawsuits

When filing a suit, there are different losses and expenses that compensation can be sought out for. Lawsuits for birth injuries can cover:

  • Lost income from time spent caring for the child
  • Unpaid medical expenses
  • Future medical expenses
  • Therapy and rehabilitation
  • Future care planning
  • Home modifications to be more accessible for the child
  • Adaptive equipment
  • Emotional damages
  • Legal costs

States have different limitations on compensation for these claims. Speaking with a lawyer can get families an estimate of what the maximum amount of compensation could be.

Understand that once awarded, the compensation will be received several weeks thereafter, usually no longer than 6 weeks. Medical bills will be taken care of, legal fees are deducted, and then the family will receive the remaining lumpsum.

Caring for an injured child for any length of time at the fault of medical professionals can be rough. However, speaking to an attorney who has a background in birth injury cases can help you get justice and compensation for the hardship. Contact Oliveira Lawyers today and get one of our lawyers to fight for you.