A newborn facing a serious health problem can be an incredibly difficult situation for parents. But for some it is made that much worse when they realize the injury was avoidable and only occurred because of the negligence of a doctor or medical staff.
If this describes your situation, you should first know that the law allows citizens to pursue financial compensation if they – or their child – is injured due to a mistake made by medical professionals. You deserve compensation not only for the expenses you have incurred as a result of the injury, but also the pain and suffering you are experiencing.
Medical professionals owe a duty of care to their patients, which includes newborns. Breaking that duty of care is grounds for a birth injury lawsuit. Nevertheless, the laws surrounding birth injury cases are complex, meaning it can be difficult to know if you are eligible to receive compensation for what has happened.
In this article, we want to give you a better understanding of your situation and legal rights by taking a look at the basics of birth injury lawsuits. However, we do recommend you contact an attorney to discuss your case in detail as soon as possible.
If at any point you’d like to speak with us about your situation, don’t hesitate to reach out for a consultation. Consultations are always 100% free and confidential.
Common Birth Injuries in Newborns
First, let’s take a look at some of the most common birth injuries. If the injury your newborn is experiencing is not listed here, that does not necessarily mean it wasn’t caused by negligence.
- Cerebral Palsy
- Shoulder Dystocia
- Erb’s Palsy
- Brachial Palsy
- Klumpke’s Palsy
Sometimes, these injuries are caused by the improper use of physical force while delivering a baby. But they might also be related to the treatment of the mother before birth, such as the medical team not noticing – or treating – an infection that ended up injuring the baby.
Keep in mind that birth injuries can be caused by any error committed by medical professionals that impacted your newborn’s health and well-being.
That certainly includes injuries caused by excessive force, but it could also be related to improperly administered medications or failing to properly monitor vital signs during delivery. In other words, medical negligence can involve a medical professional either doing something wrong or not doing something they should have.
How to Know If Your Child’s Birth Injury Was Caused By Negligence
It’s probably obvious at this point that birth injury lawsuits can get complicated. After all, doctors are not likely to admit any sort of mistake that could lead to a malpractice suit against them, so it might be hard to get straight answers about what happened.
Ultimately, what often wins an argument that negligence was a factor is the expert opinion of unbiased medical professionals. But before you get to that stage, you must first be able to prove a number of other claims.
According to law, you must prove three things:
- The medical provider had a duty of care for your newborn
- The medical provider failed to meet that duty of care
- This failure was the cause of the birth injury
It’s important not to underestimate any of this. It can be very difficult to prove medical causation in any situation, meaning you’re going to need to rely heavily upon evidence and expert testimony to prove your case.
In part, this is why it’s so important to get started quickly and work with birth injury lawyers.
Starting a Birth Injury Lawsuit
Before anything, you should make sure your child’s injuries are taken care of. It might seem overwhelming and you might not have the money upfront to pay for all of the medical care, but if you attempt to wait for financial compensation to get your child the attention he or she needs, you might be waiting longer than you would like. Birth injury lawsuits can take some time.
In addition, if you don’t prioritize your child’s medical care above all else, even if it’s only because you’re trying to understand your situation better, a jury might find it hard to believe these injuries were as severe as you claim.
That said, while you are obtaining this medical care, keep all of your records, including prescriptions, doctor’s notes, and whatever else you can obtain that documents your little one’s injuries and treatment.
Once you have taken the appropriate steps with your child, it’s time to look for an attorney.
Hiring a Birth Injury Attorney
If you decide to file a lawsuit against your medical provider, it’s important to understand that you will likely be facing their insurance company with their team of experienced lawyers.
This puts most people at a severe disadvantage. However, if you get your own team of experienced attorneys, your chance of winning the case increases substantially.
When you decide to find an attorney you can trust, here are a few pointers:
- Experience: When fighting insurance companies, there is little margin for error. Cases can be won or lost on what might seem like small matters. Technicalities. But working with a team of experienced lawyers who understand the nuances of birth injury cases can help ensure your case is handled properly.
- Reviews: While some attorneys try to “beat the system” of online reviews, reviews are still generally a good indicator of the quality of a firm. Reviews, case studies, and testimonials can help you decide if an attorney is right for you.
- Contingency fee basis: You might be worried about the cost of an attorney, especially before you win and if, in the worst-case scenario, you lose. However, most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you won’t have to pay them unless you win your case. If a firm doesn’t offer contingency fee arrangements, find someone who believes they can obtain the compensation you deserve.
- Personality: It might seem like a small thing, but it is important that you feel comfortable with your attorney. Honesty, trust, and compassion, are extremely important in the client-lawyer relationship and you’ll likely be working closely together for some time.
Once you find an attorney who accepts your case, things will start to move quickly. You’ll need to provide evidence and a thorough explanation of the facts surrounding your case. Your attorney will begin investigating the situation, filing the proper paperwork, and getting the lawsuit off the ground.
The good news is you won’t be in it alone, nor will you have to worry about the technicalities and nuances of the lawsuit. Instead, you will be able to focus on your little one’s well-being.
What Can I Recover From a Birth Injury Lawsuit?
When calculating how much compensation you should demand, there are two primary categories to consider. The first, and most obvious, is the hard costs you will be facing as a result of the injury. This includes:
- Medical expenses
- Doctor’s visits
- Medical equipment
- Therapy costs
- Lost wages due to time away from work
- Necessary home or vehicle modifications
- And more
Basically, if the injury has resulted in additional expenses of any kind, you might have a right to compensation for it. While it might take some time to understand exactly how much all of this has cost – and will cost – you, it’s relatively straightforward once all is accounted for.
Second, the law also allows victims of birth injuries to pursue compensation for the trauma and suffering they have experienced as a result of their injuries. This includes:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Mental anguish
- Emotional trauma
- And more
How much you should receive in compensation for this category of damages is a bit more complicated. It’s important that you ask for an amount that isn’t too low – after all, the pain you have experienced is real and will likely have lifelong effects on your life.
At the same time, you don’t want to be seen as unreasonable. If a jury feels that you are simply trying to “game” the system, it might harm your chance of winning.
However, if you’re working with an experienced attorney who understands the appropriate amount to seek in compensation – for both expenses and the pain and suffering – the guesswork will be removed.
Reach out to Colombo Law
Beginning a lawsuit against your medical provider might seem like a massive undertaking. But rest assured, our team is here to help remove the burden you’re facing so that you can heal.
No one should have to endure a birth injury due to the negligence of a medical provider they put their trust in, but we want to do everything we can to make sure those who do experience this have access to the support and resources they need.
If you’d like to discuss your case over a free, completely confidential consultation, don’t hesitate to contact us.