Not all births go as smoothly as parents hope. When things go awry, the baby can sustain trauma that can lead to serious injuries and long-term disability.
Parents whose infant suffered a birth injury are often stuck between a rock and a hard place—their child has been hurt by what they suspect is medical negligence, but they are too busy with the demands of raising a baby with injuries and special needs that they have little time to explore their legal options. Furthermore, most parents simply are not familiar with medical malpractice claims or how to go about pursuing compensation for damages.
Our medical malpractice team at DuBoff & Associates, Chartered in Silver Spring has put together this brief informative guide about birth injuries for parents to become better acquainted with their options. You are also welcome to call a birth injury attorney anytime for a free case evaluation at 301-495-3131.
What are some common types of birth injuries?
Our firm handles all types of birth injury cases. Some of the most common types of injuries warranting a medical malpractice claim include:
- Erb’s palsy – A type of brachial plexus palsy, this injury occurs when the nerves in the upper arm sustain damage. Generally caused by pulling too hard on the infant during delivery, Erb’s palsy can cause paralysis in the upper arm area.
- Fractures – Such as those involving the collar bone that result from a doctor’s unnecessary use of force during the birth.
- Cerebral palsy – There are a lot of factors that can contribute to an infant’s development of cerebral palsy, some of which are mistakes made during the delivery. This condition causes damage to the brain and impaired motor function.
- Cephalohematoma – The incorrect use of forceps can cause this condition characterized by bleeding between the skull and the periosteum.
- Intellectual disabilities or developmental delays due to lack of oxygen during labor and delivery.
What can go wrong with the birth process?
There are a lot of factors that can contribute to birth injuries, such as having an infant with a high birth weight, delivering prematurely, the mother having a small pelvis, or babies born in breech position.
However, there are a lot of things that a doctor can prevent that may also lead to a birth injury. If the doctor is inexperienced, inattentive, stressed, detached, or simply makes a bad judgment call, the child can suffer life-altering injuries. In some cases, the injury is fatal. Some of the things that can go wrong with the pregnancy and delivery process that can lead to a birth injury include the following:
- Failing to administer certain medical tests
- Failing to diagnose the mother or baby with health conditions, such as diabetes or spina bifida
- Waiting too long to order a Cesarean section
- Improperly using equipment during delivery, such as vacuums and forceps
- Using unnecessary or excessive force
- Not making smart, swift choices if the child has shoulder dystocia
- Not carefully monitoring the mother’s or baby’s condition during labor
Obstetricians, nurse practitioners, and midwives are under legal obligation to follow a certain set of practices and protocols when providing care to their patients. Failing to uphold those standards is not only dangerous for the patients, but it can make physicians legally liable for any damages they cause.
Can I file a medical malpractice lawsuit for my child’s injuries?
Not all birth injuries constitute medical malpractice. In order for you to have a valid claim that you can pursue, your doctor or other staff must have made a mistake that breached the standard of care they were supposed to provide.
The first step to determining if you can file a suit for medical malpractice is to have an attorney review your case. Most medical malpractice firms—ours included—offer free consultations for parents of children with birth injuries. Schedule a consult with a lawyer and discuss all the known facts of what occurred. Show the attorney your medical records and those of your child, and address your legal questions and concerns.
Upon review of your case, your attorney will be able to tell you if you will be able to hold the doctor liable and what your next steps are to pursue compensation. Your lawyer can also tell you what types of damages you and your family might be entitled to as well as the overall value of your case. You can recover things such as your child’s current and future medical expenses, loss of relationship with your child, expenses related to your child’s needs, and emotional damages.
To speak to a medical malpractice attorney in Silver Spring, call DuBoff & Associates, Chartered at 301-495-3131 and request a free consultation. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to explain your legal options and help you pursue the settlement you and your family deserve. Contact the law firm that cares today.