The birth of a new child should be a beautiful moment for a family. The doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals who assist in prenatal care and child delivery for pregnant women have a duty to uphold the appropriate standards of care for their patients’ conditions. When healthcare professionals make mistakes that result in injury to a mother or her child before or during childbirth, this is a birth injury and potential grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
If you or someone you love has recently experienced a birth injury in the family that you believe occurred due to medical negligence, it’s vital to seek legal counsel as soon as possible and determine your options for recovery. A medical malpractice lawsuit can be a challenging matter, but it can ultimately provide compensation to a family affected by a negligent birth injury.
WHY CHOOSE THE KREEGER LAW FIRM?
When you need a Sacramento birth injury lawyer, it’s essential to hire one with solid experience and a respectable track record of winning cases similar to your own. At the Kreeger Law Firm, we understand how devastating birth injuries can be for the mothers and children who sustain them and their family members. Some birth injuries will result in permanent damage that requires extensive long-term medical treatment and constant supervision. No matter what type of birth injury your family experienced or the depth of your losses, Kreeger Law Firm has the skill and experience to guide you to a successful result in a medical malpractice lawsuit for birth injury.
Types of Birth Injuries
When an infant suffers a birth injury, the child’s parents may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor or medical professional who delivered the infant. In the State of California, there is a three-year statute of limitations from the date of either the injury or one year from the date of discovery or the moment the injury should have been discovered. However, in order to file a proper claim, the doctor or medical professional must have acted negligently, and those actions must have directly led to the birth injury.
Birth injuries happen in many different ways during the prenatal and childbirth phases. Some of the potential ways a medical malpractice lawsuit can arise from a birth injury include:
- Improper Forceps Use. When a mother is having difficulty delivering her child or if the infant is improperly positioned in the womb, some attending physicals use forceps to help deliver the baby. If used properly, forceps can reduce the infant’s risk of oxygen deprivation and fetal distress, which can be linked to cerebral palsy and other birth injuries. However, used improperly, forceps can cause nerve damage in the infant’s neck or chest and other injuries to the infant’s head and face.
- Delay in Ordering a Caesarian Section. If the infant is suffering from fetal distress, then an emergency C-section is ordered. Some conditions that may require an immediate C-section is when the mother’s blood pressure drops, there is bleeding from placental abruption, or other issues that cause an infant’s heart rate to drop. Emergency C-sections may also be necessary if the uterine ruptures, cord prolapses, and the placenta covers the cervix. If the delivery team fails to recognize the mother’s need for an emergency C-section, they may be liable for injuries caused to the mother and the infant.
- Chemical Birth Defects. If your child has been exposed to chemicals that resulted in defects like a cleft lip, missing organs, leukemia, cancerous eyes, and abnormal brains, then it may be classified as a chemical birth defects and our firm can help.
- Birth injuries from oxygen deprivation. The healthcare team presiding over a childbirth procedure must carefully monitor the oxygen levels of both the mother and her child. Many different variables can affect a baby’s oxygen intake, and attending medical staff must react accordingly when a baby is in distress. A birth injury from oxygen deprivation could result in extensive brain damage, and the child may experience severe developmental delays or never be able to live independently.
- Injuries from excessive force. Some childbirths are difficult, and the mother’s anatomy and the size of the baby may work against each other during labor. Doctors sometimes must use physical force to rotate and adjust a baby on their way through the birth canal. If a doctor does so improperly or with too much force, the doctor could unintentionally injure the child.
These are only a few examples of birth injuries that might lead to medical malpractice lawsuits. Some of these injuries can cause lifelong complications for a child, including long-term medical care and other treatments for their special needs.
DAMAGES YOU MIGHT SECURE FROM A LAWSUIT
A successful medical malpractice claim can compensate for a family’s losses from a birth injury. Children who suffer injuries during childbirth often develop permanent disabilities and medical conditions, and the parents face an extraordinary financial burden from their child’s needs. A medical malpractice lawsuit in California can yield compensation for current and future medical expenses, including occupational therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, medical attention, in-home care, and special needs-based expenses for the child’s life.
A family who must take care of a child with a disability from a birth injury may need to reassess their employment. If a parent must leave work to care for a child due to the extent of the child’s birth injury, they may have grounds to claim compensation for their lost income, or for the defendant to pay for the cost of in-home care for their child. Parents of a child afflicted with a birth injury from negligence can also expect to receive compensation for their pain and suffering under California law.
A doctor, nurse, or other medical professional who negligently causes a birth injury may face not only civil liability for the victim’s losses but also professional consequences, including losing their right to practice medicine. The defendant may also face fines or even criminal penalties, depending on the severity of their negligence and the seriousness of the plaintiff’s damages.
Your California birth injury attorney can help you determine the exact scope of your damages by calculating the losses you have already incurred as well as those you are likely to face in the future so you can maximize your recovery.
When can I sue for a birth injury?
Birth injuries can cause physical and emotional consequences on a family, in addition to financial strain on the child’s family. Obstetricians, pediatricians, doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals have a responsibility to uphold an acceptable standard of care to their patients. However, even well-intending and experienced medical physicians can make mistakes. When medical negligence causes a child to be born with a birth defect or injures an infant during delivery, the family may be able to recover compensation for these damages through a birth injury lawsuit.
An experienced attorney handling birth injury claims can carefully examine your unique situation and determine whether your doctor took proper care during delivery in order to assess the amount of damages that may be owed to you for your loss.
If your attorney proves you had a patient-doctor relationship with the defendant named in your claim and the defendant clearly violated the standard of care, directly causing the birth injury in question, you will likely be able to proceed with your lawsuit. Unlike most other personal injury lawsuits, medical malpractice lawsuits require a pretrial review process during which a medical board must review the claim. As long as the board determines there are acceptable grounds for legal action, the plaintiff and their California birth injury attorney can proceed with their legal action.
How do I know if My Child Was Injured due to Medical Malpractice?
Birth injuries can be caused by many different factors. Contacting an experienced attorney who specializes in birth injuries can review your medical records and examine diagnostic tests, electronic fetal monitor strips, use of birthing tools, delivery sheets, and other notes on the pregnancy and delivery to assess whether medical malpractice contributed to your child’s injury.
During the board review of your claim, neutral medical professionals who specialize in determining the standard of care violations will review your claim to determine whether medical malpractice has occurred. A California birth injury attorney can also coordinate with outside medical experts to provide their professional opinions about a birth injury, including the long-term effects such an injury can have.
Contact a Birth Injury Lawyer
The sooner you contact a Sacramento birth injury lawyer, the sooner you and your loved ones can start building your medical malpractice lawsuit. In California, a plaintiff with a medical malpractice claim must file their claim within one year of discovery of the injury in question. When it comes to injuries that occur before or during childbirth, the family typically has one year from the birth date of the affected baby to take legal action.
This may sound like a generous timeframe, but the amount of time required to deal with your medical concerns and meet your new child’s needs can be staggering. A California birth injury attorney can handle your legal concerns on behalf of you and your family while you focus on your recovery. If your child appears unhurt at birth but develops signs of a birth injury later, your statute of limitations for legal action will begin on the date you first notice symptoms. Seek medical attention right away if you believe your child has sustained a birth injury.
If you believe your child may have been injured during birth due to the negligence of a medical professional, you should contact an experienced birth injury lawyer in Sacramento to discuss your rights and options. Attorney Christopher Kreeger offers complimentary consultations and would be happy to sit down with your family to help you form a plan of action. To schedule a consultation, contact us today at (916) 782-8400.