Birth injuries are traumatic experiences that can harm a baby and/or a mother during labor and delivery. It may also happen after the birth if a medical professional fails to diagnose a health issue while the baby is in the neonatal unit, or the mother is recovering in a medical facility. Birth injuries can have moderate, severe, or even life-threatening consequences and require extensive treatment in the long term and lifestyle modifications to address physical limitations or disability.
If you or your baby have suffered a birth injury, you have the right to file a medical malpractice claim to obtain financial compensation for your trauma and the expensive costs associated with the injury. If a doctor or another medical professional has failed to provide appropriate care, you can file a birth injury claim against them or the hospital they work for.
Understanding common types and causes of birth injury can help you determine whether your case fits the criteria. However, your first step if you know or even suspect a birth injury has occurred, contacting a personal injury attorney who specializes in birth injury should be your first step. This way you can receive sound legal advice and have someone to support you throughout the claim process and who will fiercely advocate for your and your child’s rights.
Common Types of Birth Injuries
- Brain injury including cerebral palsy
- Limb or joint injury such as Erb's palsy
- Medical device injuries
- Spinal cord injury including brachial plexus injuries
Common Causes of Birth Injuries
All birth injuries can happen due to either hypoxia or lack of oxygen, or trauma, including:
- Birth canal issues
- Cephalohematoma or brain bleeding
- Excessive pulling
- Failure to recognize illness and injury signs post-birth
- Heart rate and fetal monitoring errors
- Incorrect use of birth-assisting tools like forceps
- Negligence in the neonatal care unit
- Placental eruptions
- Umbilical cord complications
What About Maternal Injuries?
Birth injuries can also affect mothers and are equally valid grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. Maternal injuries can result in additional medical procedures, unforeseen expenses, loss of income, the added burden on the family, and difficulties with childcare.
Maternal injuries can be:
- Physical, including abnormal uterine bleeding. uterine rupture, fractures, infections, and vaginal lacerations
- Mental, like depression or post-traumatic stress disorder
In the most severe cases, a maternal injury can result in the wrongful death of the mother.
What Is the Legal Process to Obtain Compensation for a Birth Injury?
The statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice claim is two years after either the date of the injury or the date you discovered it. You can file a lawsuit against a specific doctor, another medical professional, or a healthcare facility.
As the plaintiff, you and your lawyer must establish the following elements:
- You had a patient-doctor relationship that meant the medical professional had a duty of care
- One or more medical providers failed to provide you with an adequate standard of care
- The breach of care resulted in your or your child’s injury
Thorough medical examinations help demonstrate the validity of your malpractice lawsuit. Testimonies from both witnesses and medical experts also play a central role in supporting your claim. You must provide reasonable proof that you and your family have suffered emotional trauma and financial hardships as direct results of the birth injury.
Compensation for a birth injury can help cover:
- Current and future medical bills associated with the injury
- Physical or occupational therapy
- Home accommodations and mobility devices
- Caregiving at home or in a facility
- Special education
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of income or reduction of earning capabilities
Compensation for a child’s birth injury typically goes to the child in the form of a trust. If you filed a lawsuit for a maternal birth injury, the compensation goes to the mother unless she suffered a wrongful death, in which case the money may go to the child or to the relative who filed the claim on her behalf.
Hire an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer to Increase Your Chances of Success
Given the complexity of the legal process and the distress due to a birth injury, working with a compassionate personal injury lawyer is vital to secure a positive outcome for your claim. Your attorney can carefully review your situation and they have the experience to effectively negotiate with insurance companies to obtain the compensation you and your family deserve.
A birth injury lawyer can educate you on your rights as a victim of medical malpractice and they can handle the bulk of the negotiation on your behalf. In the event that your case goes to trial, they can represent you before a court too. By working with a lawyer, you can also focus on the care you and/or your baby need.
Do you need to file a medical malpractice claim for a birth injury in Colorado Springs or the Denver Metro Area? Contact Clawson & Clawson, LLP, today at (719) 602-5888 to schedule a consultation!