Everyone expects the best possible outcome when their baby is born. Unfortunately, despite expertly trained physicians and medical personnel and all the technology our modern age possesses, there is still a minutely possible chance of birth injury with every pregnancy.
According to medical literature, "Significant birth injury still occurs occasionally and unavoidably, with an average of 6-8 injuries per 1,000 live births."
Understanding birth injuries
Birth injuries may range from scratches and bruises to hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (caused by insufficient oxygen and blood flow to the brain at or near the time of delivery, also known as HIE), periventricular leukomalacia and other brain injuries, spine injury, stillbirth or postnatal death.
Injuries sustained at birth could have a number of causes. Some may be caused by how the mother's pregnancy went and some have to do with the progression of labor and delivery, while others stem from medical negligence. Patient.info lists factors which increase the for risk for birth injury, which include:
- Breech delivery
- Large infant size
- Shoulder dystocia
- Instrumental delivery (using forceps or a vacuum)
- Very long or very short labor
- Maternal or fetal infection
Certain types of birth injuries can lead to lifelong complications; financial obligations including medical debt; frequent doctor visits; surgeries and procedures; physical therapy; in-home care; special equipment; loss of a second income (as one parent may give up a job to remain home to take care of the child); pain and suffering; and the loss of personal time, as well as strained relationships, as the parents struggle to juggle childcare with their relationship.
How to file a birth injury lawsuit
When a birth injury is the result of medical malpractice, there is the added pain of wondering what could have been if the injury had never happened and the child had gone on to live a normal, healthy life.
Parents have the right to seek reasonable financial settlements to enable them to provide the highest quality care for their child following a medical malpractice birth injury. To start a lawsuit, clients must seek out legal advisors who can use their experience in malpractice suits to help them decide whether they have sufficient evidence to bring a case against a medical provider or institution.
The lawyers at Goodman Acker have handled hundreds of medical malpractice cases, including birth injuries, and have the resources to handle the most complex birth trauma cases.
Once you've chosen the law firm that will be handling your case, your lawyer and you will launch a preliminary investigation into the circumstances around your child's birth injury. Goodman Acker suggests compiling records such as the accident report, the child's medical records and paperwork from the insurance companies which outlines what is going to be covered.
Pursue appropriate treatment
One mistake injured parties may make is to wait until a settlement is reached before pursuing medical attention. It's important to make sure your child gets the treatment he or she needs as quickly as possible.
Since lawsuits can take weeks, months or sometimes longer, this may require accumulating some debt in the short run.
Keep in touch with your lawyer
As your lawyer moves forward with filing your suit, there may come a time when he or she enters presuit negotiations with an insurance adjuster. It's important to stay available in case your lawyer needs to contact you regarding a possible settlement with a fair offer.
As frequently happens, however, no settlement will be reached and the lawyer will officially file the lawsuit on your behalf. Afterward, there will be a time allowed for "discovery" while the lawyer interviews you, witnesses, medical personnel and visits places of interest in the case.
Go to court
Eventually, the suit will go to court where the relevant facts of the case will be placed before a jury. The jury will judge the merit of all evidence provided and determine what financial reimbursement will be appropriate to award the injured party.
For more information on how to file a birth injury lawsuit or to meet with a lawyer right away, visit Goodman Acker and speak with one of its many experienced legal counselors.