Several complications can occur during childbirth due to a natural course of events. However, there are also scenarios in which maternal and newborn harm can occur due to preventable errors made by physicians, nurses, or other members of the delivery team. This is known as medical malpractice, or medical negligence.
Both mothers and newborns can be at risk for suffering harm during the childbirth process if the medical professionals attending to mother and child are not reasonably performing their duties per the medical standards of care.
Birth injuries caused by medical negligence can have far-reaching consequences, causing serious or permanent damage to infant health, and resulting in significant financial, mental, and emotional strain for families.
If you’re a parent of a young child or newborn whom you believe was injured during or shortly after birth at the fault of a negligent delivery team, you may be eligible for compensation.
The birth injury attorneys of Florin|Roebig can help you file a birth injury claim to secure a fair settlement for medical malpractice.
Causes Of Birth Injuries
In the United States, studies show that anywhere between 0.2 to 36 birth injuries occur for every 1,000 births. The extent of birth injuries—also called birth trauma—in hospitals can vary greatly depending on the quality of hospital care provided and several demographic factors.
Although there are several ways in which a newborn can be injured—before, during, and shortly after birth—perhaps the most perverse cause is injuries that occur as a result of medical negligence.
Birth injuries that occur as a result of medical negligence are preventable injuries that can have a long-lasting impact on the health and well-being of newborns and their parents.
Common forms of medical negligence seen in birth injury cases include:
- failing to perform duties that any reasonable medical professional would carry out under the circumstances that led to the injury
- failing to properly monitor newborns during and shortly after birth
- neglecting to perform specialized testing for the mother during pregnancy
- failing to communicate any pregnancy or delivery issues to other doctors involved in the delivery room care
- failing to notice and address changes in the fetus’ condition
- failing to refer high-risk mothers to specialized providers for adequate care
- failing to properly diagnose and treat issues during pregnancy and birth, such as:
- umbilical cord entrapment
- maternal infections
- placental abruption
- premature rupture of the membranes
- other risks/health conditions for which a Cesarean-section (‘C-section’) procedure is recommended
- misuse of delivery instruments (e.g. forceps, vacuum)
Delivery team health professionals who demonstrate some form of medical negligence through one or more of these circumstances during the labor or delivery process may be sued for negligence on account of failing to meet the medical standards of care.
Medical professionals are required to adhere to standards of care that protect the health and safety of patients. What can seem like a minor error by a nurse or physician in the moment can lead to a lifetime of grief, distress, and financial hardship for families.
Common Types Of Birth Injuries
There are various ways an infant can be injured during or shortly after birth. Birth injuries can vary widely in their severity and the extent of their impact on a baby’s short- and long-term health.
The most common sites of birth-related injuries in newborns are the head, neck, and shoulders. However, a baby’s lower limbs, face, and abdomen may also be at risk for suffering harm, depending on how the injury occurs.
Common types of birth injuries include:
- cerebral palsy
- Erb’s palsy (nerve damage)
- hypoxia (lack of oxygen to the brain)
- head trauma
- brain damage
- clavicle fracture
- internal hemorrhaging
- spinal cord damage
In severe cases, negligent medical treatment during and shortly after birth can also result in wrongful death.
Any type of harm brought upon an innocent newborn can be a traumatic experience for a parent. If you have a child who you believe suffered injury at the fault of a medical provider or hospital, you may be able to seek compensation for economic and non-economic losses.
Birth Injury Medical Malpractice Laws
Birth injury claims and lawsuits fall under the category of medical malpractice—an area of law that is concerned with seeking damages for injuries or death sustained as a result of a breach in adhering to medical standards of care.
Medical malpractice laws and the deadline for which parents have to file birth injury claims in the U.S. can vary depending on the state in which you live. Generally, parents who wish to file a birth injury claim or lawsuit are tasked with gathering enough evidence to support their claim of medical malpractice.
This responsibility can be coordinated and undertaken by your attorney as well, who can use their knowledge and connections with medical experts to build a strong case to support your claim.
The basic requirements for filing a birth injury claim include proof that:
- a doctor, nurse, or other member of the delivery team involved in the infant’s care breached medical standards of care during the pregnancy, labor, or delivery process (i.e. demonstrated medical negligence)
- this instance(s) of medical negligence resulted in birth injuries or wrongful death
The best way to get a better understanding of your state’s medical malpractice laws and to learn more about the process of filing a birth injury claim is to speak to an experienced birth injury attorney.
Many law offices offer a free initial consultation with clients to discuss the details of an individual’s case to help them determine their legal options.
Statute Of Limitations For Birth Injury Claims
Unfortunately, individuals who wish to file a birth injury claim against a doctor, nurse, or hospital for medical malpractice do not have an unlimited amount of time to do so.
In the United States, there are deadlines for taking legal action against a defendant—these are known as statutes of limitations. Statutes of limitations can vary depending on the type of claim being filed (e.g. medical malpractice, motor vehicle accident, sexual assault) and your state’s laws.
Statute of limitations for birth injury cases vary by state. However, it’s important to contact an attorney as soon as possible after an instance of medical malpractice and birth injury to begin legal proceedings against the individual or entity responsible.
Generally, the statute of limitations for birth injury cases begins on the date of birth, when the birth injury occurs, or from the date on which the birth injury is discovered.
Several states, such as Florida, have a two-year statute of limitations for birth injury cases. Other states, like Minnesota, provide plaintiffs with four years from the time of the injury.
Types Of Damages Awarded In Birth Injury Claims
In personal injury claims and lawsuits, the term “damages” is defined as compensation that can be awarded to the plaintiff to recover economic and non-economic losses.
Economic losses refers to measurable expenses that have or are projected to result from birth injuries, such as:
- medical treatment costs: doctor visits, hospital visits, specialized medical care related to the birth injury
- future medical expenses
- occupational therapy
- in-home care
- special medical or home equipment for injury-related accommodation
- lost wages
- medication costs
Non-economic losses are costs that are more difficult to measure that can affect individuals’ mental and emotional health, as well as their general livelihood and well-being.
Non-economic damages that may be recoverable in birth injury cases include:
- pain and suffering
- mental anguish
- loss of companionship
- loss of enjoyment for life
In some birth injury cases, additional types of damages—such as punitive damages—may also be sought.
Punitive damages are different from compensatory damages in that they don’t seek to compensate for losses. Rather, they are awarded to impose some form of punishment on the defendant to deter them from engaging in similarly reckless or intentionally unlawful behavior in the future.
Are There Caps On Damages For Birth Injury Claims?
Some compensatory and punitive damages in birth injury cases can be subject to “caps”— i.e. maximum amounts that can be awarded based on the nature of the case and according to state laws.
The types of damages that are typically subject to caps in birth injury cases are non-economic losses and punitive damages.
Whether these caps will apply to your own birth injury case, however, will depend on where you live in the United States and the discretion of the judge involved in your case.
Reasons To Hire A Birth Injury Attorney
Although it’s not required for individuals to hire an attorney to file birth injury claims, having legal representation in a medical malpractice case is highly recommended.
Without extensive knowledge and experience handling birth injury claims, it can be very challenging for the average person to find the time and resources necessary to gather the evidence needed to support their claim, build a strong case, and fight for a fair settlement.
Hiring an attorney who has experience handling birth injury claims can therefore offer several benefits, borne out of their skills and knowledge in the medical and legal fields.
The responsibilities of a birth injury attorney can include:
- consulting with other legal and medical experts
- finding medical experts to provide testimony to support the plaintiff’s claim
- getting ahold of medical records
- providing a comprehensive overview of the plaintiff’s legal rights, state laws, and statutes of limitations for birth injury cases
- communicating with the hospital and hospital insurance carrier on the plaintiff’s behalf
- gathering enough evidence to reasonably prove a) that medical negligence occurred and b) medical negligence resulted in birth injury
- negotiating a fair settlement based on the extent of your losses
Birth Injury Attorneys Serving The U.S.
For decades, the birth injury attorneys of Florin|Roebig have fought to protect and advocate for the rights of individuals who have experienced pain and hardship as a result of medical malpractice.
Our attorneys have extensive experience in handling claims involving a variety of birth injuries and securing fair settlement amounts for clients based on the type and severity of the injury.
We are able to serve clients out of our law office locations in Florida, Texas, Minnesota, and Colorado and have secured over $1 billion in results nationwide.
Demonstrating exceptional skill and expertise in birth injury cases, our team of seasoned birth injury medical malpractice attorneys includes:
- Wil H. Florin, B.C.S.
- Tommy D. Roebig, B.C.S.
- Michael L. Walker, B.C.S.
- Chase P. Florin, B.C.S.
- Neil P. O’Brien, M.B.A.
- Shaun M. Cummings
- Luca G. Esposito
- Chad K. Florin, M.B.A., LL.M.
- Nicholas S. Costantino
- Jordan A. Kolinski
- Parker Y. Florin, LL.M.
- Taylor D. Roebig
- Kavon P. Smith
- Matthew L. McMullen
- Michael A. Ossi, O.C.
- Lawrence J. Najem, O.C.
- Andrew M. Leone, O.C.
- Nollys R. Solarte, O.C.
- Brian R. Dettman, O.C.
Find A Birth Injury Attorney Near You
If you have a newborn or young child who has suffered consequences as a result of an injury sustained during or shortly after birth, time is of the essence if you wish to seek justice against the party responsible.
The law offices of Florin|Roebig can offer you or your loved one a free case evaluation to discuss your case and provide an overview of your legal options.
Don’t wait to find out what your case may be worth. Call us today to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our birth injury attorneys and begin the process of filing a birth injury claim.