When Are You Allowed to Sue as the Result of a Birth Injury?
In modern medicine, birth injuries should be uncommon. However, there are thousands of families who suffer the consequences of birth injuries during childbirth each year. Birth injuries can affect both mother and child and can result in long-lasting health consequences for both. You may need to contact a birth injury lawyer if you decide to seek compensation for these injuries.
When Are You Allowed to Sue as the Result of a Birth Injury?
In general, you are allowed to sue a physician or hospital facility for birth injuries if an infant was injured as a result of childbirth or if either the infant or mother lost their life during childbirth. Several specific injuries are commonly linked to lawsuits for birth injury. Some of these injuries include:
Cerebral palsy is the most commonly reported birth injury in America. This injury occurs because of brain damage during childbirth and can result in a wide range of medical conditions and symptoms that will impact a child’s development as they grow.
The range of disability as a result of cerebral palsy can be mild to severe. Some of the symptoms that are associated with cerebral palsy include cognitive impairment, social development delay, and motor function delays. If you suspect a child is showcasing signs of cerebral palsy, it’s important to get a medical examination as soon as possible after birth.
Erb’s palsy is a condition that occurs when the sensitive nerves in the neck and spine are stretched during delivery, which can result in nerve damage that affects mobility, sensation, and movement throughout development. Some cases of this injury can affect the neck, shoulders, wrist, hands, and arms.
This birth injury results from excessive force being used during childbirth. Most often, this injury may occur because the infant’s shoulders are stuck in the mother’s pelvis during birth and a physician is required to use extraction tools or manual force to aid in the birth. The consequences of this injury can result in permanent nerve damage or paralysis of the affected arm.
Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy is a condition that essentially refers to a lack of oxygen and blood in the brain during childbirth. This is a serious birth entry that can result in symptoms such as breathing problems, seizures, developmental delays, underdeveloped motor reflexes, and more. This particular injury is often related to infant death, as well.
Occasionally, birth injuries can also be the result of surgical instruments that were required during childbirth. For example, if forceps or other extraction devices were used to assist in childbirth, the inappropriate use of these tools can cause harm to the infant or mother. Sometimes, infants can suffer traumatic injuries as a result of excessive force used with surgical instruments and other extraction devices.
Failure to Monitor
Failure to monitor is a birth injury that happens when the medical staff does not correctly monitor the vital signs of the mother and child during childbirth. This can sometimes result in life-threatening complications. For example, internal bleeding, heart failure, and other medical emergencies can occur during childbirth that places the life of the mother or infant at risk.
Although a mother may have a birth plan that indicates natural birth, there may be certain medical circumstances where a cesarean section is necessary for the health of both mother and child. In these cases, a physician must authorize a timely C-section to deliver the child and preserve the mother’s life.
However, there are some instances when cesarean sections are delayed by physicians. If a C-section is delayed when there are clear indications that a cesarean procedure is necessary, this could result in injury to either child or mother. Sometimes, delaying a c-section can also result in death.
Is Negligence Related to Birth Injuries?
Negligence is often the root cause of birth injuries and wrongful death. Because modern medicine is so advanced, injuries as a result of childbirth should be relatively uncommon. This means that if there is a birth injury, it’s likely due to negligence from the physician or medical staff involved in the birth. In many cases, negligence related to birth injuries is associated with a lack of attention, failure to monitor, and excessive force.
The Difference Between Parent Claims and Child Claims
Usually, birth injury lawsuits filed by birth injury lawyers are requested by the parents on behalf of the injured child. This is called a parent claim, which means that the parent is suing for the injuries of the child, as well as seeking compensation for the costs of raising a child who has been injured during birth.
That said, a child who has been injured as a result of a birth injury may also be able to file a lawsuit when they are 18 to 20 years old. A child who is seeking a child claim lawsuit for birth injury will typically request compensation for damages, such as the loss of earning potential and ongoing medical expenses.
What Is the Statute of Limitation for Filing a Lawsuit?
If a parent is filing a birth injury lawsuit on behalf of the child, they will usually have two to three years to file a lawsuit based on the state they live in. In Maryland, the statute of limitations for this type of lawsuit is three years after the birth of the child.
In cases where the child is 18 to 20 years old and is filing a child injury lawsuit on their own behalf, the statute of limitations is extended. If you are a child seeking to make a child claim on a birth injury case, you’ll need to speak with a birth injury lawyer to learn about the statute of limitations for your specific claim.
What About the Limitation on Wrongful Death Suits?
Wrongful death suits for birth injuries typically share the same statute of limitations as other birth injury lawsuits. Be sure to discuss the statute of limitations for wrongful death as a result of birth injury with a lawyer.
How Can a Birth Injury Lawyer Help You?
A birth injury lawyer can be immensely helpful when you are ready to file a lawsuit about a birth injury or the wrongful death of an infant after birth. Lawyers who specialize in birth injury cases are knowledgeable about the relevant medical malpractice laws that may apply to your case. Your lawyer will be able to identify details about your case that could indicate negligence.
Specifically, a lawyer who specializes in birth injuries will be able to help you build a case by gathering relevant evidence. For example, medical records that notate birth defects, delays in labor care for the mother, and other information can all be used to help you create a case. Your lawyer will then file a lawsuit and advocate for your fair compensation, either through a settlement or a court trial.
If an infant is injured as a result of birth, negligence was likely a contributing factor to the injury. Because birth injuries can have long-lasting results on the health of a child and impact the ability of parents to care for the child, seeking prompt compensation for these injuries is essential. Contact Peter Angelos Law to schedule a consultation with legal counsel today.