Can I Pursue Legal Action If My Child Suffered a Birth Defect?
Many parents come to us at Peter Angelos Law to ask the difference between a birth injury and a birth defect, and whether the injury or defect their child has suffered enables them to make a medical malpractice claim against their healthcare provider.
If your child has suffered either a birth defect or a birth injury that was preventable, this could amount to medical malpractice. In this situation, you could hold the medical provider accountable for their substandard behavior, and you may pursue compensation for the harm you and your child have suffered.
This can be done through a birth injury lawsuit, which should allow you to pursue compensation to help cover the costs of treatment for your child's birth injury or defect. You could also recover lost income from the time you have had to spend away from work while you deal with what has happened.
When you put your trust in the attorneys here at Peter Angelos Law, you can rest assured knowing that you are in capable hands. Our law firm has been practicing in the state of Maryland for over 50 years, and during this time, we have fought and won birth injury cases on behalf of numerous clients in similar situations to you.
Call us today for a free consultation at 410-705-2405.
Understanding Birth Defects and Legal Action
A birth defect, in the context of medical malpractice, refers to a physical or mental abnormality that is present at birth resulting from medical negligence. Medical malpractice occurs when a medical provider, who automatically assumes a duty of care to all patients, breaches their duty of care through substandard behavior, and this behavior results in the victim suffering injuries.
Common Birth Defects
Examples of birth defects that may be caused by medical malpractice include cerebral palsy, Erb's palsy, brachial plexus injuries, shoulder dystocia, brain damage, hypoxia, and other neurological injuries.
Causes of Birth Defects
Birth defects can be caused by errors during the prenatal stage or the delivery, often because there has been a lack of adequate fetal monitoring carried out. Birth defects are often caused by a variety of factors, such as oxygen deprivation during delivery, improper use of delivery tools, failure to detect or treat infections during pregnancy, and medication errors.
Understanding Your Legal Options
If medical malpractice causes a birth defect, you may be entitled to pursue compensation for damages such as medical expenses, ongoing care and therapy, and loss of earning capacity. Medical malpractice lawsuits for birth defects can be filed against medical providers and facilities, including obstetricians, midwives, emergency room nurses, hospitals, and clinics.
In order to prove medical malpractice, you will need to work with your attorney to show that your medical provider or facility breached the standard of care they owed you and your child, which is the level of care that a reasonable medical provider would have provided in similar circumstances, and that this breach caused the birth defect.
Choosing the Right Attorney for Your Case
Choosing the right attorney is crucial for pursuing a case against a medical provider that has acted negligently. They will likely be backed by an aggressive legal team that has the sole purpose of defending the provider, thus reducing the amount they have to pay out.
For this reason, you must make sure that you do your research on your potential attorney. You should ensure that any attorney you are considering offers a free initial consultation for you to ask important questions and get an understanding of their personality.
Some things you may ask about are:
The most important thing you need to look at is the attorney's track record for winning cases. Medical negligence and lawsuits for birth injuries and birth defects are complex cases to win. If the medical malpractice attorney has worked on many cases similar to yours, it is better.
You can also look up potential attorneys on AVVO, which is an independent review site that ranks attorneys out of 10.00 based on a wide variety of factors.
The best attorneys in the state will never struggle to keep their caseloads full. Many of them do not even need to advertise anymore, as they can keep a full caseload from referrals and word of mouth alone.
A full caseload is a good thing, as it shows that the attorney is in high demand. However, you should always ask your attorney how they plan to allocate your case the full time it deserves alongside the other cases they are currently handling.
An experienced birth injury lawyer should have access to a panel of medical experts that can help advise them on important medical issues they may not understand. These medical experts may also provide testimonials to support your case.
What to Expect When Pursuing Legal Action
Insurance companies are built on profit and this means they are not on your side. They want to reduce their payouts as much as possible. Because of this, the task ahead of you and your attorney will be tough.
Birth injury lawsuits require a lot of investigation and hard work. Therefore, it is so important that you hire a skilled attorney, as they will take over this fight for you. They will help ensure that your paperwork is filed correctly and on time, investigate what happened on your behalf, calculate your damages, and try to negotiate a settlement with the other party.
If they cannot negotiate a settlement with the other party, they will also litigate on your behalf, which is why you need a strong trial lawyer on your side, not just a strong negotiator.
Understanding the Financial Compensation Available
In a birth defect lawsuit, the compensation on offer will depend on the harm you and your child have incurred. This is one of the most important tasks that your lawyer will carry out on your behalf. The better they are at calculating damages, the more difficult your damages will be to argue against. You will have a much higher chance of being awarded damages or receiving a fair settlement from the other party.
Economic damages are financial losses that your child has suffered because of the birth defect. The type of damages you can claim depends on the facts of your case, which an attorney can help you assess. Economic damages can be substantial, and they may include:
This includes the cost of all medical care and treatment that your child has received or will need in the future because of the birth defect. This can include hospitalizations, surgeries, medications, medical equipment, therapy, and ongoing care.
If your child requires medical care or treatment that requires you to travel, you may be entitled to compensation for travel expenses, such as gas, lodging, and meals.
Lost Income and Earning Capacity
If you or your spouse has had to take time off work to care for your child or if your child's birth defect will prevent them from being able to work in the future, you may be entitled to compensation for lost income and earning capacity.
Rehabilitation and Therapy Costs
If your child requires rehabilitation or therapy to improve their physical or cognitive functioning, you may be entitled to compensation for these costs.
You could also receive home modification costs if your child's birth defect requires modifications to your home to make it safer or more accessible.
Special Education Expenses
If your child's birth defect affects their ability to learn or requires special education services, you may be entitled to compensation for these expenses.
If your child dies because of their birth defect, you could recover compensation for your grief, including services, support, and care for you and your loved ones.
It is important to note that economic damages will vary depending on the specific circumstances of your case and the extent of your child's injuries. An experienced birth defect attorney can help you evaluate your case and determine the damages that you could receive in your case.
Pursuing Justice for Your Child's Suffering
Filing a birth injury case not only helps you to recover your damages but can help prevent medical providers from acting negligently in the future by holding them accountable for their actions and creating a deterrent effect. When medical providers know they can be held liable for their substandard behavior, they are more likely to take precautions and provide better care to their patients.
When to File a Birth Defect Lawsuit
Every state has a statute of limitations that places a time limit on victims to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. In Maryland, the statute of limitations for a birth injury case is three years from the date of the injury. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.
For example, if the injury was not discovered until later, the statute of limitations may run from the date the injury was discovered or should have been discovered with reasonable diligence. In cases involving minors, the statute of limitations may be extended until the child's 18th birthday.
Taking Action to Protect Your Child's Future
By speaking to an experienced birth defect lawyer in Maryland, you can fight for compensation and the recovery of your damages. This may be a crucial step in ensuring that you have the financial resources in order to protect your child's future. An experienced birth injury attorney will fight to secure medical expenses on behalf of your child. This should cover all of their future costs, ensuring that you can provide them with the highest quality future care.
Peter Angelos - Medical Malpractice and Birth Injury Attorneys
With our long history of fighting medical malpractice claims, the team at Peter Angelos Law is uniquely positioned to help victims with their birth injury claims. Birth defect lawsuits need to be handled with care and dedication because of their complexity, and we can provide you with the advocacy and legal counsel you may require.
We know the emotional distress and trauma that you may feel as a result of your child's suffering, and we are ready to fight aggressively on your behalf.
If your child's injury was preventable, it is understandable to feel anger and frustration. We are here to support you in holding those responsible accountable for their actions. Whether your child has suffered birth defects because of oxygen deprivation caused by inadequate fetal monitoring or has been injured during the birthing process, we offer a free consultation to discuss your options.
Contact us today at 410-705-2405 to explore how we can help you and your family.