Can You Pursue Legal Action if You Experienced Complications During Childbirth?
Going through pregnancy and childbirth is a deeply personal and emotional event, and it is perfectly normal to be worried about possible complications. Unfortunately, in many cases, these complications occur naturally, but in other cases, they arise due to negligent medical care. When this happens, the negligent actions of a medical provider can lead to birth injuries that have lifelong impacts on your child and your family.
You may find yourself asking, "Can you pursue legal action if you experienced complications during childbirth?" The answer is yes, you can, particularly if these complications have resulted in a birth injury due to medical negligence.
Birth injuries can range from minor bruises to severe conditions like cerebral palsy, brain damage, and other lifelong disabilities. The burden of these injuries extends beyond the child's suffering, impacting families affected both emotionally and financially. Medical bills can quickly accumulate, and the long-term care needs of a child with a serious birth injury can be overwhelming.
As experienced birth injury lawyers, we at Peter Angelos Law understand the gravity of these situations. We have represented many families navigating the aftermath of a birth injury, and we are here to help you understand your legal rights and potential avenues for financial compensation.
Our legal team is skilled at investigating birth injuries, identifying medical negligence, and pursuing birth injury claims. We are committed to helping you through this challenging time, providing the support and expertise necessary to seek justice for your child's birth injury. If you believe your child suffered an injury during birth due to medical negligence, don't hesitate to contact us for a free case review.
Call us at 410-705-2405.
Complications during childbirth can range from minor to serious and can occur for various reasons. Some complications are due to natural causes such as the baby's size or position, a prolonged labor, or the mother's health conditions like diabetes, obesity, or high blood pressure.
However, some complications arise due to negligent medical care from your medical providers during the birthing process, and this negligence may lead to birth injuries.
Birth injuries are harm to a baby that occurs just before, during, or shortly after delivery. These injuries can result from various issues, such as the use of medical tools during delivery, a delayed cesarean section, or a lack of adequate response to fetal distress.
Some common birth injuries include cerebral palsy, brachial plexus injuries like shoulder dystocia, nerve damage, brain damage due to lack of oxygen, and skull fractures.
Understanding the difference between natural complications and those resulting from medical negligence can be challenging, even for a team of skilled birth injury attorneys. For example, a child might suffer from cerebral palsy due to natural factors during pregnancy or because of medical malpractice during birth. This is where medical records become crucial.
A detailed review of these records by an experienced birth injury lawyer and medical experts can help determine if your child's birth injury was preventable and if negligent medical care was a contributing factor.
If your child's birth injury was preventable, you most likely have grounds for a claim and should consider contacting a birth injury attorney immediately. They can guide you on the potential for a birth injury lawsuit. Your child's suffering and the lifelong implications of their injuries should not be left unaddressed, especially if it was caused by preventable medical errors.
How Do You Identify Negligence in a Birth Complication or Injury Case?
When it comes to childbirth, medical negligence can be challenging to identify, particularly for those unfamiliar with the medical field. Medical negligence, also known as medical malpractice, occurs when a medical provider fails to meet the standard of care expected in their profession, resulting in harm to the patient.
In the context of childbirth, this could mean the medical provider fails to adequately monitor the mother and baby's vitals, doesn't respond appropriately to complications, uses forceps or vacuum extractors incorrectly, or delays a necessary cesarean section. It could also encompass a failure to diagnose or treat conditions that could lead to birth injuries, like maternal infections or fetal distress.
Identifying medical negligence requires a detailed examination of the birth injury's circumstances.
It involves asking crucial questions such as
- Was your medical provider aware of the risk factors and potential complications?
- Were these risks communicated to you in a timely manner?
- Were there careless mistakes made in the delivery room?
- Did your medical providers follow standard treatment protocols?
Medical records play a pivotal role in this identification process. They provide a detailed account of your pregnancy, delivery, and your baby's condition following birth. Your birth injury lawyer will meticulously review these records, often with the assistance of medical experts, in order to identify any signs of medical negligence.
Statute of Limitations for a Birth Injury Claim
When it comes to a medical malpractice claim, you are bound by the statute of limitations - a limited timeframe within which you can take legal action.
In Maryland, the statute of limitations for birth injury cases is typically three years from the date of the injury or three years from the date the injury was discovered. In the second case, it must still be within 5 years of the initial incident.
It's important to note that these are general guidelines and each case may have unique circumstances. As such, if you believe your child has suffered a birth injury due to medical negligence, it's crucial to consult with a knowledgeable birth injury lawyer as soon as possible. At Peter Angelos Law, our experienced team can help you navigate these complexities and provide guidance tailored to your specific situation.
Four Elements of Negligence in a Birth Injury Case
There are four important elements to any negligence case where a victim has been harmed by malpractice. Proving these four elements is one of the tasks that your attorney will carry out on your behalf in order to prove the validity and strength of your claim.
Establishing a Legal Duty
The first step in any medical malpractice case involves proving that the medical provider owed a 'legal duty' to you and your child at the time of the incident. This duty arises when a medical provider agrees to treat a patient, thereby establishing a doctor-patient relationship.
The legal duty implies that your medical provider should provide care in accordance with the accepted standards of the medical profession. Evidence of this relationship and duty, typically through medical records, forms the foundation of a medical malpractice claim.
Violation of the Standard of Care
The second step involves demonstrating a 'violation' of the standard of care. This means showing that the medical provider's actions or inactions fell short of the generally accepted practices in their medical field.
To be considered a breach, it must be proven that the medical provider's conduct deviated from what a similarly skilled and competent provider would have done in the same situation.
Establishing a Link
The third step, 'establishing a link,' is often the most difficult part of a medical malpractice case. Here, you must prove that the healthcare provider's breach of duty directly resulted in their injury or worsened health condition.
In other words, the harm you and your child have come to would not have occurred without the provider's mistake. Expert witnesses are often crucial at this stage to draw a clear connection between the doctor's actions and the patient's injury.
The final step involves 'demonstrating harm.' In a medical malpractice lawsuit, including complications or birth trauma, the patient needs to show that they suffered harm or 'damages' due to the doctor's negligence. These damages can include physical harm like injuries or illness, emotional harm such as mental anguish, or financial harm such as additional medical expenses.
If there's no harm, there's no claim, regardless of the medical provider's negligence. Therefore, documenting all potential damages thoroughly is critical for a successful medical malpractice claim.
Damages in a Birth Injury Lawsuit
In a birth complication medical malpractice case, both the mother and child can suffer a wide range of damages, which can be classified into two main categories: economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages refer to the actual financial costs incurred due to the malpractice. They are usually easy to evidence. They can include:
You should not be left out of pocket for the medical expenses you have to pay as a result of a medical provider's negligence. Thankfully, in a successful case, you can recover all past and future medical expenses.
This includes the cost of immediate medical treatment following the birth and any ongoing medical care that might be needed in the future, such as surgery, therapy, or specialized equipment.
Loss of Earning Capacity
If the child suffered a permanent disability that will prevent them from being able to earn a living in the future, compensation for loss of future earnings may be awarded. Similarly, if the mother's ability to work was affected, she may also be entitled to these damages.
Home Modification Costs
If the child's injury requires modifications to the home, like installing ramps or special bathing equipment, these costs can be recovered.
Non-economic damages cover the intangible costs of the injury. This means it will be down to your attorney to deduce what they think these damages are worth. The more experience they have, winning similar cases to yours, the better.
Pain and Suffering
This refers to the physical pain and emotional distress experienced by the child and the mother as a result of the injury. Pain and suffering often make up the largest part of any medical malpractice lawsuit.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life
This can be awarded if the injury has deprived the child or the mother of enjoying their normal life. An example may be that if the mother has suffered an injury that means they can no longer ride their bike, or the child has suffered an injury that means they will never be able to ride a bike. You deserve compensation for these losses as they will affect the enjoyment of your life.
The psychological impact of a traumatic birth can be significant. Parents may experience anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and may be compensated for these effects.
In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded. These are not designed to compensate the victim for a loss but are meant to punish the negligent party for reckless or harmful behavior and deter others from engaging in similar conduct.
Punitive damages can only be awarded by a Judge, meaning that if you accept a settlement, they will be off the table.
Calculating your Damages
Determining the value of damages in a birth injury case can be complex and usually requires the assistance of legal and medical experts. At Peter Angelos Law, our experienced team works with a network of medical professionals to accurately evaluate the full impact of a birth injury, ensuring that families affected receive the maximum compensation they are entitled to.
Birth Injury FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
Peter Angelos Law - Birth Injury and Birth Complication Attorneys
The birth of your child should be a joyful event. But when complications arise due to medical negligence, it can transform a moment of happiness into a lifetime of challenges. As parents, you want the best for your child, and at Peter Angelos Law, we share that goal.
Our experienced team understands the profound impact a birth injury can have on your child's life and your family's well-being. We know the complexities involved in birth injury cases and have the resources to help you navigate through this challenging journey. Our commitment to justice is steadfast, and we will fight tirelessly to hold negligent medical providers accountable.
If you believe your child has suffered a birth injury due to medical negligence, don't wait. Contact Peter Angelos Law as soon as possible. Our team will provide a free case review, helping you understand your rights and legal options. You are not alone in this fight. Let our dedicated legal team stand by your side, seek justice for your child, and secure the compensation your family deserves.
Call us at 410-705-2405.