A birth injury attorney focuses on assisting families whose infant suffered avoidable trauma recover financial compensation, whether before, during or immediately after delivery.
Every year, seven in 1,000 babies are harmed as they enter the world. That’s roughly 28,000 infants per year. Birth injuries cause 20% of infant deaths, yet in many cases, the trauma to the child could have been prevented.
WHAT CAUSES CONTRIBUTE TO FETAL TRAUMA?
A birth injury is not the same thing as a birth defect. While the former is generally caused by outside influences such as a physician’s handling of the pregnancy and delivery, the latter is commonly attributed to genetic disposition or fetal development in the womb.
Expectant mothers rely on the expertise and care of doctors and nursing staff. Medical personnel is expected to be proficient in avoiding certain complications that may contribute to infant trauma, such as an unusually large baby, cephalopelvic disproportion, premature or prolonged labor, dystocia, forceps marks and bruising.
When a doctor fails to apply reasonable skill, care or judgment, complications may occur before, during or after delivery, possibly resulting in harm to the infant that could have been avoided.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CONDITIONS A BIRTH INJURY ATTORNEY CAN HELP WITH?
There are lawyers experienced in handling various types of infant trauma, including cerebral palsy (which may or may not be the result of negligence), uterine rupture, infant jaundice, Rh disease, water on the brain, shoulder dystocia caused during forceps delivery, Erb’s Palsy, Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) and Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN).
Each of these conditions can translate into a horrific and life-altering scenario for the infant and its parents, possibly resulting in permanent damage to the child.
WHAT TYPE OF DOCUMENTATION SHOULD BE PROVIDED TO THE BIRTH INJURY ATTORNEY?
To build a solid case, the affected family should be able to provide as much pertinent documentation as possible, including information about medical personnel that cared for the mother and infant during pregnancy and delivery; name and address of the medical practice(s) and hospital, medical records and procedures undertaken during pregnancy and/or delivery, any medications prescribed to the mother during pregnancy and/or the newborn upon delivery.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
The birth injury attorney will first conduct an investigation to determine if the trauma to the child could have been prevented. In the event of likely malpractice or negligence by medical personnel or facilities, the lawyer will draft a demand package outlining the claim to the defendant(s).
At this point, the opposing parties may enter a negotiation stage that might result in a settlement. If a settlement cannot be reached, the lawyer will proceed to file a lawsuit in court. Trial preparation will include dispositions from witnesses, gathering facts, and requesting supporting documents from hospitals and medical personnel.
The parties will agree on a trial date. In court, a judge or jury will then decide whether the family’s claim has merit. If so, a judgment may be awarded for pain and suffering, medical expenses, and possibly more.
While the affected child’s health condition may or may not be correctable, a competent birth injury attorney may be able to ease the family’s financial burden.