Birth injuries are an unfortunately common occurrence during labor and delivery. Based on data from the National Vital Statistics Report, 1.9 per 1,000 children get injuries during labor and delivery.
These injuries can result from a wide variety of causes. Some involve healthcare providers failing to recognize the warning signs or to administer proper medical care, making birth injuries avoidable.
As such, healthcare providers must exercise cautious and appropriate practices throughout the birthing process to reduce the chances of birth injuries occurring. Otherwise, you may take legal action against their negligence.
In this article, we will discuss what birth injury lawsuits are, how they come about, and what you can do about them. Learn more about labor and delivery lawsuits to protect your rights to proper compensation.
What is a Birth Injury Lawsuit?
Birth injury lawsuits are legal claims that you would file if a child incurred an injury during labor and delivery. These lawsuits also include injuries that the parent giving childbirth sustained during the same process.
Parents or guardians of a child with a birth injury or someone who experienced an injury during childbirth can file damage claims. You can cite the negligence of medical institutions, doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals who oversaw the process.
Two primary types of birth injury lawsuits are available. What you file will depend on your circumstances. You may file a medical malpractice lawsuit for your child’s injuries or a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible parties for your child’s death.
What Can Birth Injuries Lead to?
Birth injuries can take different forms and affect both the mother and the child. They range from minor to major injuries, which will determine how much compensation someone can seek when filing a birth injury claim.
The expenses associated with major birth injuries are likely to be more expensive than minor ones because they would include future medical expenses. Here are some common birth injuries.
Babies can suffer bone fractures during birth. Clavicular fractures are the most common bone fractures, which affect up to 15 out of 1,000 live births. Broken collarbones complicate delivery because the baby’s shoulder may get stuck in labor, causing pain to the child and the mother.
Although these broken bones heal quickly, improper labor and delivery care can cause other complications that require more treatment. The baby may live with limited limb movement, which would affect their quality of life and mobility. Attending physicians must identify any bone fractures to treat them immediately before they develop into more complicated birth injuries.
Birth Injuries to the Mother
Labor and delivery complications can affect the mother, from emotional distress to physical trauma. For example, labor complications can tear the muscles and tissues of the mother’s perineum, vagina, or rectum, a condition known as perineal trauma. Perineal lacerations can lead to chronic pain, especially during sexual intercourse.
Meanwhile, uterine rupture is a labor complication that can cause severe abdominal pain, shock, and heavy bleeding. It can be fatal if the labor team does not treat the condition in time. It is essential for labor and delivery teams to take appropriate measures to reduce risks associated with labor and delivery.
Severe brain damage affects about 3 in 1,000 babies in the U.S. These injuries can lead to developmental delays, affect the baby’s motor skills, and shorten their overall lifespan even if doctors intervene in time.
For example, hypoxic-ischemic injury is a type of brain injury that occurs when the baby’s brain does not get enough oxygen during pregnancy. Decreased blood flow to the brain is another thing that leads to this specific brain injury.
Brain damage can lead to cerebral palsy, which is a group of disorders affecting the baby’s movement, muscle coordination, and posture. Babies with this condition may also experience visual impairment, speech delays, learning difficulties, and epilepsy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cerebral palsy affects about 1 in 345 children.
Cerebral palsy has no known cure. However, therapy and medication may help improve the child’s quality of life. Mothers or guardians who suspect that the condition developed due to medical negligence may seek compensation through a birth injury lawyer.
Erb’s palsy cases are brachial plexus injuries. These conditions occur due to shoulder dystocia, which involves nerve damage. Attending physicians may cause this birth injury during a difficult labor and delivery process. Perhaps they pulled the child out too quickly or harshly, which affected the baby’s network of nerves.
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, approximately 1 out of 1,000 babies are born with Erb’s palsy. Some signs indicate that a baby has this condition if they display shoulder, arm, and elbow paralysis. Should a parent discover this symptom in time, they may have a case against the doctors or medical institution that delivered their child.
If you or your baby has suffered a birth injury during labor and delivery, contact The Pagan Law Firm immediately to schedule a free consultation. We will provide you with expert legal advice and representation for your labor and delivery lawsuit.
Reasons a Birth Injury Can Occur During Labor and Delivery
There are several reasons why someone might file a birth injury malpractice lawsuit against a medical institution and/or medical experts. Their negligent actions will serve as the bases for your birth injury case. Here are some common issues that can occur during labor and delivery and lead to your child’s birth injury.
Not Monitoring the Mother and Baby
Sometimes, doctors fail to monitor the mother and baby properly during the labor and delivery process. Medical personnel must monitor them consistently throughout labor to detect any warning signs.
One complication that may arise is oxygen deprivation, which would lead to fetal distress and affect the child’s brain. Since monitoring is a standard in responsible medical care, this reason can be grounds for filing a birth injury lawsuit.
Using Excessive Force
An attending physician can use special tools during labor and delivery, such as forceps and vacuum extractors. These devices assist labor in some cases. However, they can also cause a serious birth injury if the doctors use them excessively or incorrectly.
Difficult labor will require delivery personnel to prioritize the safest methods and delivery options before considering using those tools. Otherwise, the damage that occurs due to the mishandling of the medical equipment may serve as grounds for filing medical malpractice claims against the responsible parties.
Following Unproven Methods
Medical personnel may use unnecessary or unproven methods to speed up the labor process. Proceeding with those techniques may cause serious harm to the mother and the baby, including physical trauma.
Should the labor and delivery records reveal the attending physicians went ahead with unproven methods without the consent or knowledge of the person in labor, they may seek a birth injury lawyer to determine whether their actions caused their injuries. Likewise, they can file for damages.
Labor and delivery procedures may involve the use of medications, such as anesthetics and labor-inducing drugs. The doctor should administer the appropriate dosage of certain drugs at the right time.
However, human error on the personnel’s side may lead to a medical error. They could accidentally administer the wrong drugs or miscalculate a dosage. These mistakes can lead to serious birth injuries that may require a birth injury lawsuit for compensating the associated medical expenses.
Failing to Perform an Emergency C-Section
If the doctor failed to recognize the signs of labor distress that warrant an emergency C-Section delivery, they could neglect to perform the necessary procedure. As such, the mother and the baby sustain birth injuries.
Birth injury lawyers can review the medical records to assess the labor and delivery situation. Should their partner medical experts determine that the attending physicians failed to conduct a C-Section in a necessary situation, the mother can sue the medical team for the birth injuries that their negligence caused.
Do you believe your doctor acted negligently which caused you or your baby harm? If so, you have the right to file a birth injury lawsuit against your medical provider. Get in touch with The Pagan Law Firm today to discuss your case by calling 212-967-8202 or filling out our online contact form.
Situations Where Birth Injuries Can Occur
Most birth injuries occur due to labor and delivery negligence. Medical experts may overlook the warning signs and fail to take action in time to prevent the birth injury from happening in the first place.
In such cases, labor and delivery malpractice can become the basis of a birth injury lawsuit. With the help of a qualified lawyer, you can hold the responsible parties accountable and seek compensation for the medical expenses you and your child require.
Although birth injuries are generally preventable, some cases may be unavoidable. Regardless, your lawyer will assess your circumstances to determine probable medical negligence. Here are some example situations that lead to birth injuries.
Labor can last between 12 and 24 hours on average. Birth injuries can occur anytime within that period. The longer a person is in labor, the more chances for birth injuries to take place. How long labor lasts will depend on a person’s unique circumstances.
Perhaps the person is a first-time mother, so labor progresses slower than usual. Labor may also take longer than normal due to underlying medical conditions. Regardless of the specifics, doctors should exercise caution and take appropriate measures before deciding to take further action that could put the mother and child at risk.
Premature delivery or preterm birth refers to cases when a baby is born before completing 37 weeks of pregnancy. Preterm birth rates have risen in the past years. These situations can lead to a host of complications, including developmental delays.
Babies need the complete pregnancy cycle to develop their organs and systems correctly. When labor begins before the completion of that cycle, they may suffer from severe birth injuries. Brain injuries that result from preterm births may also affect the child’s future.
Umbilical Cord Problems
Umbilical cord complications constitute a labor and delivery emergency. Sometimes, the umbilical cord will wrap around the neck of the baby while in the womb because of the variations in cord length. Knots can also form in the umbilical cord, which can cause labor complications that put the baby at risk.
Other complications include cord ulceration, cysts, and dilation. All of these situations pose unique risks to the mother and child. If records show any of these signs, experts may link them to the birth injuries that occurred during labor and delivery. As such, doctors should take appropriate measures to reduce labor and delivery risks.
Fetal distress is one of the complications in labor and delivery that can lead to birth injury lawsuits. Also known as non-reassuring fetal status (NRFS), it is a condition that includes umbilical problems and extends to reactions to medications that the mother takes during pregnancy or issues with the placenta.
When a fetus is in distress, it usually shows signs of oxygen deprivation. Both the mother and the fetus themselves can sustain injuries during situations that lead to NRFS. If an obstetrician fails to conduct routine pregnancy care, they may have neglected their duty of care and be liable for the birth injuries a mother and child survived.
Attending physicians may have engaged in medical malpractices that led to a mother’s and child’s birth injuries. Medical malpractice can refer to any form of negligence that puts labor and delivery at risk. It can include failure to monitor labor properly, not identifying labor complications in time, or administering the wrong medications due to fatigue.
Unlike natural complications that lead to birth injuries, medical malpractice involves human error and is generally avoidable. Sometimes, a pregnancy can be completely normal but the mother and child suffer birth injuries due to the carelessness of the medical personnel. In such events, a medical malpractice lawsuit can investigate the negligence of the people involved in the labor and delivery.
If your birth injury was related to medical malpractice, it is best to speak with an attorney immediately. Call The Pagan Law Firm at 212-967-8202 to discuss your case. We will help you prove your doctor acted negligently and get you the compensation you deserve.
How to Know if a Birth Injury Involved Medical Malpractice
It can be difficult to establish whether medical malpractice was the primary cause of your baby’s injuries. Although you may have your suspicions, you will need help from medical malpractice lawyers who will work with the medical professionals involved in your labor and delivery.
Once you learn that your baby sustained injuries after giving birth, be sure to contact a birth injury attorney in New York immediately. The same applies to cases where you come out with injuries after your child’s birth.
With help from a birth injury law firm, you can leave the assessments for medical malpractice to the experts while you focus on recovering. Some key pieces of information that may determine whether medical malpractice was involved in your case include:
- Delivery Timeline: The flowsheets that cover the time you spent delivering your baby may hint at the possibility of medical malpractice.
- Diagnostic Test Results: Medical malpractice may be involved in your case if the attending physicians failed to disclose certain test results concerning your labor and delivery, which subsequently led to your birth injuries.
- Fetal Monitoring Records: Electronic fetal monitoring (EFM) records detect fetal distress. Plaintiffs may claim that physicians did not use proper EFM methods during their delivery, which could have contributed to the birth injuries they sustained.
- Medical Notes: Notes that you or your partner noticed during your term may reveal some information that your doctor might have miscalculated, leading to your birth injuries.
- Tool Records: Medical malpractice lawyers will review the record of birth-assisting tools that the attending physicians used during your delivery, which may give clues as to how you or your baby got injured.
Lawyers will review these and other factors that might have led to your labor and delivery injuries. Once they determine that you have a case, they can help you obtain the resources that you and your baby will need to recover from the injuries.
Contact The Pagan Law Firm to help you with your birth injury case. We will review your claim and provide legal advice based on the specific facts of your case.
New York Statute of Limitations on Birth Injury Cases
According to the New York statute of limitations for medical malpractice, you must file birth injury claims within two years and six months (2½ years) from birth. If you believe that medical negligence was involved in your recent labor and delivery, consider getting in touch with New York birth injury lawyers to determine your options.
How Can a New York Birth Injury Attorney Help With My Case?
New York birth injury attorneys will evaluate your labor and delivery to determine if there is evidence of medical malpractice. Gathering all the documents and evidence that may point to the negligence of medical providers involved can be a labor-intensive and time-consuming process when you have a baby to take care of.
With a New York birth injury attorney on your side, you can leave it to the legal experts to access the necessary resources, from labor and delivery records to expert witnesses. If your case has merit, your lawyer can help you file a medical malpractice claim and obtain the financial compensation you and your family deserve.
How Do I Know if I Have a Case?
If you or your child ended up getting injured after the labor and delivery process, it is best to discuss your situation with a birth injury attorney. Doctors may claim that the injuries you and your child sustained when giving birth are normal to discourage you from seeking legal help. However, if your labor and delivery differed substantially from the average labor and delivery process, you may have a valid medical malpractice case.
Another reason to be suspicious of medical malpractice may be the associated expenses after your labor and delivery. If you have experienced more financial burdens than usual after giving birth, then it may be a good idea to consult a birth injury attorney to see if you have a case.
The Pagan Law Firm: NY Birth Injury Lawsuit Victories
When seeking a birth injury lawyer to represent your best interests, be sure to get a team that can back up their claims with successful lawsuits. At The Pagan Law Firm, we are proud to have positive results in seeking compensation for medical malpractice cases across the state.
One of our notable victories is the $2,300,000 settlement we secured for a medical malpractice claim involving a baby getting injured due to obstetrical negligence. Feel free to view our recent medical malpractice lawsuit victories.
New York Birth Injury Lawyer: Contact The Pagan Law Firm
Birth injuries can occur during labor and delivery for several reasons. While some cases involve natural complications, medical malpractice is a common occurrence in most situations. Due to human error or deliberate negligence, mothers and their children can sustain expensive damages and risk living with the aftereffects.
Some conditions that arise due to birth injuries include brain disorders and muscle problems for babies. Meanwhile, the mothers may live with lacerations and ruptures in their reproductive system, reducing their chances of getting pregnant again and affecting their overall quality of life.
If you or a loved one believe that the labor and delivery process you underwent caused birth injuries, be sure to get in touch with a reliable birth injury attorney to oversee your case. You would expect medical professionals to take good care of you when in labor. And while they do their best to make it a smooth procedure, your unique circumstances may suggest negligence on their part.
At The Pagan Law Firm, we are ready to review your birth injury case and seek the compensation you deserve. Get in touch today for a free consultation and to learn about your legal options.