Each year, medical errors in the U.S. combine to account for an estimated 251,000 deaths, and they’re the third leading cause of death. According to the American Medical Association (AMA), one in three clinicians will be sued during their medical career. While not all medical malpractice lawsuits are successful for the victim, the effects of a doctor’s or other professional’s negligence can be far-reaching and forever change lives.
Medical errors occur in many ways, but the most common types of medical malpractice include misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, birth injuries, delayed diagnosis, failure to treat, surgical errors, and prescription errors. Medical negligence frequently causes costly chronic health conditions, injuries, and illnesses requiring long-term care.
The victim may be unable to work or need months off work to recover and be unable to provide for their family. In the case of a birth injury caused by medical malpractice, a parent may need to provide part- or full-time care to their child for years, resulting in a significant loss of income and an emotionally difficult reality.
Pain and suffering, medical bills for doctor’s visits, surgeries, treatments like physical therapy, supportive devices and aids, lost wages, and other costs add up quickly. But with a birth injury medical malpractice lawsuit, compensation for these damages may provide peace of mind and stability for the victim and their family.
A recent study has shown a correlation between the rate and risk of future medical malpractice claims among doctors with a prior claim.
Research Shows Risk of Repeat Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in February 2023 looked at all licensed physicians in the U.S. to examine whether prior paid medical malpractice claims could predict future paid claims. The data analysis occurred over nearly five years, from July 2018 to January 2023.
The results found an association of past and future paid medical malpractice claims. Compared to physicians with no paid claims at the time of the study, those with just one previously paid claim were nearly four times more likely to have one or more in the next five years.
The study also concluded that the risk of future claims increased as the number of past claims increased. For example, 12.4% of doctors with one prior paid claim had one or more paid claims in the future period, compared to 22.4% of doctors with two prior paid claims. And a doctor with three previous claims was even more likely to pay future claims than those with fewer.
This comprehensive study suggests that when applied to medical malpractice like birth injuries, a doctor who previously paid a claim is more likely to pay at least one or more in the future. But when it comes to bringing a child into the world, something that should be joyous for the family can be completely shattered if a doctor’s negligence causes a birth injury.
Birth Injuries and Medical Malpractice
The infant mortality rate in Washington, D.C. is 5.18 per 1,000 live births, and each year in the U.S., there are around seven birth injuries for every 1,000 children born. As DC birth injury lawyers, we’ve seen firsthand how a medical professional’s negligence and failure to provide the standard of care has a devastating impact on victims and their families.
Since pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum care often involves a range of medical professionals, such as doctors, nurses, surgeons, OB/GYNs, and other specialists, numerous opportunities exist for negligence to cause a baby harm. Medical malpractice occurs when a physician, dentist, nurse, or other medical professional causes injury to a patient because they acted negligently or in a way that violated the standard of care. If they deviated from what another professional under the same circumstances would have done, an injured patient might pursue a claim against those responsible.
Not all birth injuries result from medical negligence; a baby’s health and safety during childbirth can change instantly, and when something goes wrong, the parents place their trust in doctors who must make quick decisions for the best possible outcome.
With the latest study results showing a connection between past and future paid medical malpractice claims, there’s an increased risk of birth injuries occurring when those providing such critical care had been previously held accountable for negligence. When this happens, a Washington, D.C. birth injury attorney can protect you and your child and help get the compensation you deserve through a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Effects of a Birth Injury
Many common birth injuries require extensive care and cause lifelong health effects, such as cerebral palsy, brain damage, paralysis, and serious fractures and breaks. Unfortunately, some birth injuries are fatal.
Other injuries that occur at birth are minor and can resolve within days or weeks, are treated briefly, or simply require natural healing and ultimately have no lasting effects. A bruised nerve, subconjunctival hemorrhage, forceps marks, minor fracture, and swollen scalp are types of birth injuries that are usually temporary. And yet, if the harm a baby sustained occurred because the standard of care wasn’t met, it’s still considered medical malpractice, and the family may file a claim.
Birth injuries can be devastating for parents, who often feel helpless, worried about their family’s future, and angry, especially when their child shouldn’t have been harmed. Given the seriousness and trauma associated with a birth injury, holding those responsible for their actions is essential.
Why You Need a Birth Injury Lawyer
A birth injury lawyer can help families protect injured children in many ways. Parents endure much trauma and worry when their child is hurt during birth, and learning the type and level of care they’ll need can be overwhelming and stressful. It’s also difficult to think about what recovery will look like or how it will affect the child and parent’s future.
Parents face so many uncertainties when a birth injury occurs, and questions always arise. Will a birth injury require the help of specialists and treatments, and if so, how often? How will a birth injury affect my child’s quality of life? Will I be able to continue to work? And, importantly, How much will medical care cost for a birth injury?
For four decades, the DC birth injury lawyers at Paulson & Nace have been advocating for and protecting the rights of children and their mothers after a preventable injury occurs at birth. We know there are high costs associated with caring for a child with a birth injury, not to mention the emotional trauma and hardships that affect families in these devastating situations.
While money can’t change what happened, a birth injury lawsuit can recover damages for medical costs (current and future), lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, and pain and suffering. If the worst happens and a child dies at birth due to medical malpractice, additional compensation for funeral expenses and a wrongful death claim can be sought.
At Paulson & Nace, we have the experience and an in-depth understanding of birth injuries and their widespread effects. Filing a Washington, D.C. birth injury lawsuit is time sensitive, and our team has the necessary resources and successful track record to get the compensation you’re entitled to. Let us protect you while you focus on what’s most important – your family.
Contact us online or at 202-463-1999 to schedule a free, no-obligation case consultation.
Both an Emory School of Law graduate and MBA graduate of Goizueta Business School at Emory, Chris Nace focuses his practice on areas of medical malpractice, drug and product liability, motor vehicle accidents, wrongful death, employment discrimination and other negligence and personal injury matters.