Childbirth is a happy occasion, but the process doesn’t always go as planned. About 7 in 1,000 babies experience birth injuries every year. While this sounds rare, a child in the U.S. is born with a birth injury every 20 minutes. Some of these injuries aren’t preventable and will happen regardless of how attentive a doctor is, but others occur due to medical negligence. These injuries range in severity. While some are mild enough to heal independently within days or weeks, others can cause lifelong health complications and alter a child’s life forever.
A birth injury can change everything in a matter of seconds. Parents expect a happy return home and may not know birth injuries are possible. Instead, they are faced with uncertainty, worry, and the trauma of witnessing a birth injury. It can be overwhelming to determine the next steps. Hiring a Washington, D.C. birth injury lawyer is something that the parents of injured children should consider. An attorney will focus on getting fair compensation for families, leaving them time to concentrate wholly on helping their children recover and adjusting to a new life without worrying about recovering damages.
Most Common Birth Injuries
Some birth injuries happen because of factors outside of anyone’s control. For example, large newborn babies are more susceptible to injury. This is also true for premature babies, whose bodies are frailer than full-term newborns. But research has found that up to 50% of birth injuries are avoidable. Unfortunately, medical negligence frequently leads to birth injuries, and it happens for various reasons. Sometimes, medical providers fail to meet the standard of care because of exhaustion and fatigue. In other cases, a lack of experience or being overworked are to blame.
Forceps Use: Forceps are a last resort when labor has stalled. The tools resemble salad tongs and help guide a baby from the birth canal. A forceps delivery can cause complications like bruising but can also lead to brain damage. Sometimes, doctors misuse forceps and apply too much force. A doctor may also use forceps prematurely — they should only be used during an emergency when there aren’t any other options.
Prolonged Labor: If there are complications during labor, a doctor may recommend a C-section to deliver a baby safely. If a doctor doesn’t intervene, it can lead to complications for the mother, like infection, hemorrhaging, and uterine rupture. Babies might face health problems like fetal distress and shoulder dystocia.
Oxygen Deprivation: Oxygen deprivation is the cause of some of the most severe birth injuries. It’s more common after long, difficult deliveries and frequently results from umbilical cord problems and placental separation.
Improper Monitoring: Both a mother and fetus should be consistently monitored throughout labor and delivery. If a medical team fails to monitor properly, it can lead to avoidable complications. Monitors can alert medical providers to problems like an irregular fetal heart rate or a spike in a mother’s blood pressure, both of which can signal emergencies.
How A Birth Injury Attorney Can Help
A birth injury might send your world into a tailspin. Along with the logistical hurdles of caring for an injured child, parents often deal with mental health effects. Postnatal post-traumatic stress disorder is an anxiety condition that’s diagnosed after a traumatic birth experience. Given how much parents deal with after a birth injury, recovering compensation might be the last thing on your mind. That’s why it’s essential to consider hiring a birth injury attorney. Some of the ways that a birth injury attorney can help include the following:
Examining The Facts: A birth injury attorney will collect all relevant evidence to support your case. This may include looking at medical records, talking to witnesses, and talking to the hospital on your behalf. Doing all this work alone can be exhausting, so working with an expert is a good idea.
Investigating Preventability: Not all birth injuries are caused by negligence, and some are unavoidable, even if a doctor meets the expected standard of care. The hospital or doctor’s office may argue that a child’s injury was inevitable. A birth injury attorney’s research can help refute this claim.
Answering Your Questions: Filing a birth injury claim can be complex, and having an attorney with years of experience makes the process less overwhelming. A birth injury lawyer can answer all your questions and give you peace of mind that your case is moving forward as it should.
Determining A Fair Settlement: People often accept the first number offered by a hospital or insurance company, which can be a mistake. An attorney will analyze all contributing factors — not only your existing medical bills but the cost of any future medical expenses. They can also make sure that non-economic damages like pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment are considered.
The emotional and financial toll of birth injuries is significant for families. Hiring a birth injury attorney and filing a lawsuit won’t undo the pain of an unexpected injury, but it can make life easier moving forward. You need a lawyer knowledgeable about medical malpractice law and with experience representing birth injury victims. Our attorneys at Paulson & Nace offer free consultations to evaluate your case. You can complete our online contact form or call 202-463-1999 for more information.
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.