One of the worst experiences a parent goes through is watching their child suffer and not being able to do anything about it. Unfortunately, for some parents, that experience occurs before or during birth.
Birth injury cases are complicated personal injury claims that involve allegations of medical malpractice. Therefore, a child’s birth injury claim requires an understanding of medical negligence and how that applies to the birthing process.
Birth injury lawyers help parents file claims seeking justice for their children. If your child suffered injuries due to medical malpractice, you and your child deserve fair compensation for damages caused by negligent medical professionals and healthcare providers.
What Is a Birth Injury?
A birth injury includes any trauma the mother or child experiences during labor and delivery. Medical negligence and errors often lead to birth injuries.
Anyone charged with caring for the mother and the child could potentially be liable for damages caused by a birth injury.
Parties that might be named in a birth injury lawsuit include, but are not limited to:
- Physicians, including OBGYNs and other specialists
- Hospitals and medical facilities
- Hospital staff
A thorough investigation is required to identify all parties who could be liable for the child’s injury. An experienced legal team will work with medical specialists and expert witnesses to determine the factors that led to the birth injury and the parties responsible for those factors.
What Are Common Causes of Birth Injuries?
A child could be injured during labor and delivery in many different ways. Sadly, many of the causes of birth injuries are preventable.
Examples of negligence and wrongdoing that can lead to a severe birth injury include:
- Failing to monitor for fetal distress during labor and delivery
- Failure to screen the mother for the risk of birth defects
- Ignoring the signs of health problems the mother may have that could impact labor and delivery
- Oxygen deprivation
- Surgical errors and mistakes
- Uterine rupture
- Failing to diagnose a prolapsed umbilical cord
- Dystocia (difficult or obstructed labor)
- Failing to recognize how the size of the baby could impact labor and delivery
- Improper use of forceps, vacuums, and other birthing tools
- Administering the incorrect dose of a medication or the wrong medication
- Anesthesia errors and mistakes
- Failing to order a timely Cesarean section (C-section)
Unfortunately, labor and delivery are complicated processes. Many things can go wrong that threaten the mother and baby’s life and health.
However, doctors and medical professionals must take reasonable steps to prepare for any situation or emergency that can occur during labor and delivery. When they fail to meet the acceptable standard of care, babies can suffer birth injuries that might affect them for the rest of their lives.
What Are the Consequences of Medical Malpractice During Labor and Delivery?
Birth injuries can result in one or more life-threatening conditions and permanent impairments.
Types of birth injuries include:
- Brain damage
- Cerebral palsy
- Caput succedaneum
- Subconjunctival hemorrhage
- Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Erb’s Palsy
- Intracranial hemorrhage
- Placental abruption
- Brachial plexus injuries
- Shoulder dystocia
Many of the injuries that occur during labor and delivery are preventable. Sadly, these injuries could cause permanent impairments. Some children suffer from developmental delays, cognitive impairments, and physical disabilities because of a birth injury.
How Do I Know My Child Sustained a Birth Injury?
The symptoms and signs of a birth injury vary greatly and depend on the type of harm your child suffered.
However, some common signs of birth injuries to watch for after birth include the following:
- Trouble breathing
- Swelling and bruising
- Weak reflexes
- Skin that appears blue or pale
- A low heart rate
- The need for resuscitation
- Extremely rapid heart rate
- High-pitched cries or crying with an arched back
Unfortunately, symptoms of some birth injuries might not appear immediately after birth. Parents might not be informed that their child sustained a medical emergency during labor or after birth. The hospital staff and doctors may cover up the negligence and errors during birth.
However, as their child ages, parents may notice delays in development or developmental problems such as:
- Trouble speaking
- Delays in rolling over, crawling, or walking
- Difficulty holding items
- Strange movements
- Hearing and/or vision problems
- Lack of coordination
- Feeding problems
- Failing to meet expected milestones
If you believe your child might have sustained a birth injury, it is important to seek medical treatment immediately. A physician or specialist can diagnose and treat conditions caused by medical malpractice and negligence during the birthing process.
How Much Is a Birth Injury Claim Worth in Georgia?
Many factors will affect how much a birth injury claim is worth. The nature and severity of your child’s injuries significantly impact the compensation you could receive.
Factors that can impact the damages in a birth injury claim include:
- The effect the birth injury has on future development, including educational, social, physical, and emotional development
- Whether your child sustained a permanent or long-term disability or impairment
- The impact on your child’s ability to work and earn a living
- The cost of medical treatment and personal care
- The effect of the birth injury on your child’s quality of life
- The cost of your lost wages and other expenses you incur while caring for your child
Your legal team will analyze your case to identify each factor that impacts its value. Your lawyer might work with experts to determine the extent of your child’s injuries and the future costs of birth injuries.
What Damages Can I Recover in a Birth Injury Claim?
Medical malpractice victims are entitled to compensation for their economic and non-economic damages.
Examples of economic damages in a birth injury case include:
- Past, current, and future medical bills and expenses
- In-home nursing care
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation therapies
- Medical devices and medications
- Personal care and services
- Specialized education programs
- Your child’s diminished future earning potential
- Your loss of income
In addition to financial losses, you and your child are entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering the medical malpractice has caused.
Watching your child suffer can be highly traumatizing. Furthermore, your child may experience a lifetime of emotional distress and suffering because of the birth injury.
Examples of non-economic damages in a birth injury claim include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Loss of a normal childhood
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- A decrease in your child’s quality of life
- Permanent disabilities and impairments
To recover compensation for a birth injury, you must file your claim before the statute of limitations expires. Typically, Georgia has a two-year statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits.
However, that deadline could be extended if the victim is a child or could not have reasonably discovered the injury until later.
The statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims can be difficult to calculate. Therefore, the best step parents can take is to seek legal advice from an experienced Tifton medical malpractice lawyer as soon as they suspect their child could have sustained a birth injury.
Contact Us For a Free Consultation With a Tifton Birth Injury Lawyer
We understand that you and your family have been through a traumatic and emotional experience. Our legal team is here to help. Call (229) 386-1376 to contact The King Firm attorneys to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Tifton birth injury attorney to discuss your case.