Having a baby is a life-changing experience, but when the birth doesn’t go as planned, serious injuries can occur. Some of these injuries can affect your baby for the rest of their lives which is why it’s important to determine if anyone is at fault.
Birth injuries happen for a lot of reasons, but if you suspect your infant was hurt due to negligence by a medical professional, that party deserves to be held responsible. Although the process can be long and difficult, the possible financial benefits involved in a birth injury case can provide the resources needed to care for your injured child through adulthood if necessary.
Birth injury law is complicated for new parents to navigate because most people never imagine that it’s something they’ll have to face. Parents of victims have a lot of questions as they try to wrap their head around what’s to come. Let’s take a look at some of the key things to know about birth injuries, a birth injury claim, and the law.
What Birth-Related Injuries Can Be Caused by Medical Negligence?
Though these conditions aren’t always due to negligence or malpractice, here are some of the most common birth injuries that birth injury lawyers focus on:
- Bell’s Palsy
- Bone fractures
- Brain damage
- Caput succedaneum
- Cerebral Palsy
- Erb’s Palsy
- Facial paralysis
- Fetal lacerations
- Horner’s Syndrome
- Injuries from delivery
- Klumpke’s Palsy
- Oxygen deprivation
- Perinatal asphyxia
- Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn
- Shoulder dystocia
- Spinal cord injuries
- Wrongful death
Birth Injuries and the Law
If you’re considering filing a lawsuit because of a birth injury, there are a few things you should know that can make the process a lot more bearable.
Choosing a Birth Injury Lawyer
For this type of lawsuit, it’s very important to choose a lawyer who has a proven track record of experience. These cases are extremely difficult, and a general personal injury lawyer won’t have the expertise needed to prove the case.
There are also birth injury lawyers that focus on a specific area, like brain injuries or wrongful death lawsuits. Lawyers with a lot of experience in a certain field are likely to get a higher settlement for their clients because they have the knowledge needed to tackle the case.
How Does a Birth Injury Lawsuit Unfold?
The first thing any birth injury lawyer does is determine whether or not you have a case. Some birth injuries are not due to medical negligence and just a result of something that happens before, during, or after labor and delivery for which no one is at fault.
The lawyer starts by going over the details of your case by examining all medical records thoroughly. If the lawyer thinks you have a case, they’ll pursue it further by collecting additional evidence, interviewing witnesses, consulting with expert witnesses, and exploring any other documents they can find.
Do Cases for Birth Injuries Go to Trial?
A trial is a very emotional experience for parents who have already been through so much. Unfortunately, they can’t always be avoided.
Most attorneys will propose a settlement at some point in the pre-litigation phase, but there is no guarantee that the defendant will settle. Both parties have to agree to a settlement and, if nothing can be worked out, the case moves to litigation.
Birth injury cases are usually dealt with in civil court. Your lawyer will formally file a complaint at which time the defense is given time to respond. The discovery phase also starts at this time which allows the defendant to see all of the evidence collected against them.
It’s not uncommon for a defendant to decide to settle during the discovery phase. In a solidly built case, the defendant often sees all the evidence against them and decides that a settlement would be easier than fighting a case in court.
If the defendant decides to proceed, the case goes to trial. If the proceedings don’t go well for them, they can still offer a settlement up until the last days of the trial.
How Can I Find Birth Injury Lawyers Near Me?
It’s not surprising that most people turn to the internet to find a birth injury lawyer. Not only can you find someone close by, but you can also read client testimonials and reviews, learn about their areas of expertise, and check their background information.
Finding someone who is qualified is one thing, but it’s also important that you have a good working relationship with a birth injury lawyer. This process is very difficult. Not only are you navigating the stress of the lawsuit but you’re also coping with the mental and emotional stress of having a newborn baby with an injury or worse. Choose an attorney that you feel comfortable talking and asking questions to.
Are Birth Injury Lawyers Expensive?
It’s impossible to tell how much injury lawyers will charge. It often depends on their experience and specialty. That said, most birth injury attorneys work on a contingency fee. That means they only get paid if you win your case.
There are a lot of positive things about working with a lawyer who is willing to work on a contingency basis. First, it proves that they have the financial resources to cover the costs upfront which indicates that they’ve been successful with lawsuits in the past. Second, most people don’t have the resources to pay for this type of lawyer upfront.
Injury attorneys understand this and take a percentage of your settlement as payment. Finally, it gives the impression that the lawyer is working as hard as possible on the case. They don’t get paid unless they win which is a huge motivation.
Birth injury lawsuits can be very time consuming and physically, emotionally, and mentally draining. Remember, the new parents are not only fighting a legal battle, but they’re also caring for a newborn with a birth injury which is a job in and of itself.
That’s why it’s so important to choose the right attorney. Choose someone that you know you can talk to and who you trust to fight for you and your baby.