From the moment a mother first feels her baby kick, she begins her lifelong career of worrying about his or her well-being. During pregnancy, worrying that your unborn baby is healthy and developing properly can be overwhelming. You can’t see or touch the baby, you have to rely on what your doctor tells you after looking at your ultrasound and running a few medical tests. Holding your baby for the first time is a moment that you will cherish every day for the rest of your life. If your baby incurs an injury during delivery, it can be devastating.
Each year, about 28,000 babies are born with an injury; this accounts for seven in every 1,000 babies born. Some of the most common birth injuries for babies are congenital cerebral palsy, which leads to development delays in the child’s motor skills, and Erb’s palsy, which is a paralysis of the arm due to an injury to the main nerves in that area.
If your baby sustained an injury in childbirth, you might experience a range of emotions and may not be sure what to do next. If you believe the injury is a result of a medical professional’s negligence, you should talk to a birth injury lawyer about the possibility of undertaking a medical malpractice case to make sure your child has the resources to access all of the help they need. The immediate steps you take after identifying signs of a birth injury will have a big impact on your case’s success and your ability to be fairly compensated for the damage.
What to Do When a Birth Injury Occurs
- Seek Medical Care for Your Baby
In most cases, you will immediately seek medical treatment for your child as soon as they sustain an injury in birth. Not only is this important to achieve the best outcome in treatment and the recovery process, it will help your case. Seeking medical treatment for a malpractice injury shows that you’ve done your due diligence to mitigate the damage of the injury. The medical professional who treats your child can issue a statement of merit for your medical malpractice claim, which helps substantiate your case.
- Talk to a Birth Injury Lawyer
Having a good birth injury lawyer to advocate for your case could be the hinge pin that makes your case successful. Your medical malpractice lawyer will review the details of your circumstances and help you develop a plan of action that will lead to the best outcome. It is important to look for a birth injury lawyer who has experience in your specific situation; the process for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is an obstacle course. You want to have an expert on your team who knows how to navigate it.
- Understand the Time Limits You Have
Civil cases– such as medical malpractice lawsuits — have time limits for how long after the fact you can file a claim. This is called the “statute of limitations.” Your birth injury attorney can advise you on the statute of limitations in your particular state. Unfortunately, you will have trouble winning even an obviously valid claim after the statute of limitations has passed, and so the sooner you act on your case, the better.
- Contact the Medical Licensing Board
Another step in doing your due diligence is contacting the state licensing board who issued the medical provider’s certification. Doing this will initiate an investigation and will help prevent other injuries. It is important to know that while the state licensing board can issue heavy fines or even revoke the doctor’s medical license, this does not mean that you’ve won your malpractice case. The doctor’s malpractice insurance may offer you a settlement as a result of the licensing board finding the doctor was negligent, but you should not accept it without the advisement of your birth injury attorney. Accepting a settlement removes your right to pursue a lawsuit in the future.
Have you been impacted by a mistake made by a doctor? Do you have questions on how to proceed? Please let us know if we can be of any assistance.