Did you know that every year, almost 4 million babies are born in the United States? That’s over 10,000 babies delivered every day!
Unfortunately, in a country as developed as the U.S., many of these babies die at birth. In fact, back in 2017, there were 22,335 infant deaths. Many others suffer birth trauma that can have lifelong effects.
Many of these deaths and injuries are preventable, especially in teen mothers. There are some cases, however, that result from medical mistakes.
It’s for this reason that the U.S. has a strict birth injury law that parents should know. Particularly if you suspect your little one’s injuries are because of a medical mistake.
What exactly is this law about and what constitutes a birth injury? Should you seek legal help if you think your doctor caused the birth trauma?
All these questions and more, we’ll address in this post. Keep reading to learn the most important facts surrounding the law on birth injuries!
1. What Birth Injury Is
A birth injury is a physical injury to a baby that can result from the processes of labor or delivery. It often occurs during the birthing process or immediately after the baby is born.
A birth injury is different from a birth defect. The latter is a medical illness or condition that develops while the baby is still in the mother’s womb. Sometimes, genetics are to blame for these defects, in which case, they’re unpreventable.
Whereas many birth injuries are preventable, as they’re often caused by medical errors. They can result from the medical team doing something they weren’t supposed to. Or, they have failed to do something they should have during the delivery.
For example, a birth injury can result from the misuse of medical equipment. It can also occur if the medical team did not monitor the oxygen of the baby during and after the delivery.
2. The Birth Injury Law in the United States
More than a third of U.S. physicians have dealt with or are facing a medical malpractice or negligence case. New York alone had a malpractice suit rate of 19.3 lawsuits per 100,000 residents back in 2015.
That said, a birth injury is a form of medical practice or negligence. It’s a personal injury that can stem from a medical team’s mistakes, including:
- Inadequate response to fetal bleeding
- Not monitoring anoxia or lack of oxygen
- Causing umbilical cord complications
- Performing the cesarean section even if there’s no need to
- Failure to check for and respond to fetal distress
The law also covers injuries that result from the incorrect use of medical equipment. These include forceps and vacuum extractors.
Either way, the law on birth injury seeks to protect the families of the injured baby. Acting as a guardian on the injured baby’s behalf, parents can file a birth injury lawsuit. If successful, the family should receive fair compensation for their baby’s injury.
3. The Two Most Common Types of Birth Injuries Caused by Medical Malpractice
Of the many birth injuries caused by medical mistakes, Cerebral Palsy and Erb’s Palsy are the most common. These two are often the reasons parents hire an experienced birth injury lawyer.
In every 1,000 kids older than 3 years old, between 2 and 3 kids have cerebral palsy. It is a condition that interferes with muscle tone, motor skills, and movement. It is also one of the most common types of birth injury that results from medical mistakes.
CP sufferers can’t move their bodies in a coordinated or proper way. CP can affect other motor and muscle functions, such as eating and talking. It can even hinder breathing and bladder and bowel control.
Erb’s Palsy (Brachial Plexus Birth Palsy) affects one to two in every 1,000 babies. This makes it another of the most common birth injuries that can be because of medical malpractice.
For one, because it often occurs because of the stretching of the baby’s neck to the side. This excessive stretching can happen during a difficult delivery.
4. Other Birth Injuries that Parents Can Sue For
A birth injury law firm can also help you and your child in case of the following injuries:
- Forcep marks or bruising of any kind
- Facial paralysis
- Bone fractures
- Subconjunctival hemorrhage
If your baby suffered from brain damage, it’s also possible to sue your doctor. Here, the doctor may have failed to respond to an infection or blood clot. Or, you may have had Strep B before or during pregnancy, but your doctor failed to treat your condition.
5. Mothers Can Also Sue for their Own Birth-Related Injuries
Mothers can also hire birth injury specialty lawyers for their own injuries. One instance is when the medical team did not note high blood pressure in the mom before delivery. This is a sign of preeclampsia, which can cause seizures during labor.
6. It Can Be Difficult to Prove Medical Negligence in Birth Injuries
Proving that a birth injury was because of inadequate medical care or advice can be difficult. Victims have to establish that their doctor breached the standard of medical care. Sometimes, the family of the injured baby also has to show the doctor deviated from the standard of care.
Collecting evidence and gathering testimonies can already be very stressful and time-consuming. The defendants, with their medical knowledge, are also sure to come up with a strong defense. They can use their background in medicine to counter your claims.
7. A Birth Injury Lawyer Can Help Prove Birth-Related Medical Errors
It’s important to hire a birth injury attorney as soon as you establish the medical team is at fault. A lawyer specializing in birth injuries will protect your and your baby’s rights. They will be with you every step of the birth injury lawsuit process.
Be sure to hire a birth injury lawyer with a long history of successful settlements and verdicts. Also, it’s best to enlist a lawyer who only works with birth injury victims. This is a strong indication of an attorney’s passion to protect victims.
Get the Compensation You and Your Injured Baby Deserve Now
As helpful (and rigorous) as the birth injury law in the U.S. is, it’s a very complex segment of the legal world. Proving who’s at fault for the birth injury alone can already take a lot of time. This is especially true for injuries that don’t show symptoms right away.
As such, the earlier you can detect birth injury symptoms, the sooner you can sue who’s responsible. We can help you with the entire process and every step of the way. Get in touch with our New York law office now so we can give you a free consultation ASAP.