When you’re excitedly anticipating the birth of a child, it can be hard to imagine that anything could wrong. Unfortunately, sometimes the birth of a child brings heartbreak and confusion, instead of happiness.
Birth defects and birth injuries are both serious problems that new families can struggle to face. When you are expecting and planning for a happy, healthy baby, it can be devastating to realize that something has gone wrong.
If your newborn has a medical illness or condition, it’s natural to want to know what happened and if it could have been prevented. Knowing the difference between a birth defect and a birth injury is a good place to start looking for answers.
Read on to learn more about the difference between birth defects and birth injuries, and what legal rights you might have if your child is suffering from medical conditions resulting from either.
What Are Birth Defects?
A birth defect is a medical illness or health condition that develops when an infant is still in the womb. Some birth defects are the result of genetics and cannot be prevented, but other birth defects can be prevented with healthy lifestyle choices.
Some common examples of birth defects include:
- Down Syndrome
- Cleft lip
- Neural tube defects, such as spina bifida
- Metabolic disorders
- Congenital heart defects
What Are Birth Injuries?
A birth injury can occur during or just after delivery and can cause serious damage to your child’s health. Some birth injuries can occur as a result of the position a baby puts him or herself in during birth, in which case they are unavoidable.
The majority, however, can be prevented. These occur as the result of something your doctor or medical team did or did not do during your child’s delivery. For example, misusing medical equipment or failing to take necessary actions or using an improper delivery method.
Some common examples of birth injuries include:
- Forecep marks or bruising
- Facial paralysis
- Cerebral palsy
- Placenta separation
Could You Have a Legal Case?
If your child has a birth defect that is the result of their genetic makeup or can be attributed to a lifestyle choice that the mother made during pregnancy, it is unlikely that a doctor or medical team could be found liable.
When it comes to a preventable birth injury, on the other hand, you may be entitled to compensation and should consider filing a lawsuit. Knowing more about these situations could help you determine if someone else is responsible for your child’s medical condition.
Is Your Doctor Responsible?
It’s important to know that when your doctor agrees to take a mother and her child on as patients, he or she is required to treat you according to the established standard of care.
If your doctor or medical team failed to do this — and it resulted in a birth injury — they could be held liable.
Can You File a Lawsuit?
Adjusting to life with a newborn is overwhelming. When your child is suffering from a medical condition as the result of a birth injury, it can be even more difficult. Filing a lawsuit may be the furthest thing from your mind.
If you even suspect that your doctor or medical team may be at fault, however, it’s important to take action as soon as possible. In New York, the statute of limitations on birth injury lawsuits is two years and six months. Once that time has passed, you will no longer be able to hold your doctor legally liable for what happened.
How to Prepare for a Birth Injury Lawsuit
The first thing you should do when preparing for a birth injury lawsuit is to find a team of experienced, trusted birth injury lawyers who are willing to fight for you and your child.
You should also prepare by collecting as many of your child’s medical records as possible, dating back to the day they were born. This can include appointment logs, prescription documentation, therapy notes, etc. The more information you are able to provide to you lawyers, the better prepared they will be to fight your case.
If there are any witnesses available, try to spend some time talking to them as well. Getting an accurate account of what happened is important, and other people who were present in the room may have noticed things that you did not.
Why You Should File a Birth Injuries Lawsuit
If a birth injury resulted in permanent or serious damage to your child’s health, you are probably facing a number of different medical expenses. There are doctor’s visits, medication, not to mention the potential for therapies, rehabs, and home cares.
Filing a birth injury lawsuit may be your best chance to get the compensation you deserve. A financial settlement could make a significant in the level of care and comfort that you are able to provide for your child. A settlement could also make up for any lost wages you incurred as a result of the injury.
It is important, too, to hold any liable doctors or medical staffers responsible for the damage they caused to your child and the suffering they inflicted on your family. Dealing with a birth injury is heartbreaking.
Dealing with a birth injury is heartbreaking. It causes stress during what should be — and otherwise would have been — a happy and celebratory time. If a doctor or medical team is responsible for your child’s medical condition, they should be required to face the consequences of their actions.
Ready to File?
Filing a lawsuit can seem like an intimidating process, but it doesn’t have to be. A qualified team of lawyers will work with you to make the process as easy and simple as possible. They will also fight tirelessly to make sure that you get any compensation you deserve.
Even if you aren’t sure if you have a case, take the time to schedule a free consultation. If you do have a lawsuit, you don’t want to miss out on your opportunity to file.
For more information about birth injury lawsuits, please feel free to contact us at any time.