Guide to Birth Injury Law Firms
Birth Injury Cases
No parent wants to hear those three words. Birthday injury cases are some of the most challenging and emotional cases heard by injury lawyer within birth injury law firms, and unfortunately, the cases are often very hard to win. There are certain injuries sustained by either the mother or child that will likely receive compensation, and these injuries include the following:
• Failure to order and perform a cesarean in the right amount of time
• Disregard of bilirueben levels in a newborn by medical staff
• Failure to monitor fetal distress
• Lack of communication between doctors that resulted in a birth injury
• Act of improperly suctioning the meconium
• Cerebral Palsy and Erbs Palsy
• Certain brain damages (mainly due to a lack of oxygen)
• Spinal Cord injuries
Even in the cases of the injuries listed above, a birth injury law firm must still prove up to four reasons that caused the child to suffer. Compensation is usually awarded for medical expenses, and in some cases, a child can receive compensation for the restrictions they now face in life.
What must Birth Injury Law Firms Prove?
As mentioned above, a birth injury law firm must be able to prove most or all of the following four conditions that led to the child’s injury. If birth injury laws firms fail to prove the following conditions within a court, a judge will be reluctant, sadly, to award compensation.
1) Did the doctor or hospital provide proper and efficient medical care for the birth of the child?
This condition not only applies to reasonable hospital conditions, but to doctor-patient relationships as well. Most jurisdictions around the country consider the professional manner and treatment by doctors during a child birth. If a doctor failed to treat their patient with reasonable care, with a professional attitude, and with true concern for their condition, a court may declare the doctor showed at least some negligence.
2) Did the doctor or hospital staff fail to provide proper medical care?
This condition is often the hardest to prove by a birth injury law firm. A lawyer must first convince a judge of the “standard of care” that should have been provided by the hospital or doctor. Proving how a doctor should have acted in a particular scenario is hard, so most birth injury law firms rely on expert witnesses and testimonials.
The witnesses used by birth injury law firms almost always include medical experts (usually doctors and surgeons), and this expert is used to convince the jury of proper procedure in a normal birth and improper procedures of the doctor in this particular case.
3) Did the doctor’s lack of care result in the child sustaining injuries during birth?
Proving that the child’s injuries were a direct result of negligence is difficult for a birth injury law firm as well. A doctor’s lawyer and medical malpractice insurance company will usually do everything in their power to prove the injury, such as Cerebral Palsy for example, was not the doctor’s fault but because of a genetic abnormality or developmental complication instead. Birth injury law firms must again rely on expert witnesses that have detailed knowledge these types of injuries.
4) Are the birth injuries severe enough to receive both medical compensation and compensation for the parent or guardian to provide proper supervision and care in the future?
If the birth injury case involves a large physical disability or significant cognitive loss, a parent and their lawyer will likely try to receive compensation for time they must take off of work in the future in order to provide proper care to the child.
Proving the need for this type of compensation is often difficult for a birth injury law firm, and a doctor’s defense will usually declare that this compensation should not be awarded due to the plaintiff’s failure to prove deviation from the standard of care.
Most states will consider compensation toward the care of an infant if that child falls under most or all of the following circumstances:
2) Spinal and/or brain injury
3) Birth weight of at least 2500 grams
4) Born in a participating hospital
5) Injured due to lack of oxygen (commonly referred to as Cerebral Hypoxia)
6) Not caused by a genetic abnormality
7) Delivered by a qualified doctor
8) Suffered an injury that was permanent or serious
How does a Birth Injury Law Firm Proceed with a Case?
If you are involved in a similar type of case, birth injury law firms will file a lawsuit against a doctor, hospital, and/or any other party that was involved and thought to be partly responsible.
The doctor or the hospital will then contact their medical malpractice insurers. Every practicing lawyer is required to have medical malpractice insurance, and the insurers and defense will handle the case after the doctor or hospital contacts them.
All lawsuits involve a discovery process, and it’s essential to follow the advice and recommended responses of a birth injury law firm when going through discovery. In a birth injury lawsuit, both sides will collect as much information about the other as possible, and the defense will usually ask for all of the following:
1) The child’s, and possibly the parent’s, medical and financial records
2) The results of an Independent Medical Examination (IME) and/or MRI if there was a brain injury
3) A deposition, or questions, geared toward the plaintiffs by the defense
Most birth injury law firms will reach a settlement with the doctor’s defense attorneys and medical malpractice insurance company before the case is even brought to trial. A birth injury law firm will notify of different settlement options that may be available in your type of case, and if any one of these settlements is offered by the defense, a lawyer and their client will usually accept the compensation. If the defense does not offer a settlement, the case will go to trial.