If your child suffered harm during the mother’s pregnancy, labor, delivery, or soon after childbirth because of medical negligence, you likely want to know how you prove a birth injury. However, suspecting a birth injury for which a medical professional might be responsible and having the necessary proof to hold the responsible parties accountable are two different things.
A birth injury could result from a preventable event that harmed the child because of a medical professional’s mistake. They might have done something incorrectly while caring for you or failed to do something that could have prevented the injury. For example, the Cleveland Clinic describes how Erb’s Palsy can result from a shoulder injury the baby suffered during delivery. A birth injury lawyer can help you prove the multiple factors necessary to recover compensation from the liable parties.
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What You Have to Prove in a Birth Injury Case
When faced with birth injuries, most parents ask two questions: were the injuries preventable and are birth injuries permanent. As we said, most such injuries are preventable and avoidable, given the standards and technologies of our current times. Unfortunately, to answer the second question, some birth injuries are permanent. Cerebral palsy is the most common example, but there are others too. When establishing liability and assigning monetary values to your claim, an attorney will consider the life-long care and treatments a child will have to receive.
The law does not require medical professionals to guarantee perfect results or 100 percent satisfaction with their services. We are all human, and none of us could measure up to that standard. However, we do face responsibility for the harm we cause through negligence.
You will need to present evidence that proves all four of these elements of negligence to win a birth injury claim:
- Duty of care. In the context of a birth injury, you must have an established doctor-patient relationship which imposes an obligation on the physician to provide medical care during your pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
- Breach of duty. You must show that the doctor did not provide medical services that met the standard of care that a reasonable person would expect from them.
- You must establish that medical negligence caused the injury to your child. For example, if a doctor or nurse failed to monitor the baby’s heart rate, leading them not to notice that the baby was in distress during delivery, this negligent act could cause a birth injury.
- Quantifiable losses. According to the Merck Manual, most birth injuries are quite minor, and the baby recuperates within minutes or hours. However, more significant birth injuries can cause lasting, even permanent, impairment and disability, resulting in hefty medical bills and future care costs.
When an attorney from our firm can help you prove all four of these factors, we can pursue a claim for compensation for your child’s birth injuries.
Types of Evidence to Prove Birth Injury Claims
Every case is different, and the specific evidence needed in a birth injury case will vary from one claim to another. Depending on the type of medical malpractice that caused the birth injury, we might need to gather these medical records from multiple sources:
- The obstetrician’s medical files showing the care the mother received throughout the pregnancy, any underlying conditions she had, complications that developed, medications, diagnostic work, and lab test results.
- The obstetrician’s notes concerning the labor, delivery, and postpartum care.
- The hospital or birthing center records where the labor and delivery occurred.
- The baby’s medical records from the nursery or neonatal unit.
- The medical records of the infant’s pediatrician documenting the newborn’s medical status and the care the child received after birth.
Additional types of evidence in a birth injury case could include:
- Eyewitness testimony. Medical professionals can describe what happened during labor and delivery, including doctors, nurses, and technicians.
- Expert witness testimony. They can testify to the quality of the medical care provided to the mother and child, the child’s birth injury, their diagnosis and prognosis, the extent of medical treatments and life care supports the child will need, and the economic impact of the child’s birth injury.
- Employment records. They can show the time the parents lost from work to care for their child because of the birth injury.
Your case might require additional types of evidence not on this list. Your birth injury attorney will evaluate your situation to determine the evidence needed to prove your claim.
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Damages in Birth Injury Cases
The unique facts of your situation will determine the monetary damages you could claim in your birth injury lawsuit. Some of the categories of losses could include:
- Medical expenses. You might recover the cost of medical intervention needed because of the medical negligence and resulting birth injury. Short-term costs could include a stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Long-term costs could encompass ongoing physical therapy, surgery to improve mobility for conditions like cerebral palsy, and tube feeding.
- Lifecare costs. Infants who suffer catastrophic birth injuries might need daily medical treatments and personal care by trained professionals. You might also need home modifications or a new vehicle to accommodate your child’s condition.
- Pain and suffering. These damages can address the physical discomfort and emotional distress of the birth injury.
- Lost wages. Sometimes, we can request compensation for the income lost due to the lengthy time spent away from work to care for your child.
Your birth injury attorney will explore the money damages available in your situation.
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Contact the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine About Your Birth Injury Case
If your child suffered a birth injury, the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine could help you seek compensation from the medical professionals whose negligence harmed your child. We understand that money does not fix everything, but it could help you pay for the care your child needs. You can call us today at 1-800-747-3733 for a free initial consultation.