Giving birth should be a joyful experience as you bring a new life into the world. Unfortunately, far too many families instead have to deal with an unexpected injury when doctors or nursing staff don't uphold their required duty of care during the birthing process.
If you are dealing with the aftermath of a birth injury, your primary concerns should be recovery and being with your family. Your attorney is there to handle the rest and work towards holding the negligent party responsible.
Causes and Types of Common Pennsylvania Birth Injuries
While some problems will occur no matter what OB/GYNs or nurses do in the delivery room, birth injuries are often caused by negligence and simply could have been avoided.
Due to the length of gestation and the often unexpected timeframe of the actual delivery, you may end up seeing multiple medical professionals throughout a pregnancy. When doctors don’t communicate properly with one another, issues may not be diagnosed before they cause serious health problems for you or your little one. Injuries to either the child or mother are often a result of medical staff failing to recognize distress symptoms, or not acting quickly enough when those symptoms are apparent.
Preventable birth injuries can also occur due to the baby receiving insufficient oxygen, blunt force trauma from improperly used birthing tools, or a doctor failing to perform a C-section when needed. In these types of medical malpractice cases, specific birth injuries can include:
- Bone fractures
- Brain damage
- Cerebral palsy
- Erb’s palsy
- Facial scarring
- Nerve damage
- Shoulder dystocia
- Spinal cord injuries
- Injuries to the mother, like excessive bleeding or ruptured uterus
- Wrongful death of the baby and/or mother
While problems like shoulder dystocia will be apparent during birth, and there are usually clear signs of issues like fractures or scarring, symptoms of other types of birth injuries may not show up immediately. If you suspect a later diagnosis of any of the problems listed above was originally caused by negligent behavior, you need to consult with an experienced birth injury lawyer.
Why You Need an Attorney After Your Child Suffers a Birth Injury
Your child’s injury may occur quickly during the birthing process, but the effects can last a lifetime. With more severe birth injuries, there is the possibility your newborn baby may require decades of extremely expensive care.
Medications and surgeries or other procedures to deal with nerve or brain damage obviously come with high price tags, but that’s usually only the beginning. Families dealing with birth injuries also need to factor in the cost of paying for in-home assistance, ongoing therapy, and other expenses. That can all quickly add up to unaffordable amounts, especially if a parent needs to remain home to care for the child.
No matter what kind of birth injury occurred or how it has impacted your family’s lives, it is critical to contact an attorney sooner rather than later. You want to ensure necessary evidence can be gathered quickly before it is gone and before the state’s statute of limitations expires. In Pennsylvania, you only have two years from the date you find out about the injury to file a lawsuit.
Your attorney also needs time to thoroughly investigate the case, utilizing medical records and healthcare experts to prove negligence was responsible for your child’s suffering. A lawyer can file court paperwork while handling communication with insurance providers and the negligent medical staff who caused the injury.
Depending on the circumstances of the injury and its root cause, damages awarded for birth injuries may go directly to the parents, or instead to the child in the form of a trust. Potential settlements or court judgments in Pennsylvania birth injury cases can include damages for:
- Installing home accommodations to help with the child’s disability
- Lost wages during recovery and lost future earning potential if you can’t return to work after the birth injury
- Medical bills, including a reasonable estimation of future costs
- Ongoing therapies or rehabilitative treatment needed to address the effects of the injury
- Pain and suffering or loss of quality of life for either mother or child
Protect Your Family’s Legal Rights and Get the Help You Need Today
We hope your child’s birth goes smoothly and you raise a healthy baby without any complications. If that isn't the case and the unthinkable happens, we are here to help you protect your legal rights. Message or call Heslin Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your situation.