When new parents learn they are expecting a child, they naturally envision a healthy and happy baby. Most of the time, their expectations come to fruition. Sometimes, however, the negligence of medical professionals leave a child injured and facing lifelong challenges and expenses. These injuries are hard to accept.
Here is why many parents seek the legal guidance of a knowledgeable Bloomfield Hills birth injury attorney at Michigan Injury Lawyers after learning about their baby’s birth injury.
About Michigan Injury Lawyers
Michigan birth injury victims and their families need an experienced and compassionate advocate to navigate their complex and often overwhelming legal claims. Since 2008, personal injury attorney Thomas Stroble has operated Michigan Injury Lawyers to assist clients in getting their lives back after suffering a personal injury. Mr. Stroble and his team can do the same for you and your family.
Birth injuries can affect you, your child, and your entire family for a lifetime. They can be disfiguring and debilitating as well as costly. When a medical professional is negligent in the care they provided you during your labor and delivery, you might have legal recourse.
By obtaining a case evaluation from Michigan Injury Lawyers, you can find out if you have a viable case, how much it might be worth, and what the next steps are in pursuing the compensation you deserve. Contact Michigan Injury Lawyers today to receive your free case evaluation.
What is a Birth Injury?
A birth injury is an injury or harm to the fetus or baby at or near the time of birth. Babies can sustain birth injuries for a variety of reasons. Some are relatively minor and will not have a lasting impact on the health of the child. Others are severe and will result in permanent disabilities, affecting the child’s physical, mental, and emotional growth and development.
Anytime you suspect a birth injury, consult a Bloomfield Hills birth injury lawyer should as soon as possible. You and your child can receive compensation if the birth injury occurred due to medical negligence.
Birth injuries are almost always preventable. When the birth process involves complications, and members of the healthcare team fail to take the appropriate action or take the wrong actions, a birth injury can occur. If you can prove that their negligence directly caused harm to your newborn, you likely have a legal claim.
Common Birth Injuries in America
Birth injuries are often the most damaging medical malpractice injuries. Expecting parents have planned and prepared for their baby’s arrival into the world and their families. They have discussed names and whom their child might look or act like. However, they can’t plan for the unexpected outcome of a birth injury resulting from their healthcare provider’s negligence. Sometimes, these birth injuries can even cause fatal injuries to the baby or the mother.
Birth injury malpractice can take on many forms. For example, the prenatal care they received from the OB doctor may have been deficient, even though the mother sought care and was compliant to ensure her health and safety and that of her unborn baby.
Healthcare provider negligence can also happen during childbirth, leading to birth injuries to the mother or baby. When these injuries are preventable, medical malpractice likely occurs. Birth injuries frequently require lifelong medical care, costing several million dollars over the newborn’s lifetime.
The most common birth injuries include:
- Brain injuries, including damage to the soft tissue, brain bleeds, and birth asphyxia leading to brain damage
- Cephalohematoma. Bleeding under the cranium, some can lead to other complications like jaundice or signal that more severe birth injuries occurred
- Brachial plexus palsy. Occurs when there is an injury to the group of nerves that are responsible for arm and hand movement; recovery depends on how severe the injury is
- Broken collar bones. Even though these fractures tend to heal quickly, they can be quite painful and require reduced arm movement
- Facial nerve paralysis. Usually, this is the result of temporary nerve bruising, but sometimes, it involves torn nerves that require surgery
- Head trauma. From the birth process, especially if a vacuum or forceps are required, the severity of head trauma can vary, but it can lead to serious problems
- Intra-abdominal birth injuries such as hemorrhaging or internal organ damage
- Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). Brain damage resulting from oxygen deprivation at birth
- Cerebral palsy (CP). Sometimes caused by complications like a birth injury, birth asphyxia, birth trauma, or an infection
This list is not all-inclusive. Suppose you suspect that your child sustained a birth injury or there were suspicious complications surrounding your birth experience. In that case, speaking with a Bloomfield Hills birth injury lawyer who can evaluate your situation for a legal claim is worth your time.
Birth Injury Risk Factors
Your medical team during your labor and delivery should be aware of any risk factors you might have that can complicate your birth and potentially cause a birth injury. They can be negligent if they don’t consider your risk factors when managing your medical care.
Risk factors that increase the chances of birth complications and birth injuries include:
- Macrosomia. A large newborn who weighs more than eight pounds, 13 ounces
- Cephalopelvic disproportion. When the maternal pelvis is not big enough to accommodate the expected size of the newborn’s head
- Prolonged labor. Usually over 24 hours
- Prematurity. Babies born before 37 weeks gestation
- Instrumental deliveries. Forceps or vacuum births can sometimes lead to birth trauma
- Abnormal delivery positions such as breech (head first instead of feet) or facing up
- Abnormal or excessive pulling during delivery
Birth Injury Damages
Those who suffer birth injuries related to a healthcare professional’s negligence may recover damages. Damages are the financial translation of their tangible and intangible losses. There are two categories of damages; economic and non-economic. An individual found liable for another person’s injuries and damages owes them compensation for those injuries under Michigan civil personal injury laws.
Economic damages are often called special damages and can include compensation for:
- Past and future medical expenses such as surgeries, hospitalizations, prescriptions, physical therapy, and medical devices and equipment
- Past and future lost income and wages, including bonuses and PTO
- Other injury-related expenses, such as travel to medical appointments
General or non-economic damages are losses that can’t really be seen or measured. Whereas economic damages have a given value, non-economic damages don’t. Instead, they are subjective, which requires the help of a well-versed Bloomfield Hills birth injury attorney to ensure full and fair compensation.
Your non-economic damages might include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of society and companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Some patients suffering birth injuries and their families will also be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages are different from other damages because they do not aim to compensate the victim. They aim to punish the provider for their incredibly reckless or wanton behavior.
Punitive damages also help deter similar behaviors from others and even the same behavior again by the medical provider. For example, if an OB doctor was in a rush or intoxicated when delivering a baby, the court may assign punitive damages in the case in conjunction with compensable (economic and non-economic) damages.
Michigan Birth Injury Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is the amount of time Michigan law gives for a victim to file a personal injury lawsuit. The statute can vary depending on the type of injury and by state. In Michigan, if a child is under eight years old and suffered a birth injury, the statute of limitations is two years after the incident or by their tenth birthday—whichever time period is longer.
If you or your Bloomfield Hills birth injury attorney do not file a lawsuit within the two-year statute of limitations or by the time your child is ten years of age, you will lose your right to seek compensation for any damages you or your child suffer. Connecting with an attorney as soon as possible after discovering or suspecting the birth injury is of utmost importance in your case.
Bloomfield Hills Birth Injury FAQs
What Does Informed Consent Mean?
Every patient has the right to receive information regarding any possible complications and risks associated with any procedures their healthcare team suggests. If a doctor doesn’t obtain the patient’s informed consent, and the patient (or their baby) suffers an injury, the doctor might be liable. Even still, a signed informed consent form doesn’t mean you sign away your legal rights if the doctor is negligent in giving care.
Who Can Our Medical Malpractice Lawyers Hold Liable for a Birth Injury?
Depending on the situation, many different parties can be held liable for a birth. Liable parties can include nurses, administrative staff, the anesthesiologist, the surgeon, the doctor, or anyone else on the medical team or involved in the direct or indirect care of the mother or baby. Sometimes, these cases involve the liability of more than one party.
For example, if both the nurse and the OB doctor failed to recognize a baby in distress, you might file a claim against both of them. You might also hold the hospital or medical facility accountable for their actions if they were employed there.
When you hire a Bloomfield Hills birth injury attorney from Michigan Injury Lawyers, we work hard to determine who is at fault for your injuries. If multiple parties are to blame, we can maximize your compensation by ensuring each one is held accountable for their negligence.
What Is My Birth Injury Claim Worth?
Bloomfield Hills birth injury lawyers hear this question frequently, and understandably so. Unfortunately, there’s no exact answer as to how much your case is worth because it varies between causes and the different factors involved.
However, your attorney can give you an estimated case value based on their experience, similar birth injury cases in your area, and your injuries and damages. Someone with more severe or life-changing injuries may receive more compensation than someone with minor or temporary injuries.
What Is an Affidavit of Merit?
Unlike other personal injury claims, medical malpractice claimants, including those who have suffered birth injuries, must file an expert affidavit when they file their case. This affidavit must be signed by a licensed healthcare professional practicing or teaching in the same specialty as the defendant. The expert must also have the same board certifications as the at-fault party, if any.
The affidavit must state that the medical expert has reviewed the evidence in your claim, believes it a valid birth injury claim, and will testify in court about their professional opinion. In addition, the expert must state at least one negligent act the doctor or healthcare provider committed that resulted in your injuries, what they should have done instead, and how their actions caused your injuries.
In Michigan, the at-fault party or parties are also required to file an affidavit, called an affidavit of meritorious defense, signed by a qualified expert, refuting the injured party’s claims.
Hire a Compassionate Bloomfield Hills Birth Injury Lawyer
When your child suffers a birth injury, many emotions arise, from deep concern to anger and everything in between. Your child may endure pain and suffering; they may never live a normal life; they may need surgery or additional and continued medical interventions. These situations are not only financially burdensome but emotionally taxing. Do not fight this battle alone; let a competent legal advocate do it for you.
"Michigan Injury Lawyers fought for my best interest, helped me understand throughout the process and was very patient with my many questions. I have nothing but good things to say about this firm! I feel as though my case was handled professionally and with the utmost care. If you needed to let them know about something urgent, they responded quickly and updated me within the day or the following morning. Nothing but good things to say!" -Shaun N. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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