Birth injuries are both devastating and costly. Injuries a child sustains during labor and delivery can dictate the entire course of the child’s life. Families are changed forever as well when a child requires ongoing medical treatment and care for the rest of his or her life.
It is important to understand and defend your legal rights if your child is injured during labor or delivery. The experienced birth injury attorneys at Michigan Injury Lawyers can help guide your family through the complicated process of filing and defending your legal claim. Call us today for your free initial consultation with an experienced Flint birth injury attorney.
What Are Birth Injuries?
Birth injuries are those a child sustains during labor and delivery. They are often caused by negligence on the part of a doctor, nurse, or other member of the medical staff, making it a type of medical malpractice.
Some of the most common birth injuries include:
- Birth asphyxia (being deprived of oxygen during labor or delivery, which can lead to brain damage)
- Head trauma (often caused by forceps, extractor, or other tools used in delivery)
- Brachial plexus palsy (damage to nerves that control hand and arm movement)
- Facial nerve palsy or paralysis
- Cephalohematoma (bleeding under the skull, which can cause jaundice)
- Clavicle fractures (a broken collarbone)
These injuries can lead to serious medical conditions like cerebral palsy, seizure disorders, and developmental disabilities. These conditions require intensive medical intervention and constant care. The most serious injuries can even lead to death. Parents can pursue wrongful death claims if their children die as a result of their birth injuries.
How Do I Know if My Child’s Birth Injury Was Caused by Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is defined by a specific legal standard, measured against the hypothetical standard of the “reasonably prudent doctor of similar training and experience.”
If the doctor does not act as a reasonably prudent doctor would in the same situation, then he or she is deemed negligent. Negligence on the part of a doctor is known as medical malpractice.
How do you know what a “reasonably prudent” doctor would have done during your child’s labor and delivery? This requires testimony from an expert witness. The expert witness must have similar training and experience as the defendant doctor - otherwise, he or she will not qualify as an expert on the actions of a “reasonably prudent” doctor. Experienced birth injury lawyers know how to find closely matched doctors who will present persuasive testimony to a jury.
What Losses Can I Claim in a Birth Injury Lawsuit?
Injury victims are entitled to compensation for all the losses they suffer as a result of the defendant’s negligence. Some of the most common losses a family can suffer as a result of a birth injury include:
Medical Bills and Projected Future Medical Expenses
The easiest costs to calculate in a birth injury lawsuit are the medical expenses you have already paid as a result of your child’s birth injuries. By simply gathering the receipts and invoices, your attorney can quickly calculate exactly how much you have spent on medical treatment for your child. Even if Medicare, Medicaid, or private health insurance covered your medical expenses, the defendant is still responsible for paying the total amount of all medical costs.
(In this situation, the health insurer would have the right to be reimbursed from your settlement for any payments it made toward birth injury medical expenses.)
You are also entitled to compensation for any future medical expenses that will be incurred as a result of your child’s birth injury, however, this is more difficult to calculate. Since you do not yet know what those expenses will be, the cost will have to be projected by expert witnesses. This usually involves an economist who can project the total cost of these services (adjusted for inflation and interest).
Birth injuries often render the child unable to perform basic tasks. Whether it is a cognitive impairment or a physical one, these effects can last a lifetime. The victim often requires round-the-clock care, possibly in the form of daycare, respite services, or in-home nursing care. All of these expenses are a result of the birth injury, and so the negligent defendant is responsible for paying them.
Sadly, many serious birth injuries result in complex medical conditions that shorten a victim’s lifespan. This decreased lifespan is perhaps the most devastating loss a family can suffer. Birth injury victims are entitled to compensation for the years of life that a doctor’s negligence stole from them. Although this is a projected expense that is impossible to calculate accurately, it is also a very real loss that jurors understand on a visceral level.
Pain and Suffering
Like other personal injury victims, children who suffer from birth injuries are entitled to compensation for their pain and suffering. This is a subjective loss that varies greatly from person to person. Because of this, and the fact that it is the largest component of most personal injury awards, insurance companies will almost always attack the amount of pain and suffering a victim claims to reduce the amount the insurer must pay to the victim.
Flint Personal Injury Attorneys for Your Birth Injury Case
Birth injuries are a complex form of medical malpractice. Wrongful death claims might also arise when birth injuries cause a child’s death. Parents have legal rights that must be protected when their child sustains birth injuries. It is important to work with an experienced birth injury attorney who handles medical malpractice, birth injury, and wrongful death claims.
Michigan Injury Lawyers’ skilled Flint birth injury attorneys have helped many parents protect their legal right to be compensated when their child suffers from birth injuries. Call (810) 922-2820 or contact us online for your free initial consultation.
Flint Office Location
3438 Lennon Rd,
Flint, MI 48507
Phone: (810) 239-5700