For most parents, the birth of a child is a wondrous and momentous occasion that they will never forget. The pain and suffering that the mother had to go through in order to bring their child into the world are quickly forgotten after she holds her newborn in her arms for the first time.
However, some parents may have to put the celebration on hold due to a birth injury. If your child suffered a serious injury during their birth then you may be eligible to file a medical malpractice suit against the doctor who delivered your child.
Here we will review birth injuries and how you should prepare for your medical malpractice suit.
What is a Birth Injury Lawsuit?
Birth injury lawsuits are a form of litigation that may help financially compensate parents who have been impacted by an injury to their baby.
For example, if your child becomes disabled due to a birthing incident, or develops cerebral palsy or Erb’s palsy due to your doctor’s negligence, then you may be able to file a birth injury lawsuit.
While doctors may be held liable for your suffering, nurses, and even other medical staff may also be held accountable for the injury to your child.
In terms of procedure and substance, birth injury lawsuits are very complicated and may require the aid of an attorney who specializes in such sensitive matters.
Common Newborn Injuries
Caput Succedaneum occurs when the scalp of a baby becomes inflamed or swollen. It is commonly caused by intense pressure that is caused by an arduous head-first delivery.
Cephalohematoma occurs when the newborn bleeds from under its scalp. Vacuum extraction is usually the cause of the condition.
Brachial Plexus Palsy in infancy may cause weakness or loss of movement in the arm or arms of the infant. The Brachial Plexus refers to a bundle or network of nerves that are found around the shoulder of the baby.
If the infant is in a poor position while it is being born then its shoulders may be stretched in a manner that may damage the Brachial Plexus. Or, intense pressure on its arms may cause Brachial Plexus Palsy.
Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy occurs when the infant does not receive sufficient blood flow or oxygen for a prolonged period of time. Mild cases may cause slight development issues, while severe cases may cause epilepsy and/or cerebral palsy.
Bone fractures may also result during childbirth. Some of the most commonly fractured bones during childbirth include the upper arm bone and the collarbone.
Skin and soft tissue injuries may also occur during childbirth. The baby may suffer from swelling and bruising that were caused by the doctor’s medical devices or contractions.
Labour and delivery injuries may also lead to the death of a newborn infant. If your infant passed away due to medical malpractice then you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Limitation Period for Birth Injuries
A statute of limitations will specify the amount of time that you (the claimant) have after being harmed to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. Failure to adhere to this given deadline will usually mean that you will have to forfeit the opportunity to have a court of law decide your medical malpractice claim.
Birth Injury Lawsuit Procedure
When you plan to file a birth injury lawsuit you may require an attorney to help develop a case against the healthcare workers, nurses, and/or doctors that delivered your baby.
You will first need to issue a letter of demand. Your attorney may write up the letter for you, and will then send the letter to the culpable party, demanding restitution. The letter of demand is sent before a lawsuit is officially filed.
If your doctor agrees to compensate you then you won’t have to file a lawsuit against them.
However, in many cases, your doctor will not agree to your terms. If your doctor vetoes your request then you will need to gather evidence against them.
Your attorney will ask you how the injury could have been prevented, as well as who is responsible for your baby’s suffering. They will also ask you how, where, and when the birth incident occurred.
Next, you will need to file a lawsuit. The case will be filed in an appropriate court of law by your attorney. Your family will then become the party that is legally taking action (i.e., plaintiff) against the medical team that caused the injury (i.e., defendants).
Once the court has processed your lawsuit they will send a notice to the party that is being sued. The defendants will be given a specified number of days in order to form a rebuttal. If they fail to respond within the allotted time frame then you will automatically win the case.
Next comes the documentation process. During this process, your legal team will gather even more evidence that supports your claim that medical malpractice was involved in the injury of your baby.
Examples may include medical expense reports, hospital bills, depositions, and medical documents that specifically note your baby’s injuries.
The next stage involves negotiating a settlement. Once you have been financially compensated an official agreement can be reached that will resolve the issue once and for all.
However, if a settlement can’t be reached, then the case will move to the trial and appeal phase, which will involve a judge and jury in order to determine the outcome. You may receive more money if you win your case in court. However, you will receive no money if you lose.
There is Hope
Birth injuries are usually treatable when the baby receives adequate medical intervention. However, the treatments that are administered can be very expensive and may take months or years to fully administer.
If you need help in order to pay for your baby’s medical bills and want to see the culpable party brought to justice for their crimes, then you may need to file a birth injury medical malpractice lawsuit.
Jessica Coates is a blogger in Toronto. She graduated with honors from the University of British Columbia with a dual degree in Business Administration and Creative Writing. Jessica Coates is a community manager for small businesses across Canada. When not working, she leisurely studies economics, history, law and business solutions.