According to an ongoing study reviewing birth-related injuries performed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, nearly two of every 1,000 births result in birth injuries. Birth injuries are devastating, especially when they could have been prevented. If your child was injured due to medical mistakes, you could have grounds to seek compensation from those who caused the injury. The Providence birth injury lawyers from Law Offices of Ronald J. Resmini, Accident & Injury Lawyers, Ltd. can help. Call us today at (401) 751-8855 for a free consultation about your options.
Traumatic Birth and Birth Injury Cases We Handle
Birth injuries may range from mild to life-threatening, with complications that can impact the infant’s life. Some of the most common birth injuries include:
If the baby’s neck or head is pulled too hard during delivery, it can tear or damage the spine, causing numbness or paralysis.
This is one of the most common birth injury complications. It’s brain damage that may cause developmental delays and physical disabilities.
Also known as brachial plexus palsy. This is nerve damage affecting the arms, shoulders, and hands. Symptoms include persistent numbness, paralysis, or weakness in the affected areas. It’s usually caused by using excessive force to deliver the baby.
A lack of oxygen during labor and delivery or head trauma in labor or delivery may cause brain damage.
This is bleeding between the skull and the scalp caused by shearing forces on the head during delivery that rupture blood vessels. This condition presents a few hours after birth. It may go away on its own. If the bleeding is substantial, the baby may develop jaundice due to the breakdown of red blood cells.
Improper use of forceps or excessive force with the tool can cause bruising, bleeding in the skull, seizures, fractures, and facial palsy.
This most often occurs in breech deliveries if the baby cannot be tuned or if the baby is large and delivering the baby’s shoulders is difficult. These typically heal with simple treatments like strapping the arm to the chest. The baby may be unable to move its arm until the break heals.
Excessive pressure during delivery can damage the facial nerves, causing paralysis or spasms.
This type of hemorrhage occurs in the blood vessels in the eyes. It usually doesn’t cause lasting damage and fades within a couple of weeks, but the damage can be permanent in rare cases.
Types of Negligence and Medical Malpractice that Can Happen During Childbirth
Some of the most common causes of birth injuries, like those listed above, often result from a healthcare practitioner taking steps they shouldn’t have. Others result from the caregiver neglecting to take the correct actions to prevent birth injuries and other complications.
Birth injury medical negligence can happen in any number of ways, like:
- Improper use of forceps. Forceps are a tool used in delivery. They resemble a large pair of tongs around the baby’s head to help guide it through the birth canal. However, forceps can cause serious damage if used incorrectly or by someone untrained in their proper use.
- Failure to monitor the baby’s oxygen levels. Lack of oxygen can cause serious, irreparable brain damage.
- Poor prenatal care. If the mother’s obstetrician doesn’t give her proper care, including running the right tests to check for infections, she may unknowingly pass along an infection to the baby. The mother may not have been screened for other pregnancy complications, like pre-eclampsia. Then, both mother and baby can be in danger.
- Excessive force during delivery. This may cause a broken collarbone or tearing of the spinal cord.
- Failure to detect fetal distress. If those participating in the delivery of the infant fail to keep a diligent watch on the infant’s vital signs, they could fail to detect an infant’s heart rate dropping.
Medical negligence can also occur after birth due to failure to properly check the baby for jaundice or give the right health screenings, for example.
Who Is Responsible for a Birth Injury?
The party responsible for the birth injury is often the doctor who delivered the baby. However, other medical professionals attending the delivery may also be liable, like a nurse or CNA.
Your Providence birth injury lawyer may also name the hospital where you delivered the baby as a liable party in the lawsuit. If the hospital knew about staffing issues that led to poor patient care, for example, or failed to keep birthing and delivery equipment in good working condition, it could also be partly liable for any injuries caused to the mother and baby.
Birth Injury Risk Factors
High-risk pregnancies may, by nature, result in high-risk births. The infant born to a woman with pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, or an infection may be at a higher risk for a birth injury.
Lack of physician training is another risk factor. If the obstetrician delivering the baby doesn’t have much experience with high-risk deliveries or understands when to call for an emergency C-section, the baby may be harmed in a breech birth or suffer fetal distress.
Why Hire a Lawyer for Your Birth Injury Claim?
Doctors and healthcare facilities are loathe to admit they made a preventable mistake. If you believe that a healthcare provider or facility was at fault for your baby’s birth injury, don’t try to pursue the compensation you need on your own. Contact an attorney who understands how birth injuries happen and what situations represent medical malpractice or medical negligence. They can advise you of your legal options.
Proving Negligence in Birth Injury Cases
A skilled birth injury lawyer can subpoena witnesses and gather evidence, like the healthcare facility’s personnel and safety records. In medical malpractice cases, the victim must find a person who qualifies as an expert by their training, experience, skill, or education to give expert testimony about the alleged malpractice. You’ll need a seasoned birth injury lawyer who knows where to find someone who is a qualified expert who could testify about what steps were taken and what steps should have been taken to prevent the injuries.
In addition to building a strong case, your attorney can negotiate a higher settlement you can get on your own. They can take your case to court if necessary.
Long-Term Effects of Birth Injuries
Some birth injuries create lifelong health complications for the baby, like cerebral palsy or Erb’s palsy. Lack of oxygen during delivery can cause permanent brain damage. The child may never be able to care for themselves independently.
Some birth injuries can be fatal, both to mother and baby. For example, uncontrolled hemorrhaging of the mother can be fatal, even with all of today’s modern healthcare advances.
Parents’ Claim vs. Injured Baby’s Claim
Both the parents and the baby may have a claim for medical malpractice. If the baby is harmed, your lawyer can file a claim for the actual injuries and the long-term effects on the baby’s quality of life. Many infants injured during birth may need lifelong medical treatment and care. Some may require long-term accommodation in a skilled nursing facility or assisted living home.
The parents can also file a separate lawsuit to pursue compensation for their loss of consortium with their child. If the mother is injured during childbirth through the fault of the healthcare providers, she can sue for medical malpractice, too.
These may be two separate cases, with separate settlements for each one. Medical malpractice is complex and requires the skill of an experienced birth injury lawyer.
Why Choose Law Offices of Ronald J. Resmini, Accident & Injury Lawyers, Ltd.?
Our legal team has over 50 years of birth injury litigation experience representing clients harmed by medical negligence. Our professional accolades, deep knowledge of Rhode Island birth injury law, and dedication to providing compassionate and tenacious representation mean your case is in good hands with us.
Contact Our Providence Birth Injury Lawyers Today
Do you need help pursuing compensation after a birth injury or malpractice during delivery? Contact Law Offices of Ronald J. Resmini, Accident & Injury Lawyers, Ltd. today at (401) 751-8855 for a free, confidential consultation with a compassionate birth trauma lawyer.
Many clients have questions about birth injuries and how a lawsuit might go. We’ve answered the ones we hear most frequently for you here.
How Much Do Birth Injury Lawyers Cost?
There’s no way to predict the legal fees of your particular case. The birth injury attorneys at Law Offices of Ronald J. Resmini, Accident & Injury Lawyers, Ltd. work on a contingency basis. We only get paid if we win your case, and when the money comes in, we’ll take an agreed-upon percentage of your compensation for our fee. You pay nothing upfront.
How Long Do Birth Injury Cases Take to Settle?
Birth injury cases can be complicated. Although it might be possible to arrive at a settlement within a year, most cases take much longer because of the extent of the evidence needed to prove negligence. The negotiations can take months after the evidence has been gathered.
How Long After Birth Can You Sue for a Birth Injury
The Rhode Island statute of limitations allows the injured party to file a lawsuit three years from the injury date. If you don’t file your lawsuit before the statutory period lapses, you will lose your opportunity to pursue the necessary compensation. Don’t try to manage the deadline on your own. Get a lawyer.
Compensation in Birth Injury Lawsuits
You may seek compensation for medical needs for the mother and baby that were made necessary by the birth injury, including long-term care for the child and your pain and suffering, and emotional distress. You could also demand compensation for the loss of enjoyment of life on behalf of your child.