What is a Birth Injury Settlement?
Having a child who suffers an injury during birth is understandably overwhelming and traumatizing.
As time goes on, the ramifications of the injury can become more pronounced.
These may include health issues for the child, substantial ongoing medical costs, and anxiety over unknown challenges that may come.
The law may be able to ease some of these burdens. In most states, including New Jersey, the law holds medical professionals responsible for damages if they cause a serious birth injury.
Most often, these cases lead to financial settlements for the child and parents to help compensate for the birth injuries.
What Is a Birth Injury?
If a baby suffers a physical injury during the birth process, it is defined as a birth injury. Another term for these types of injuries at birth is birth trauma.
If your child has suffered a severe birth injury, you should seek legal advice from a New Jersey Birth Injury Lawyer immediately.
How Is a Birth Injury a Legal Case?
When negligent conduct by any medical professional involved in the birth of the child causes a serious injury, it may be malpractice. Malpractice occurs when:
- A physician agrees to care for a patient, thereby taking on a responsibility to provide adequate care;
- The physician does not meet this duty of care because of negligent or reckless mistakes or poor medical decisions;
- The result of the breach of duty is a birth injury to a child; and
- That injury results in damage to the child.
Medical professionals must provide quality care in accordance with accepted medical standards. When they do not do so and your child is harmed during birth, you may have a birth injury malpractice case.
What Is an Example of a Birth Injury Malpractice Situation?
Birth injuries may lead to lifelong medical issues and disabilities. A birth injury may be the result of malpractice any time a medical professional fails to provide the level of care that another medical professional with similar training and experience would be expected to provide.
While numerous failures could cause birth injuries, here are a few examples.
Failing to Perform a C-Section
There are some situations where performing a cesarean section (C-section) is necessary to avoid specific complications. If a doctor chooses to deliver a baby vaginally when the general medical standard of care would be to do a C-section, this may be malpractice.
For example, if the mother has an active infection, such as herpes or HIV, a C-section is generally recommended. If a doctor fails to perform a C-section, the child may contract the infection. Another situation where a C-section may be necessary is when the baby is breech. A vaginal delivery attempt instead of a C-section for a breech baby may lead to the child's death during delivery.
Failure to Adequately Monitor the Fetus
Doctors are expected to provide reasonable fetal monitoring during pregnancy and birth. If a doctor does not detect a problem due to inadequate monitoring or does not adequately respond to a problem, they may be responsible for malpractice if an injury results.
For example, a lack of monitoring may lead the physician to miss critical indications that the unborn child suffers from a lack of sufficient oxygen or blood flow to the child's brain. Either of these may cause cerebral palsy, stemming from brain damage.
Not Taking Adequate Care During Delivery
Poorly maneuvering a vaginal delivery can cause the baby's clavicle to break.
A vaginal delivery during which the physician fractures the child's clavicle can cause Klumpke Paralysis. This is a condition with the potential of lifelong weakness or loss of movement of the lower arm and hand for the child.
Why Should I Seek Recovery Through Settlement?
Children with birth injuries often require:
- Ongoing, costly medical care,
- Physical therapy,
- Occupational therapy,
- Specialized equipment,
- Education assistance, and
- Cognitive therapy.
Taking care of a child injured by a physician's negligence is difficult and costly. A settlement can:
- Provide you with funds to give your child the best care possible to meet the challenges caused by their birth injury(s); and
- Make medical professionals aware of and responsible for the gravity of their breach of duty.
You cannot turn back the clock and keep the injury from happening. But you can get the compensation your child deserves and hopefully prevent this from happening to another innocent child.
Who Pays the Settlement?
In the United States, doctors are required to have medical malpractice insurance. Physicians in private practice, attending physicians in hospitals, and even residents and interns all must be covered by malpractice insurance.
It is almost always this insurance that pays the settlement in a birth injury case.
What Is the Average Settlement in a Birth Injury Case?
There is no typical birth injury case. Every situation, baby, and injury is different. Therefore, there is also no average settlement amount. The settlements range from thousands to multi-millions of dollars. The settlement amount will be based in part on the:
- Severity of the injury to the child;
- Impact on the quality of life of the parents and child;
- Cost of immediate and future expenses (medical, educational, etc.); and
- Degree of recklessness, carelessness, or straying from the professional standard by the physician.
An experienced birth injury attorney can evaluate the circumstances as a whole and determine a fair settlement amount to pursue. The sooner you contact an attorney after the birth, the better.
Do I Need an Attorney?
It is never wise to settle a case without a lawyer. The physicians and hospitals will have attorneys representing them. Your attorney can look out for your family's interests and fight to get you fair compensation.
The attorney will learn your story, collect medical evidence, take statements from doctors and nurses, and negotiate with the other lawyers. Do not speak with an insurance company or agree to anything regarding a settlement before contacting a New Jersey birth injury lawyer.
If your child suffered a birth injury, contact an experienced attorney today. Protect your child by getting them the compensation and help they need. Even if you are unsure whether your physician breached their duty and caused your child’s serious birth injury, you should contact a lawyer.
Contact O'Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble: Birth Injury Lawyers
O'Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble is based in New Jersey. We have a long, robust history of always providing top-notch service to clients. We have extensive experience with medical malpractice and hold a record for the largest birth injury verdict in New Jersey.
O'Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble cares about families and children, and we are dedicated to getting you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.