The birth of your baby is a wonderful and precious time in your life. Complications can add stress and take away from that joy. Birth injuries can happen during pregnancy or delivery, and have varying factors that cause them. In situations such as ones where the harm was avoidable, it is important that your legal rights are fully safeguarded. The facts of cases involving birth injuries to a baby can differ greatly, but the lawyers at Raiser & Kenniff are knowledgeable in these areas of the law and will do everything in their power to take away that unnecessary stress caused by an avoidable birth injury.
A baby’s birth injury can occur during pregnancy, labor or delivery. A birth injury can happen through an obstetrician’s improper use of a medical device during delivery or by using an improper medical technique. Various injuries can result from these, such as lack of oxygen to the baby or severe head injuries. No matter what caused the birth injury, the lawyers at Raiser & Kenniff will put full effort into your unique and personal case.
- What is the difference between a birth injury and a birth defect?
- Birth defects result from harm to a baby that happened before the birth (either during or before the pregnancy).
- Birth injuries result from something that went wrong during the delivery itself.
What factors involved in birth injury suggest a lawsuit is needed?
Most successful birth injury lawsuits occur when there is a doctor proven to have failed to adequately assess or respond to conditions and complications during the pregnancy or delivery, or when a woman takes a prescription drug during pregnancy that causes harm to the baby. There are also many other possible factors that could determine the appropriate defendant needed to win the case. Our lawyers can assess your unique situation and take the proper steps.
Will the fact a baby suffers from a birth defect (or injury) automatically result in a successful lawsuit?
Definitely not; some birth injuries can occur without anyone in particular being at fault. The key question that will need answered in court is if medical professionals failed to give you or your baby adequate medical care or medication advice during pregnancy and/or delivery.
In a birth injury lawsuit, how does a jury determine if a doctor’s actions were within the standards of proper medical practices?
A jury will consider testimony by medical experts — usually other physicians who will testify whether they believe your doctor’s actions followed standard medical practices or fell below that. A specialist, like an obstetrician, is generally needed rather than a family doctor.
Who May Be the Defendants in a Birth Injury Case?
A birth injury or medical malpractice claim is not always limited to the conduct of medical doctors, but can also involve nurses, anesthesiologists, health care facilities, pharmaceutical companies, or others that provide healthcare services.
Another possible defendant in a birth injury case includes hospitals. When it comes to birth injury cases, hospitals can be held directly liable for their own negligence, and can also be held liable for the negligence of their employees: physicians and other healthcare providers, such as nurse practitioners, nurses, and physician’s assistants. A hospital may also be held liable under the “corporate negligence” doctrine for negligent supervision or retention, if the staff member’s negligent care was a causal factor in the birth injury.
A pharmaceutical company is another possible defendant in a birth injury case. A pharmaceutical company only owes a duty to ensure that the medication it manufactures will be reasonably safe when used as intended. To ensure a drug’s safety, the manufacturer must research the drug’s possible side effects and risks before putting it on the market. If the pharmaceutical manufacturer fails to warn a physician of a drug’s possible dangers, however, the drug becomes what is known under product liability law as unreasonably dangerous, and the manufacturer may be held liable for the failure to provide the legally required warnings. The physician who prescribed the medication could also be held liable if he/she did not warn the mother of the risks to the unborn child.
There are many healthcare professionals involved in the birth of a child. When a birth injury occurs, our lawyers at Raiser & Kenniff have the expertise and skills to get to the bottom of the case and ensure the right people are held responsible.
Proving Your Birth Injury Case
No matter what details are involved in your case, in order to get compensation for a birth injury you will need to prove that the healthcare professional failed to give you or your baby adequate medical care or medication advice during pregnancy and/or delivery. Typically, to find a healthcare professional legally at fault, it must be shown that his/her conduct fell below a generally accepted standard of medical care. To establish the standard that will be applied to your case, your lawyer will most likely consult with and present the evidence based on medical experts or other forms of professional proof that is trusted in the court. In medical malpractice type cases, causation is sometimes a challenge to establish. Specifically, the lawyer must show that your health care provider’s deviation from the applicable standard of care was directly in relation to the birth injury. This is challenging because sometimes the healthcare professional’s deviation from the standard of care may not have caused the plaintiff’s eventual injury, and vice versa.
The two main types of birth injury lawsuits are as follows:
1. Caregiver’s Malpractice – If you bring a lawsuit against a healthcare professional for birth injuries to your child, it will be your lawyer’s responsibility to show that the defendant (which can be a nurse, doctor, hospital, pharmacy, etc.) owed a legal duty of care to your baby (and to you in some cases); defendant failed to perform the legal duty for appropriate medical care by acting, or failing to act, in a manner in which is expected under the circumstances; defendant’s breach of the legal duty for appropriate medical care resulted in harm to you and/or your baby.
2. Mother’s Use Of a Prescribed Drug – Your claim for birth injury may be based not on complications during delivery, but on the mother’s use of a prescribed drug or medication during pregnancy. These claims are usually against physicians, pharmacists, pharmacies, or manufacturers, and usually happen when the defendant failed to warn the mother of the risk of taking the drug during pregnancy, which resulted in a birth defect or injury.
Getting Legal Help in a Birth Injury Case
The damages that can be claimed may include compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and loss of future earning capacity. When a child is born with a birth defect, the parent may also bring a medical malpractice action against the obstetrician and/or the hospital at which the delivery occurred. The parent also may be able to make a case to compensate for his/her own emotional distress that resulted from the baby’s birth injury.
Dealing with a birth injury can be stressful and it’s difficult to know what to do in the long legal process. At Raiser & Kenniff, we are sympathetic to your concerns and your mind can be at ease knowing you will be well-informed of your legal options. If a birth injury is due to the fault of a healthcare professional, a case should be started right away.
Why You Should Choose Us For Your Birth Injury Case
Medical malpractice involving avoidable birth injuries should be evaluated for a potential legal claim. Due to the intricacy of the facts and legal issues involved, having an experienced lawyer at Raiser & Kenniff review your case as soon as possible is the best way to ensure the likelihood of your claim’s success. There may also be upcoming deadlines that require immediate attention, thus having us immediately evaluate your case is highly important.
When a healthcare professional commits medical malpractice that results in birth injury, our lawyers at Raiser & Kenniff will investigate, identify the responsible parties, and take action so they can be held accountable for their negligence. We are experienced lawyers that have a proven track record in winning against big-name companies. Successful New York birth injury lawsuits filed by Raiser & Kenniff, PC, can award the injured victim with the right and deserving compensation.
To find out if you can hold another party accountable for birth injuries, fill out our free consultation form or call us to speak with our birth injury lawyers in New York. We have nationally recognized legal commentators and combined 30 years experience!