There is no guarantee that your pregnancy or delivery will go smoothly. Complications can sometimes arise resulting in injury to you or your baby. In such situations where the harm could have been avoided, it’s important to protect both you and your baby’s rights.
Birth related medical malpractice is when the doctor fails to use reasonable care and as a result, the following happens:
- You or your baby are injured during pregnancy or delivery
- Wrongful birth. This is whereby you would have ended or avoided a pregnancy if you had known the child would be born with a birth defect.
- Wrongful pregnancy. This is whereby an attempt to avoid or terminate a pregnancy failed.
You should consult your Plymouth birth injury lawyer to find out who you should sue and which damages you will be able to recover.
How Birth Injuries Occur
Most birth injuries occur due to two main reasons:
- During prenatal care. For instance, during prenatal care, the doctor may have failed to identify pregnancy disorders such as preeclampsia or high blood pressure.
- Doctor’s failure to respond to situations in a timely manner or failure to assess the situation. For instance, the doctor might fail to perform a caesarian section when clearly it was necessary to save the baby.
If you decide to file a lawsuit under these types of situations, your lawyer may file a medical malpractice claim against the doctor, nurses and other medical practitioners involved. In some cases, he might also have to sue the hospital where the incident took place.
Difference between a Birth Injury and a Birth Defect
Sometimes it can be hard to tell if a situation was as a result of a birth defect or a birth injury. So how exactly can you tell the difference between the two?
A birth injury can be as a result of complications during labor or delivery. The obstetrician could have used the wrong technique during delivery or they may have failed to follow the right procedure to salvage the situation when there was an emergency.
Birth defects happen to the baby before delivery. A number of factors such as illegal or prescribed drug use, environment and heredity can cause them. It’s very hard to pin point the causes of most birth defects and in some instances, they could be because the mother engaged in activities that led to the birth defects. Such activities include alcohol or drug consumption. Filing a lawsuit under such circumstances can be very difficult to win.
Birth Injuries to the Mother or Infant
In some rare instances, a doctor’s negligence can cause the mother or the baby to be injured before or during delivery. For instance, the doctor might fail to stop bleeding after delivery or they may fail to monitor the baby’s oxygen intake before and after delivery.
Injury to the Infant
If your baby is injured, you have the right to bring a lawsuit on behalf of your baby. You have the right to ask for both special and general damages. Special damages cover quantifiable damages such as medical bills. General damages include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, etc. They are much harder to quantify. Your lawyer will need to hire a medical expert who can give evidence about the consequences of the child’s injury.
Injury to the Mother
You can file for a birth injury lawsuit if the doctor’s carelessness caused you injury during or before giving birth to your baby. For instance, if the doctor failed to note that you had preeclampsia during your pregnancy and as a result, you suffered a seizure during delivery, you may file for a medical malpractice claim to recover for injuries caused by the seizure.
Emotional Pain and Suffering
You and your spouse may also file a claim for emotional pain and suffering that you are experiencing because of your baby’s injuries.
If your child was born with a birth defect, you can sue the doctor for failing to warn you that there was a possibility your child would be born with a defect. This way, you could have avoided or terminated the pregnancy. Your claim will be based on:
- Negligent genetic testing prior to conception of the child or,
- Failing to detect physical or mental impairments during the early stages of your pregnancy.
You might be able to recover damages such as pain and suffering, medical expenses and educational therapy costs.
However, your child cannot be able to sue for wrongful birth. If the child ever decides to sue, they can sue for wrongful life.
If you tried to avoid getting pregnant through an abortion, sterilization or any other way that required the doctor to perform a procedure on you but it failed, you can sue them for wrongful pregnancy. If your child is born healthy, you can sue for the pain caused by the unwanted pregnancy and birth.
Proving Your Case
In order to get compensation for your case, you need to show that the doctor failed to give you or your baby adequate care during pregnancy or delivery. You must show that the doctor’s conduct fell below the accepted standard of medical care. In order to do this, your lawyer will seek help from an expert witness.
Medical malpractice law has many legal and complex medical issues so it wouldn’t be a great idea to take on your case without expert help. An expert Plymouth birth injury lawyer will help you get through the pain of dealing with medical and hospital personnel, insurance companies, medical bills and an injured baby.
At Kevin P Landry Law Offices, we treat our clients with utmost respect. Each case is treated with compassion and we are willing to do everything in our power to get you and your child the compensation that you deserve.
To best protect your family’s rights, you can reach one of our birth injury lawyers at 508-746-2700 or visit our offices in Plymouth. We can also come to wherever you feel comfortable and we can evaluate your case for free.