How Is Fault Determined for Birth Injuries?
When a newborn suffers an injury during the birthing process because of a medical provider’s negligence, that child’s family has a legal right to compensation, but to obtain that compensation, a family in this situation must be advised and represented by a Bethesda birth injuries attorney.
When birth injuries are caused by medical carelessness, negligence, or malpractice, parents may pursue a birth injury or medical malpractice lawsuit to seek monetary compensation for the child’s ongoing care and treatment.
If you and your Bethesda medical malpractice attorney can prove that medical negligence caused your child’s birth injury, you are entitled to compensation under the law in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
If you will continue reading, you will learn what steps to take if your newborn child has been injured prior to or during the delivery process, and you will also learn what it takes to pursue and acquire the compensation that a family is entitled to after a birth injury has happened.
What Are the Duties of Obstetricians and Delivery Room Personnel?
During pregnancy and delivery, medical providers should monitor both the child and the mother and be ready for any unexpected complications. If hospital personnel do not take appropriate actions to avoid preventable birth injuries, that failure to act constitutes medical malpractice.
Birth injuries occur for a variety of reasons, and not all birth injuries are necessarily caused by negligence or malpractice. The parents of birth injury victims will need to seek advice from a Bethesda medical malpractice attorney who has extensive experience handling birth injury cases.
Victims of catastrophic birth injuries may need medical care – and may need to pay medical bills – for life. Their parents must be represented by a Bethesda birth injury attorney who fights tenaciously and effectively for the maximum amount that is available from every party that is liable for a birth injury.
How is a “Birth Injury” Defined?
Negligence by medical providers is the leading cause of birth injuries such as brachial plexus damage, cerebral palsy, and Erb’s palsy. These injuries and conditions are typically caused by excessive force or errors using forceps or by deprivation of oxygen to the child during birth.
Prior to birth, a failure to conduct full prenatal monitoring or to perform a necessary cesarean section can also cause injury and may constitute medical negligence. Obstetricians and their assistants are also supposed to monitor a child throughout the delivery process and be ready for unanticipated complications.
Birth injuries include any injury that a child sustains before or during a delivery. The mistakes and complications that cause birth injuries also include failing to provide needed treatment quickly, improperly using medical equipment, and ordering wrong medicines or wrong dosages.
Are Birth Injuries Preventable?
Birth injury rates are lower now than in the past because of advancing medical technology, restrictions on the use of forceps, better prenatal monitoring, and because most doctors who anticipate problems now order cesarean deliveries.
Still, each year, more than 25,000 newborns in the U.S. suffer birth-related injuries. What’s genuinely tragic is that almost all of the thousands of birth injuries reported each year are preventable injuries.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Birth Injuries In Maryland?
Birth injury cases can be complicated; they sometimes entail in-depth medical issues and months of litigation. Working with the right Bethesda birth injury and medical malpractice attorney is the way to secure justice and compensation for your family and your child.
In some birth injury cases, a hospital may be “directly” liable for negligence, but in other cases, the hospital may be “vicariously” liable for employee negligence.
Medical malpractice claims arising from birth injuries are not necessarily targeted only at doctors who perform deliveries. If a hospital, clinic, nurse, anesthesiologist, drug manufacturer, or any other party was partly responsible for a birth injury, that party may also be named in a lawsuit.
What Liability Do Hospitals Have?
When a hospital hires a medical professional, the hospital must conduct background checks on the applicant’s education, licensing, and training. If a background check is not comprehensive, a hospital could be held liable – “directly” – for negligent hiring.
A hospital or healthcare facility may be found “vicariously” liable if an employee’s negligence leading to a birth injury occurred in the “course and scope” of that employee’s job duties.
How Are Doctors Held Liable for Birth Injuries In Maryland?
Most obstetricians, however, have an independent contractor relationship with a hospital and are not considered hospital employees. Still, a doctor’s credentials must be checked before a hospital may grant that doctor operating privileges.
In most cases, if you file a lawsuit after your child suffers a birth injury, an obstetrician will have to be sued directly. Hospitals have no vicarious liability for independent contractors, although they may have direct liability if they let an incompetent doctor operate or deliver newborns.
Birth injuries are always heartbreaking, but if your own child is the victim of a birth injury, and if the injury could have been prevented, your family will need justice. Should your child suffer such an injury, immediately obtain the legal advice and representation you will need.
When Should You Speak to a Bethesda Birth Injury Attorney?
The statutes of limitations for birth injury cases is complicated in Virginia, with a number of exceptions, but in all medical malpractice cases involving children, the parents have at least two years from the date of the birth to bring a birth injury claim.
Maryland’s statute of limitations gives parents five years from the date of the injury or three years from the discovery of the medical malpractice – whichever period is shorter – to bring a birth injury lawsuit.
That’s too long. You should not wait, debate, or procrastinate. It costs nothing to speak with a Bethesda birth injury attorney, so if you learn that your child has been injured, schedule a consultation. You’ll learn about your options and receive the personalized advice you will need.
What Will It Cost to Begin the Legal Process?
Most birth injury claims are settled through out-of-court negotiations, so parents in birth injury cases may not even have to make a courtroom appearance. However, parents need to be certain that the attorney who represents them is a talented negotiator as well as a skilled trial attorney.
Medical malpractice attorneys in Maryland and Virginia represent the families of birth injury victims on a contingent fee basis, so you will pay no attorney’s fee until and unless your attorney recovers compensation on your family’s behalf with an out-of-court settlement or a jury verdict.