If your newborn was injured due to a medical provider’s negligence, you may be entitled to seek compensation for losses you and your baby suffered. Birth injuries are a specific type of medical malpractice claim. Seeking justice and compensation will often require the knowledge and resources of an experienced birth injury attorney.
Our attorneys understand how stressful and heartbreaking it can be to deal with a birth injury, particularly when medical negligence leads to long-term damage and serious developmental issues. The birth of a newborn baby should be a time of joy and celebration. When a medical provider fails to uphold the accepted standard of care, the consequences can be devastating for families.
Depending on the specifics of your situation, you may be able to bring a claim against the hospital where your newborn was delivered, the physician who performed the delivery, or another at-fault party. To bring a successful claim against the liable party, you will need an experienced, aggressive legal representation.
The Summerville personal lawyers at Joye Law Firm have more than 50 years of extensive experience representing families in birth injury cases. We offer a free consultation to all potential clients so that you can understand your rights and legal options. Contact us today to discuss your case.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for a Birth Injury?
Anyone whose negligence contributed to your newborn’s birth injury can potentially be held responsible for the injury if they failed to perform their medical duties within the accepted standard of care. Parties that might be liable in a birth injury case include:
You might be able to bring a claim against an individual doctor or a medical team, depending on who made a negligent medical error. OB/GYNs may primarily be responsible for your baby’s injury. Nurses, doctor’s assistants, anesthesiologists, and other medical professionals also may potentially be liable.
Health Care Facilities
Many physicians work as independent contractors and can be held personally liable if their negligence causes a birth injury. However, in some cases, hospitals and clinics have “vicarious liability” for the medical staff who work at the facility. If those employees make a negligent medical error that leads to a birth injury, the healthcare facility could be held liable.
Healthcare facilities can also be directly responsible if they failed to uphold the accepted standard of practice. For example, if a hospital did not properly vet staff during the hiring process or if they have insufficient staff on duty, the hospital could have contributed to your newborn’s birth injury and may be financially liable for the injuries.
Determining who is responsible for your baby’s birth injury can be challenging since there may be multiple liable parties involved. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can help determine the cause of the injury and which parties may have contributed to it.
How Long Do I Have to File a Birth Injury Claim?
According to South Carolina state law, there is a three-year statute of limitations on medical malpractice cases. The statute of limitations dictates that you generally have three years from the date of the medical malpractice incident or three years from the date you discovered the medical malpractice incident to initiate legal action against the liable party or parties. Therefore, if you bring a birth injury claim on behalf of your child, you will need to bring a lawsuit within this timeframe to preserve your right to recover compensation.
Damages That Can Be Recovered in a Birth Injury Case
If you can prove that your child was injured due to a medical provider’s failure to meet an acceptable standard of care, you could be owed significant compensation.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, you could potentially recover money for:
- Present and future medical expenses, such as hospital bills, long-term care, doctor’s visits, and more
- Lost income if you missed time from work after the injury occurred
- Pain and suffering caused by the incident, including physical pain, emotional anguish, mental distress, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Loss of quality of life
Calculating the value of your claim can be challenging, particularly when it comes to non-financial losses like pain and suffering. A seasoned birth injury lawyer can help you quantify those losses and determine how much compensation you are eligible to claim. An attorney can also handle settlement negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf.
Common Types of Birth Injuries
Some of the most common birth injuries involve injury to the brain. When the blood flow to your baby’s brain is disrupted during labor or even after birth, there can be long-term consequences.
Some of the most common serious birth injuries include:
- Cerebral palsy – Around two or three out of every 1,000 children born will have cerebral palsy. This condition often arises due to a brain injury sustained during delivery. Cerebral palsy can cause muscle spasms, an inability to develop proper motor skills, and weak muscles. Cerebral palsy cannot be cured and requires long-term care.
- Spinal cord injuries – Spinal cord injuries can be particularly debilitating. If a newborn’s spinal cord is damaged, paralysis can occur. Depending on where the injury occurs, paralysis may occur in the lower half of the body or all over the body.
- Facial paralysis – If excessive pressure is applied to a baby’s head and face during birth, facial nerve damage can occur, resulting in facial paralysis. Facial paralysis more frequently occurs in cases where forceps or suction is used to deliver a baby.
- Cephalohematoma – Cephalohematoma can manifest itself as a bump on a baby’s head, usually due to a buildup of blood beneath the cranial bone. In some cases, cephalohematoma can lead to serious complications like meningitis.
- Perinatal asphyxia – If a baby does not have adequate oxygen near the time of delivery, perinatal asphyxia can occur. Common signs of this injury include pallid skin, difficulty breathing, and seizures.
- Brachial plexus – When nerves from the upper spinal cord area, shoulders, arms, and hands are damaged, a baby may suffer a temporary or permanent disability. In the most severe cases, paralysis can occur.
If medical negligence led to your baby’s birth injury, you have the right to pursue compensation from those responsible for the injury.
Common Causes of Birth Injuries
Birth injuries can be caused for various reasons. Tragically, one common cause of birth injuries is medical negligence on the part of a doctor, nurse, or another party. Medical providers are trained to deliver newborns safely. When they fail to provide the required standard of care, innocent children could be severely injured.
Some common causes of birth injuries in medical malpractice cases include:
- Improper use of forceps or vacuum extractors
- Medication dosage mistakes
- Incorrectly using Pitocin or Cytotec
- Neglecting to address fetal distress
- Neglecting to handle umbilical cord problems
- Unnecessarily delaying an emergency Cesarean section
- Misdiagnosing or overlooking the mother’s medical conditions
- Improper intubation
- Failure to diagnose or treat respiratory problems in a baby
- Failure to diagnose or treat blood chemistry problems in a newborn
Birth injuries can occur before, during, or after labor or delivery. If you believe that negligence contributed to your child’s birth injury, you should contact a South Carolina childbirth injury lawyer right away.
How Our Attorneys Can Help After a Birth Injury in Summerville
Did your newborn suffer a serious birth injury because of medical negligence in South Carolina? If so, contact the Summerville birth injury lawyers at Joye Law Firm right away.
Our birth-related injury lawyers have the knowledge and resources to help you bring a claim against the medical provider who harmed your newborn by failing to deliver treatment according to the recognized standard of care. We will handle every aspect of your case for you and keep you informed at every step of the process.
If your newborn suffered a severe birth injury due to medical negligence, contact Joye Law Firm today for a free case review. We have been in business for over 50 years. We have the legal knowledge and experience to capably handle all aspects of your claim. We’ll be ready to listen to your story and help you understand your rights and legal options. Don’t wait. Call us now at 888-324-3100 to get started.