Delaware Birth Injury Lawyers Protecting Families From Negligence
Having a child is a momentous time for a family. When a woman gives birth, she trusts the medical staff present to care properly for her and her child and to handle any complications in a rapid and professional manner. Birth injuries to the baby during childbirth are a parent’s worst nightmare. While childbirth has always presented risks for both infants and mothers, modern medicine has managed to eliminate the high mortality rates that have characterized pregnancy and birth throughout human history. Unfortunately, the risk of birth injuries caused by obstetricians and other medical providers’ mistakes in the delivery room is still present.
While some birth injuries are obvious, other medical malpractice mistakes may not be readily apparent to the family until much later when the child shows signs of developmental delay or other physical or cognitive issues. If you have reason to believe that your child suffers from the ongoing effects of fetal distress, brain damage, or other injuries caused or aggravated by the negligence of an attending physician at birth, our empathetic personal injury attorneys and staff at Hudson, Castle, & Inkell, LLC, can help you achieve the justice and financial compensation you deserve. Contact us today at (302) 428-8800 for a free injury consultation and case evaluation to see how we can help you and your family.
How Long Do You Have to File a Birth Injury Lawsuit?
While medical malpractice, in general, is an under-reported risk for patients of all kinds, birth injuries due to a physician’s negligence are especially likely to remain undiscovered or mischaracterized as congenital birth defects. Often, these injuries aren’t obvious for months or even years after the birth which can make them challenging to recognize. Our firm encourages calls from concerned parents who suspect that the negligence of an attending doctor or hospital staff member during birth might be responsible for their infant child’s disability or delayed development. Our personal injury attorneys can provide a free consultation on your case. We will thoroughly research the circumstances of your child’s birth injury to help you get the compensation your family deserves. The time period for filing a lawsuit for damages is normally two years from the date of the negligent act or omission resulting in injury. However, in situations where the negligence is “inherently undiscoverable,” as in many birth injury cases, the period may be extended to three years. For minors, the right to sue might continue until the child’s sixth birthday.
What Are Some Common Birth Injuries?
When you are preparing to have your child, it is typically a joyful, exciting time. The last thing you expect is a mistake on the part of the medical staff that results in harm to your baby. But unfortunately, these experiences do occur. Long or difficult deliveries greatly increase the dangers to both the mother and child and if the medical professionals do not give the proper standard of care, the consequences can be dire. Cases of obstetric or hospital negligence may result in birth injuries, including:
- Cerebral palsy
- Head trauma due to improper use of forceps or other surgical instruments
- Negligent failure to order delivery by c-section
- Erb’s palsy
- Brachial plexus or shoulder dystocia
- Group B strep infection
- Cranial nerve trauma
- Spinal cord trauma
- Intracranial hemorrhage
- Failure to conduct genetic testing to find a birth defect
- Injuries caused in utero by the prescription of drugs harmful to the fetus
- Injuries caused by not noticing or treating clear signs of fetal distress
- Death of the infant or mother during childbirth
What Is Obsterical Medical Negligence?
While we have come a long way in reducing the risks posed to women by childbirth, complications are still faced by many mothers during delivery which need to be handled rapidly and properly by medical staff. However, it can be difficult for mothers and family members to recognize medical negligence in the delivery room if they do not have the sufficient medical knowledge to understand what their doctors ought to be doing. This lack of recognition can cause medical negligence and malpractice to go undetected, even when it results in serious injury to the newborn.
Obsterical medical negligence occurs when a professional, such as an obstetrician, midwife, nurse, pediatrician, or other staff member involved in the care or treatment of a patient, performs their job in a way that deviates from the accepted medical standard of care. If this medical negligence leads to injury of the mother or fetus, then it is considered medical malpractice. The obstetrician treating the mother during pregnancy and the medical team attendant at the birth all have responsibilities to ensure the health and safety of the mother and baby. Any failure to sufficiently care for their patients could result in serious injuries and have severe consequences for the baby and their family. Some of the acts these medical professionals are responsible for include:
- Providing proper prenatal care
- Managing maternal preeclampsia or infections
- Identifying a dangerously large baby and taking measures to deliver them safely
- Managing an extended pregnancy
- Ensuring proper support during labor and delivery
- Diagnosing and treating infections in the mother and preventing passage of the infection to the baby, if possible
- Recognizing early or prolonged labor and treating it accordingly
- Safely managing delays in delivery
- Monitoring changes in fetal heart rate and acting on evidence of fetal distress
- Responding promptly to bleeding
- Treating placental abruption
- Properly and safely using a vacuum extractor or forceps during delivery
- Performing a timely cesarean section (C-section) to deliver a baby in distress
- Resuscitating and intubating a newborn when necessary
How Do Personal Injury Attorneys Investigate Birth Injury Cases?
In order to successfully litigate a birth injury or medical malpractice case, an attorney must prove that the injury was a direct result of the medical professional’s negligence. As part of our due diligence, our birth injury lawyers may examine your medical records with your permission to look for evidence. To establish what happened before, during, and after the birth, we may study diagnostic tests, electronic fetal monitor strips, documentation of how birthing tools were used, labor and delivery charts, and any additional notes from the staff on the pregnancy and delivery. Later diagnoses of your child’s condition(s) by specialists can also be supporting evidence, although on their own they are usually not enough to prove malpractice. In order to determine whether medical malpractice partially or completely caused your child’s injury, we will seek the advice of medical experts when reviewing all of this information.
For a wrongful death claim resulting from a birth injury, it must additionally be proven that the fetus was viable at the time of death and could have survived outside of the mother’s womb. In these cases, we would again seek the counsel of medical experts to determine the viability of the case. We aim to build the strongest possible case for you and will leave no stone unturned while completing a thorough and tactful review of the circumstances of your birth injury. We understand this can be a painful subject for your family, so we will handle it with the utmost compassion and respect while seeking to hold accountable those responsible for your child’s injuries.
What Compensation May You Be Eligible for After a Birth Injury?
Parents go into the birth of a child expecting their newborn to be perfectly healthy, so when birth injuries occur, they can be a difficult and emotionally draining surprise. Birth injuries can lead to enormous medical bills, with the child often needing years of physical therapy, developmental therapy, and other assistance in order to learn how to function with their injuries. Luckily, those responsible for the birth injury can be held accountable for these costs. Other compensation you may be eligible for includes:
- Medical expenses to treat the child’s birth injury which have already been paid.
- Future medical costs for continued care and treatment.
- Lost wages for parents who had to leave work to care for their injured child.
- Compensation for reduced ability of the child to earn a living due to the birth injury.
- Pain and suffering experienced by the injured child.
- If the negligent actions of the medical staff are deemed egregious enough, punitive damages may be awarded. These are meant to make an example of the negligent party to hopefully prevent similar mistakes from affecting other families.
- The mental anguish experienced by the child, caused by being unable to live life to the fullest.
- Loss of life’s enjoyment for the child if they are severely disabled by the injury.
In a Delaware birth injury case, there is no cap on the amount of damages that can be recovered. Many other states have put strict limits on the amount of recovery available in a lawsuit. However, victims of birth injuries in Delaware are eligible to recover compensation for the full amount of damages they have experienced. We know that raising a child with a birth injury can be expensive and emotionally challenging for parents who just want the best for their child. Our personal injury attorneys will fight to ensure fair compensation for you and your child, so you can give them the best life possible.
Why Should You Hire a Birth Injury Lawyer?
Having a child injured during birth, or even worse, losing a child due to medical malpractice, can be a devastating blow for a family. The joyful time that was expected has been stolen and replaced by grief, exhaustion, and often anger and frustration at those responsible. Caring for a child injured during birth is usually a life-long commitment for the family, and while the child is deeply loved and treasured, the special care they need and the astronomical medical expenses can take their toll financially and emotionally. We want to see our clients able to get the top-quality care their injured child deserves.
Our injury lawyers will work to achieve justice for you and your family. We understand that for a child born with a birth injury, that injury could impact the child’s life for the foreseeable future, and we are dedicated to securing the full compensation you need to support them. Most recently, Hudson, Castle, & Inkell, LLC, achieved a $3 million jury verdict for a brachial plexus birth injury caused by excessive traction on the baby’s head by the obstetrician.
If your child has been injured by a birth injury caused by medical malpractice, please contact Hudson, Castle, & Inkell, LLC. Every one of our personal injury cases begins with a free consultation. We know that parents have busy lives, so we offer the convenience of flexible appointments. Because we take cases of this nature on a contingency basis, we will charge you nothing unless we win or settle. To set up a free initial consultation, please call Hudson, Castle & Inkell, LLC at (302) 428-8800.