What Is a Birth Injury Lawyer?
Birth injury lawyers help children and families harmed by medically negligent doctors receive financial compensation.
Birth injuries fall under a very specific area of personal injury law. Unlike other injuries (such as car accidents), birth injuries may not be apparent until months or years after the fact. In addition, many traumatic birth injuries could have been prevented with proper medical care.
Parents never expect childbirth to harm their baby. And while some birth injuries are mild, others can leave children disabled for the rest of their lives.
In light of these facts, birth injury lawyers can help families in a number of different ways.
Birth injury lawyers can:
- Build a case against the doctors or nurses who delivered the child
- File the case within the appropriate court of law
- Gather supporting evidence, including witness testimonies and medical records
- Help families receive financial compensation
While money can never make up for the emotional turmoil that a birth injury brings, it can help families afford medical treatments and other health care needs. Some birth injury cases award millions of dollars to families suffering from the effects of severe birth injuries.
Could Your Child’s Birth Injury Have Been Prevented?
While each case is different, some birth injuries could have been prevented with proper medical care.
Most doctors and nurses have years, if not decades, of experience delivering babies. They should know how to safely prevent birth injuries or the dangerous conditions that may cause them.
Unfortunately, doctors sometimes make easily preventable mistakes that cause birth injuries. When this happens, it may be considered medical negligence.
Birth Injuries and Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice is not the same as a small mistake. It is a dangerous failure on the part of doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals to properly care for their patients.
Examples of birth injury medical malpractice may include:
- Failing to diagnose an infection in the mother or fetus
- Using excessive force to deliver a baby, causing physical harm
- Improperly administering medications
You should not have to pay thousands of dollars — and suffer intense emotional hardship — to manage or treat a birth injury someone else caused. This is where birth injury lawyers can help.
How Can a Birth Injury Attorney Help?
Birth injury attorneys can help you take legal action against the doctors or other medical personnel who may have caused your child’s condition. These lawyers know how to gather personal recollections, medical records, and other information and build a birth injury case.
If you have a case, birth trauma lawyers will file a lawsuit and work to get you and your family the financial compensation you deserve.
Financial compensation can help pay for:
- Medical treatments (such as surgeries and medication)
- Home care services (such as a full-time nurse)
- Therapy and rehabilitation
- Unexpected expenses as a result of the child’s injury
- Other costs (such as emotional damages, pain, and suffering)
Without a lawyer’s help, filing a lawsuit is a challenging and time-consuming feat. Receiving compensation becomes even more difficult, as simple mistakes may cause your case to be delayed or rejected.
Working with a birth injury lawyer makes the legal process easier, so you can focus on your child’s medical care — while also being able to afford their care costs.
What Types of Cases Do Birth Injury Lawyers Take On?
Many lawyers accept any type of birth injury as a case, while other attorneys only handle specific types of cases. But every birth injury lawsuit has a common thread: Doctors could — and should — have prevented the newborn from suffering harm.
Below, find a few common types of cases that birth injury lawyers handle.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cerebral palsy occurs when a newborn suffers brain damage before, during, or shortly after their birth. This brain damage may happen if a baby loses oxygen to their brain, suffers from bleeding in the brain, or sustains serious head trauma.
Cerebral palsy can lead to both physical and mental impairment. The symptoms can vary depending on where and how badly the brain was damaged.
There is no cure for cerebral palsy, but some symptoms can improve with treatment.
Erb’s palsy occurs when a baby gets stuck during a difficult delivery, damaging nerves around their shoulders and neck. This can cause the baby’s hand, arm, or shoulder to be weak or paralyzed completely.
Doctors who use excessive force when delivering a baby may cause Erb’s palsy. The condition is often treatable with months — or years — of therapy, but some children never completely recover.
According to the Mayo Clinic, newborns run a higher risk of brain damage because their bodies are fragile and still developing.
Brain damage can be caused by:
- A loss of oxygen to the brain
- Trauma to the head or other physical injuries
If any of these issues are not properly treated, a baby may suffer from permanent disabilities, including limb paralysis, mental impairment, and even death.
A hematoma occurs when blood builds up between the brain and the skull. Infant hematomas are typically caused by trauma to the head, which may occur if a doctor uses excessive force to deliver a baby.
While mild hematomas can clear up without treatment, some can seriously damage a child’s brain and lead to permanent disabilities or death.
Intrauterine Fetal Demise
Intrauterine fetal demise, also known as stillbirth, occurs when a baby dies in the womb before it is born.
While many different issues can lead to intrauterine fetal demise, some — such an umbilical cord accident or an infection in the fetus — can be safely avoided or treated with proper medical care.
Many babies develop jaundice shortly after they are born. Jaundice occurs when the baby cannot process bilirubin, a pigment that blood cells discharge as a waste. Jaundice tints the baby’s skin yellow.
While most cases of jaundice clear up within a few weeks without treatment, some severe cases can cause brain damage and even cerebral palsy since bilirubin is harmful in high concentrations.
Kernicterus is a life-threatening condition that stems from severe cases of jaundice. It occurs when levels of bilirubin — the same pigment that causes jaundice — build up in the brain, causing permanent damage.
Kernicterus can lead to:
- Cerebral palsy
- Hearing loss
- Movement problems
Doctors can often prevent kernicterus using light therapy or blood transfusions. These will help the baby’s body break down the bilirubin and heal.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries can occur when doctors pull on a baby’s neck or back during the delivery process.
A spinal cord injury can interrupt signals going from the brain to the affected part of the spine, leaving a baby with weakened or paralyzed limbs. Spinal cord injuries cannot be cured and cause permanent disability.
Vacuum Extraction Complications
A vacuum extractor, a tool used to speed up difficult deliveries, attaches to a baby’s head and uses suction to pull them out of the womb. Some doctors still rely on vacuum extractors even today.
Doctors must exercise extreme caution when using vacuum extractors to avoid causing harm to newborns. If a vacuum extractor is used improperly, it can damage a baby’s scalp and even lead to bleeding in the brain.
What to Look for in a Birth Injury Lawyer
When looking for a lawyer, it is crucial to find one that has successfully helped other clients receive compensation — and someone who genuinely wants to help you.
Top birth injury lawyers will have:
- Experience: It is important to work with a lawyer who has handled other birth injury cases similar to yours. If your lawyer has no prior experience in handling birth injury lawsuits, they may not know how to get the maximum value out of your claim.
- National reach: Many birth injury lawyers work at national law firms that handle cases all across the country. These lawyers can file lawsuits within the time limits set by each state.
- No upfront fees: You should not have to pay any upfront costs to work with a lawyer. The best birth injury lawyers get paid only after the case reaches a favorable outcome for their clients.
The lawyer you choose should make you feel comfortable and have your best interests at heart, so don’t feel compelled to work with the first lawyer you meet. Taking time to research and interview top birth injury lawyers will make filing a lawsuit less stressful and time-consuming down the road.
Common Questions About Birth Injury Lawyers
If you are looking to work with a lawyer, you may have questions about the legal process. Get answers to common questions about birth injury lawyers below.
When should I hire a lawyer?
Once a birth injury is diagnosed — and you believe that medical negligence could be to blame — you should contact a lawyer. Your time to take legal action may be limited.
Every state has laws that limit the amount of time someone has to file a lawsuit. These are known as statutes of limitations, and they vary from state to state. Most birth injury lawsuits must be filed within a few years after the injury is discovered.
If you do not file your lawsuit within the statute of limitations in your state, you will never be able to file one even if your case is valid.
The best — and only — way to learn about statutes of limitations in your state is by working with an experienced lawyer.
Birth injury attorneys at national law firms know the statutes of limitations in each state, so it is essential to work with an experienced birth injury lawyer who can help you determine the best time to take legal action.
How do I find a birth injury lawyer?
You can find a birth injury lawyer by connecting with nationally renowned law firms, who can help clients throughout the United States.
When looking for a birth injury lawyer, be sure to choose one that has handled cases similar to yours before.
The best birth injury lawyers will know how to:
- Properly build your case
- File the case within the statute of limitations in your area
- Get the most compensation from your claim
It is in your best interest to work with these specialized lawyers because general lawyers may not know how to properly handle your claim. As a result, you could receive a lower amount of compensation.
How long will a birth injury attorney work on my case?
Birth injury attorneys will work on your case from start to finish, and there is no time limit on their services. While one lawsuit could reach a conclusion after a few months, another could take several years.
Birth injury lawyers will try to resolve your case as quickly (and fairly) as possible and will update you on their progress.
How much compensation could I receive?
How much compensation you may receive depends on the type of case and the circumstances surrounding it. While amounts vary with each case, some birth injury lawsuits lead to million-dollar payouts.
For example, a jury awarded a mother over $229 Million in 2019 after her baby suffered brain damage at birth and developed cerebral palsy due to poor advice from doctors.
Other awards may be smaller. In 2013, a South Carolina family received $700,000 after their child developed Erb’s palsy from a birth injury.
While birth injury lawyers cannot guarantee a specific value from your case, most lawyers will do their best to maximize your compensation.
How much does a birth injury lawyer cost?
You shouldn’t have to pay anything upfront to work with a birth injury lawyer. Most lawyers work on what is called a “contingency basis,” meaning they only get paid if your case successfully awards you with financial compensation.
If your case is successful, a small percentage of the total earnings will cover the lawyers’ fees.
Still have questions? Visit our Legal FAQ page to learn more.
Find Birth Injury Lawyers Near Me
Families affected by birth injuries should seriously consider working with a lawyer.
Every year, preventable birth injuries cause innocent children to suffer from long-term or permanent disabilities. Birth injury lawyers fight for the rights of victims and retrieve financial compensation for them.
If you are considering a birth injury lawsuit, get a free case review today. Learn how to connect with a lawyer in your state.