The birth of a baby should be a joyous occasion, but parents may not get the opportunity to celebrate if their baby sustains a birth-related injury. These injuries are serious and often permanent, which means the baby will be affected for the rest of his or her life. If your baby has sustained a birth-related injury, protect your rights with the help of experienced Fresno personal injury attorney. But first, it’s important to learn more about birth injuries so you can determine if you have the right to take legal action.
What Are the Most Common Types of Birth Injuries?
There are many different kinds of birth injuries, but the most common include:
- Brain injuries
- Peripheral nerve damage
- Cranial nerve damage
- Bone fractures
- Abdominal injuries
These injuries can range in severity, with the most severe injuries leading to permanent disabilities. Sadly, all of these injuries are preventable.
Birth Defects vs. Birth Injuries: What’s the Difference?
It’s important for parents to understand the difference between birth defects and birth injuries. A birth defect is a health condition or illness that develops either before or during pregnancy, and occurs as a result of either genetics or the baby’s environment. There is nothing that a medical professional can do to correct or prevent your baby from being born with a birth defect.
A birth injury, on the other hand, is sustained during labor and delivery. These injuries are caused by a medical professional’s negligence, which means they are completely preventable. A birth injury does not occur as a result of the baby’s genetics or environment, but rather mistakes made by the medical professionals caring for the baby’s mother.
You cannot take legal action if your baby is born with a birth defect, but you can take legal action if your baby is born with a birth injury.
How Do Birth Injuries Occur?
A birth injury occurs as a result of a medical professional’s mistake or carelessness. But, what exactly does this mean? Many birth injuries occur when a doctor fails to properly monitor and respond to changes in the condition of the mother and her baby. For example, doctors should order an emergency C-section when a vaginal delivery is too risky due to the size or positioning of the body or the location of the umbilical cord. Failing to perform this emergency operation could injure the baby.
Doctors can also cause birth injuries if they fail to detect signs of fetal distress. For example, doctors should carefully monitor the baby’s oxygen intake at all times so they can quickly take action if they spot the signs of oxygen deprivation. If a doctor fails to do this, the baby could suffer serious brain injuries as a result of the doctor’s negligence.
Many injuries are caused by the use of birth-assisting tools such as forceps and vacuum extractors. These tools help doctors safely deliver babies, but if used incorrectly, they can cause serious injuries. Applying too much when using forceps, for example, can damage the baby’s nerve and lead to temporary weakness or permanent paralysis. The improper use of a vacuum extractor can cause brain damage or fracture the baby’s skull. Injuries like these could have been prevented if the doctor used the birth-assisting tool responsibly.
These are some of the many ways that a birth injury can occur. Each of these examples illustrates how a medical professional’s negligence can lead to a devastating birth injury.
What Elements Do You Need to Prove in Birth Injury Cases?
The plaintiff must prove three factors in a birth injury case, including:
- The defendant owed a legal duty of care to the plaintiff
- The defendant breached the duty of care
- The baby was injured as a result of the breach
The first element is rather easy to prove. Medical professionals owe a legal duty of care to their patients, so proving this element simply means proving that a doctor-patient relationship existed between the defendant and the plaintiff.
The second element is the hardest to prove. To prove this element, you must show that another reasonably competent medical professional would not have acted in the same manner as the defendant under the same circumstances. Basically, this means proving that the medical professional was negligent.
For example, let’s say your baby was injured due to the doctor’s failure to order and perform an emergency C-section. In this case, you would need to prove that another reasonably competent doctor would have ordered and performed the C-section under the same set of circumstances. Expert witnesses in the medical profession often play an important role in proving this element.
Finally, you will need to prove that the baby was injured as a result of the medical professional’s negligence. Expert witnesses are also used to prove this element. These witnesses can outline the consequences of the defendant’s actions and explain how these actions affected the baby.
You must prove these elements in order to recover compensation for a birth-related injury. But, there’s no need to attempt to do this on your own.
How Can A Fresno Personal Injury Attorney Help?
Birth injury cases are known for their complex nature, which is why it’s best to seek help from an experienced attorney. Your attorney can work closely with expert witnesses to gather the evidence that is needed to prove your case. Expert witnesses can help analyze and interpret complicated medical evidence that is needed to prove the link between the medical professional’s negligence and your baby’s injuries. Your attorney will also handle the negotiations with the insurance company to ensure you are compensated fairly for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. While your attorney works on your case, you can focus solely on caring for your newborn baby.
If your baby sustained a birth-related injury, it’s in your best interest to seek legal representation from a skilled Fresno personal injury attorney at once. The attorneys at Tomassian, Pimentel & Shapazian have more than 85 years of combined legal experience, so they have the resources and legal expertise to win these complex cases. Call now to discuss your case and learn more about your rights.