Pregnancy and childbirth are exciting milestones for any new family. Learning the baby’s gender, stocking the registry with baby items, and preparing for the arrival of a new family member are important first steps. Most labors and deliveries are safe, and parents come home with a healthy new life to cherish and love.
However, there are rare instances in which a catastrophic birth injury can affect your new baby and your growing family. Our Kansas City birth injury attorneys have recovered more than $100 million for victims in your similar situation- let us help you, as well. Contact our team of skilled injury attorneys today.
Birth injuries are different from birth defects. A birth defect is generally something congenital that would be present at birth because it developed in the womb. A birth injury, on the other hand, is something that happens during labor, delivery, or shortly after birth. Not all birth injuries are the result of medical malpractice, though many may be avoided with sufficient medical care. Some of the most common causes of birth injury include:
Brachial palsy. Erb’s and Klumpke’s palsy affect different branches of nerves in the arm. These conditions are often the result of shoulder dystocia when an infant’s shoulder becomes trapped within the mother’s pelvic bone.
Facial paralysis. When a physician uses forceps or vacuum extraction, an infant may suffer temporary paralysis from the pressure. In severe cases, this can lead to permanent damage.
Brain injury.Brain injuries can lead to a lifetime of negative side effects. Most birth injuries resulting in brain damage are due to a lack of oxygen. Oxygen deprivation, or hypoxia, can occur during pregnancy, delivery, or even after birth.
Broken Bones. Fractures may occur as the result of a prolonged or difficult delivery. They can heal in weeks, but, in some cases, they may also lead to nerve damage or other negative side effects.
How Do I Know If My Baby Has a Birth Defect or Birth Injury?
It’s scary to think that something might be wrong with your baby. It’s important to know that the law requires physicians to disclose any potential health issues with your baby. If you know about a condition ahead of time, it’s a birth defect. If you become aware of a condition or illness shortly after delivery, it may well still be a defect – but there’s also a chance it’s actually a birth injury. Talk to an experienced Kansas City birth injury attorney about your options if you were expecting to welcome a healthy baby boy or girl, but something else happened.
Who Can You Hold Liable for a Birth Injury?
Liability for a birth injury means legal responsibility. The liable party will be the one that reasonably should have prevented the birth injury or the one behind the proximate cause of damages. If the birth injury would not have happened but for the defendant’s actions or lack thereof, the defendant will likely be the one liable for damages. Liability can fall to many different parties depending on the circumstances.
The hospital or birthing center. The facility where you had your child may be liable if it contributed to the incident. Examples include failing to hire safe employees, enforce better communication protocols, or maintaining its tools and equipment. The facility may also be vicariously liable for the negligence of one of its employees.
The individual physician or OBGYN. The individual doctor responsible for the birth injury could bear sole liability for damages if he or she is not an employee of the hospital or center. The hospital may not be vicariously liable for damages if the doctor is an independent contractor instead of an employee. Physicians carry personal insurance for just such cases.
A medical device manufacturer. If a defective, dangerous, or malfunctioning medical device contributed to the birth injury, you may have a product liability case against the manufacturer. The hospital may also be responsible if a lack of item maintenance caused a malfunction.
Many birth injury claims in Kansas City involve the shared negligence or responsibility of more than one defendant. It is possible to file a claim against multiple parties. Hiring an experienced birth injury attorney in Kansas City can help you answer the complex question of liability for your child’s injuries.
Proving a Birth Injury Claim
Once you identify the appropriate defendant, the next step is proving your birth injury claim. This will take demonstrating the defendant’s fault for your child’s injuries through a preponderance of the evidence. Proving your claim will require that your attorney provide evidence of four main elements.
The defendant owed you and your baby a duty of care.
The defendant negligently breached this duty.
The defendant’s action or omission caused the birth injury.
You or your child suffered damages as a result.
A Kansas City birth injury lawyer can help prove these elements through evidence collection, eyewitness interviews, expert testimony, case investigation, and many other strategies. Hiring a Kansas City medical malpractice attorney with medical malpractice experience can help give you peace of mind about proving your claim while your family focuses on healing.
Birth Injury Statistics
As the victim of a devastating birth injury, you may feel alone in your battle. Thousands of other children, however, could have the same diagnosis as your child. Unfortunately, malpractice-related birth injuries are relatively common in the U.S. Many parents do not realize just how common until their children become victims. Negligence, carelessness, and recklessness cause thousands of birth injuries every year.
The leading cause of infant death is congenital malformations and chromosomal abnormalities. The second-leading cause is low birth weight and premature birth.
About six to eight of every 1,000 infants born in the U.S. suffer birth injuries. This equates to around 28,000 birth injuries per year.
The three most common birth injuries are brachial plexus palsy, broken bones, and cephalohematoma.
More birth injuries occur at private, non-profit hospitals than for-profit private hospitals (4.33 vs. 7.15 per 1,000, respectively).
The birth injury rate for non-instrument-assisted vaginal births is around 30% less than instrument-assisted vaginal births.
Every year, acts of negligence cause hundreds of thousands of preventable birth injuries in the United States. If your child has become a victim of suspected malpractice, do not hesitate to contact a Kansas City birth injury attorney. An experienced birth injury attorney can help you seek justice and financial compensation from the at-fault party in Kansas City.
When to Contact a Kansas City Birth Injury Attorney
Birth injuries have a wide range of causes, from failure to adequately monitor vital signs to improper use of forceps or birth assistive technology. If you believe your baby’s injury was the direct result of your care, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills and lost wages from missed work, as well as recompense for intangible losses.
To learn more about birth injury lawsuits and to see if you have legal grounds for a claim, contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation. You shouldn’t have to bear the weight of this alone – let one of our compassionate Kansas City personal injury lawyers help your family on the road to recovery.
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