Glendale Birth Injury Attorney
Having a baby is an overwhelming and joyful experience for the entire family. However, while childbirth is beautiful, both mothers and newborns can experience a common birth injury, which could cause lifelong issues.
Birth injuries can range from a mild infection to a severe spinal cord injury. The most severe birth injuries could cause permanent disabilities, including mental ones. If you believe your child’s birth injuries resulted from negligence on the part of your medical team, you may be able to file a birth injury lawsuit. At Berberian Ain, we have helped many new parents gain the birth injury compensation they need to care for their newborn.
How Common Are Birth Injuries?
Because of a lack of research, birth injury statistics vary, with one research paper suggesting it ranged between 2 and 37 birth injuries per 1,000 births. However, several organizations suggest that about 5 in every 1,000 births in the USA result in a birth injury to the baby.
While most births don’t result in an injury to the baby, the ones that do can have devastating consequences. The team at Berberian Ain LLP understands how difficult having an injured newborn at home is. Let our birth injury lawyers handle the legalities, allowing you to stay home and focus on your little one.
Common Types of Birth Injuries
Some common birth injuries include brain damage from oxygen deprivation, problems caused by misuse of medical instruments, and failure to notice fetal distress in time. If your infant suffered any of these common types of birth injuries, consult with a birth injury attorney in Glendale, CA, as soon as possible.
Hypoxic Brain Injury at Birth
A hypoxic brain injury happens when the flow of oxygen to an infant’s brain is disrupted and can result in various illnesses and injuries, including a Cerebral Palsy injury at birth, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), and other cognitive disabilities. Mild and moderate hypoxia often subsides, causing little to no long-term problems, while severe cases could affect your child the rest of their life.
If your infant has recently received a Cerebral Palsy diagnosis or other hypoxia-related injuries, you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim with the help of a birth injury law firm, depending on the cause.
Brachial Plexus Injury at Birth
One of the most common birth injuries, this injury affects the brachial plexus, which is a bundle of nerves in the neck and chest. Damage to these nerves can cause shoulder dystocia, making it difficult to move the shoulder. Although some stages of brachial plexus can be treated, others could cause lifelong paralysis.
This injury can occur during vaginal birth, often when the baby is in a breech position, and is caused by incorrect or forceful use of birthing tools or forceful pulling.
Injuries From Medical Equipment
Certain birth injuries can occur due to improper use of medical equipment, like forceps or suction. These injuries include brachial plexus damage, tears to the mother, facial injuries, eye damage, and skull fractures.
Delayed Diagnosis or Reaction to Fetal Distress
Things can go wrong quickly during a birth. If your medical team misses something critical, you or your baby could suffer a devastating injury, including a brain injury at birth.
One of the common causes of birth injuries related to delayed diagnosis is a delayed C-section. By continuing to encourage a vaginal birth, injuries related to excessive pushing or pulling could harm the baby or the mother.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Although rare, these injuries are often fatal. If you believe your doctor failed to notice critical signs, you may be able to sue for wrongful death.
Epidural Birth Injuries
The drugs given in an epidural don’t endanger a baby. However, an epidural can slow the vaginal birth process too much, resulting in injuries, including those caused by oxygen deprivation.
Infections contracted at the hospital could seriously injure or kill the baby or mother. If your doctor failed to provide a clean area or missed signs of infection like a fever, you might be eligible for birth injury compensation.
Birth Injury Claim: Medical Malpractice vs Negligence
Birth injury claims are based on the grounds of medical malpractice or negligence on the part of those who were in charge during the birth of your child. In 2016, the California Supreme Court clarified the difference between medical malpractice and negligence with its decision, Flores v. Presbyterian Intercommunity Hosp., 369 P.3d 22. Based on the definition of medical malpractice created by the court’s ruling in 1979, which identifies medical malpractice as a “negligent act that occurred in the rendering of services for which the health care provider is licensed.”
Using that definition, the court created an “integral relationship” test for determining whether the case is medical malpractice or negligence, stating “A hospital’s negligent failure to maintain equipment that is necessary or otherwise integrally related to the medical treatment and diagnosis of the patient implicates a duty that the hospital owes to a patient by virtue of being a healthcare provider.”
In this type of birth injury claim, you can hold the parties in charge during your child’s birth liable for a birth injury due to negligence. Although the results are no less severe than in a medical malpractice case, negligence cases prove that the parties are responsible but did not act maliciously or intentionally. Examples of birth injury claims due to negligence are:
- Birth injuries caused by defective medical devices. This falls under product liability, which is a type of negligence on the part of the manufacturer.
- Other instances where negligence was present and resulted in a birth injury but did not involve medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice suits arise out of the negligent actions of those responsible for the birth of your child that were performed with intentional disregard or care for standard medical procedure. If your doctor or hospital knowingly acted in a way that resulted in your baby’s injury, filing a medical malpractice suit with our legal team is essential to hold them responsible. Examples of birth injury claims due to medical malpractice include:
- Hurting the baby during an assisted delivery
- Improperly administering an epidural or anesthesia
- Failing to assist in a delivery that poses a threat to the mother
- Prescribing medication during pregnancy that harms the fetus
- Not performing genetic testing and informing the mother of the risk of birth defects
Birth Injury Claims in California
California laws surrounding birth injury claims detail who can file, how long a person has to file, and what kind of compensation can be received. The types of birth injury claims in California are birth injury, wrongful birth, wrongful life, and wrongful death.
Birth Injury Claims
A parent or other adult can file a birth injury claim against the parties responsible for their baby’s injury. The child can also file birth injury claims against the medical institution and physicians accountable for their birth injury.
Wrongful Birth Claims
In addition to a birth injury claim, parents may file a wrongful birth claim on behalf of their child. In California, wrongful birth claims arise when a child is hurt during birth or when the child was born against the parent’s wishes. For instance, if their doctor failed to inform the parents about a severe birth defect or if the mother became pregnant despite sterilization.
Wrongful Life Claims
California allows wrongful life claims. These can be filed by a child who suffered a severe injury at birth that has had a debilitating effect on their life or drastically reduced their life expectancy. If the preferred alternative to being born with the injury was not to have been born at all, the child could file a wrongful life claim.
Wrongful Death Claims
Wrongful death laws in California are restrictive. The California Code of Civil Procedure § 377.60 allows specific persons to file a claim on behalf of the deceased person. In California, a baby who dies before being born does not count as a deceased person. Therefore only parents of a child born alive and then died of their injuries can file a wrongful death claim.
Compensation for Birth Injury Claims
The compensation you receive for birth injury claims includes damages for current and future medical expenses, lost wages, physical pain, mental pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and loss of ability to earn income. In these cases, the noneconomic damages have a cap of $250,000. In the case of wrongful birth or wrongful life claims, only direct costs associated with the injury are available.
However, some cases in recent years in California have resulted in high settlements. One noteworthy case, Harrell v. Anonymous Hospital, rewarded a family $6,000,000 after a failed C-section resulted in the baby developing Cerebral Palsy.
In A. A., a minor, v. Pomona Valley Hospital, the hospital staff failed to call the in-house OB doctor to perform a C-section which would have prevented the child’s resulting cerebral palsy and developmental delays. The plaintiff received a $6.975 million cash settlement.
How A Birth Injury Law Firm Can Help
A birth injury law firm like Berberian Ain LLP can help you navigate the complex legal issues surrounding your birth injury lawsuit. It is essential to speak with a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible after your child’s injury.
You only have three years from the date of injury or one year from discovering the birth injury results to file a medical malpractice claim, so you don’t want to wait. If your child files the lawsuit, you have until their eighth birthday, but it is a good idea to talk with a lawyer who can guide you through the documentation you may need for your case before then.
Call Your Glendale Birth Injury Lawyer Today
If your newborn has suffered from a birth injury, it’s essential that you consult with a birth injury lawyer in Glendale, CA, as soon as possible. The team at Berberian Ain LLP has extensive experience helping new parents navigate this difficult time in their lives, ensuring they receive the compensation they need to continue caring for an injured child.
Call our brain injury attorneys today at (818) 808-0048 to arrange a free consultation. Our team will meet with you and review your case to determine if you can sue, who to name in the suit, and how much compensation you can expect.