When Birth Injuries Form the Basis of a Birth Injury Lawsuit
It is important to first understand that not all birth injuries are caused by medical negligence and will not merit a birth injury lawsuit. According to medical research, an estimated six to eight birth injuries occur for every 1,000 births. To prove that a birth injury was caused by medical malpractice, you will be required to present evidence proving the following elements by a preponderance of the evidence:
- You had a provider-patient relationship.
- The doctor or other medical professional provided care that fell below the expected standard of care.
- The failure to meet the standard of care caused the birth injury.
- You suffered calculable damages as a result.
If you cannot prove one of these elements, you will not have a birth injury claim.
Causes of Birth Injuries
Birth injuries can happen as a result of multiple factors. Some of the factors that might increase the risk of a birth injury include the following:
- Babies weighing eight or more pounds
- Breech position
- Premature delivery
- Large head size in proportion to the pelvis
- Maternal obesity
- Prolonged labor
- Use of birth-assistive devices such as vacuum extractors or forceps
- Fetal or maternal infection
- Other issues
When a doctor fails to identify these types of risk factors and intervene appropriately, he or she might be liable for medical malpractice when birth injuries and losses result.
The standard of care is what a reasonably competent doctor in the same field of practice with similar skills and education would do under the same treatment conditions. Since the expected standard of care can vary based on the area of practice and the geographic region, birth injury attorneys work with medical experts to determine the standard of care and whether a doctor failed to meet it.
If the doctor’s care was determined to be below the standard of care, your lawyer will then look at whether his or her negligence caused your baby’s birth injuries. Proving causation can sometimes be difficult and will require you to gather medical records for your attorney and the medical expert to review.
If your lawyer determines that your child’s injuries were the result of medical malpractice, you will have the right to pursue compensation through a birth injury claim against the medical professionals who were responsible.
Your attorney will encourage you to follow the treatment recommendations you receive and keep all appointments. Make sure to keep in contact with your attorney throughout your case. Birth injury claims can take months or years to resolve. Your lawyer will need to speak with you whenever he or she receives a settlement offer, so good communication is key. In many cases, however, a formal lawsuit will need to be filed before a settlement can be reached. Some cases might also have to go to trial before a resolution can be reached.
After a lawsuit is filed, the case will enter a phase called discovery. During this phase, both you and the defendant will exchange information and evidence. You might be required to attend depositions or to answer interrogatories, and you might also need to depose the defendant and other witnesses. The discovery phase helps you and your attorney to understand the types of evidence and testimony that might be presented at trial.
Talk to The Law Offices of Craig L. Cook
If your child suffered a birth injury that you believe was caused by a doctor’s medical mistakes, you should speak to the medical malpractice lawyers at the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook. Schedule a free consultation by calling 479-783-8000 (Fort Smith), 918-912-2132 (Tulsa), or 479-455-2210 (Fayetteville).