While modern medicine has dramatically reduced the risk of birth injuries, they still occur. The birth of a child can be the most beautiful experience in life. For parents, this starts a new chapter, one filled with joy and, sometimes, anguish. When a child suffers a birth injury, it creates confusion, fear, and guilt.
Whether at the hospital or days, weeks, or even months later, if parents suspect their baby suffered a birth injury due to negligence, it is critical to seek immediate medical attention. Following that, they need to consult with an attorney who specializes in this area.
Recognizing a Birth Injury
Quickly detecting a birth injury gives the baby a better chance of achieving a full recovery. Some of the more common signs of trouble include:
- Arching the back while crying
- Excessive drooling
- Grunting or a high-pitched crying sound
- Intense agitation for no apparent reason
- Light sensitivity
- Trouble sucking, eating, or swallowing
Parents need to have the baby checked right away if they notice any of these signs or feel that something is not right.
Among the various causes for a birth injury, a delayed birth is number 1. Both a difficult labor and one that lasts longer than 18 hours puts more pressure on the baby’s brain than what it can withstand. Oxygen deprivation is another cause, usually the result of the umbilical cord wrapping around the neck. Regardless of the reason or outcome, most birth injuries are the result of medical malpractice.
For some parents, proper medical care comes at a high price. Especially if the baby suffered a permanent or severe injury, they could end up paying bills throughout the child’s life. Although no amount of money can erase the damage, receiving financial compensation helps provide the child with excellent medical care and, hopefully, a better life.
Winning a lawsuit against a doctor or hospital, or both, also sends a strong message by holding the offending party accountable. Ultimately, that prevents future mistakes from happening to other children and their parents.
Working with a Qualified Attorney
Dealing with an injured child becomes exhausting and overwhelming. A reputable attorney will eliminate some of the parents’ stress by reviewing details of the case, gathering medical records, talking to experts, identifying possible witnesses, and more to make the case winnable.
For financial compensation, the attorney works with different experts to estimate long-term expenses. At the time of trial, the jury will consider that number, along with noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of companionship. Parents can always settle before going to trial. While this accelerates the process, it also means a lower amount of compensation.
The money received in a lawsuit goes to pay outstanding medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses paid for by the parents, attorney’s fees, and any noneconomic damages. Typically, the court controls the remainder to ensure the child gets the proper medical care needed.
Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is another reason for contacting a reputable attorney as quickly as possible. In the state of New York, parents must file a lawsuit for a birth injury within two years and six months from the date of occurrence. If a child dies, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death case is two years from the time of the child’s passing.