Not every birth injury is actionable. This article sets forth what you need to prove in order to recover monetary damages for medical malpractice causing a birth injury.
If you or your baby suffered an injury due to the actions or inaction of a medical professional, call Philadelphia birth injury lawyer at The Villari Law Firm PLLC at 215-600-1363 to discuss your case, free of charge. We have recovered millions of dollars for those families in or near Philadelphia who suffered malpractice that resulted in birth injures. Let us help you too.
How to Know You Have a Valid Birth Injury Lawsuit
The 4 Ds of Malpractice
The defendant doctor or other medical professional had a duty of care to the mother and child, deviated from that standard of care, directly causing damages in the form of a diagnosis of birth injury.
What You Need to Prove in a Birth Injury Case
Proof of Patient-Doctor Relationship
A mother’s medical records should show she was under the care of the defendant doctor or other medical professional, or hospital. This relationship gives rise to a duty of care to the mother and baby. That duty requires medical staff to act as a reasonable and prudent professional would under the circumstances, including:
- Addressing the mother’s medical needs and concerns;
- Assessing information and tests to accurately and timely diagnose any medical conditions or potential medical conditions;
- Effectively preventing potential conditions from occurring;
- Effectively treating any medical conditions that are present or become present;
- Referring the mother to a specialist when warranted.
Collect Evidence of Breach of Duty
Again, medical records as well as testimony of witnesses and experts show that the defendant breached their duty of care to the mother or the baby during the pregnancy, burning labor, or during delivery. Such breach may take the form of:
- Failing to attend to the mother’s concerns;
- Failing to test for conditions that may arise from the mother’s medical history or family history;
- Failing to interpret tests or blood work correctly;
- Delayed diagnosis;
- Prescribing incorrect medication;
- Incorrect or overuse of Pitocin
- Misreading the Fetal Heart Monitoring Strips
- Failing to refer the mother to a specialist;
- Failing to monitor for signs of baby’s distress during pregnancy, labor, or delivery;
- Failing to recognize birth complications;
- Misuse of forceps or vacuum assisted birth;
- Failing to recommend a C section when warranted;
- Performing an unnecessary C section.
Demonstrate Direct Cause
Causation can be difficult to prove. In court, medical experts testify as to how the defendant’s actions or inaction caused or contributed to the birth injury. The defendant’s attorney may in turn assert that the injury occurred naturally or by some other means.
Provide Evidence of You or Your Child’s Injuries
Medical records as well as testimony of medical experts prove the nature and extent of the birth injury, the medical and other care that the mother or child need going forward, and how the birth injury affects the mother’s or child’s quality of life.
A family proving that defendant hospital or medical professional breached their duty, causing damages, may recover monetary damages for:
- Medical bills
- Costs of continuing medical care, when required
- Costs of therapies and assistive devices, when required
- Costs Modifications to the Home
- Costs for a Modified Vehicle for Transportation
- Cost of Educating a child with disabilities
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of consortium
In cases where a mother or child is permanently disfigured or disabled, these damages sometimes run into the millions of dollars.
Evidence Proving a Birth Injury Claim
Eyewitness Testimony from Staff
Anyone present at the time the injury occurred, the time a condition was misdiagnosed or should have been diagnosed, and at birth should testify under oath on what they witnessed from the defendant. These people include the defendant’s staff and assistants as well as anyone present during the birth such as doctors or interns, nurses, anesthesiologists, and other medical professionals.
Employment Records of Medical Staff
Your attorney will subpoena the employment records of the defendant medical professionals to look for evidence of prior acts of negligence as well as the amount and nature of their education and training.
Your attorney will obtain the help and testimony of medical professionals recognized by the court as reliable expert witnesses on the subject of the particular birth injury you have suffered.
While medical records may easily prove there was a patient-doctor relationship, expert testimony is required to show what the defendant’s duty was, what the defendant did to breach that duty, and the nature and extent of the birth injury and its lasting effects on the baby, the mother, and the entire family. Your attorney may call more than one expert witness to prove your case.
The Importance of Finding the Right Birth Injury Attorney
Proven experience, empathy, and communication are essential in a birth injury attorney. How do you know if a particular birth injury lawyer is right for you?
First, look over their client testimonials and case results. Then, meet with them. Birth injury lawyers and medical malpractice lawyers generally offer a free initial case review. Use that time to inquire as to the attorney’s background and experience litigating birth injuries.
If you don’t have confidence in your birth injury lawyer, the process of litigating your birth injury claim will be a nightmare for you, so if any aspect of your conversation causes doubt, seek different representation. You need someone who works with you and makes you feel assured that your case gets handled in the best way possible.
Talk With an Experienced Birth Injury Lawyer
If you live in Philadelphia, the surrounding counties, or South Jersey, and your family has suffered a birth injury, call us. Let us help you through this difficult time and get you the compensation your family deserves.