The vast majority of live births in California are successful. However, when the mother or the unborn child’s condition takes a turn for the worse, events can unfold at a rapid pace with devastating effects. Babies who survive the ordeal of being born during a difficult labor may suffer permanent birth injuries and lifelong disabilities that cost the family a fortune.
Not every injury is preventable, but the Los Angeles attorneys at The Salamati Law Firm are adept at finding negligence wherever it exists. We approach your situation with the compassion of a friend, but the network and knowledge that only the shrewdest legal team can deliver. Call 1-800-957-9898 to speak with a compassionate birth injury lawyer about your claim. You pay us nothing unless we accept your case and win compensation for you and your family.
What Is A Birth Injury?
A “birth injury” occurs when a doctor, hospital, or medical care provider fails to exercise reasonable care, which causes injury to the mother or child during pregnancy or delivery. Malpractice claims may include failure to control maternal blood loss or failure to monitor the baby’s oxygen levels during the delivery. Infants can be injured when a cesarean birth is not called for in a timely manner or when a baby is erroneously delivered prematurely. Injuries can be caused by improper use of tools like vacuums and forceps. Doctors who fail to note high blood pressure, preeclampsia, infection, or gestational diabetes may be to blame for negligence in failing to identify and mitigate risks associated with the pregnancy and delivery.
Some of the most common birth injuries include:
- Birth hypoxia
- Brachial plexus injuries
- Brain damage
- Broken bones
- Cerebral palsy
- Cesarean-related injuries
- Erbs Palsy
- Fetal death
- Lacerations causing deformity
- Shoulder dystocia
- Skull fractures
Birth Injury Lawsuits
A successful birth injury lawsuit generally depends upon the establishment of several strong arguments:
- Duty – A person or entity is legally responsible for an injury when it can be proven there is a “duty of care” assumed between the two parties. This proof is fairly straightforward in a birth injury case. The doctor and hospital treating a pregnant woman has a duty to the mother and the unborn child to provide quality medical care.
- Standard of Care Breach – Next, a birth injury attorney must prove that the health care provider failed to meet the “standard of care” that another competent provider would have delivered under similar circumstances. To make a case, lawyers utilize their networks of medical experts, medical school professors, and certifying bodies to establish standard protocol. The judge and jury will examine what the health care provider did and didn’t do to make a judgement on whether they complied with the standard of care – or whether they were negligent in their duties.
- Injury Causation – Medical documentation provides evidence of physical injury, but the legal team must also prove that the health care provider’s actions or inaction directly led to the injuries suffered. Other possible risk factors and causes of injury must be ruled out to demonstrate that the injuries were somehow preventable.
- Damages – Lastly, there must have been some type of loss in order for the plaintiff to collect compensation. Some tangible losses are easy to calculate – such as direct medical costs like hospital stays, doctor’s visits, medication, physical therapy, assistive technology; home modifications to accommodate a disability; special education costs; lost wages; or funeral costs. Plaintiffs may also collect for damages that are more difficult to estimate, such as pain, emotional suffering, mental anguish and loss of enjoyment in life. The state of California imposes a cap of $250,000 on these “non-economic” losses.
Steps In Birth Injury Litigation
Most birth injury lawsuits go through the following stages:
- Investigation – Lawyers will obtain and review medical records, interview various experts, and write up conclusive reports that present the facts surrounding the claim.
- Filing – A legal complaint will be filed according to the requirements of the state. Once notified, defendants have up to 60 day to respond and hire a defense lawyer.
- Discovery – Discovery involves written documents, information requestsand depositions.
- Motions – The parties may file motions to move toward settling outside court, winning a summary judgment, or requesting a hearing to argue one’s position before a judge.
- Trial – If no settlement is reached during the pre-trial motions, then a trial date is set. Trials typically last between one and five weeks. The jury will then read their verdict.
- Post-Trial – Following the trial, the parties may appeal the case to a higher court. Some cases can be appealed multiple times and even remanded for another trial. This process can be lengthy if the judge allows it to drag on.
It can take anywhere 18 months to 2 years after filing a birth injury lawsuit to reach a settlement or verdict.
When Do I Start a Birth Injury Lawsuit?
If your family has been affected by a birth trauma, you should contact a representative from the Salamati Firm as soon as possible. California’s statute of limitations depends upon who is filing the lawsuit, who is being sued, and the circumstances surrounding the case. This timeframe can be as little as six months or as great as eight years.
- Are you suing a California county hospital or a public healthcare provider? You may only have 6 months to notify the negligent medical provider of your intention to sue.
- Are you the mother of an injured child? You may file up to a year after the birth injury occurred and receive compensation that will enable you to financially provide for your child’s needs until he or she is 18 years old.
- Are you a child who was severely injured at birth? You may have until you are 8 years old to file a medical malpractice claim, as it’s not always apparent what developmental challenges will arise.
Most moderate to severe injuries are observed by the time a child misses major milestones at 12 and 18 months – and even more so once the child is two to three years old. Parents listing their child as the plaintiff often file their birth injury lawsuits at this point, but you can file immediately after the child’s birth if the baby’s condition requires transfer to the neonatal intensive care unit.
It can be helpful to contact a birth injury lawyer about filing a claim for medical malpractice right away. Though it is a difficult time for your family, you may find the burden is lifted when you have a support crew on hand to help you with some of the necessary planning. The attorneys working on your case will network with top-rated medical experts (including neonatologists, pediatricians, nurses and life care planners) who will meet with you to assemble a plan of care that will help you meet your child’s complex set of special needs related to the disability or injuries sustained.
A successful lawsuit can give you the financial freedom to choose the best level of care for your child, from medical treatments through educational opportunities.Start the process of healing right away; contact the Los Angeles birth injury lawyers at Salamati Law for a free case review.
Additional California Birth Injury Resources:
- Birth Injury Justice – Legal Options https://www.birthinjuryjustice.org/legal-options/
- Free Legal Advice – California Birth Injury Statutes of Limitations http://injury-law.freeadvice.com/injury-law/birth-injury/california-birth-injury-statutes-of-limitations.htm#ixzz4QltmTedH