Filing Birth Injury Lawsuits
At Edelman, Krasin & Jaye, we know that as you anticipated the day of your baby’s arrival you never thought that your child would suffer a birth injury or that you would end up filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. You probably have questions about how the injury happened, who is to blame, and what can be done. Filing suit may actually be the best way to uncover the truth and get the compensation necessary for you and your family to move forward.
Our firm has been representing clients like you and your family since 1952. Our attorneys understand that this may be the most difficult time in your lives and we want to help you take care of the legal aspects of this troubling situation in the most sensitive and effective way possible. Our team of highly-focused experts will investigate the circumstances surrounding your child’s birth injury to find out how it happened, whether it was preventable, and who should be held accountable.
Types of birth injuries
A birth injury (or birth trauma) is an injury inflicted upon an infant just before, during, or just after childbirth.
The following are examples of birth injuries that may sometimes require serious treatment or have long-term effects:
- Bruising: may take place during the normal course of labor or may be the result of the use of forceps or suction. Bruising often goes away relatively soon; in less frequent and more serious cases it is the result of a skull fracture requiring surgery.
- Subconjunctival hemorrhage: bleeding in one or both of the irises of the baby’s eyes. It is usually gone between one to two weeks.
- Caput succedaneum: swelling of the scalp, often as a result of vacuum extraction. Usually goes away in a few days.
- Cephalotematoma: bleeding between the bone and fibrous covering of the scalp. Usually resolved within weeks or months; though rarely it can pose risks of anemia and hypotension in more severe cases.
- Facial paralysis: may be the result of the use of forceps, though it sometimes happens in the course of labor generally. The damage may be temporary, or may require surgery.
- Brachial palsy injuries (Erb’s Palsy and Klumpke’s Palsy): such conditions occur when the bundle of nerves controlling the movement of the arms and legs is injured, generally when the shoulders are positioned so as to block the baby’s exit from the birth canal. The nerve damage may be temporary or permanent; long-term complications can be quite debilitating.
- Fractures: newborns may suffer fractures of the clavicle, femur, or humorous (collar bone, thigh, or upper arm bones). These injuries may occur if the delivery is in the breech position, if the child is larger than normal, or if the shoulder is displaced during delivery.
- Intra-abdominal injury: though less common, internal organs such as the liver or spleen can be damaged during delivery and complications such as hemorrhaging may result. Such injuries are treatable, though death can result from serious cases.
- Spinal cord injury: may occur when excess traction or rotation is used during delivery. In some cases, permanent paralysis or death may result.
- Brain injury: can result from lack of oxygen if the baby experiences high levels of blood loss or umbilical cord compression. Cerebral Palsy, seizure disorders, mental impairment, or death may result.
In many cases, birth injuries resolve themselves within a few weeks and there is no permanent damage. In other cases, however, the results can be more serious, requiring intensive treatment and therapy to correct, or leading to permanent damage or death.
Some conditions (such as Cerebral Palsy) may not be diagnosed until a child is two or three years of age. If your child suffered a birth injury, the medical and legal experts at Edelman, Krasin & Jaye advise that you keep all records associated with the birth and monitor the child closely for signs of long-term effects that the injury may have caused. These precautions may help to ensure that if there is a problem, you child will receive the best medical interventions as early as possible, and that you will have the best chance of recovering funds in a New York birth injury lawsuit in order to finance treatment and care.
Birth injury lawsuits in New York
Of course, we all hope that birth injuries turn out to be minor events with no long-lasting consequences. But if you find that you have been strapped with burdensome medical bills, a negative long-term prognosis, and heartache over the suffering that your child has or may have to endure as a result of the injury, you should explore the possibility of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit with Edelman, Krasin & Jaye.
Not all birth injuries are the result of medical malpractice, however, and medical professionals are not liable for unforeseen complications that they took every responsible step to manage. The burden is on the plaintiff to demonstrate that medical malpractice occurred.
Our birth injury lawyers and other resident experts have the tools and expertise necessary to evaluate whether doctors, nurses, or other medical professionals were at fault during the birth. Although in many cases this does not turn out to be so, we know there are times when doctors and others do not take reasonable precautions or make errors for which they should be held accountable.
Medical errors that have resulted in malpractice suits include:
- Prescription of an inappropriate medication
- Failure to adequately/correctly monitor the heart rate of the baby
- Failure to respond to umbilical cord twisting/knotting or to other types of fetal distress
- Delay or failure to perform a cesarean section as needed
- Failure to adequately monitor or anticipate problems in a high risk birth
If one of these factors was involved during your child’s delivery in a New York or Long Island hospital, our consultants are equipped to investigate, document, and prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your child’s birth injury was an avoidable tragedy for which you deserve compensation from the parties liable.
Compensation for birth injuries
If your child’s birth injury was the result of medical malpractice, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, any therapy or long-term care that your child requires, loss of earning potential, pain and suffering, or (in some cases) wrongful death.
The amount of compensation received via a personal injury lawsuit in New York will depend on the type and extent of injury as well as the nature of the malpractice. However, multi-million dollar awards verdicts and settlements are not unheard of in the case of grave injury. For instance, a Manhattan couple was awarded $49 million in compensation from Lenox Hill Hospital for the serious birth injuries of their daughter that resulted in brain damage and Cerebral Palsy.
If you believe that your child’s birth injuries were the result of medical malpractice, contact Edelman, Krasin & Jaye for a free evaluation of your potential birth injury lawsuit. Contact our office at 516-742-9200 for consultation at no cost to you. If our attorneys take your case, you owe nothing unless we win a settlement or a verdict for you. We believe that our client’s success is our success!
- Medscape, Birth trauma, http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/980112-overview#a1
- Birthinjury.org, Brachial plexus, http://birthinjury.org/brachial-plexus.html
- Birthinjury.org, Brain injury and cerebral palsy, http://birthinjury.org/brain-injury-cerebral-palsy.html
- NY Times, Hospital Is Ruled Liable For Girl's Birth Injuries, http://www.nytimes.com/1998/10/08/nyregion/hospital-is-ruled-liable-for-girl-s-birth-injuries.html