Birth Injury Lawyer in San Diego
A birth injury is different than a birth defect, but both are extremely hard things to hear after going through pregnancy. A birth injury is defined as an injury that occurs to a baby during labor or delivery. A legal claim may arise against a doctor if he or she improperly used medical techniques or devices during the delivery. A birth defect typically occurs as a result of harm to a baby during pregnancy. Defects can come from drug or alcohol use during pregnancy, genetic reasons, or unknown reasons entirely.
Improper prenatal medical care can result in a birth injury. For the sake of legal claims, it’s important to understand the difference between an injury and a defect. For instance, cerebral palsy can be caused by lack of oxygen during labor. This would make it a birth injury. But, it can also arise from an unavoidable birth defect. The main difference between the two is that babies can recover from a birth injury, but usually not a birth defect.
Who’s Responsible for a Birth Injury?
Birth injury claims can involve the doctor, the hospital, nurses, anesthesiologists, and even pharmaceutical companies. If a nurse or anesthesiologist aided the doctor during the delivery, and the baby resulted in a birth injury, they can be held liable.
A hospital can be held liable for an injury due to their negligence, or the “vicarious liability” from their employees’ actions. If a birth injury transpired due to a prescription drug, a suit can be filed against the drug manufacturer. If a pharmaceutical company fails to warn a physician of a drug’s dangers, they could be held liable under “product liability” of “failure to warn.”
Types of Birth Injuries
Cerebral palsy is the leading birth injury in the United States, but far from the only one. Here are the most common birth injuries:
- Erb’s Palsy (brachial plexus or shoulder dystocia)
- Infant brain damage
- Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of a Newborn (PPHN)
- Bone fractures
- Perinatal Asphyxia
- Facial paralysis
- Spinal cord injury
- Fetal lacerations
- Wrongful death
Birth injury cases are considered personal injury cases, and are usually quite complex. A personal injury attorney who specializes in birth injuries are more likely to understand the legalities than someone who takes all personal injury cases. Be sure to interview each birth injury attorney to ensure their capability, competence, and that they’re a good fit.
Steps of a Birth Injury Case
Your lawyer will first determine if you have a valid case. They’ll go over case information (be sure to bring all medical documents). Then, the lawyer will go through a process of pre-litigation. They will collect additional evidence, documents, and witness accounts. They might hire experts. Your attorney might then propose a settlement amount, but the defense doesn’t have to agree to settle.
If a settlement isn’t reached, your attorney files a formal complaint in civil court. Then the discovery stage begins, and the defense can see what evidence is posed against them. Most defendants will then negotiate a settlement, based on the discovery finding. If a settlement still isn’t negotiated, the case will go to trial.
Place your trust in an attorney who not only will fight for you and do the job right, but also cares about what happens to you and your family.