How Do Courts Determine the Severity of a Birth Injury?

child with cerebral palsy in PA playing with a ball

This blog will help you understand how courts determine the severity of birth injuries and what legal options are available. Birth injuries can have life-long impacts on both the child and their family. If your child has suffered a birth injury, you may be wondering about the severity and how it will affect your child’s future. We’ll also explore the role of a Philadelphia birth injury lawyer in seeking justice and compensation. 

Raynes & Lawn Trial Lawyers has decades of experience guiding clients through birth injury cases. Our talented and dedicated attorneys can give you personalized and strategic attention. Call our offices today at 1-800-535-1797for your free consultation. 

What Are Birth Injuries, and How Do Courts Determine Their Severity?

Birth injuries are any type of harm or trauma sustained by an infant during the childbirth process. These injuries can range from minor issues that resolve on their own to severe, life-altering conditions. When it comes to determining the severity of a birth injury, courts in Philadelphia and across the country will typically consider the following factors: 

  • Type and Extent of Injury: The specific type of injury and its severity will play a significant role. For example, brain injuries, such as hypoxia (lack of oxygen), can have varying degrees of impact on a child’s cognitive and physical abilities.

  • Long-Term Impact: Courts will examine how the injury affects the child’s long-term health, development, and quality of life. This includes physical, emotional, and cognitive impacts that may persist or become apparent over time.

  • Medical Expenses and Care Needs: The cost of medical treatment, therapies, and long-term care needs are also considered. Birth injuries that require ongoing, skilled care will typically be viewed as more severe.

  • Loss of Earnings Potential: If the injury impacts the child’s ability to earn an income as an adult, this will be considered.

  • Pain and Suffering: The physical pain and emotional distress caused by the injury are also considered.

Tip: Keep detailed records of all medical expenses, therapies, and care needs resulting from the birth injury. This documentation will be crucial if you decide to pursue legal action.

Understanding Your Legal Rights After a Birth Injury

If your child has suffered a birth injury, it’s essential to know that you have legal rights and options. In Philadelphia, you may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit or claim to seek compensation and hold the negligent parties accountable. Here are some key things to understand: 

  • Statute of Limitations: Pennsylvania has a two-year statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims. However, a minor child has until their 20th birthday to file a birth injury claim.

  • Standard of Care: To prove medical malpractice, your Philadelphia birth injury lawyer must demonstrate that the healthcare provider(s) involved breached the accepted standard of care and that the breach resulted in your child’s injury.

  • Compensation: You may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, future care costs, pain and suffering, loss of earnings potential, and more.

Tip: Consult with an experienced birth injury lawyer in Philadelphia as soon as possible to understand your legal rights and options. They can guide you through the complex legal process and protect your rights.

How a Philadelphia Birth Injury Lawyer Can Help

Birth injury cases are complex and highly skilled. Working with an experienced Philadelphia birth injury lawyer, such as those at Raynes & Lawn, can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. Here’s how they can assist: 

  • Investigation and Evidence Collection: They will thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding your child’s birth and injury, gathering crucial evidence to support your claim.

  • Medical Professionals: Birth injury lawyers work with a network of medical experts who can provide invaluable insights and testimony to strengthen your case.

  • Case Strategy and Negotiation: Your lawyer will develop a tailored legal strategy and negotiate on your behalf to maximize the compensation you receive.

  • Trial Experience: If a fair settlement cannot be reached, your lawyer will be prepared to take your case to trial and advocate for your rights in court.

Tip: Choose a birth injury law firm with a proven track record of success in handling these complex cases. Their experience and resources can significantly impact the outcome of your claim.

Common Causes of Birth Injuries and Liability

Birth injuries can occur due to a variety of factors, and determining liability can be complex. Here are some common causes of birth injuries and potential liable parties: 

  • Obstetrician or Gynecologist Negligence: Failure to properly monitor the fetus during labor, misuse of birth-assisting tools like forceps or vacuum extractors, or incorrect administration of medications can lead to liability for the treating physician.

  • Nursing Staff Negligence: Nursing staff negligence, such as failing to recognize and respond to signs of fetal distress, can result in liability for the hospital or healthcare facility.

  • Hospital or Facility Negligence: Inadequate training, oversight, or protocols can lead to liability for the institution.

  • Pharmaceutical Companies: If a birth injury is caused by a defective drug or one with undisclosed side effects, the pharmaceutical company may be held liable.

Tip: Determining liability in birth injury cases requires a thorough investigation. Your Philadelphia birth injury lawyer will examine all aspects of your case to identify all potential negligent parties and hold them accountable.

Steps to Take If You Suspect Medical Negligence

If you suspect that your child’s birth injury was caused by medical negligence, it’s essential to take prompt action to protect your legal rights: 

  • Obtain Medical Records: Request and gather all relevant medical records, including prenatal care, labor and delivery notes, and your child’s post-birth treatment.

  • Consult a Birth Injury Lawyer: Schedule a consultation with an experienced Philadelphia birth injury lawyer to discuss your case and understand your legal options.

  • Do Not Delay: Remember, there is a time limit on filing a claim. The sooner you take action, the better your chances of preserving crucial evidence and building a solid case.

Tip: Many birth injury lawyers, including Raynes & Lawn, offer free initial consultations. Take advantage of this to get clarity and guidance on your specific situation.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the most common types of birth injuries? 

Birth injuries can vary widely, but some of the most common types include brain injuries (such as cerebral palsy), spinal cord injuries, fractures, nerve damage, and injuries caused by lack of oxygen (hypoxia). 

  1. How soon after the birth injury should I contact a lawyer? 

Contacting a Philadelphia birth injury lawyer as soon as possible is advisable. They can guide you through the process, ensure evidence is preserved, and help you understand your legal options. 

  1. What compensation can I expect from a birth injury claim? 

Compensation in birth injury cases can include medical expenses (past and future), loss of earnings potential, pain and suffering, and more. Each case is unique, so consult with a lawyer to understand the potential value of your claim. 

  1. Are birth injuries always the result of medical negligence? 

No, not all birth injuries are caused by medical negligence. However, if you suspect negligence may have played a role, it’s essential to consult with a lawyer to investigate the circumstances and determine liability. 

  1. How long will it take to resolve my birth injury case? 

The timeline for resolving a birth injury case can vary depending on its complexity, the severity of the injuries, and whether it goes to trial. These cases take several months to a few years to resolve. 

Work with a Birth Injury Lawyer

Don’t hesitate to contact our talented and knowledgeable birth injury lawyers at Raynes & Lawn Trial Lawyers to protect your rights and your child’s future. Justice may be a long process, but the outcome and results our attorneys achieve can make a tremendous difference for your family. Call us today at 1(800) 535-1797 for more information.