When something goes wrong, and a baby is injured during birth, the problems can last a lifetime. Medical and other expenses can be overwhelming.
If a medical mistake or lack of proper care contributed to the birth injury, you and your child may be entitled to compensation to provide for your child’s medical needs, and fairly compensate your child for all of their losses.
Pennsylvania law allows you to sue those who are legally responsible for the birth injury. The damages recoverable include expenses for medical care, therapy, and special equipment, that your child has already received and will need in the future. Your child may also be awarded the loss of expected future income and compensation for their physical and emotional pain and suffering.
Who is Legally Responsible for a Birth Injury?
Many medical professionals were involved in taking care of you and your child before, during, and after your baby’s birth. These include the doctors you saw while you were pregnant, all the medical professionals who were present during the birth, and any doctors who took care of you and your baby after the birth. If any of these harmed your baby by not doing their jobs properly, they may be held responsible for the birth injury.
In addition, if your baby was harmed by prescription medications, by medical equipment that was defective, or by improper procedures in the hospital where you gave birth, the companies involved may be held responsible. Hospitals may also be responsible if your child was harmed by the negligence of any of their personnel.
Every person’s situation is different. To find out who may be legally responsible for your child’s injury, talk to an experienced Pennsylvania birth injury lawyer.
Birth Injuries Caused by Medical Malpractice Committed by Doctors and Other Medical Professionals
In Pennsylvania, medical professionals have a legal obligation to do their work in a way that meets the legal standards set for their professions. If they are negligent and fall below those standards, and the negligence causes or contributes to a birth injury, then they have committed malpractice.
Medical professionals may be negligent for failing to do something they should have done before, during, or after the birth, or by doing something incorrectly. The doctors, midwives and nurses actions or inactions must meet “the accepted standard of care”. Medical malpractice attorneys work with medical experts who can testify about how the doctors or other professionals failed to meet their legal obligations to provide the proper level of care.
Medical professionals who may be held legally responsible for birth injuries in Pennsylvania include:
- Other doctors
Hospitals May Be Held Legally Responsible for Birth Injuries
In Pennsylvania, a hospital can be responsible for a birth injury in two situations: when the hospital itself was negligent and when the hospital’s employees or legal agents were negligent.
How Hospitals Can Be Negligent
Hospitals have legal responsibilities to you and your child as well. Among those obligations, hospitals are required to properly train their personnel, to have the hospital sufficiently staffed, and to have needed policies and protocols in place. If the hospital fails to meet those or any of its legal obligations, it may be responsible for corporate negligence. If a hospital’s negligence contributed to the birth injury of your child, you may be able to sue the hospital for compensation.
There are various ways that a hospital can fail to meet its responsibilities. For example, there may be liability if the hospital:
- Did not properly investigate the background of a physician or other medical professional involved in the birth before hiring them or granting them attending privileges.
- Failed to properly supervise the medical personnel.
- Failed to ensure that there were enough nurses on duty.
- Did not have needed policies and procedures in place.
- Did not admit a patient who should have been admitted.
Vicarious Liability of Hospital
In Pennsylvania, a hospital may be held legally responsible for the negligence of its employees and its agents. This is called “vicarious liability.” Under Pennsylvania law, the hospital is legally responsible for physicians and other medical professionals who are its actual employees AND any personnel who the patient reasonably believes are employees of the hospital whether they are in fact employed by the hospital or are independent contractors. Those persons who the patient believes to be the employee are known legally as the hospital’s “agents”; and the hospital is legally responsible for their actions and inactions as well. Being able to sue a hospital in a medical malpractice case is helpful because the hospital will have more funds available to pay damages.
Manufacturers of Defective Medical Equipment May Be Held Responsible for Birth Injuries
If a medical device used before, during, or after the birth didn’t work properly, and the failure of the device contributed to the birth injury, you may be able to sue the products manufacturer for compensation. This is called a “product liability lawsuit,”. In this type of lawsuit, you may be able to sue the manufacturer of the defective equipment and, in some cases, the doctor and hospital as well.
You may be able to file a product liability case if the product’s design was defective, if it was made incorrectly, or if there were inadequate warnings about potential dangers.
Pharmaceutical Companies May Be Held Responsible for Birth Injuries
In Pennsylvania, if a prescription medication contributed to your child’s birth injury, you may be able to sue the pharmaceutical company that made the drug if the company did not properly inform your doctor of the potential dangers and side effects of the medication.
For More Help, Talk to a Pennsylvania Birth Injury Attorney
The Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer law firm has been fighting for justice for injured children and their parents for more than 50 years. The firm’s lawyers are recognized as some of the best attorneys in the state and the nation. Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer attorneys are listed in Best Lawyers in America, Pennsylvania Super Lawyers including in the list of top 10 lawyers in the state, top 50 women lawyers in the state, and Philadelphia Lawyer of the Year for personal injury litigation.
Our birth injury lawyers have extensive experience with the complexities of medical malpractice law and particularly birth injury cases. They have the legal and medical knowledge, experience, and skill needed to conduct in-depth investigations to find the evidence to hold medical professionals, hospitals, and companies responsible for your child’s physical, emotional, and financial harm.
If your child suffers from a birth injury, we want to help you and your child get the compensation and justice you deserve. We would be glad to talk to you and provide a no-cost evaluation of your case. Call us at 1-800-535-1797 for a free consultation.
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