Ritchie Reiersen Personal Injury Attorneys
Visiting with a medical malpractice attorney should never be one of the expected events when a baby is born. Welcoming a new baby ought to be an exciting and celebratory event in a family’s life. Unfortunately, there are times that negligent doctors and medical staff can cause serious injuries to a baby during the labor and delivery process.
Birth injury is defined as an impairment of the baby’s body function or structure due to an event that occurred at birth. It is important to note that birth injuries are different from birth defects and malformations, and are easily distinguished by focused clinical assessment. There are a range of injuries that can happen from birth trauma; some will resolve quickly, while others will present life-long complications.
If you believe your baby was injured due to negligent actions of the medical staff attending the birth, contact a personal injury attorney right away. Successfully filing a medical negligence and malpractice claim against a doctor and hospital staff is best done with the assistance of a personal injury attorney.
Ritchie Reiersen Personal Injury and Malpractice Attorneys have the experience you need. With an intricate knowledge of the laws, and the experience necessary to stand up for your rights, the medical malpractice attorneys at Ritchie Reiersen Law can help you with your birth injury claim.
We offer free consultations and will give honest feedback on your case. Call us today at (888) 884-7337.
Medical Malpractice Attorneys Can Help You Determine the Strength Of Your Case
Medical malpractice claims are not easy and are often very costly. In order to win a medical malpractice birth injury lawsuit, you must be able to clearly establish the medical provider’s negligence was the direct cause of the injury. Physicians, nurses unions, and hospitals all have a team of lawyers hired to protect them. The best chance you have at successfully arguing your case is with an experienced attorney by your side.
During a free consultation, the personal injury attorneys at Ritchie Reiersen Law will listen to your experience, answer your questions, and give you honest feedback on the strength of your case. With that knowledge, you will be empowered to make the best choice possible for your future.
Ritchie Reiersen Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help With Your Birth Injury Malpractice Claim
Our team of personal injury attorneys can assess the damages and facts surrounding the injury and will outline a plan for the malpractice case. Being the parent of a child who was injured due to the negligence of medical staff is heartbreaking. With compassion and respect, we can help support you through the challenges you will face with a malpractice case. Ritchie Reiersen Personal Injury and Malpractice Lawyers have offices in Kennewick, Yakima, Auburn, Tacoma, and Portland. Call us today at (888) 884-7337 to get the help you need.
Kennewick, WA 99336
Auburn, WA 98001
Yakima, WA 98902
Lakewood, WA 98499
Frequently Asked Questions
What causes medical malpractice birth injuries?
Most birth injury claims center around injuries that happened when a doctor or other healthcare provider failed to adequately assess or respond to conditions and complications that happen during pregnancy and delivery. Babies can sustain injuries during birth that do not constitute malpractice on behalf of the doctor, but if the doctor’s negligence caused or failed to prevent the injury, a malpractice claims is possible.
What is the difference between a birth injury and a birth defect?
A birth defect is a significant abnormality in appearance, structure, or function of a baby’s body that is present at birth, but is not caused by the birth process. Birth defects are typically caused by genetic or environmental factors.
A birth injury is defined as an impairment of the baby’s body function or structure due to an event that occurred at birth. Some birth injuries are common – such as a broken collarbone – and happen as part of the natural birth process.
From the medical malpractice point of view, a birth injury is the outcome of medical negligence, carelessness, or intent to harm. If a reasonable and prudent doctor or nurse would have done something differently in the exact same situation, then your child’s birth injury may constitute medical malpractice.
What is “standard of care” and how does it apply to birth injury cases?
“Standard of care” is defined as how a reasonably competent medical professional would treat a certain type of patient or condition under similar circumstances. Deviation from the standard of care can be considered negligence.
When a medical provider or healthcare facility deviates from the standard of care during pregnancy, delivery, or the neonatal period, the infant can receive lasting harm. Negligent actions that may result in birth injuries can include:
- Ignoring signs of fetal distress.
- Failing to take proper precautions with a high-risk pregnancy.
- Misdiagnosing and/or mismanaging issues involving the umbilical cord, placenta, uterus, or baby’s presentation.
- Misuse of drugs to induce or speed up labor.
- Misuse of forceps or vacuum extractors during birth.
- Inadequately treating babies in the NICU.
What are the most common birth injuries?
The most common birth injuries fall into one of three categories:
- Orthopaedic or external damage: Includes broken bones, bruises, lacerations, and other physical injuries caused by external trauma. The most common orthopaedic birth injury is a broken clavicle (collarbone), which occurs when a baby’s shoulders get stuck in the birth canal.
- Nerve injuries: Nerve channels can be damaged as they are overstretched or compressed while moving through the birth canal. The brachial plexus nerves, a group of nerves in the neck and shoulder, are frequently injured during delivery. Damage to these nerves can cause Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy.
- Brain injuries: Damage to the brain can occur any time the oxygen supply to the baby’s brain is disrupted or restricted. The most common injury due to brain damage is cerebral palsy – a disability affecting the child’s ability to control their body movement and coordination.
How much will an attorney cost for a birth injury case?
Birth injury cases are handled by a personal injury attorney who specializes in types of medical malpractice. Most of these attorneys work on what is called a contingency fee plan. This means that their fees are contingent upon winning the case on your behalf – you don’t pay them unless you win. There are no up-front fees to hire the attorney to work on your case, and they will usually offer you a free consultation in which you can share your experience and they can offer you solid legal feedback.
If you feel your infant was injured due to the negligence of the health care providers attending the labor and delivery, you may have the grounds for a birth injury lawsuit. The attorneys at Ritchie Reiersen Law have specialized training and experience in handling medical malpractice claims, and can help you determine what your legal rights are.
If my baby was injured during the birth, do I automatically have a successful claim against the physician and medical facility?
While no one wants to see an infant injured, not all injuries are due to negligence on the part of the physician or other healthcare providers – so not all claims have a chance at being successful.
The key question will come down to whether the physician and medical facility failed to provide a reasonable level of care during the pregnancy, labor, and delivery process.
Who is to blame for birth injuries when it comes to a legal action?
Determining the fault for birth injuries is not a simple matter. In fact, this is often one of the hardest types of malpractice to prove. Many professionals could be involved in a birth injury lawsuit – including nurses, anesthesiologists, obstetricians, and even the facility itself. Because of the complexity of the birth injury lawsuit, it is best to find an experienced lawyer familiar with birth injuries who can help answer your questions and determine where the legal fault lies.
How can I tell if my baby has a birth defect or a birth injury?
Generally speaking, medical providers are legally obligated to disclose to the parents any birth defects, abnormalities, or disabilities that are identified during the course of the pregnancy. This means that most birth defects aren’t a surprise when the baby is born.
If your baby was born with a completely unexpected injury or disability, that might be a good indicator that a birth injury occurred. The difference between birth injuries and birth defects can be easily distinguished during a clinical assessment. The first step to take is to see a pediatrician and have them perform a thorough clinical assessment. If they find that a birth injury is likely to have occurred, the next step would be to discuss the situation with an attorney who has experience with birth trauma cases.
When does a birth injury constitute medical malpractice?
If reasonable care for the mother or baby would have prevented the birth injury, the incident could be considered medical malpractice. There are four main elements to prove in order to bring a successful medical malpractice suit:
- There is a relationship between the doctor and patient, and duty of care was present.
- The doctor breached his or her duty of care to the patient through an act of negligence or carelessness.
- The breached duty of care directly or indirectly caused the birth injury.
- The child suffered real, specific damages as a result of the physician’s actions.
If these specific elements are present, you probably have grounds for a medical malpractice claim on behalf of your infant for the birth injuries they received. For additional information specific to your case, or if you have questions, contact a local birth trauma attorney for a free consultation.
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Figuring out the best course of action after a birth injury can be intimidating. Without taking the correct steps to protect your rights, you could miss out on a significant sum of money. Our attorneys will go the extra mile to secure the maximum compensation you deserve. To discuss the specifics of your case during a free consultation, get in touch with our office.