Birth Injury Attorneys in Washington, D.C.
The birth of a child is a joyous occasion for expecting parents and family members. Parents expect that the medical staff who are there for the child’s birth will be prepared and attentive, and they will meet the expected standard of care. Unfortunately, complications and errors can occur during the birthing process, and the child may suffer severe injuries as a result.
These birth injuries are a severe form of medical malpractice. They may require months, years or even a lifetime of specialized care. Parents, in turn, are left with unexpected medical expenses and countless questions about how such a thing could happen.
If your child suffered harm due to the negligence of a doctor, nurse or other medical professional, contact the experienced Washington, D.C., birth injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D. & Associates right away. You deserve answers and justice. We have the medical and legal knowledge to identify precisely what happened during your medical malpractice case and who should be held accountable. Contact us for a free consultation with a compassionate member of our team today.
- 1 What Is a Birth Injury?
- 2 What are Common Causes of Birth Injuries?
- 3 What are the Types of Birth Injuries?
- 4 What Are The Consequences of Birth Injuries?
- 5 How Long Do I Have to File a Birth Injury Lawsuit in Washington D.C?
- 6 What To Do If Your Child Suffered a Birth Injury
- 7 Get Help from an Experienced Washington, D.C., Birth Injury Lawyer, Today!
What Is a Birth Injury?
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) defines a birth injury as “structural damage or functional deterioration of a newborn secondary to a traumatic event that occurred during labor, delivery or both.” The phrase, “birth trauma,” describes injuries that a child suffers during delivery.
A baby’s size or the baby’s position can be important factors that complicate labor and delivery. Conditions most frequently associated with difficult childbirths include large babies, premature babies, breech delivery, dystocia or cephalopelvic disproportion. Many newborns suffer minor injuries during birth, and their injuries heal without treatment. More severe injuries can involve nerves being damaged or bones being broken.
A birth injury lawsuit will usually require expert testimony from a physician or other professional with knowledge of the area in question. Birth injuries typically involve harm to the child. Still, it is essential to understand that mothers can also suffer injuries during delivery.
What are Common Causes of Birth Injuries?
Birth injuries are not the same as congenital disabilities. A birth injury usually refers to any injury a newborn child suffers before, during or immediately after birth. A congenital disability, in contrast, is a condition that occurs before or during delivery because of an inherited medical condition.
Often, the traumatic event causing a birth injury involves some form of negligence by medical staff. Examples of medical malpractice causing birth injuries include:
- Failure to recognize and prepare for high-risk deliveries
- Failure to accurately monitor and record the baby’s heart rate
- Allowing infant oxygen deprivation
- Failure to recognize and respond to fetal distress
- Failure to diagnose and treat problems before delivery
- Delays in or failure to request help
- Medication errors
- Failure to identify umbilical cord issues
- Failure to follow protocols and procedures
- Monitoring issues
- Delays in addressing complications during delivery
- Failure to order a timely cesarean section (C-section)
- Failure to properly treat excessive bilirubin
- Incorrect use of delivery instruments (forceps, vacuum extractors)
Many parents have no real idea of the cause of their child’s injury. However, an experienced attorney like Dr. Michael M. Wilson can conduct an exhaustive independent investigation to determine the cause and identify all liable parties. Dr. Wilson has first-hand knowledge of medical issues and procedures and extensive legal experience focused on medical malpractice law.
What are the Types of Birth Injuries?
Birth injuries can involve any part of a child’s body, and the severity can range from somewhat minor to much more severe. The most devastating birth injuries typically result in an entire lifetime of treatment. Children and their families can suffer tremendously.
Common birth injuries include:
- Group B Streptococcus
- Brachial plexus injury
- Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)
- Erb’s palsy
- Klumpke’s palsy
- Cerebral palsy
- Shoulder dystocia
- Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN)
- Bell’s palsy
- Detached placenta
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Acquired brain injury (ABI)
- Spinal cord injuries (SCI)
- Uterine rupture
- Infant cephalohematoma
- Perinatal asphyxia
- Caput succedaneum
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that a rate of 587 deaths per 100,000 live births occurred in the U.S. in 2016. The CDC states that 8.2 percent of the births in 2016 involved low birth weight (less than 5.5 pounds), while 9.8 percent were preterm (less than 37 weeks’ gestation).
Mothers may also suffer birth injuries. Vaginal tears are one of the most common kinds of birth injuries mother sustain. These tears typically are classified into four degrees:
- First-degree – Skin-deep tears possibly requiring stitches
- Second-degree – Tears to muscles of vagina and skin around the anus
- Third-degree – Damage to muscles controlling the anus
- Fourth-degree – Damage to lining or muscles of the anus.
Other injuries associated with childbirth that mother may suffer include:
- Ruptured or prolapsed uterus
- Post-natal post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Post-natal depression (PND)
- Post-partum hemorrhage (PPH).
What Are The Consequences of Birth Injuries?
When a child is born with a birth injury, the parents often need to make several immediate adjustments. Homes must be reconfigured to create an ideal living situation for the child’s unique medical needs. Some children may require special equipment or care accessories. When a child is restricted to a wheelchair because of his or her birth injury, it will create some limitations and difficulties as well.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law previously known as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EHA). It makes a free appropriate public education available to eligible children with disabilities and ensures special education and related services to those children. Infants and toddlers, birth through age 2, with disabilities and their families can also receive early intervention services under IDEA Part C.
Many birth injuries can merely make it difficult for children to develop social skills and interact with other children. Some injuries can prevent children from partaking in activities that friends or other children at their age participate in. Other long-term challenges associated with birth injuries can include:
- Developmental delays
- Lower IQ and language skills
- Behavioral problems.
Some children may suffer from poor coordination or balance, have difficulty with hearing or experience poor vision.
How Long Do I Have to File a Birth Injury Lawsuit in Washington D.C?
The statute of limitations on a birth injury claim in the District of Columbia is three years from the date the injury occurred or the date the injury was discovered. If an infant should die from a birth injury, a family has only two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Certain exceptions exist to the statute of limitations. A statute of limitations can also be extended if a defendant attempted to fraudulently conceal his or her malpractice or left the state after committing the malpractice. Since birth injuries involve children, it is important to note that minors have three years to file lawsuits from the dates that they turn age 18 years.
A parent should speak to an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to determine an effective strategy for the handling of a birth injury claim. You will want to be sure you contact a Washington D.C. birth injury lawyer before you speak to any insurance company about your child’s birth injury. Insurers for negligent parties in these cases will act quickly to try and minimize the potential harm to their bottom lines.
In many cases, insurance companies will offer victims low settlements. Insurers know that many families are in desperate situations. They often try to encourage people to accept these offers by telling them that they will get to keep more money for themselves and not share it with an attorney.
However, in reality, most initial settlement offers from insurance companies fall woefully short of what victims are entitled to receive. You will want to make sure you have an attorney to give yourself the best chance of recovering all of the compensation you need and deserve after your child suffers a birth injury.
What To Do If Your Child Suffered a Birth Injury
At the Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D. & Associates, our medical malpractice attorneys will help you to develop a life care plan that outlines every conceivable expense your child has incurred or will incur because of his or her injury. The life care plan can describe the expected economic and non-economic damages that you should seek in your case.
Insurance companies will be initially reluctant to pay your demands. Still, they will ultimately become more willing to settle when it becomes evident that you are willing to take your case to court. It is far less expensive to settle a case than take one to trial.
Proving a birth injury will require proof by a preponderance of the evidence that:
- A medical professional had a duty of care to your child
- The professional breached that duty of care
- That breach of duty caused the victim’s injuries
- Those injuries resulted in real damages.
Dr. Wilson and our legal team will know how to investigate your injury claim and review the elements of a birth injury case to gather compelling evidence to prove these aspects of your case.
Get Help from an Experienced Washington, D.C., Birth Injury Lawyer, Today!
Did your child suffer a birth injury in the greater Washington D.C., area? You will want to quickly contact The Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D. & Associates. Dr. Wilson is both a lawyer and a physician who has legal and medical degrees from Georgetown University. Over the course of his career, he was recovered more than $100 million on behalf of his clients. Contact us today to discuss your case in a free and confidential consultation.