After a birth injury, new parents feel distressed and helpless at the possibility of the lifelong effects the injury may have on their child and are unsure of what steps to take next.
What are your legal rights in such cases? Can you pursue a case against those responsible? And will a Philadelphia malpractice lawyer be necessary to file a claim?
When Do Birth Injuries Happen ?
A birth injury due to medical negligence can happen at any stage, from early pregnancy to labor and delivery. You expect a certain duty of care from medical professionals, and when they fail in this, it may be classed as medical malpractice. Common negligent actions can include:
• Failure to spot possible health risks to the baby or mother during pregnancy
• Giving the wrong medication or the wrong dosage
• Misdiagnosis and failure to treat dangerous conditions
• Asphyxia causing the baby to be deprived of oxygen
• Improper use of forceps or other instruments causing injury
• Failure to identify any issues or to correctly diagnose a birth injury after delivery exacerbating the problem.
What are Some Common Types of Birth Injuries ?
Birth injuries can range from mild conditions that may need little treatment to severe issues that can have profound and lifelong effects on the baby. Long-term conditions may require high levels of medical treatment and care for the rest of your child’s life. Among some of the most common birth injuries in the U.S. are:
- Erb’s Palsy
- Bruising or swelling
- Brain damage (which can lead to developmental issues in childhood)
- Cerebral Palsy
- Bleeding in the skull or on the brain
- Ruptured blood vessels in the eyes
- Spinal cord injuries
What Action Can I Take Following a Birth Injury ?
The first action you should take when your child has suffered a birth injury is to contact an experienced Philadelphia malpractice attorney.
Medical malpractice and birth injury cases can be challenging to prove in court. You must show that the medical professional responsible failed in their duty of care and that one of their peers would have acted in a way that would not have led to a similar outcome.
In most cases, you will need detailed testimony from a medical expert to prove your case. Your attorney also thoroughly examines all your medical records to ensure there are no discrepancies.
How Much Can You Win ?
The value of your claim will depend on the severity of the injury. A Philadelphia birth injury attorney at our law firm will fight to ensure that all medical expenses are covered, as well as any other out of pocket expenses you face. This may include the costs of future personal care and any specialized adaptations needed in your home or vehicle.
There is no cap on either economic or non-economic damages in Pennsylvania, but there is a cap on punitive damages. That cap is twice the amount of the rest of the damages awarded. However, punitive damages are rarely awarded unless malice on the part of the wrongdoer can be proven.
In Pennsylvania, there is a two-year statute of limitations on medical malpractice cases, which means you must file a claim before two years elapses from the date of the injury.
Hiring a Birth Injury Lawyer
If you have been through the upsetting experience of a birth injury, you need the best representation you can find. An attorney from The Law Offices of Joel J. Kofsky operates on a no-win, no fee basis. Call us today at (215) 735-4800 to schedule your free consultation.