Childbirth is usually marked by happiness, elation and joy. However, with the increasing cases of birth injuries, this is not always so. With the increase in the number of birth injuries, the demand for lawyers competent in this branch of personal injuries increases. Statistics offer grim reading for North Eastern United states where the chances of suffering birth injuries shoots up by anywhere between 24 and 32 percent.
Although birth injuries may occur naturally during pregnancy and delivery, a significant number occurs due to professional negligence by medical professionals such as nurses, mid-wives or doctors. Whilst some birth injuries are minor and will heal shortly, some will require extended care and expensive medical treatment over the baby’s lifetime. These injuries caused by negligence are a focus of lawsuits. The lawsuits aim at holding the culpable professionals accountable for their conduct whilst securing compensation to aid the families during a trying and challenging time.
Common Birth Injuries
• Subconjunctival hemorrhage
• Fetal lacerations
• Brachial palsy
• Infant fatality
• Caput succedaneum
• Bruising or forceps marks
• Facial paralysis
The Litigation Process
Upon suspicion that an injury is occasioned by medical malpractice, the parents will approach a medical malpractice lawyer. The choice of the lawyer should consider their experience in dealing with birth injuries. The lawyer will then review the pregnancy and birth records to access the legal opinions available. A competent lawyer will consult medical professionals such as midwives, gynecologists and pediatricians to obtain expert opinion. The cases of birth injury in Philadelphia, though alarmingly high, are well covered by competent malpractice attorneys.
If the lawyer determines that a malpractice has occurred, pre-litigation will commence. This largely involves the gathering of evidence and securing of expert testimony for the impending litigation. At this stage, the lawyer will obtain an estimate of the medical costs. This will cover the historical costs already incurred and estimates of any future costs. Given this estimate, some insurance companies may opt to settle the matter to avoid a court cases.
If there is no settlement, the lawyer will file a civil case against the medical professional and his insurance company. The defendants are then afforded time to consider their response to the suit before the discovery phase kicks in. It is during discovery that most parties opt to settle the claims. This is because the disclosure of evidence helps clear the minds of both parties. If the parties fail to agree on a settlement, the matter moves to a determination by the court upon hearing.
Although birth injuries can be challenging and have long lasting effects, the law offers hope. The courts remain open to enforce the duty of care held by medical practitioners in favor of the claimants. In Philadelphia, competent lawyers will assist aggrieved parents navigate through this difficult time with utmost professionalism to ensure the most positive resolution is obtained to benefit the baby and its parents. By helping people suffering from birth injuries in the Philly area, these lawyers believe that such cases will reduce and doctors become more keen.