Preparing to have a child is often an exciting experience. New parents are gearing up for diaper changes, late-night feedings, and more. What most new mothers don’t expect, however, is the possibility of themselves or their child being injured during pregnancy, labor, or delivery. If you’ve suffered at the hands of a hospital or doctor, a Cincinnati birth injury lawyer from Bey & Associates, LLC is here for you.
When you file a birth injury claim against a negligent doctor, hospital, or other medical professional for the injury of your child, you’ll be on the path to receiving the compensation you need that ensures they receive the care needed to live a high-quality life, regardless of their injuries or the lasting complications.
You’ll also be sending a message to the medical facility that you won’t stand for wrongful injuries. In the event you’ve tragically lost your child due to a birth injury, our lawyer can help you file a wrongful death claim.
To understand how complex this litigation is and why it’s so important for families to file claims, let’s take a look at birth and birth injury statistics for Cincinnati.
Births and Birth Injury Statistics in Cincinnati
In an effort to improve the health of women and infants, and to lower the number of infant deaths, Hamilton County published the Maternal and Infant Health Monthly Surveillance Report. In regard to infant deaths, the report contains information on the monthly infant mortality rates, monthly neonatal mortality rates, monthly preterm, very preterm, and <23 weeks gestation birth rate, small for gestational age birth rate. In 2019, there were 23 infant deaths in Hamilton County—11 of which occurred in Cincinnati.
According to the National Healthcare Quality Report (AHRQ), six to eight of every 1,000 infants born in the United States sustain a birth injury. This means that approximately one in every 9,714 people in the U.S. are born with a birth injury. Often times, that injury can cause lifelong complications.
Determining whether a birth injury has occurred is challenging. You’ll need sufficient evidence that proves what happened should not have, and that you or your child suffered unnecessarily. To successfully start a claim, it’s important to first identify the type of birth injury you’re dealing with.
Common Causes of Birth Injuries
One of the first things your Cincinnati birth injury lawyer will look into is what caused the injury to happen. There are many different ways that your baby can be injured before, during, and directly after childbirth. Usually, the situation that caused your baby’s injury was the result of negligence, and that directly factors into your claim.
Here are some of the situations that can injure your child:
- Medical issues. Both the mother and the fetus could have medical issues before childbirth that could lead to complications during the pregnancy and delivery. If doctors don’t monitor a mother’s health properly, then some symptoms could go unnoticed and lead to problems with their fetus and injuries to either person during birth. For example, if a mother has high blood pressure during pregnancy, then they could be at risk for preeclampsia, which can restrict the growth and development of the fetus. By ignoring the sign of high blood pressure in the mother, the fetus could be at risk for a birth injury.
- Failure to monitor. During delivery, the mother and fetus’s vital signs need to be monitored to ensure that both are stable. When these vital signs aren’t properly monitored, then doctors might miss the signs that one or both are at risk for injury, and serious conditions could go unnoticed.
- Fatigue. When a medical team is overworked and fatigued, it could lead to medical errors during delivery that end up injuring a mother or her baby. As with any medical procedure, childbirth requires alert doctors and nurses, and when they are not, mistakes can be made that cause permanent damage to the mother or child for the rest of their lives.
- Communication errors. When a mother is delivering her baby, the medical team needs to communicate effectively to each other and to the mother so that everyone is on the same page. Miscommunications could lead to medical errors that harm a mother or her baby.
- Inexperienced staff. When the medical staff delivering a baby is new or inexperienced, this can lead to errors that injure the baby. Not only could their actions harm the baby, but their inaction from not knowing what to do in a scenario could lead to injuries as well.
- Misuse of tools. When delivery is complicated, staff can turn to the use of tools, like forceps or vacuums. These tools, when misused, can cause serious injury and damage to a baby.
- Emergency cesarean section. In some situations, natural delivery becomes impossible at the last minute, and the mother needs to have an emergency cesarean section. If the medical team is not prepared or doesn’t execute the c-section properly or takes too long to decide to perform the procedure, then both the mother and baby could suffer from injuries, or even death.
All of these causes of birth injuries are important to be aware of so that they can be prevented. However, when a pregnant woman’s doctors are negligent during her pregnancy and delivery, then her and her baby could suffer. A birth injury lawyer from Bey & Associates can help hold the doctor responsible for their negligence. Let’s take a look at what kinds of injuries can happen when any of the above instance happen.
Types of Birth Injuries
Expecting mothers need to receive proper medical management and monitoring from the initial sonograms to the time they give birth. They often come into contact with many medical providers, some of them specialists, who have a legal obligation to adhere to the medical standards of childcare. In the event that standard is deviated from in any way, the negligent medical provider is putting the mother and child at risk of injury.
It’s important to understand that birth injuries do not just happen at the time of birth. They can happen in the months, weeks, and days leading up to the baby’s actual delivery. You’ll want to understand the different mistakes that can be made along the way, so you can be prepared if you’re dealing with an injury.
Labor and Delivery Complications
Complications during labor and delivery can affect both the mother and infant. In the event the doctor uses delivery assistors improperly, the baby could suffer from broken bones or there could be issues with the umbilical cord. It’s also important for the medical care team to carefully go over the mother’s medical history so they are aware of any medication allergies. Some of the most common labor and delivery complications include:
- Misuse of forceps or vacuum extractor
- Umbilical cord prolapse or compression
- Prolonged and arrested labor
- Drug reactions
Infant Conditions and Injuries
If the infant isn’t monitored properly while it’s in utero, the doctor could miss complications involving irregular heartbeats or a lack of oxygen. If the proper steps aren’t taken to fix those issues, it’s possible the baby could be stillborn or born with preventable conditions. Often times, the conditions can affect a child’s development physically or mentally—depending on the injury. Some of the most common infant conditions and injuries include:
- Shoulder dystocia
- Cerebral palsy
- Erb’s palsy
- Broken bones
- Brain damage
Maternal Medical Conditions
During pregnancy, the medical professional responsible for taking care of you and your baby should take the necessary steps to monitor your health. Doing so will ensure they identify any potential issues early on, so the necessary precautions can be taken.
If not monitored properly, complications can arise during pregnancy or active labor, or post-birth. Complications during pregnancy have the potential to result in miscarriage. If problems arise during active labor or once the child has been delivered, the mother is most at risk for hemorrhaging and losing a significant amount of blood. Some of the most common maternal medical conditions include the following:
- Placental abruption
- Uterine rupture
- Placenta previa
Proving Negligence in Your Birth Injury Claim
When you decide to hire a Cincinnati birth injury lawyer, they’ll be able to handle your claim and work toward getting you the compensation you deserve for the damages that were caused to you or your baby. One of the main duties that a birth injury lawyer will take on is proving negligence. This is a vital step in your claim because your entire case hinges on negligence.
In order to prove negligence, your attorney will need to establish:
- A doctor-patient relationship was established between you and your doctor, which confirms that they owe you a duty of care.
- Your doctor breached the duty of care.
- That breach led the patient to suffer from injuries.
- Those injuries directly caused the patient to suffer damages.
Once your birth injury attorney establishes that your doctor’s negligence directly caused your injury and subsequent damages, they can start calculating exactly how much you’re owed in compensation. A lawyer from Bey & Associates knows what evidence to collect to determine how much you can recover financially. Let’s take a look at the different elements of compensation in a birth injury claim.
Recovering Compensation for a Birth Injury
Birth injuries often result in extensive medical bills. When you file a personal injury claim, you have the right to seek compensation for those bills and more. Damages are typically separated into two categories: economic and noneconomic.
Economic damages are calculable because they are based on a real amount. Common economic damages include medical bills, lost wages from time taken off work to recover or care for your child, the future cost of care to maintain your child’s health, and future lost wages. Your lawyer will work with medical experts and evaluate your income to determine what a fair amount is for future compensation.
Noneconomic damages are harder to calculate because they are more subjective. Essentially, they are based on factors like pain and suffering, mental anguish, and lost potential. It can be challenging to determine what a fair amount is when it comes to noneconomic damages, which is another reason it’s so important to work with an attorney. Your Cincinnati lawyer will use their experience to determine what is owed.
It’s important to note that there are caps on noneconomic damages in Ohio. State law limits the amount of noneconomic damages that a personal injury victim can recover to $250,000 or three times the amount of economic damages—whichever is greater. In total, noneconomic damages cannot exceed $350,000 for one plaintiff and $500,000 for more than one plaintiff.
Contact Bey & Associates, LLC
If you or your child sustained a birth injury during pregnancy, while in labor, or during the delivery process, and you believe physician or hospital negligence played a role, you have the right to file a personal injury claim with the help of a Cincinnati birth injury lawyer.
You’ll benefit from working with an attorney for a number of reasons. First, we’ll do what we can to manage the bulk of your claim for you, while keeping you informed about its status and your options. This way, you’ll be able to focus on your child and taking the necessary steps to secure their future and health. Additionally, we’ll know what to value your claim and we won’t settle for less than you deserve.
Birth injury claims are complex and the statute of limitations in Ohio strictly limits the amount of time you have to file a claim. As such, the sooner you get in touch with Bey & Associates, LLC, the sooner we can begin investigating the circumstances that resulted in your injury or the injury to your child and build a claim that proves you were wronged. Contact us today for more information.