If your child was harmed as a result of negligence from a healthcare provider, you can file a birth injury claim as a form of recovery. Medical professionals owe your child a duty of care and when they breach that expectation to perform their duties and cause undue harm, they should be held liable.
A birth injury attorney in Washington can help your family collect the compensation you’re entitled to from the hospital and responsible healthcare providers by filing a medical malpractice claim. The first step to get what your family is owed is a free consultation to validate your case.
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Common Birth Injuries
When babies are born they are in a vulnerable state and if there are errors made during the birthing process, complications can arise. It is the responsibility of healthcare providers to ensure that newborns and their mother are properly cared for at all times.
When they act negligently, the child can suffer any of the following types of birth injuries:
- Cerebral palsy is caused by brain or nervous system damage from physical injuries, lack of oxygen, or other birth complications. This condition is a permanent physical disability, and affects development and movement.
- Erb’s palsy affects the function of your infant’s arms because of an injury to the
- Brachial plexus injuries are caused when an infant’s shoulders get behind the mother’s pelvic bone and the doctor harms the newborn’s spinal cord and nerves, severely impairing function in one or both arms.
- Bone breaks and fractures can be caused by improper use of tools or an aggressive touch by a medical professional and lead to future bone growth problems in the infant.
- Asphyxia is a condition where a body is deprived of oxygen. If a healthcare provider delays a delivery, the child may be unable to breathe for an extended period of time and they can be left with severe brain damage.
- Spinal cord damage can occur in an infant if, during delivery, complications are not addressed or medics make careless decisions and injure the child’s nervous system.
- Infant meningitis is a potentially life-threatening condition characterized by inflammation of the protective membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
- Neonatal stroke is a relatively rare but critical medical condition characterized by the interruption of blood flow to a newborn baby’s brain. This disruption can result from blood clots, bleeding in the brain, or other vascular abnormalities.
- Infant brain ischemia involves reduced blood flow to the brain of a newborn. This restriction of blood supply can be caused by various factors such as blood clots, narrowing of blood vessels, or cardiovascular complications.
- Retinopathy of prematurity is a critical eye disorder that primarily affects premature infants with underdeveloped retinas. As these fragile blood vessels in the retina continue to develop after birth, they can become abnormal, leading to bleeding, scarring, and potentially retinal detachment.
What makes birth injuries truly devastating is that because they are suffered at such an early age, the health problems and disabilities that come as a result, can be permanent. Parents who are caring for their children and seeing first hand the impact a birth injury had on your family can hold at-fault medical workers responsible and get compensation for their child’s needs.
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How You Can File a Birth Injury Claim in Washington
To pursue a birth injury claim in Washington, you must fulfill certain criteria, and you should launch an in-depth investigation into the cause of your child’s trauma. Doing this on your own can be very difficult, which is why you should contact a birth injury lawyer to serve as an advocate for your family and injured child.
To begin, all medical records will need to be collected in order to identify the negligence that occurred during prenatal care, the delivery process, or after birth treatment. During your birth injury lawyer’s investigation, they will need to establish the following elements set forth by RCW 7.70.030:
- A medical professional had a duty of care to you and your newborn
- That professional acted negligently
- This careless act caused your child’s birth injury
- As a direct result of your child’s birth injury, your family suffered financial or personal losses
If your Washington birth injury attorney can prove all four elements, they can advocate for full compensation for your child’s birth injury, as well as the associated costs of their care.
What Compensation Can Be Recovered in a Birth Injury Claim?
While some birth injuries can heal with proper treatment, the consequences on a family can be severe. For permanent disabilities and development issues your child may be facing, extensive care, therapy, and medications can be costly.
Washington birth injury lawyers can help your family calculate your economic and non-economic losses associated with your child’s injury:
- All medical expenses, including past and future costs
- Assistive at-home equipment
- Reduced earning capacity for parents who are unable to work due to tending to their child
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Disfigurement and scarring
Your child will be facing years of medical expenses and, if negligence caused your child’s injury, you should pursue a claim against the liable parties so that you get compensation for these costs. You are well within your rights to file a lawsuit against these individuals and the medical facility to secure a stable future for your child.
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Examples of Medical Malpractice that Can Lead to a Birth Injury
A birth injury refers to any harm a newborn child suffers before, during or immediately after birth. Any of the following traumatic events or examples of medical malpractice by medical staff can cause a birth injury:
- Failing to properly monitor a woman’s condition during pregnancy
- Failing to timely diagnose or treat health complications such as bleeding or infections
- Delay in ordering a C-section delivery in emergency medical situations
- Analyzing prenatal tests incorrectly
- Performing a traumatic delivery
- Failure to respond to fetal distress, including irregularities with their heartbeat
- Improper or excessive use of tools, such as a vacuum or forceps during delivery
How Long do You Have to File a Birth Injury Claim in Washington?
Washington state law implements a window of time that you have to file a lawsuit after an injury occurs, also known as a statute of limitations (RCW 4.16.350). Families with a potential birth injury claim should contact a qualified Washington medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.
You have three years from the date of your child’s birth injury, or when you could have reasonably discovered the presence of negligence, to file a claim. Whether your case settles in negotiation, or is taken to trial before a judge, it’s important you get started as soon as possible or else your case will be dismissed.
Get Legal Help for a Birth Injury in Washington
A medical professional’s responsibility is to know when problems may arise and handle them responsibly with care. This can be anytime from prenatal care to the delivery room to treatment and checkups after birth and for both the baby and the mother. When there’s a failure to diagnose, treat, or prevent complications, the effects can be devastating.
If your baby suffered injuries because of medical negligence, you may be eligible to receive financial compensation for your damages. Contact the experienced legal team at Birth Injury Lawyers Group for help filing a claim and starting an investigation into the causes of your child’s injury. Call one of our Washington birth injury lawyers today for a free consultation.