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No parent should ever have to go through the pain of a mishandled delivery, but unfortunately, medical negligence is more common than people realize. Medical errors can be devastating for any patient, but fragile newborns and their mothers are especially susceptible to serious injury during the birth process.
If your child has sustained injuries during birth at Nashville hospital or medical facility, an attorney may be able to file a lawsuit seeking compensation on your behalf. Through both litigation and settlement negotiations, our Nashville birth injury lawyers have a successful history of recovering compensation on behalf of infants and mothers who were injured at birth.
Our Nashville attorneys at Morgan & Morgan have a complete understanding of obstetrics, as well as expert medical witnesses that can help us with a thorough, accurate investigation that proves that you are owed compensation for the injuries caused during birth.
Have you or your child been severely injured during childbirth? If so, you may be able to pursue legal action to collect compensation for your losses. To learn what our Nashville birth injury lawyers may be able to do for you, please complete our free case evaluation form today.
Both the mother and/or the child are at risk of injury during childbirth, and the hospital staff owes an equal duty of care to each. Childbirth includes the period of time before delivery, the delivery itself, and post-birth care.
In some cases, the injury to the mother or child may be a pre-existing condition the staff negligently failed to diagnose. The injury may also be sustained during or after the delivery. In some cases, symptoms of the injury may not manifest until several days, weeks, or months after the delivery.
Injuries to the Child
Some injuries the child may suffer include:
- Cerebral palsy;
- Brain damage;
- Caput succedaneum;
- Brachial plexus palsy, including Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy;
- Shoulder dystocia;
- Spinal cord damage;
- Wrongful death.
Mothers may suffer injuries including:
- Vaginal tears;
- Ruptured uterus;
- Preeclampsia (pregnancy-induced hypertension);
- Placenta accreta (placenta adherence to uterine wall);
- Placenta previa (placenta preventing normal vaginal delivery);
- Spinal cord damage;
- Clavicle fractures;
- Sepsis; and
- Wrongful death.
Cerebral palsy is a debilitating medical condition that adversely affects muscle movement, muscle tone, and general motor function, and is caused by damage to a child’s brain before or during birth. This birth injury can occur naturally or result from a healthcare professional’s negligence.
If a child develops cerebral palsy as the result of a healthcare provider’s negligence, the parents may be able to file a claim for any resulting damages, including present and future medical costs, loss of wages and future earning capacity, loss of enjoyment of life, and pain and suffering. While a birth injury lawsuit cannot cure a child with cerebral palsy, a substantial settlement can provide a family with the financial support necessary for the lifelong care of their child.
Cerebral palsy can develop naturally or due to the negligence of a physician, which may include:
- Depriving the infant of oxygen by leaving them in the birth canal too long;
- Exerting too much force during vacuum extraction or when using forceps;
- Failing to anticipate, recognize, or treat seizures following delivery;
- Not planning a C-section when factors are present that warrant the procedure (e.g., high birth weight, breech fetal position);
- Failing to detect an umbilical cord wrapped around a child’s neck;
- Failing to perform a timely C-section when the fetus is in distress;
- Failing to properly monitor changes in fetal heart rate; and
- Improperly monitoring the mother’s condition during delivery.
How Can a Nashville Birth Injury Attorney Help?
Birth injury cases are often complicated and should be handled by a knowledgeable birth injury attorney. These cases require several investigations, including an extensive, in-depth look into the factors leading to the injury, the history of parties involved in the childbirth, and medical complications that may have arisen before, or after delivery.
Should you decide to pursue legal action, your attorney will carry out an investigation that may include:
- Reviewing the child and/or mother’s medical records;
- Gathering witness statements and accounts of the procedure and surrounding circumstances;
- Reviewing notes concerning the delivery and patient;
- Examining the accused party’s history of providing medical care;
- Exploring the history of other parties who may potentially be liable for damages;
- Consulting experts in the field, including obstetricians and anesthesiologists;
- Combing through the accused party’s description of the procedure with an expert to find any potential omissions, complications, or inaccuracies in the report;
- Reviewing the healthcare facility’s history, looking for previous lawsuits or complaints; or
- Hiring a private investigator.
Using the information he or she collects during the investigation, your attorney will create a claim that seeks compensation for your losses from the defendant(s), which may include the delivering doctor and/or hospital.
In doing so, your attorney may engage in negotiations, file a lawsuit on your behalf, and re-negotiate for a settlement before trial. If negotiations are unsuccessful, your attorney will prepare for court by using the discovery period to review the opposing parties’ records and files that may not have been attainable earlier; deposing and questioning witnesses and the defendant(s); preparing you for questioning from the defense attorneys; consulting additional expert witnesses to gather more in-depth insight into your claim; and searching for any weak points in your claim or the defendant’s defense.
Proving a Nashville Birth Injury Lawsuit
To have a viable claim, the birth injury must have been caused by a healthcare professional’s negligence. There are four elements that the attorney must establish to prove negligence.
Doctor/Patient Relationship: The attorney must show that the healthcare professional that caused the injury had a relationship with the patient. In birth injury cases, any party involved in the childbirth process, including doctors, nurses, and anesthesiologists, has a doctor/patient relationship with both the mother and child. This relationship establishes a duty of care, which is to practice in a manner which protects the patient(s) from harm and to perform as other healthcare professionals would under similar circumstances.
Breech: Once a doctor/patient relationship is established, the physician or other parties are not automatically responsible for injuries sustained during childbirth. The attorney must show that the healthcare professional breached the duty of care owed to the mother and child through some negligent act or omission. It is vital to the success of a claim to prove negligence occurred; however, it is the most difficult thing to prove and will require extensive research on part of the attorney.
Injury: The attorney must also show that the doctor or other party’s negligence was the cause of the injury the mother and/or child suffered.
Damages: Lastly, the attorney must demonstrate that the injury caused the patient or family to incur identifiable damages, either physically, financially, or emotionally.
What If You Have Suffered a Birth Injury?
If you or a loved one sustained a birth injury, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. To learn more about your available legal options, please fill out our free case evaluation form today. Your claim will be reviewed by a Nashville birth injury attorney to help determine whether you have a viable claim.