Birth injury lawsuits are governed by medical malpractice, a system of
liability that holds medical professionals financially liable for preventable
injuries caused by negligence and substandard care. Civil legal actions
are centered on negligence. Therefore, birth injury lawsuits must meet
several legal elements to prove that a medical professional was negligent
in treating a patient, and that their negligence, more likely than not,
led to preventable injuries suffered by a mother or their child.
While there is no requirement that doctors must avoid all injuries related
to child birth, there is a reasonable expectation that they will provide
skillful and medically acceptable care. Preventable injuries must be prevented.
As our birth injury attorneys at Beam & Raymond have seen all too
often, nurses, doctors, and other health care providers can make costly
and unreasonable mistakes that result in serious and sometimes life-altering
injuries. As lawyers, it is our job to help victims injured by these mistakes.
We fight to prove when negligence caused preventable birth injuries.
While establishing fault is a matter unique to each and every case, there
are general ways in which victims can better understand their rights and
how birth injury claims work. For example, establishing fault requires
proof of several important legal elements:
• A duty of care – In order for there to be a viable case against
any health care provider, that provider must owe a duty of care to the
victim. This is generally established when there is a doctor-patient relationship,
where a patient agrees to be treated by a doctor and/or medical staff
and a specific hospital.
• Breach of duty – Establishing a “breach of duty”
is a critical component of a birth injury case. Essentially, this means
that a doctor, or some other health care provider, failed to provide an
acceptable standard of care when treating a patient. Proving this element
requires a meticulous evaluation of what the medical professional or health
care provider did that would be considered a deviation from medically
applicable standards. For example, medical professionals who fail to appropriately
monitor a fetal heart rate monitor, as is the standard in childbirth,
may fail to detect signs of fetal distress. This substandard care is a
breach of duty because any reasonably skillful medical professional would
appropriately monitor heart rate during birth and take steps when needed
(e.g., to deliver earlier by cesarean section if necessary) to avoid harm.
Our legal team works with many medical experts who can provide testimony
in a court of law about what doctors should and should not do, and how
a doctor in a particular situation failed to meet the standard of care.
• Causation – A medical provider can be held at fault for causing
a birth injury when it can be shown that there is a causal connection
between their substandard care and a victim’s injuries. In civil
birth injury cases, this connection must be proven by “a preponderance
of the evidence,” which means that evidence (provided by medical
records, witness testimony, expert witnesses, and other forms of evidence)
indicates a medical professional’s substandard care more likely
than not caused the victim’s injuries. Proving this element means
proving they were at fault for a birth injury. It requires a great deal
of work and assistance from medical experts who can testify how negligent
acts are directly linked to an injury.
In addition to establishing fault, our legal team works diligently to illustrate
the full scope of damages our clients endured as a result of preventable
birth injuries. Birth injuries can have profound and life-altering consequences.
It is important to take into account all damages victims have suffered
and are likely to suffer throughout their lifetimes. These damages usually
include economic losses related to medical bills and the costs of future
medical needs, attendant care, and therapy. Also, non-economic damages
may include pain and suffering, emotional anguish, loss of quality of
life, and loss of companionship or support.
Over the years, our legal team has leveraged extensive experience and resources
to secure more than $500 million in compensation for birth injury victims.
In the cases we have handled, we have successfully proven that many different
medical professionals, hospitals, and health care providers were at fault
for preventable injuries, and liable for victims’ damages.
To discuss a potential birth injury case with a member of our team, contact
us for a FREE consultation.