The statistical estimate of birth injuries in the United States is roughly seven out of every 1,000 births. The sad truth is that many of these injuries are avoidable. In fact, medical malpractice is at fault in a high proportion of these birth injuries. When malpractice takes place, you and your family may recover financial compensation.
Like any medical professional, the OB/GYN has a duty of care that applies both in their treatment of the mother and the monitoring of the baby’s health. That starts the moment that the mother goes for her visit to the doctor and continues all the way through delivery. For whatever reason, doctors can make errors or are just plain careless, placing the baby at risk. When the worst happens, your child can suffer serious injury. In such an instance, you need to hire an Atlanta birth injury lawyer to hold the doctor accountable. Contact Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm for help right away.
Common Causes of Atlanta Birth Injuries
In many cases, medical malpractice is to blame for the circumstances that led to your child’s birth injury. The doctor has the legal obligation to provide reasonable medical care throughout the pregnancy, monitoring both the mother and the child and taking action as necessary to preserve their health.
However, doctors do not always do their job correctly, and it can cause birth injuries. Common causes of birth injuries include:
- The doctor fails to perform a cesarean section in enough time to prevent oxygen deprivation to the child.
- The physician uses instruments during the delivery, such as forceps or vacuum delivery, that injure the baby.
- The doctor fails to monitor for signs of fetal distress.
- Oxygen flow cuts off to the brain because the baby is strangled by the umbilical cord.
In each one of the above examples, the doctor could have prevented this injury if that had just used due care.
Examples of Atlanta Birth Injuries
Birth injuries can range from minor to major ones that can impact the child for the rest of their life, assuming that they survive childbirth. Many of these injuries happen when the child has their oxygen cut off for any time. Even a brief loss of oxygen in the brain can cause a fetal stroke or other severe damage.
Birth injuries that can result from the doctor’s negligence in monitoring or delivery include:
- Cerebral palsy – When the oxygen supply is interrupted because of labor and delivery complications, the result could be damage to the developing brain. Consequently, the child cannot control their muscles, severely impacting physical development.
- Brachial plexus (Erb’s palsy) – The nerves in the neck receive damage during a traumatic delivery (where the doctor perhaps should have performed a C-section). The infant could lose motion in the arm. In some cases, they never recover the full range of motion.
- Subdural hematoma/intracranial hemorrhage – A traumatic delivery can cause bleeding in the brain, leading to long-term brain damage if it is not brought under control quickly.
- Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy – This is the same thing as a fetal stroke, and it results from a lack of oxygen during the delivery process. Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy can lead to long-term paralysis and brain damage.
Birth injuries can stay with a family for the rest of the child’s life. The child may recover from some birth injuries with rehabilitation and the passage of time. However, many of the conditions described above will remain with the child for a lifetime. Some can never lead normal lives because of something that the doctor did wrong during their birth, imposing costs not only on the child but on their entire family as well.
Proving Negligence in an Atlanta Birth Injury Case
Once you file a birth injury lawsuit, you will need to prove that the doctor was negligent, just like you would in any medical malpractice case. The key is that you must show that the doctor acted unreasonably in a manner that the normal physician would not. Doing so means that you need an attorney who is well-versed in medical malpractice claims and can reconstruct what happened during prenatal care and delivery for the jury. You need to show that it was more likely than not that the doctor was careless or made a mistake.
Birth Injury Damages in Atlanta
If you can show that the doctor was negligent, you can qualify for a wide range of damages. Receiving financial compensation is essential because caring for a child with a serious birth injury can be extremely expensive. Not only that, but a negligent doctor should pay for the harm that they caused your child.
Damages in a birth injury case can include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages for the parents while caring for the child
- Medical expenses
- The cost of lifelong rehabilitation and care
- Special education for the child
- Possible punitive damages, depending on the degree of the doctor’s negligence
These damages can add up, and awards in birth injury cases can reach the seven figures. For that reason, doctors and their insurance companies can try to make life difficult for you, making it clear why you need an experienced birth injury law with a track record of fighting for a family’s legal rights.
The Atlanta Birth Injury Lawsuit Process
To receive the damages listed above, you need to file a lawsuit against the responsible physician. A medical malpractice case is complicated, but an experienced lawyer could help you prove that the doctor was negligent and it caused the birth injury.
What follows is a general overview of the medical malpractice lawsuit process:
- Your attorney will speak to you at the free consultation. If you hire a lawyer, they will perform a full investigation of your case.
- You will file a complaint with the court and serve the defendant, beginning your lawsuit.
- The lengthiest process of the case is called discovery. You can obtain information from the defendant about what happened during discovery. You can also take depositions.
- During this process, you may engage in settlement discussions with the defendant.
- The court will schedule a trial date, and without a settlement, you will have a full hearing in front of the jury with witnesses and experts.
- The jury will issue a verdict in your case. If you have prevailed, you will have a judgment that you can collect.
Atlanta Birth Injury FAQs
These are some common questions that our Atlanta birth injury lawyers regularly hear from potential or current clients. If you have specific questions or would like a case evaluation, please contact Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm directly.
How do I prove my Atlanta birth injury claim?
Sometimes, a medical malpractice case can present challenges because you are trying to prove what a doctor should have done under the circumstances. If your case goes to a trial, the doctor may testify on their own behalf and explain their actions. You will largely prove your claim through the use of expert witnesses. These are medical professionals who have their own experience, and they will testify about what the doctor should have done under the circumstances. If you want to show the jury what a reasonable doctor would have done, you need the testimony of other physicians.
How long do I have to file a birth injury case in Atlanta?
The law treats birth injury cases like any other medical malpractice case. These are subject to the statute of limitations. In Georgia, you have two years from the time of the injury to file your lawsuit. Usually, this is the time of birth, but an injury can also happen at any time after the birth. If you miss this deadline, you will lose the ability to file a lawsuit unless one of a small handful of limited exceptions applies. This finite amount of time is why you need to quickly find a birth injury attorney so you can begin working on your complaint. Your lawsuit will need to demonstrate a strong grasp of the facts, and that can take time.
How can I afford an Atlanta birth injury attorney?
Hiring a birth injury attorney will not cost you anything upfront. You do not have to worry about affording the cost of an attorney. Our lawyers work on a contingency basis, meaning that you owe them nothing unless you are successful in your case. If, for some reason, you do not recover anything, you will not be hit with a bill for your attorney’s services when your case is over. When you hire your lawyer, you will sign a representation agreement with them. The document will specify exactly what percentage of your settlement or your recovery your lawyer will receive. Retaining an attorney comes at no risk to you.
Will my Atlanta birth injury case go to trial?
In this way, a birth injury case is like any other personal injury claim. Jury trials are very rare in these cases. In most instances, lawsuits will settle before they go to a hearing. While your case may be no different, it is not something that we can guarantee. The truth is that many families with seriously injured children make very sympathetic plaintiffs, and defendants want to do what they can to avoid a trial. Even if your case goes to trial, the chances are that it will not reach a verdict. Only 5 percent of medical malpractice cases actually go to a jury verdict.
How do I know when to settle an Atlanta birth injury lawsuit?
The needs to make you a reasonable settlement offer first. Your birth injury lawyer will know how much your case is worth because they have extensive experience in this area. You can count on the defendant making a low settlement in the beginning. Many defendants will want to go through much of the trial process before they really get serious about a settlement. Your case will likely go through discovery, and even part of the trial, before your figures get in the same ballpark as the defendant.
How do I spot signs of negligence?
The doctor is not going to tell you after childbirth that they are to blame for your child’s injury. Instead, they will go into self-preservation mode, knowing that they may have serious legal liability for their mistake. Their actions during and after the negligence are why you need to get an attorney immediately. Your birth injury lawyer will perform a full investigation of what happened to help establish if someone else was at fault. They will request medical experts and speak with medical experts to establish whether possible medical malpractice occurred. You may certainly have a strong suspicion that the doctor was negligent, but your lawyer could help obtain evidence that would prove it.
How long will my Atlanta birth injury lawsuit take?
It is impossible to tell going into your case how long the process may take. We can tell you that, in a worst-case scenario, your claim could drag on for many years. As you saw above, the trial process takes time because there are many phases of it. You never know whether you have a defendant who is motivated to settle the case. In the best-case scenario, you can settle quickly. However, you should plan on your case going all the way to trial. Birth injury cases are very complex, and settlement negotiations can take time when the two sides are dealing with high dollar figures.
Can I get punitive damages in an Atlanta birth injury case?
Families are understandably angry when someone else’s carelessness causes a lifelong injury to their child. They want to find a way to make that person pay. One way to do this is to seek punitive damages, which can increase your verdict and the amount of money that you are due. However, punitive damages are not common. You would need to show that the doctor did something very wrong and that the nature of the act would make the jury want to send a message. Nonetheless, punitive damages are awarded more often in medical malpractice cases than in other personal injury cases. There is nothing to stop you from seeking punitive damages. In the end, the court will decide.
Call Our Atlanta Birth Injury Attorneys Today
If you believe your child suffered injuries at the hands of a doctor or other healthcare provider, contact Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm right away. You annd your child could face a lifetime of doctor appointments, medical bills, physical therapy, educational and employment limitations, and many other financial costs—all because a careless or reckless person failed to take proper precautions.
That’s not fair. And you shouldn’t need to pay those costs. The responsible parties should.
Reach out to the birth injury lawyers at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm at (404) 418-8244 or through our contact page, and we’ll get started right now with your free case evaluation. We look forward to hearing from you!
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