Every year, thousands of families in the United States experience the joy of welcoming a baby into their lives. However, sometimes, the process of childbirth can result in unexpected complications and birth injuries.
In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 6 to 8 infants out of every 1,000 live births experience a birth injury.
When such unfortunate events occur, it’s essential to seek justice and compensation for the affected child and family. This is where a birth injury attorney comes into play.
In this comprehensive guide, we will explore what birth injury attorneys do and the types of cases they handle. This article will provide you with valuable tips to find the best birth injury attorney for your needs.
What does a birth injury attorney do?
Birth injury attorneys specialize in cases where newborns or mothers suffer harm during the childbirth process due to medical negligence or malpractice. These dedicated legal professionals help families seek justice and financial compensation for the injuries and trauma they have endured.
From investigating the circumstances surrounding the birth to consulting medical experts and collecting evidence, birth injury attorneys help you every step of the way in seeking compensation for the stress and injury you and your baby have suffered.
Birth injury attorneys also calculate the damages incurred, including medical expenses, future care costs, pain and suffering, and more. Based on the calculation, they then negotiate with insurance providers to reach a fair settlement for the client.
What type of cases does a birth injury attorney handle?
Birth injury law firms handle a wide range of cases related to injuries sustained during childbirth. These cases can involve individual medical professionals such as doctors, nurses, and technicians, as well as hospitals and maternity clinics.
Here are some common types of cases a birth injury attorney may handle:
- Brachial plexus injuries – These injuries involve damage to the network of nerves controlling the arms and hands.
- Wrongful death – In tragic cases where a newborn or mother loses their life due to medical negligence during childbirth, birth injury attorneys assist surviving family members in pursuing wrongful death claims.
- Brain injuries – These are traumatic birth injuries that have a lasting effect on a child’s development due to the damage to the brain.
- Erb’s palsy – This condition affects a baby’s arm movement due to damage to the brachial plexus nerves during childbirth.
- Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) – HIE is a brain injury resulting from oxygen deprivation during birth.
- Cerebral palsy – This is a neurological disorder that can result from oxygen deprivation or trauma during birth.
- Shoulder dystocia – Shoulder dystocia occurs when a baby’s head passes through the birth canal, but the shoulders get stuck.
- Medication errors – Cases involving medication errors during labor and delivery can also fall under the purview of birth injury attorneys, especially when these errors lead to harm.
- Delayed C-sections – If a healthcare provider delays or fails to perform a necessary cesarean section (C-section), leading to harm to the baby or mother, birth injury attorneys can pursue legal action.
5 Tips to find the best birth injury attorney
Finding the best birth injury attorney to handle your case is crucial for achieving a favorable outcome. Here are five valuable tips to help you make an informed decision:
1. Ask for referrals
Start your search by asking for referrals from friends, family members, or healthcare professionals who may have experience with birth injury cases. You can also read reviews and testimonials from past clients to gauge the attorney’s reputation and their ability to deliver positive outcomes.
2. Consider experience
Look for an attorney with extensive experience in birth injury cases. The more cases they’ve handled, the better equipped they are to navigate the complexities of your situation.
3. Check credentials
Ensure that the attorney is licensed to practice law in your state and is a member of relevant bar associations. Verify their credentials and track record of success in similar cases.
4. Book a consultation
Schedule consultations with multiple birth injury attorneys. During these meetings, ask questions about their experience, their approach to cases, and how they plan to handle your specific situation.
Pay special attention to their communication skills. You want to choose an attorney who listens to your concerns, explains legal concepts comprehensively, and keeps you updated on the progress of your case.
5. Discuss the fee
Discuss the attorney’s fee structure upfront. Mostly, birth injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This means you are required to pay them only if you win your case. Make sure you understand the terms of the fee arrangement.
Five essential questions you should ask your birth injury attorney
1. Can you provide examples of birth injury cases similar to mine that you’ve successfully resolved?
Ideally, the answer should be a ‘yes.’ For example, if your child suffered cerebral palsy due to oxygen deprivation during birth, look for an attorney who has dealt with a similar case before.
2. How do you handle insurance negotiations, and are you prepared to go to trial if necessary?
Look for an attorney who is skilled at difficult negotiations and getting a fair settlement for the client. They should also be prepared to take your case to court and advocate on your behalf if a fair settlement cannot be reached.
3. How long do birth injury cases usually take to resolve?
While there is no best answer to this question, choose an attorney who shows a willingness to close your case successfully as early as possible.
4. How do you assess the strength of a birth injury case like mine?
Choose to work with an attorney who doesn’t rely on evidence collected from medical records and healthcare providers only. They should have connections with consulting experts as well to build a strong case for the client and prove negligence or malpractice.
Your choice of a birth injury attorney is not merely a matter of convenience; it’s the linchpin upon which the strength of your case hinges. Your birth injury attorney is your representative, your voice, and your navigator through the complexities of the legal system. Therefore, make an informed decision and choose a birth injury law firm that keeps your best interests at heart and has a proven track record of successfully advocating for clients who have suffered this traumatic life event.