The birth of a new child is always a happy moment for the couple. But when the mother or the unborn child’s health takes a turn for the worse, things can unfold pretty fast with devastating effects. Babies who survive a harsh delivery may suffer permanent birth injuries and disabilities that may cost the family a fortune.
While some birth injuries are due to hereditary factors and congenital disabilities, others are a consequence of medical negligence. Birth injuries can be too heartbreaking, and our firm understands how difficult the situation is for families. If a child is born with a birth injury in California, both the child and the parent deserve compensation with the help of Pasadena personal injury attorneys.
What Are the Common Birth Injuries Caused by Medical Malpractice?
When a doctor negligently does something in the delivery room, there’s a high likelihood of a birth injury happening. Mainly, babies are highly susceptible to birth injuries at critical stages during delivery or when still in the uterus.
Below are common types of birth injuries.
– Hypoxia and brain injury – oxygen deprivation is among the top birth injuries among babies. If the doctor doesn’t act fast when the baby shows distress, it may lead to brain damage.
– Forceps marks – a doctor may choose to use forceps to help a baby in distress during delivery. However, if not operated carefully, these devices may bruise the baby.
– Vacuum delivery – a vacuum is a device that delivery specialists sometimes use to help the baby through the birthing canal. Sometimes it can damage the child’s skull or complicate the delivery.
– Fracture injuries
– Facial paralysis
– C-section injuries
– Nerve damage
– Cerebral palsy
– Shoulder dystocia
– Brachial plexus injuries
How Long Do Birth Injury Cases Take?
Every case is different, and so it would be difficult to give a blanket estimate. Nonetheless, California law requires cases to move promptly. Cases brought in California Superior Courts operate under what is called a “fast track” system. This system expects 80 percent of cases to be resolved within one year, 90 percent within 18 months, and all cases must be settled within 24 months.
Even so, it’s not always about how long cases take in court once you file. Remember that once you hire your Pasadena birth injury lawyer, there’s time spent gathering medical records, deliberating with medical experts, and actually preparing your case. Because your Pasadena birth injury case is likely to move rather quickly, you need to build your case adequately before filing.
Moreover, it’s challenging to know the long term impacts of a child’s birth injuries until they are about three years old. Only then can you assess a child’s neurological state, cognitive abilities, and long term needs. Therefore, your case may take anywhere between one and six years to be finalized.
How Long Do I Have to File a Birth Injury Lawsuit in California?
If your family is a victim of birth trauma, you need to immediately contact a Pasadena medical malpractice attorney. You only have a specific period to have a valid birth injury claim in California. Once you miss the deadline, you lose the right to file a lawsuit to receive damages.
In California, this filing deadline, also called a statute of limitations, will depend on who is filing the case, who is the defendant, and what circumstances surround it. If you file your claim as a personal injury accident, you have two years from the injuries’ date.
Most birth injury cases will be brought as medical malpractice lawsuits and have a three-year deadline from the date of the injury or one year from the date of injury discovery. If you lost your child due to medical malpractice, you have two years from the date of the death.
Additionally, there are more deadlines to observe:
– If you are suing a public healthcare provider or a California county hospital, you only have six months to notify the defendant of your intention to sue.
– If you are the child’s mother, you have up to one year to file and seek compensation for the child’s care until s/he reaches 18 years of age.
– If you are the child who was severely injured at birth, you have until you’re eight years old to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Who Can Be Liable?
Under the law, if you are a victim of medical malpractice such as a birth injury and can show negligence, the at-fault party owes you compensation. You can file against health care facilities or professionals, including:
– Mental institutions’
– Obstetrician or gynecologist
– Delivery room nurse
– Medical product manufacturer
Is A Birth Injury Claim the Only Way to Receive Compensation in California?
California also recognizes two other kinds of birth injury claims, apart from medical malpractice claims. They are:
Wrongful Life Lawsuits
Wrongful life lawsuits can be filed by the child who suffered severe birth injuries. The particular injury must be extremely crippling that the best alternative would have been not to be born at all.
Wrongful Birth Lawsuits
This lawsuit can be filed by the parents of the child who’s been hurt or born against their wishes.
What Damages Can I Pursue in a Birth Injury Claim?
In California, you may seek economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. Because there are several types of lawsuits you can file for, seek the guidance of a knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyer in Pasadena to recover all losses associated with the injury.
However, you can generally recover:
– Medical expenses
– Lost earnings
– Future medical expenses
– Cost of specialized care
– Cost of specialized education needs
– Cost of special equipment
– Pain and suffering
– Lost enjoyment of life
– Emotional distress
– Punitive damages
Understand Your Legal Options from a Compassionate Legal Representative
Many families find closure through investigations made during the lawsuit because health providers are often reluctant to admit mistakes. Through this legal process, families get the answers they deserve and the compensation to provide a better life for their children.
If your family is facing such a situation, walk with a dedicated birth injury lawyer in Pasadena. You will learn about your rights and what to expect. Schedule a free consultation with our compassionate attorneys today.