One of the saddest experiences that you have as a parent is that involving an injury to your child. Birth injuries are some of the most traumatic, often involving a permanent disability or disfigurement, often requiring a lifetime of medical care and expenses for the child. These cases are particularly tragic when the injuries were preventable.
While all sorts of complications can occur during pregnancy and delivery, some birthing injuries do not normally occur absent a medical mistake. No all mistakes are preventable, but many are. When the injury would have been preventable with due care on the part of your healthcare providers, you may have a cause of action for medical malpractice.
Mere Mistake or Medical Malpractice?
The only way to determine if malpractice has caused your child’s birth injury, is through a thorough examination of all the evidence, including all the mother’s pregnancy medical records, all the labor and delivery medical records for both the mother and the child, and all hospital records relating to labor and delivery of the child. Witness testimony of those present during labor and delivery can also be important to gather and evaluate as pertains to the complex issue of liability in these cases.
This evaluation process can take time and patience and the skill of a good birth injury attorney and medical staff. This area of the personal injury law is particularly specialized. And if you suspect that your child has suffered a birth injury as a result of medical malpractice, it is important that you obtain the services of the best medical malpractice attorney that you can find. Because you and your child may face a lifetime of medical care as a result of a birthing injury, it is important that you fully understand all aspects of liability and damages in your case before you accept a settlement proposal from an insurance company.
Referrals, Consultations, Opinions
If you suspect that there may be medical malpractice in your case, you will want to obtain all of the medical records pertaining to the pregnancy, labor and delivery that you can prior to getting an opinion on the merits of your case. You may have to pay a copying fee, but an experienced medical malpractice attorney often will have medical personnel who will review the medical records as part of the case evaluation process, and it is impossible to fully assess liability without these records.
Get several referrals for medical malpractice attorneys from an attorney you know and trust. Many attorneys offer a free consultation as part of this evaluation process. Your medical records will help the attorney and his or her staff determine what happened and whether the injury rises to the level of malpractice. Not all birth injuries are attributable to malpractice, but many are. These are often high damage cases and it is important to get a clear idea of both the liability issues and the damages issues as soon as possible.
Because these are often large cases when liability exists, you may want to get more than one opinion before you hire an attorney. You want an attorney who is experienced with medical malpractice, particularly with birth injuries. Many of these cases are settled, so you might ask a potential attorney about how many of these cases this attorney has handled, and how many of those ended in settlement, how many birth injury cases that attorney has tried, and if he or she has ever lost a birth injury case.
Take Your Time and Hire the Attorney Right For You
These cases are medically and economically complex and it may take a while for you and your attorneys to get a clear picture of both liability and damages issues. During a consultation, you may be able to get a preliminary opinion regarding liability and damages, but a clearer picture of both with likely emerge as an attorney, his or her staff, and experts review the medical records and opine whether negligence caused the injury, whether the injury will resolve or whether it is a permanent condition, and how much continuing care will cost.
These cases necessitate the use of medical and economic experts and can be expensive to litigate. Try to get a clear understand from your attorney regarding an estimate of costs and how these costs are handled. Attorneys differ regarding their handling of costs.
Hire an attorney who you feel you can work with and who communicates clearly and consistently with you. Litigation is stressful and you need someone on your side who you can trust.