The birth of your child should have been a joyous occasion. If a medical professional’s negligent or wrongful actions caused harm to you or your baby during the labor and delivery process, your family may be entitled to compensation in a birth injury claim. Peterson Law Office can help.
When you work with a Kentucky birth injury attorney from our law firm, you’ll have the backing of an experienced and knowledgeable legal representative on your side. We put our years of experience handling complex medical malpractice and personal injury cases to work securing maximum compensation for our clients.
We know that you have the choice of working with any law office in Lexington, KY, and we want you to feel confident in our abilities to represent your case. This is why we offer families a free consultation with a Lexington birth injury lawyer. This no-obligation meeting gives us the opportunity to meet and mutually decide whether Peterson Law Office is the right fit for your case.
The Difference Between Birth Injuries and Birth Defects
Birth defects and birth injuries are often confused for one another. However, you generally cannot take legal action for a birth defect, whereas medical malpractice claims for birth injuries are far from uncommon. Let’s take a closer look at the difference between birth defects and birth injuries.
What Is a Birth Defect?
The CDC defines birth defects as “structural changes present at birth.” Birth defects form while a child is still in-utero, and may or may not have an identifiable cause. They are not the result of negligence or wrongdoing by a medical professional.
Common birth defects include:
- Down syndrome
- Oral clefts
- Fetal alcohol syndrome
- Maternal infections
What Is a Birth Injury?
A birth injury is a physical injury that occurs during the birthing process, and may affect either the mother or baby. These injuries are often the result of medical negligence by a healthcare provider.
Birth injuries that frequently affect newborns include:
- Brachial plexus injuries
- Broken bones and fractures (especially of the collarbone)
- Facial paralysis
- Brain injuries
- Shoulder dystocia
- Nerve damage
- Spinal cord damage
Birth injuries that frequently affect mothers include:
- Vaginal tears
- Prolapsed or ruptured uterus
- Postpartum hemorrhage (PPH)
- Pelvic organ prolapse
The above are not exhaustive lists of all possible birth injuries that may affect mothers or babies. If you believe that you were harmed by substandard medical care during the birth process, schedule your free consultation with one of our Lexington birth injury lawyers today. We will review your child’s medical records and any diagnoses to determine your legal options and whether your family may be owed substantial compensation.
Birth Injury Risk Factors
Certain factors increase a woman’s chance of suffering a birth injury or giving birth to a child who suffers an injury in the process. While the responsibility of preventing such an injury lies with the obstetrician and other medical professionals who are attending the birth, the Kentucky birth injury attorneys of Peterson Law Office believe that every patient should be empowered with information about their own care. This includes identifying factors that may increase the risk of birth injury, including:
- Newborns with a birthweight of 8 lbs., 13 oz. or higher
- Premature labor, especially before 37 weeks
- Prolonged labor
- Maternal obesity
- Gestational diabetes
- Fetal breech position
Prior to being hurt, birth injury victims may have had multiple risk factors or none at all. The presence of risk factors does not negate the rights of injury victims to recover compensation in birth injury cases.
Competent birth injury lawyers frequently rely on information contained in medical records to prove that a doctor, nurse, or other health care professional should have known that something was wrong and taken a different course of action.
Causes of Birth Injuries in Lexington, KY
Birth injury claims are often the most effective course of legal action for Lexington families who have been harmed by a doctor’s negligent actions or inaction. Identifying the cause of your child’s permanent injury is a key step in this process.
Fetal heart rate monitoring is the process of monitoring the rhythm and heart rate of a baby during labor and delivery. This is one of the most effective methods for detecting fetal distress. There are two primary methods that doctors use when monitoring a fetus’ heartbeat:
- Auscultation – Periodically listening to the baby’s heartbeat with a stethoscope or similar medical device.
- Electronic fetal monitoring – Continuously recording the baby’s heartbeat and mother’s contractions using electronic instruments.
Doctors may use one or both forms of fetal heart rate monitoring. Medical complications can easily arise when a doctor fails to properly monitor a mother and baby. However, health care professionals who make key failures in the monitoring of mom and baby during labor can be held responsible for their reckless actions via birth injury lawsuits. This type of legal action is often effective at preventing these health care providers from engaging in the same type of negligent care in the future.
Failure To Perform a Cesarean Section
A Cesarean section is a surgical procedure to safely deliver a baby when vaginal birth is not an option. Reasons for a C-section might include:
- Stalled labor or labor not progressing
- A baby that is breech or in an abnormal birthing position
- A baby that is too large to safely pass through the birth canal
- Maternal health conditions, including preeclampsia
- Umbilical cord prolapse
- Weak or faltering fetal heart rate
- Fetal distress (inadequate oxygen supply via the placenta)
Laboring mothers should be given sufficient information to be able to make an informed decision regarding C-sections. If a doctor fails to perform a timely C-section, does not give a mother sufficient information about the pros and cons of the procedure, or makes key errors during the surgery, they could be held liable for improper care. A Lexington birth injury lawyer from Peterson Law Office is standing by to discuss what happened to your family and whether your injured child may be owed compensation.
Improper Use of Birthing Tools
Labor and delivery can be an exhausting process that burdens mothers both physically and emotionally. At times, it is necessary for doctors to assist mothers with forceps or vacuums during a vaginal delivery. Although these birthing tools can be invaluable in the event of maternal exhaustion or if a fetus becomes stuck in the birth canal, improper use can cause significant harm.
For example, a vacuum delivery can place too much force on a child’s neck or shoulder, leading to conditions like shoulder dystocia, brachial plexus injuries, and more. Negligent use of forceps and vacuums are also known to cause brain damage.
Is My Child Owed Compensation for Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is considered to be among the most common motor disabilities that affects children. Children living with cerebral palsy will not get better or recover, and instead face a lifetime of physical and mental limitations. The impact of cerebral palsy cannot be overstated. While everyone with a cerebral palsy diagnosis will have difficulty with their posture and movements, many also deal with:
- Vision, speech, and hearing problems
- Spine abnormalities, including scoliosis
- Joint problems
- Intellectual disabilities
Cerebral palsy (CP) can be either a birth defect or a birth injury. In some cases, CP is the result of abnormal fetal brain development. In others, it is the result of doctor error or negligence during the labor and delivery process.
Determining whether your child is owed compensation for their cerebral palsy diagnosis can be difficult, but a Lexington birth injury attorney from Peterson Law Office is up for the challenge. We know just how much is at stake in your case, and we won’t back down until we help your family track down the answers you deserve.
Since cerebral palsy is a disabling condition that is expected to impact individuals for the remainder of their lives, victims may be owed substantial compensation. We recommend that you seek out a law firm that prioritizes creating a strong attorney-client relationship. Attorneys that take the time to truly get to know their clients often have a better understanding of how an injury has impacted a victim and can more accurately value the worth of their claim.
Compensation in a Birth Injury Case
At Peterson Law Office, a Kentucky birth injury lawyer cannot say with any certainty how much your claim might be worth without first meeting and discussing your case during a free case evaluation. However, we can provide a general idea of what damages you might be entitled to in these types of legal claims.
Economic damages encompass your financial losses associated with you or your child’s birth injury. These may include:
- Past, current, and future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Reduced future earning capacity
- Adaptive medical devices, including mobility devices and items that assist in activities of daily living
Your Lexington birth injury attorney will advise you of specific financial damages to which you may be entitled.
Non-economic damages seek to compensate injury victims for the non-financial losses they have suffered as a result of a personal injury. These may include:
- Past, current, and future pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
We’re the Birth Injury Attorneys Who Care
Not every unfavorable medical outcome is the result of negligence. To file a successful birth injury lawsuit, you must be able to prove that your child’s injuries were the result of an acquired injury. As your Lexington attorneys, we’ll:
- Meet with your family for a free case evaluation to discuss your legal options.
- Investigate the circumstances of your child’s birth to determine how the injury occurred and what actions could have prevented the delivery failure.
- Determine which medical staff were at fault for the birth injury, including your obstetrician, nurses, anesthesiologists, pharmacists, and more.
- Work alongside medical experts who are willing to review your case and testify on your behalf.
- Properly value the worth of your claim and go after the insurance company for maximum compensation.
- Take over all communications and negotiations with the insurance company so that you can focus on your family and your child’s medical care.
- Aim to settle outside of court, but prepare for trial so that we’ll never be caught off guard.
Peterson Law Office Is Just a Click Away
Peterson Law Office has a convenient office location in Lexington, KY. In addition to birth injuries and medical malpractice, we provide legal guidance on a wide range of practice areas, including motor vehicle accidents and more.
If you or one of your family members was harmed as the result of substandard medical care, you can contact us by calling our office or filling out our convenient online form.