When you’re pregnant, you put your trust in your doctor and the medical team that will be delivering your baby. While the majority of births go as expected, there are some that result in injury. When that injury happens because of a medical provider’s negligence, legal action is available.
The Albuquerque birth injury lawyers from Buckingham Barrera Law Firm understand the array of emotions and challenges that come with learning your baby sustained a preventable birth injury. That’s why we do what it takes to ensure our clients have the compensation they need to move confidently into the future. Once you know you’ll have the means to provide your child with the medical care they need, you’ll experience significantly less stress.
The Difference Between Birth Defects and Birth Injuries
New babies can suffer from two different types of medical problems: birth defects or birth injuries. Understanding the difference is an important part of determining if you have grounds to file a medical malpractice claim.
If your baby is diagnosed with a birth defect, it means that the condition developed as the baby did. Birth defects can significantly impact the development of any part of the baby’s body. Typically, however, the nervous system is most affected. Genetic mutations are common causes of birth defects. If that’s the case, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to take legal action because there was most likely nothing your medical provider did wrong.
It’s important to note, however, that a birth defect doesn’t always occur on its own. If a physician exposed the mother and baby to certain medications, drugs, or toxins that are known to be harmful, they could be held accountable for improper exposure to harmful substances.
If you or your child sustained an injury during pregnancy, labor, or delivery, there’s almost always grounds for a personal injury claim. This is because situations where birth injuries arise are likely the result of the negligence of medical personnel. If a nurse, doctor, or other practitioner failed to meet the standard of care when working with you, it’s likely the injury was preventable.
Diagnosing a Birth Injury
A birth injury is any type of injury that happens during labor and delivery. Trauma and oxygen deprivation are among the most common causes. While some injuries result in few consequences, others cause permanent disability. If your child’s been diagnosed with any of the following conditions, it’s possible the injury was the result of medical negligence:
- Caput succedaneum. This is the swelling of soft tissue on the baby’s head. While this is an injury that usually resolves on its own, brain damage is a possibility if the injury is severe. This is most common when vacuum extraction is used during delivery.
- Brachial plexus palsy. It’s not uncommon for a baby’s shoulder to get stuck during delivery. But, if improper protocols or poor techniques are followed, it’s possible the group of nerves that controls arm and hand movement could be injured. The likelihood of recovery depends on the severity of the injury.
- Collarbone fractures. Babies who are born breech are more susceptible to collarbone fractures. While the broken bone is likely to heal, it’s often necessary to limit the baby’s movement.
- Head trauma. Bruising or lacerations are possible if birth-assisting tools like forceps or vacuum extractors are used incorrectly.
- Cephalohematoma. This is bleeding under the cranial bone. While this condition typically goes away within a few months of birth, serious cephalohematomas can lead to complications like jaundice, which is often a sign of more serious birth injuries.
- Facial nerve paralysis. While minor facial nerve paralysis is often due to temporary nerve bruising, surgery may be necessary if a nerve was torn.
In the event a child sustains one of the birth injuries discussed above, they’re at risk for permanent disabilities like cerebral palsy (CP), hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), periventricular leukomalacia (PVL), seizure disorders, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and other types of brain damage.
In order to correctly diagnose a birth injury so it can be treated properly, early testing is important. The sooner a diagnosis and treatment plan is put in place, the better the chances are of the baby making a full recovery. It’s also important to closely monitor the baby’s health, to look for any signs of additional injuries or changes.
Proving Labor and Delivery Malpractice in New Mexico
When you file a birth injury claim, you’ll need to determine who the liable party is. It’s likely you received medical care from multiple doctors, nurses, and other staff members while you were in the hospital. Anyone of those individuals could be accountable for your child’s injury. Additionally, it’s possible the hospital or medical facility is legally responsible. Your lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation to determine who you’ll be naming as the negligent party in your claim.
A successful claim proves that an injury occurred, the medical provider owed you and your baby a duty of care, they breached that duty, and their failure caused the injury. The evidence your lawyer collects, in addition to statements from expert witnesses, will support your claim. Evidence for these types of cases typically comes in the form of test results, X-rays, and MRI scans.
Once your lawyer has successfully proven fault, you’ll be able to work on negotiating a settlement. We’ll make sure the amount covers all the expenses you incurred as a result of the birth injury.
Holding Negligent Albuquerque Medical Providers Accountable
When physicians, nurses, and other hospital or medical facility employees fail to provide patients with the proper standard of care, accidents happen. If you or your child was injured by a negligent medical provider, you can hold them accountable while seeking the compensation your family needs to recover by filing a personal injury claim with the help of an Albuquerque birth injury lawyer.
The claims process is complicated, especially when it comes to proving medical negligence. Working with Buckingham Barrera Law Firm is the best way to build a strong case for yourself. We’ll be sure to calculate all the losses you incurred as a result of the injury, including all economic and noneconomic damages. We’ll also take into consideration the possibility of the future cost of care in the event your child’s injuries are permanent.
Our attorneys understand how devastating a birth injury can be for a family. We’re prepared to provide you with the legal guidance and representation you need to restore order in your life and find a way to move comfortably into the future. For more information on the litigation process and your legal rights, schedule a consultation with our firm today.