A Michigan birth injury lawyer can help if you or your child was injured due to poor medical care during birth. A compassionate and skilled attorney will evaluate the actions of these medical professionals, work with experts who could testify on your behalf, and demand fair compensation for your losses.
The anticipated birth of a child should be a joyous time for everyone involved. Although this is a complex and often dangerous medical procedure, modern science is now able to prevent—or at least mitigate—many of the risks at birth.
However, the duty to provide proper medical attention still rests on doctors, nurses, and hospitals. It is vital that all medical professionals involved in neonatal care and birthing take safe and responsible measures during each step of this process. Unfortunately, neglect of care or failure to remain alert can result in devastating birth injuries and defects for both the mother and child alike.
- What are some causes of birth injuries?
- What are some types of birth injury cases?
- What will a lawyer do to help win my case?
- Can I sue for a birth injury caused by malpractice?
- What are the caps or limits on compensation amounts?
- Michigan birth injury lawsuit settlement examples
- Is there a statute of limitations for birth injury cases?
What is a Birth Injury in Michigan?
A birth injury is when the newborn or mother suffers harm during the birthing process.
Even with all of the medical advances and technology, serious and permanent injuries to newborn babies still occur in hospitals. Many of these birth injuries result only in temporary harm, but others are permanent and will affect the child for a lifetime. Many times, the injury becomes more apparent as the child gets older and delays in development become more obvious.
A birth injury can be the result of nature or due to the negligence of a medical provider. Physicians and nurses in the obstetrics department at a hospital are trained for both normal deliveries and those that involve complications. It is their job and legal duty to handle every type of situation with proper medical care. This includes anticipating potential problems during the birthing process, like abnormal fetal monitoring strips, a lack of oxygen, or that a c-section is needed due to the size of the baby’s head and shoulders.
If a birth injury was the result of medical negligence or medical malpractice, a parent or guardian can file a birth injury lawsuit. These cases demand compensation for the harm to the baby and the parents. These cases often result in large settlements and compensation payout amounts.
Potential Causes of Birth Injuries
Unfortunately, healthy mothers and infants may still suffer from injuries due to unforeseen complications during the birthing process. Incidents such as an umbilical cord becoming wrapped around an infant’s neck may be a routine, but still require a timely diagnosis for proper treatment to prevent a loss of oxygen to the brain. A doctor who fails to notice the signs of this problem may, therefore, commit medical malpractice.
Other birth injuries, however, are the result of a known complication. For example, ultrasounds, blood tests, and other diagnostics may indicate that medical professionals should expect problems during birth. The doctor and nursing staff must prepare for these problems so that the birth does not result in injuries to the baby.
While this is the case, an OB-GYN still has a duty to recognize these problems and make an appropriate birth plan that will minimize any threat to the mother and child alike. A well-versed Michigan birth injury attorney could help an injured patient to understand how an injury or defect during birth may have been the result of a doctor’s malpractice.
Common Types of Birth Injury Cases
A birth injury lawyer handles many types of cases involving labor and delivery and events shortly after the child is born. The most common types include:
Cerebral Palsy is a major type of birth injury. The baby may present with immediate signs of problems or delays, or these may be noticed within a few years after birth. Cerebral palsy can result from oxygen deprivation and cause permanent brain damage. Other problems include issues with muscle and coordination issues, speech and language, and mobility.
- Erb’s Palsy results in full or partial paralysis of the arm due to injury to the nerves. It can be caused by an injury during vaginal childbirth, such as too much force removing the baby during deliverer or failing to perform a c-section to prevent the injury.
- Brachial Plexus is a type of nerve injury that occurs at birth and can cause permanent disability to the baby.
- Bell’s Palsy
- Shoulder Dystocia is similar to Erb’s Palsy and can be caused during delivery. It can be caused during childbirth when the newborn’s shoulders do not pass through the birth canal or are obstructed. The result may be permanent damage to the shoulder and nerves of the arm that affect a child for a lifetime.
- Hypoxic and Anoxic brain injury
- Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) occurs when the infant does not receive enough oxygen to the brain. This results in permanent brain damage to the baby.
- Forceps Injuries that cause cuts, lacerations, and harm to the baby’s face, eyes, and head during delivery.
- Stillborn Deaths are a terrible consequence of negligent medical care. The parents are devastated when a healthy pregnancy results in death due to negligent care.
- Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension
- Neonatal Stroke
- Spina Bifida
- Cystic Fibrosis
A neonatologist must carefully monitor the baby for signs of distress before delivery. During this time, it is essential to properly monitor the newborn for any signs of distress—If there is any evidence of fetal distress or newborn distress, the physician and nursing staff should initiate treatment quickly to avoid permanent harm or injury to the baby.
In some instances, however, the doctors or nursing staff fail to timely recognize this distress. Unfortunately, this can result in significant harm to the child or mother. The failure to recognize distress can be the result of many reasons, ranging from an understaffed neonatal department or simply just negligence in failing to properly monitor the baby. No matter the reasons, however, the doctors and hospital could be subject to a malpractice lawsuit when this behavior occurs and results in a child suffering injuries or defects.
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Mistakes
Babies that are in their first 28 days of life are called neonates. Often, if a baby is particularly fragile or facing some challenges, he or she is placed in the neonatal intensive care unit. Any mistakes with these fragile babies can be life-threatening. Unfortunately, there are many ways an infant can be injured while in a care unit. These include, but are not limited to:
- Medication errors
- Failure to adequately monitor the baby
- Failure to diagnose or treat jaundice
- Poor ventilation
How our Birth Injury Attorneys Will Help Your Case
Even seemingly normal births can suddenly take a dangerous or even tragic turn. An injury during childbirth may have a devastating effect on both a mother and their child, resulting in complications or defects. However, doctors should be prepared for these developments and be ready to take all steps within their abilities to prevent harm to a patient. Medical professionals who fail in this duty may, therefore, be held legally liable for the resulting damages.
Our experienced birth injury lawyers will get all of the medical records from labor and delivery and prenatal care. We will also get the ultrasound images and fetal monitoring strips. We carefully review these with our in-house medical-legal team and also discuss the case with the top medical experts in the United States.
If we determine that a birth injury occurred due to medical errors and neglect, we will file a birth injury lawsuit for you. We will prove liability against the doctors and hospital and also work hard to build a case for recoverable damages. Because your child may have special needs for a lifetime, we will hire life care planners and economists to project the financial losses and needs of your child. We then use this information to demand compensation for you and your child.
Can I Sue for Birth Injury Caused by Medical Negligence?
You can sue a doctor or hospital if a birth injury was the result of medical negligence. To win a medical malpractice case, it must be proven that the injury was preventable with proper care, precautions, and treatment. Our birth injury legal team has the expertise to determine if you and your child have a case and are entitled to compensation.
Some examples of lawsuits filed for a birth injury caused by medical negligence are listed below and include the:
- Doctor’s failure to note a baby’s poor positioning in the uterus. With proper screening, like the use of an ultrasound, the medical team can prepare for the birth and take appropriate actions to prevent harm to the baby.
- Proper actions not being taken when the baby has the umbilical cord wrapped around the neck. This labor and delivery error can result in not enough oxygen reaching the brain.
- Failure to perform a c-section when it is known or should be suspected, that the baby will suffer harm during delivery. This is especially true when the baby is noted to have a large head or shoulders and a vaginal birth will likely cause a deprivation of oxygen or permanent harm to the nerves in the arm and shoulder.
- Misdiagnosis or failure to treat an infection of the mother at or before birth. The infection can pass to the baby and cause permanent damage.
- Misreading of fetal monitoring strips that indicate problems with the baby before birth. If properly read in advance, the doctors could have delivered the baby sooner to avoid serious injuries and harm to the child. This can lead to birth asphyxia and hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy.
- Poor and improper use of medical instruments, like forceps, that permanently injure the baby. This is another type of labor and delivery mistake.
The Role of an Expert Witness in Michigan
Birth injury cases—like all other malpractice cases—are often complicated. In fact, a victim may be unable to do so much as file a complaint in court without the help of an expert witness. Because of this, these witnesses are often necessary to provide their opinion as to how an injury happened during the birth process, as well as why the doctor was at fault.
According to Michigan Compiled Laws §600.2169, these experts must fit a very specific profile. Essentially, an expert must be accredited in the same field as the defendant doctor. In most cases for birth injuries, this means that the expert should be a board-certified OBGYN. Furthermore, the expert must have spent the past year predominantly focused on the relevant field or teaching these practices to students. A well-practiced birth injury lawyer familiar with this process in Michigan could work to ensure that the proper experts are consulted for a case.
Are there Caps or Limits on Compensation Amounts?
In Michigan, there are limits on the amount of compensation that may be awarded to an injured plaintiff. For example, under Mich. Comp. Laws §600.1483, these malpractice cases carry a cap for all non-economic losses—which may include pain and suffering, emotional anguish, and loss of quality of life. Because of these nuances, a Michigan birth injury lawyer familiar with the limitations will help a claimant to understand their chances of recovery.
In addition to these damages, there is significant economic compensation that can be sought as well in a lawsuit. These include claims for past, present, and future medical expenses, educational expenses, housing costs, transportation costs, and other specific monetary claims that a family and child will incur due to birth trauma. We hire economic experts to determine the annual economic costs and project those costs over the lifetime of the child.
Examples of Michigan Birth Injury Lawsuit Settlements
- $9,500,000 settlement for an infant that suffered severe and permanent brain damage due to negligence at a hospital
- $7,500,000 settlement in a birth injury lawsuit for a baby who suffered brain and kidney damage after an emergency C-section.
- $7,500,000 against a hospital for the failure to monitor an infant’s vitals which led to a metabolic stroke and permanent brain damage.
- $7,000,000 for the failure to properly monitor a baby after birth which caused a permanent brain injury.
- $6,000,000 settlement for a premature baby who suffered hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) and spastic quadriplegia during surgery
- $5,850,000 settlement against a Michigan hospital, doctors, and nurses for failure to treat high bilirubin which resulted in a newborn’s brain damage.
- $4,500,000 settlement for a premature baby diagnosed with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy after being over-ventilated in the neonatal unit. The hospital staff failed to monitor the baby’s blood levels during his intubation, resulting in decreased cerebral blood flow and causing irreversible brain damage.
- $4,300,000 settlement for a child who suffered cerebral palsy due to a delay in performing a C-section at the hospital
- $3,575,000 birth injury settlement due to the delay in performing a C-section. The baby developed spastic quadriplegia and cerebral palsy due to the delay.
- $2,750,000 HIE settlement in a birth injury malpractice lawsuit. The baby was born with cerebral palsy when health care providers failed to take the proper precautions for a mother with a history of growth-restricted pregnancies. The negligent failure to properly monitor fetal development resulted in intrauterine growth restriction, hypoxia-ischemia, and infection causing severe brain damage.
- $2,000,000 settlement in a birth injury lawsuit for a baby who suffered permanent brain damage due to misdiagnosed Strep B in utero.
- $2,000,000 settlement for lack of oxygen at birth due to no fetal monitoring in the delivery room.
Birth Injury Case Study
A 29-year-old pregnant mother presented to the hospital at 39 weeks with complaints of decreased fetal movement. Despite the need for an immediate c-section delivery, the doctors admitted her to the hospital to induce labor. During induction of labor, she and the baby showed serious problems.
The medical staff ultimately delivered the baby by c-section. However, the delay caused acute hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and resulted in permanent brain damage. A birth injury lawsuit was filed and the hospital later agreed to pay a settlement in the amount of $8,000,000.
Is there a Time Limit to File a Birth Injury Lawsuit in Michigan?
Yes, but the time limit to file a birth injury lawsuit in Michigan depends on the age of the child. If a child is under 8 years old when the injury occurred, he/she may have until their 10th birthday to file a complaint. If the child is 8 years old or older when the alleged malpractice occurred, he/she may only have two (2) years from the date of malpractice in which to bring his/her claim. The statute of limitations for cases involving a birth injury is different than for other medical negligence cases in Michigan. These deadlines can be confusing so it is important to contact an experienced birth injury attorney immediately to avoid missing the deadline to file a case.
How much does it Cost to Hire a Birth Injury Lawyer?
Our birth injury attorneys do not charge any fees to pursue your case. We only get paid a fee if we win a settlement for you and your child. We also pay all of the case costs and expenses to pursue and prove your case. There is no risk whatsoever to get started on your case and if it is unsuccessful for any reason, you owe us nothing!
Contact a Michigan Birth Injury Lawyer Now
If you or your child was injured during birth, you may be traumatized and unsure of how to proceed. However, a Michigan birth injury lawyer will explain your legal options and guide you through the ensuing legal process to seek recovery for your damages. To schedule a free consultation, contact us today.
Birth Injury References and Resources
Larry Buckfire’s greatest concern was the future financial security of my child and I am grateful for his efforts. I would tell anybody who is unsure, embarrassed about the situation, or just distraught, to come to Larry because he knows how to take care of these problems. He knows how to ensure a future for your child, and that’s what matters.
Families of injured children hire Larry Buckfire to represent their injured child for three (3) reasons. First, without question, Larry is among the elite child injury lawyers in the United States of America, and is clearly the leader in the State of Michigan. He has recovered millions of dollars for injured children time after time. Second, Larry gives each child’s case his own personal attention from start to finish. While he does work with a skilled team of lawyers and child injury experts, when Larry Buckfire makes a commitment to represent your child, he personally handles the case until the very end – and knows your child’s case inside and out. Unlike some law firms, your case will never get handed off to an associate – Larry sees it through to the end. And, third, Larry Buckfire makes sure that your injured child is taken care of forever. He has been at the forefront of planning to make sure injured children have their settlements protected, and their financial needs met for the rest of their lives – not only so the child will be cared for properly, but also so that the families can relax and focus their energy on what’s important, which is loving their injured child. Your injured child, and your family, would be fortunate to have Larry Buckfire on your side.
I would highly recommend the law firm of Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. to the parents of any injured children to anyone searching for a top medical malpractice lawyer in Michigan.
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By: Nicole H.
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