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.
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 this each step of this process. Unfortunately, neglect of care or failure to remain alert can result in devastating injuries and defects for both the mother and child alike.
What is a Birth Injury?
A birth injury is when the newborn or mother suffers harm during the birthing process. A birth injury can occur before, during, or after the baby is born.
Even with all of the medical advances and technology, serious and permanent injuries to newborn babies still occur in hospitals. Many of these 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 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 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 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.
- 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 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 a death due to negligent care.
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 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 of the resulting damages.
Our experienced birth injury lawyers will get all of the medical records from labor and delivery and the pre-natal 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 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 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 doctor’s could have delivered the baby sooner to avoid serious injuries and harm to the child.
- Poor and improper use of medical instruments, like forceps, that permanently injure the baby
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 of these cases, 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 are 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 a birth trauma. We hire economic experts to determine the annual economic costs and project those costs over lifetime of the child.
Examples of Michigan Birth Injury Lawsuit Settlements
- $7,500,000 settlement in a birth injury lawsuit for a baby who suffered brain and kidney damage after an emergency C-section.
- $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.
Is there a Time Limit to File a Birth Injury Lawsuit in Michigan?
The statute of limitations for cases involving a birth injury is different than for other medical negligence cases in Michigan. If a child is under 8 years old and was injured around the time of birth, a claim may be filed within two years of the incident or by the child’s 10th birthday—whichever time period is longer. 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 law firm does 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 consultation, call today.
Birth Injury References and Resources