For many families, bringing a child into the world is one of the greatest joys life has to offer.
However, for parents of a child born with a life-changing disability, this moment—while still joyous—is also marred by thoughts of what the child’s life will be like.
Through effective advocacy, we connect families with much-needed compensation for what they’ve been through and encourage a safer, less error-prone healthcare system.
What Is a Birth Injury Lawsuit?
A birth injury lawsuit is a type of medical malpractice case involving preventable injury to an unborn or newborn baby. There are many types of birth injury claims.
However, some of the most common types of birth injuries include:
- Brachial plexus injuries,
- Brain damage,
- Broken bones,
- Cerebral Palsy,
- Erb’s Palsy,
- Excessive bleeding,
- Preventable infections, and
Like other medical malpractice claims, parents bringing a birth injury claim must prove that the healthcare provider was negligent.
In this context, establishing a provider’s negligence requires you to meet four elements:
- A doctor-patient relationship existed;
- A healthcare provider acted negligently during pregnancy, labor, or delivery;
- The provider’s negligence was the cause of the child’s injury or death; and
- You suffered financial damages as a result of the provider’s actions.
Birth injury lawsuits are often brought against obstetricians.
However, any healthcare provider who provides care to the mother or child during the pregnancy or labor and delivery process may be liable for a birth injury.
This includes anesthesiologists, nurses, attending physicians, midwives, or anyone else involved in the process.
What Causes Birth Injuries?
While babies are resilient, they require a constant supply of blood and oxygen to survive.
Thus, many birth injuries are the result of the fetal blood or oxygen supply becoming restricted or entirely cut off. Another common cause of birth injury is a physician’s use of instruments to facilitate the birth.
Often, larger babies or those that are not in the ideal presentation require doctors to use forceps or vacuum-like devices to help the baby make it through the birth canal.
Skilled use of these instruments presents a low risk of injury—but providers who are not accustomed to using these tools may cause irreversible damage to a baby.
If You File a Lawsuit Against a Doctor for a Birth Injury, What Can You Expect?
Filing a lawsuit against a healthcare provider after a birth injury can be overwhelming for parents.
For example, New Mexico law requires you first present your case to the New Mexico medical review commission.
The commission will hear the facts of your case and render an opinion regarding the physician’s care. The commission’s final opinion is not admissible in court if the case goes to trial.
However, a favorable opinion may be helpful in settlement negotiations with the provider and their insurance company.
You should also expect to retain an expert witness to help explain and contextualize the healthcare provider’s actions, as most birth injury claims are beyond the common understanding of jurors.
Was Your Child Born with a Preventable Birth Injury?
If your child was born with cerebral palsy or any other type of birth injury, your child’s condition might be the result of medical malpractice.
At the New Mexico law firm of Poulos & Coates, LLP, we have over 70 years of experience pursuing compensation on behalf of parents and their children.
We are also the only New Mexico law firm that focuses only on medical malpractice cases. This provides us with unrivaled experience handling these complex claims.
Thus, we are well suited to walk you through the birth injury lawsuit process and answer any other questions you may have.