Obstetrical Malpractice

Pregnant women entrust doctors and other medical professionals to take care of them during this highly anticipated point in their lives.

Effective care during this period is vital to a normal pregnancy, a healthy baby, and a successful delivery. While some tragic outcomes may be unavoidable, there are traumatic circumstances that may be due to obstetric malpractice.

If you or your baby suffered injuries as a result of the negligence of a doctor or other healthcare provider, you may have a claim for obstetric malpractice.

While no amount of money could ever reverse the trauma of your experience, it can help compensate you for the harm your family suffered. Today, we’ll discuss obstetric malpractice claims and how an attorney can assist you.  

If you have questions, please contact us to share your story.

What Is Obstetrical Malpractice? 

Obstetrics encompasses medical care provided to women during pregnancy and childbirth. Obstetrical malpractice occurs when a medical professional fails to adhere to the required standard of care when providing medical care to a pregnant patient.

A woman becomes a victim of malpractice when their medical provider deviates from this standard of care, and the woman or their child suffers injuries.

Serious injuries may result from this deviation, and a victim has the right to retain an obstetrical malpractice lawyer and file a claim. 

Common Injuries Resulting from Obstetrical Malpractice

Injuries related to an obstetrical malpractice claim relate to women’s reproductive health, pregnancy, and childbirth.

While any number of injuries may result from medical malpractice in this area of medicine, the most common injuries seen by attorneys include the following: 

These injuries require a medical diagnosis to pursue your medical malpractice claim. You may understandably be hesitant to see another doctor after your ordeal. However, an obstetrical malpractice lawyer can direct you to a trustworthy professional. 

Common Types of Obstetrical Malpractice

Since obstetrical malpractice occurs during a woman’s pregnancy or childbirth, the victims of this type of negligence are affected more than is typical in a medical malpractice claim.

This is because there could be two victims, the mother and the baby. Let’s look at some common types of obstetrical malpractice.

  • Misdiagnosing or delaying a diagnosis, including failing to identify serious health conditions during pregnancy or a congenital disability in a fetus while in utero;
  • Failing to perform a cesarean section promptly;
  • Performing a surgery or a c-section unnecessarily;
  • Committing surgical errors during or after pregnancy and childbirth, including a cesarean section or hysterectomy;
  • Prescribing incorrect medication during pregnancy or childbirth;
  • Using forceps improperly during delivery;
  • Failing to recognize that the fetus is in distress during labor;
  • Causing brain or organ damage to the child during labor; 
  • Failing to sterilize tools and equipment resulting in infections to the mother, child, or both; 
  • Negligently administering anesthesia;
  • Failing to diagnose any medical conditions, including cancer, during pregnancy;
  • Failing to read mammograms, sonograms, or other tests with accuracy. 

These incidents must result in harm to the mother or child or both to constitute a malpractice claim. Obstetrical malpractice claims require the help of a qualified attorney.

These claims are complex, and getting the financial support you need after such a traumatic experience is vital to you and your child’s recovery. 

How to Succeed in an Obstetrical Malpractice Claim

Succeeding in an obstetrical malpractice claim requires establishing the required elements of negligence. Your attorney gathers the necessary evidence to strengthen your claim and prove the following elements. 

  • Duty of care. Basically, this term refers to the standard of care a prudent, reasonable, and competent professional in the doctor’s field would exercise under the same or similar circumstances.
  • Breach of duty. A breach of the duty of care occurs when the doctor’s actions do not meet the relevant standard. Your attorney evaluates the facts of your case to determine if your doctor deviated from this standard of care. 
  • Causation. The doctor’s breach must have caused you or your baby injury. An attorney may use the assistance of medical experts to provide their opinion as to the cause of your injuries. 
  • Damages. The breach must have caused damages such as medical expenses, lost work, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. 

The elements of a negligence claim may appear straightforward. However, companies that provide obstetrician malpractice insurance are focused on minimizing the doctor’s responsibility and lessening the amount they pay you in damages.

Their attorneys will fight to disprove these elements to lessen the company’s exposure. Your attorney can anticipate defenses that may be raised and help you receive the full value of your losses. 

What Can My Obstetrical Malpractice Lawyer Help Me Recover? 

Those suffering from the effects of obstetrical malpractice may be facing a long road ahead for their physical and emotional recovery.

Victims of medical malpractice in New Mexico are entitled to compensatory damages in the form of economic and noneconomic damages

Economic damages represent direct financial losses stemming from your injury. These tangible losses are proven through evidence like bills, invoices, receipts, and pay stubs. Examples of the most common types of economic damages include:

  • Medical expenses, 
  • Lost wages, 
  • Loss of future earnings, and 
  • Property damage. 

Noneconomic damages are subjective losses that are harder to quantify. Those suffering from physical injuries due to obstetrical malpractice may also feel emotional distress and other psychological conditions resulting from the trauma of their experience. Examples of noneconomic damages include:

  • Emotional distress, 
  • Pain and suffering, 
  • Loss of consortium,
  • Loss of enjoyment of life, and 
  • Permanent injury and disability.

Your attorney can assess the amount of insurance available and what your case is worth. Then, they will negotiate with the insurer to arrive at a fair settlement amount.

A favorable settlement saves time, money, and stress. It also protects you and your family from a lengthy trial where you must relive your trauma before a judge or jury.

However, if negotiations with your doctor’s insurance company fail to produce a just settlement, your attorney takes your case to trial to get you your rightful compensation. 

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim? 

A statute of limitations defines the amount of time an individual has to file a lawsuit against the party that caused their harm. Filing outside this period bars you from bringing a claim.

New Mexico law provides a three-year statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits. As a victim of obstetric malpractice, you have to file your claim within three years of the date the injury occurred. 

Three years may seem like plenty of time. However, you may be overwhelmed by the pain of your injuries and a new baby, and your lawyer needs time to collect evidence, consult experts, and put a strong case together on your behalf.

This time may come and go quickly, so speaking with an attorney as soon as possible is essential to pursue legal action against the doctor who caused your harm. 

Contact an Experienced Obstetrical Malpractice Lawyer Who is Ready to Fight for You

For over 70 years, the attorneys at Poulos & Coates have provided clients with the highest caliber medical malpractice representation.

We are the only New Mexico law firm specializing in medical malpractice litigation that has a doctor and two nurses on staff.

Our legal team shares valuable experience in the field of medical practice and is in the courtroom almost every day.

We help you understand the complexities of the legal process, and we have obtained more than $300 million in judgments and settlements for our clients.

We are committed to caring for our clients and families and delivering the best legal representation possible.

Contact us today by phone or email to get a free, no-charge consultation with our office and learn how Poulos & Coates can help you get the compensation you need to move forward.