Birth injuries are often preventable medical conditions suffered by newborns. They are often the result of medical malpractice and can be compensated with a successful lawsuit against the negligent doctor and his or her institution.
The birth injury lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian help victims in Arizona recover the compensation that they need and deserve after their life has been turned upside down by a birth injury in their family.
Birth Injuries Are Common in the U.S.
Something that can surprise many Americans is just how frequently birth injuries happen in hospitals in the country. One study found that there were present in an estimated 0.07% of live births and accounted for almost 2% of neonatal deaths.
Given that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that there are around 3.86 million babies born in the U.S. every year, that means there are around 270,000 newborns experience a birth injury on an annual basis.
How Birth Injuries Can Happen
Birth injuries can happen in one of two ways:
- in utero; and/or
- during the delivery process.
In Utero Birth Injuries
Fetuses develop and grow rapidly in the womb during pregnancy. Even tiny mistakes can impair that development.
One way for that to happen is if a doctor prescribes medication to the mother that would imperil a fetus, all without checking to make sure that the woman is not pregnant. By not making sure that the woman is not pregnant and then prescribing a pill that would be dangerous to a fetus, doctors can commit malpractice by negligently causing a birth injury.
Another way for birth injuries to happen in utero is for a doctor to fail to conduct a genetic test when signs that one is wise have presented themselves. These tests can calculate how probable a birth defect will be based on the parents' genetics. It can help parents make an informed health decision about their pregnancy and child.
Birth Injuries During Delivery
Birth injuries are probably more likely to happen during the delivery process, though. These birth injuries are often the result of a traumatic delivery or labor and frequently involve the use of assisted delivery methods. When doctors fail to take adequate precautions during the delivery, it can create the conditions that drastically increase fetal distress that tends to end with a birth injury.
A Birth Injury Example: Gilman & Bedigian's $55 Million Verdict
An example of how a birth injury can happen comes from a recent case that the medical malpractice lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian brought all the way to trial.
In that case, an expectant mother in Baltimore went to Johns Hopkins Hospital. There, doctors did not respond to clear signs of fetal distress for more than two hours. When they finally changed tactics and went from a vaginal birth to a C-section, the fetus had been deprived of oxygen for so long that he was born with mental disabilities, physical abnormalities, and Cerebral Palsy.
With the help of the lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian, the child and his parents sued the doctors and the hospital, all of whom denied wrongdoing. The case went all the way to trial, and the jury awarded the injured child $55 million in damages, a Maryland record for a birth injury case.
Common Types of Birth Injuries
A birth injury is any kind of medical condition suffered by a fetus or a newborn baby. They come in a huge variety of conditions, ranging from inconsequential to life-threatening. Some of the most common and severe birth injuries include:
- Cerebral Palsy
- Erb's Palsy
- Nerve damage
- Intracranial or subconjunctival hemorrhage
- Oxygen deprivation
- Fractures of the skull or facial bones
- Shoulder dystocia
- Spinal cord injuries
Compensation for Victims in Arizona
In Arizona, both the children who directly suffer a birth injury and their parents can file a personal injury or medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctors and medical facilities ultimately responsible for the injury. That compensation is meant to cover all of the setbacks associated with the birth injury.
This goes far beyond just the medical expenses that have already been accumulated to care for and treat the birth injury. It also includes:
- the costs of reasonably anticipated medical bills in the future;
- physical pain suffered by the child due to the birth injury;
- mental suffering from having to live with a birth injury that will prevent the child from living his or her life to the fullest; and
- loss of consortium and companionship suffered by the victim's parents.
Luckily, in Arizona, there are no laws that limit the amount of compensation that victims can receive. Instead, Article 2, Section 31 of Arizona's State Constitution forbids these limitations – called damage caps – in the state. This sets Arizona apart from lots of other states in the U.S., some of which have very stringent caps that under-compensate victims.
Statute of Limitations for Birth Injury Claims in Arizona
Victims of birth injuries must still comply with Arizona's statute of limitations when they file a lawsuit for compensation. This statute of limitations, found at Arizona Statute 12-542, requires parents of injured children to file their claim within two years of discovering the injury.
Children who have been hurt by a birth injury, however, can file a lawsuit without their parents' help. If an injured child's parents do not file a lawsuit on their behalf, these children can invoke their own rights to compensation. Because they were hurt while they were underage, Arizona Statute 12-821.01 tolls or delays the beginning of the statute of limitations until the injured child turns 18.
Birth Injury Lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian Serve Arizona
Children who have suffered a birth injury thanks to a doctor's medical malpractice deserve compensation for their plights. The birth injury lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian can help and have a track record of successes to back it up. Contact us online to get started on your case and make sure the people responsible for a birth injury pay the compensation they should pay.