A birth injury is any medical condition that a newborn baby is born with. When that medical issue is the result of a doctor's medical malpractice, the doctor and his or her medical institution can be held legally liable for the results of their negligence.
The birth injury lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian strive to legally represent victims in Kentucky and help them recover the compensation that they need and deserve to overcome the obstacles of being born with a serious medical condition through no fault of their own.
What Are Birth Injuries?
A birth injury is a medical condition that affects a newborn baby. When a child is born with a birth defect or a malady that will lead to developmental delays as they grow up, they suffer from a birth injury.
These injuries usually happen in the delivery room and are often the result of a doctor's poor or negligent use of an extraction device during an assisted delivery. However, they can also happen well before the baby is being delivered, and even at the very early stages of the pregnancy.
Some examples of birth injuries include:
- Facial paralysis
- Shoulder dystocia
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Subconjunctival hemorrhaging
- Intracranial or subarachnoid hemorrhaging
- Cerebral Palsy
- Erb's Palsy
- Perinatal asphyxia
- Oxygen deprivation
Each of these conditions can be relatively minor or incredibly debilitating. In some cases, they can even be life-threatening.
However, not all birth injuries are the result of a doctor's negligence or malpractice. When they are, though, the doctor and his or her hospital should compensate the victim and the victim's family for what they have been put through.
What Compensation is Available in a Birth Injury Case in Kentucky?
Victims who have been born with a birth injury are likely to have a drastically different life than peers who were not saddled with such a severe medical condition from the start. They are likely going to find themselves unable to compete in physical activities and may have intellectual disabilities that keep them from standing out. In the worst cases, birth injuries can leave victims bound to a wheelchair and reliant on daily support from family members.
Compensating all of these setbacks is the goal of medical malpractice law in Kentucky. By filing a birth injury lawsuit, victims and their families can demand financial compensation that would cover their:
- Medical bills
- Costs of medical expenses that are expected in the future for ongoing care, like follow up procedures, medication, specialized vocational training, or occupational therapy
- Specialized medical equipment, like a wheelchair and a vehicle for a disabled passenger
- Home improvements for any of the child's physical disabilities
- Lost income or ability to earn a living, once the child becomes an adult
- Physical pain
- Mental anguish and suffering
- Loss of life's enjoyments
- Emotional distress
- Loss of companionship and consortium felt by the victim's family.
Unlike lots of other states – especially those in the south and Midwest – Kentucky does not limit the amount of compensation that victims can receive in a birth injury or medical malpractice lawsuit. Other states have statutes called damage caps that expressly limit what can be recovered, especially for pain and suffering. Kentucky, however, allows victims to receive what they actually deserve.
Statute of Limitations for Birth Injury Claims in Kentucky
However, Kentucky still has laws that dictate when a birth injury lawsuit can be filed. This law is an example of a statute of limitations that requires a claim to be filed before a set period of time has elapsed since the injury. If the statute of limitations is not followed and the lawsuit is filed after it has expired, the doctor and hospital being sued can have it dismissed with little effort.
In Kentucky, the applicable statute of limitations depends on whether the parents of the hurt child are filing the claim on the child's behalf or not.
If the parents are filing on their child's behalf, Kentucky Revised Statute § 413-140(1)(e) is the statute of limitations. It requires the claim to be filed within one year, making it one of the shortest in the country.
However, the start of that one-year statute of limitations gets tolled or delayed for children victims until they have reached the age of 18 by Kentucky Revised Statute § 413-170. This means victims of birth injuries who are filing a lawsuit on their own behalf – without being represented by their parents – usually have until their 19th birthday to file a birth injury claim.
An Example of a Birth Injury Claim: Gilman & Bedigian's $55 Million Verdict
Birth injuries are complicated cases that are unlike many other types of lawsuits. This can make it difficult to understand how they work.
An example of a birth injury case was a recent lawsuit brought by the lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian in Maryland.
An expectant mother went to the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore to deliver a baby boy. Doctors, however, either did not recognize the strong signs of fetal distress or decided not to take appropriate action. Their negligence left the mother and baby without help for nearly two hours. By the time doctors at the hospital took action and delivered the baby via a C-section, the boy had been deprived of oxygen for so long that he had Cerebral Palsy and severe physical and mental impairments.
The doctors and the hospital insisted that they did nothing wrong, though, and refused to settle the lawsuit once it had been filed with the help of the lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian. They stuck to this denial throughout the case and it went all the way to trial.
After hearing all of the evidence, the jury awarded the victim and his family a $55 million verdict. The amount set a Maryland record for birth injury claims in the state.
Aggressive and Compassionate Birth Injury Lawyers in Kentucky
The birth injury lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian strive to legally represent victims in Kentucky. Contact them online if you or your child has been born with a medical condition and suspect medical malpractice to be the cause.