When a doctor commits medical malpractice and hurts a newborn baby or an unborn fetus, the result is referred to as a birth injury. These are a special kind of medical malpractice and personal injury claim because the damages are often devastating and will be an obstacle for the victim for the rest of his or her life.
The birth injury lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian have established a track record of success representing victims of birth injuries and their families. Victims in Minnesota can rely on them for the legal representation they need to overcome their injuries by recovering the compensation they need and deserve.
Birth Injuries Saddle Newborns With Life-Long Disabilities
A birth injury is any medical condition that was caused by a doctor's malpractice or negligence and that hurts a newborn. This covers a broad range of injuries, though each one of them can lead to serious disabilities that are debilitating to the victim over the long term.
Some examples of birth injuries that a newborn can suffer include:
- Cerebral Palsy or Erb's Palsy
- Facial paralysis, a condition that can lead to numerous other medical complications as the newborn can have trouble nursing or closing its eyes
- Diabetic retinopathy, which can cause the child to lose his or her vision
- Intracranial or subconjunctival hemorrhages
- Shoulder dystocia
- Perinatal asphyxia
Many of these medical conditions are triggered by a period of oxygen deprivation during the baby's delivery. Without a constant source of oxygen, the newborn's body and brain can stop developing and can even regress. If the oxygen deprivation lasts long enough, it can lead to developmental delays and even brain damage.
Because these injuries are suffered through no fault of the child or his or her parents, the doctors whose negligence caused it should be held accountable.
Birth Injuries in Minnesota's Delivery Rooms
The delivery room is the place where most birth injuries occur. Delivering a baby is a traumatic and difficult process. If reasonable steps are not taken, it can also be an extremely dangerous one, both for the mother and the child.
The risk of a birth injury is at its highest whenever the labor is prolonged or the delivery encounters difficulties or other obstacles. Doctors facing these situations often turn to extraction devices to assist in the delivery. However, if they are not careful using these assisted delivery techniques, they can cause more harm than good.
Avoiding these difficult situations is essential, and doctors have a wide variety of methods to do so. If they fail to take reasonable steps as a precaution and the delivery becomes traumatic and leads to an injury, it can amount to malpractice and they can be held liable.
This is what happened to one of Gilman & Bedigian's clients in Maryland. An expectant mother went to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore to give birth to a baby boy. However, the doctors there did not notice, or else ignored, sure signs that the fetus was in distress. Rather than performing a C-section right away, they waited for two hours. By then, the boy had been deprived of oxygen for so long that he was born with Cerebral Palsy and other medical conditions.
With the legal help of the birth injury lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian, the victim and his family sued the hospital and the doctors there, winning a state record-setting $55 million verdict.
Birth Injuries Can Also Happen Before the Baby is Born
While most birth injuries happen in the delivery room, they can also happen while the baby is still in utero. These congenital birth injuries can be the result of a doctor's medical malpractice if, for example, the doctor:
- Failed to perform a genetic test that would have discovered a high risk of a birth defect
- Prescribed a pregnant woman medication that would hurt the fetus she was carrying
Just because the conduct happened before birth does not mean that it cannot produce a birth injury.
Compensation for Victims of Birth Injuries in Minnesota
Medical malpractice victims, including children who have suffered a birth injury and their parents, have a right to receive compensation from the responsible party in Minnesota. This entitlement includes compensation for all of the foreseeable repercussions of the birth injury, not just the medical bills that have already had to be paid. In addition to those medical expenses, victims can recover compensation for:
- Reasonably anticipated medical expenses for future care for the birth injury and its medical complications
- The child's loss of earning capacity as he or she will struggle to earn the standard of living they would have been able to in their adult life
- The child's physical pain, mental suffering, and loss of life's enjoyments
- The family's loss of companionship stemming from watching their child grow up with a debilitating birth injury
Unlike many other states, Minnesota does not cap the amount of compensation that victims can recover in a successful birth injury lawsuit. This means victims can recover what a jury thinks they deserve for their losses.
Minnesota's Statute of Limitations
All birth injury claims in the state have to abide by Minnesota's statute of limitations. If the period of time provided by the statute of limitations expires before the lawsuit is filed, a court will dismiss it without looking at it.
In Minnesota, the statute of limitations depends on whether the parents of the hurt child are filing the claim on the child's behalf, or whether the child is pursuing their own compensation.
When a parent sues on the child's behalf, Minnesota Statute § 541.076 requires the claim to be filed within four years. However, if the child is the one filing the lawsuit, then the statute of limitations gets tolled or delayed under Minnesota Statute § 541.15 for seven years.
Compassionate and Aggressive Birth Injury Lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian
The birth injury lawyers at the law office of Gilman & Bedigian legally represent victims of birth injuries and their families in Minnesota. Contact us online to get started on your case today.