Nevada Birth Injury

Birth injuries can happen in Nevada whenever a doctor commits medical malpractice and the victim is a newborn baby. These injuries can alter the child's life and saddle them with serious medical conditions that will prove to be an obstacle for their whole life. Recovering compensation from the negligent doctor and their medical institution is critical.

The birth injury attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian can provide the legal representation that victims need to recover the financial compensation that they deserve.

How Birth Injuries Happen in Nevada

Birth injuries can happen in a huge variety of ways. In some cases, they happen because of the genetic makeup of the child and his or her parents. In others, they are the result of bad luck, with little that could have prevented it from happening.

However, lots of birth injuries are the result of a doctor's negligence. That negligence can take the form of a poor decision, a negligent action, or inaction in the face of facts that demand something is done.

Birth Injuries Can Happen Throughout the Pregnancy

While most birth injuries that are the result of medical malpractice happen in the delivery room, they can actually occur at any point during the mother's pregnancy. Doctors can cause a birth injury if they:

  • Do not detect a clear genetic disease or threat;
  • Prescribe the mother medication that would put a fetus at risk without first checking to make sure she is not pregnant; or
  • Hurt the developing fetus with an internal procedure.

Causes of Birth Injuries in Nevada

Birth injuries can happen in a huge variety of ways. In some cases, they happen because of the genetic makeup of the child and his or her parents. In others, they are the result of a doctor's negligence. That negligence can take the form of a poor decision, a negligent action, or inaction in the face of facts that demanded that something be done.

Malpractice in the Delivery Room

Most birth injuries happen in the delivery room, and are caused by a doctor's medical malpractice.

That malpractice can take a huge number of forms and can happen in a wide variety of situations in the delivery room, alone. The only thing underpinning all incidents of medical malpractice is the substandard level of medical care that it provides – care that often does more harm than good because it is so substandard.

Common incidents of medical malpractice in the delivery room that can cause a birth injury include:

  • Neglecting or not monitoring the mother during labor
  • Ignoring signs of fetal distress
  • Not reacting appropriately to fetal distress signals that are noticed
  • Negligently administering the epidural
  • Using excessive force during an assisted delivery or with an extraction device
  • Making a harmful mistake during the C-section surgery

Many of these incidents directly cause harm to the baby and result in a birth injury. Others, though, only indirectly cause a birth injury by creating an intervening medical complication that, itself, causes the birth injury. Doctors can be held liable for medical malpractice in either situation – regardless of whether their mistake or negligence directly or indirectly caused the injury.

Malpractice Can Cause a Birth Injury at Any Point During the Pregnancy

While most birth injuries that are the result of medical malpractice happen in the delivery room, they can actually occur at any point during the mother's pregnancy. Doctors can cause a birth injury if they:

  • Do not detect a clear genetic disease or threat;
  • Prescribe the mother medication that would put a fetus at risk without first checking to make sure she is not pregnant; or
  • Hurt the developing fetus with an internal procedure.

Failing to detect a genetic disease or defect that can lead to a birth injury can amount to medical malpractice that can make a doctor and their medical institution liable for the results. This is the case, even though the birth injury was actually caused by the child's genes. By failing to find or even look for the potential for a genetic abnormality that could cause a birth defect, doctors prevent the parents of the child from making an informed healthcare decision. That negligence can be a superseding cause of the child's birth injury.

Some Examples of Nevada Birth Injuries

Because a birth injury only refers to the victim of a doctor's malpractice, there are actually numerous types of medical conditions that it encompasses. Children who have been afflicted with a birth injury can suffer from any of the following medical conditions:

Each of these medical conditions can come with a host of other medical complications and can span a wide range of severity. For example, oxygen deprivation can cause significant developmental delays or even brain damage if left unchecked for even a few minutes and can lead to perinatal asphyxia if it is allowed to persist. However, if it is detected and corrected quickly, the effects of the deprivation might be minor and easily overcome as the child grows.

What are the Symptoms that My Child Suffered a Birth Injury?

Not all of the symptoms of a birth injury are so obvious that unsuspecting parents will be put on alert. However, some of them are pretty clear indications that something has gone wrong. These include:

  • An indentation or a bump on the baby's head – a sign of a skull fracture
  • A dislocated shoulder
  • A broken bone
  • Asymmetrical facial movements, a sign of facial paralysis
  • Weak or limp limbs, a sign of muscle paralysis or nerve damage
  • Breathing problems severe enough for the child to need a breathing tube right after birth

A lot of birth injuries – especially those that cause neurological conditions, rather than physical ones – have symptoms that are far less obvious. These symptoms can include:

  • A subconjunctival hemorrhage – a patch of blood in the white part of the baby's eye – which indicates that the birth put a lot of pressure on the baby's skull and may have caused a birth injury
  • Bruising or swelling
  • Eating issues, especially when the child has trouble swallowing
  • Lots of drooling
  • Nausea, constipation, or vomiting
  • Seemingly uncontrolled eye movements, which could be a sign that the baby is having seizures
  • Crying, especially if the baby is arching its back
  • Breathing issues, like wheezing or coughing

A pediatrician can diagnose a birth injury from these symptoms. Seeing one that does not work for the hospital that delivered the baby can ensure you get an unbiased medical opinion.

Some birth injuries, though, do not have any immediate symptoms. Some neurological conditions only become apparent when the child fails to achieve the developmental milestones that doctors use to gauge a child's growth. While children often struggle with one or two of these milestones, children that have a birth injury tend to struggle with nearly all of them.

Compensation for Birth Injury Victims and Their Family in Nevada

These medical conditions and the complications that they often cause are serious, debilitating, and expensive. When they were the result of a doctor's negligence, the doctor and their hospital should be held liable and forced to pay compensation for the foreseeable losses that they have caused.

In Nevada, that compensation can be divided into two parts:

  1. Economic damages, which are easy to state in a dollar amount; and
  2. Noneconomic damages, which are not easy to state in a dollar amount.

Economic damages include losses and setbacks like:

  • Medical bills
  • Anticipated medical expenses that will accumulate in the future for ongoing medical care
  • Any reduction in the child's expected ability to earn an income as an adult

Noneconomic damages include things that are not as easy to quantify, like:

  • The child's pain and suffering
  • The child's inability to enjoy life to the fullest
  • The parent's loss of companionship
  • Emotional distress

The difference between economic and noneconomic damages is critical in Nevada's birth injury cases because birth injury lawsuits are considered to be medical malpractice claims, and all medical malpractice claims are subject to Nevada's damage capping statute, Nevada Revised Statute § 41A.035. That law limits the amount of noneconomic damages that can be recovered in a medical malpractice claim to a mere $350,000, no matter how debilitating the injury and no matter how much compensation the hurt child deserves to receive.

Nevada's Statute of Limitations Requires Claims to Be Filed Quickly

Nevada also has a statute of limitations that forces birth injury victims to file their lawsuit before a set period of time has expired. That law is found at Nevada Revised Statute § 41A.097.

For parents who are filing the lawsuit on their injured child's behalf, that time period is:

  • One year after they should have reasonably discovered the injury; or
  • Up to three years after the birth injury happened.

However, children can invoke their rights to compensation without their parents' representation. This extends the statute of limitations to:

  • The child's 10th birthday, if they suffered brain damage or a birth defect
  • 2 years after the child discovers that their birth injury made them sterile

Gilman & Bedigian's $55 Million Birth Injury Verdict

The lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian recently saw a birth injury case through to its final conclusion when they represented a birth injury victim and his family recover a record-setting $55 million verdict in Maryland.

Doctors at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore had failed to take appropriate action in the face of sure signs of fetal distress. Rather than performing a C-section right away, they waited nearly two hours. At that time, the boy was deprived of oxygen. When he was born, he had Cerebral Palsy and other developmental delays.

With the help of the lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian, the victim took his case to trial and won the compensation that he and his family needed.

Gilman & Bedigian: Birth Injury Lawyers in Nevada

If your child was born with a birth injury in Nevada and you suspect malpractice, reach out to Gilman & Bedigian by contacting us online.

Let Us Help

If someone you are close to has been seriously injured or worse, you are naturally devastated not only by what has happened, but by the effect that the injury or loss has had on you and your family. At a time when you're vulnerable, traumatized and emotionally exhausted, you need a team that will support you through the often complex process that lies ahead.

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