A birth injury is always devastating, especially when it results from medical malpractice. Because a healthcare professional was negligent, your child may be subjected to a lifetime of developmental delays and impairment. This is heartbreaking under any circumstances, but more so when the situation was preventable.
The birth injury lawyers of Rockland County at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman will hold those responsible for the harm to your child and fight so that parents may receive the maximum compensation. Our team has decades of trial experience, and its members have represented victims of many accidents and injuries. Seek truth and justice amid your heartbreak to gain the compensation your family deserves from our compassionate team.
New York Birth Injury Statistics
According to data from the March of Dimes, in 2021, roughly 10 percent of babies born in New York were pre-term. These infants are at greater risk of suffering birth injuries than full-term babies. In addition, approximately 8.4 percent of babies were low birth weight, another contributing factor. The 2019 infant mortality rate in New York was 4.7 per 1,000 live births. That year, 546 New York infants did not live to celebrate their first birthday. The March of Dimes states that the infant health crisis is worsening. In addtion, the Agency for Healthcare Research found that there were nearly 157,700 potentially avoidable injuries to mothes and newborns nationwide.
Types of Birth Injuries Caused by Malpractice
The most common types of severe birth injuries caused by malpractice involve oxygen deprivation, head trauma, and brain bleeds. Other frequently occurring birth injuries include:
- Brachial plexus
- Cerebral palsy
- Erb’s palsy
- Facial paralysis
- Skull fracture
- Spinal cord injuries
Some birth injuries caused by medical malpractice, including fractured collarbones resulting from difficult deliveries, will heal and should not cause permanent impairment. However, the infant would require immobilization for fracture treatment. In a worst-case scenario, the infant does not survive its injuries.
Common Birth Injury Causes
Common causes of birth injuries include:
- Delayed emergency C-section
- Dropping or bumping the newborn’s head
- Failing to diagnose maternal conditions
- Inadequately monitored high-risk pregnancies
- Prescribing inappropriate medication to a pregnant woman
- Umbilical cord prolapse
- Use of forceps
- Uterine rupture
Birth Injury Signs
Signs of a birth injury in early infancy include:
- Breathing problems
- Rapid or slow heart rate
- Lack of response to lights or loud noises
- Muscle weakness
Compensation for Birth Injuries
Compensation, or damages, for a birth injury is either economic or non-economic.
Examples of economic damages include:
- Medical expenses, current and future
- Loss of future income
Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, and emotional distress. In New York, funds received in a lawsuit or settlement must be used for the benefit of the child.
Statute of Limitations
In New York, the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is generally 2.5 years from the date of the injury. However, for birth injuries, the statute of limitations is extended to 10 years if the parents are pursuing a claim on the child’s behalf. The child usually has until the age of 21 to pursue a claim on their own. If the child succumbed to their birth injuries, the parents must file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years of the death date.
Further, birth injuries are not always apparent right away. Sometimes, it is not diagnosed until the child starts missing developmental milestones. For example, the child may not sit, stand, walk, or start communicating within the expected timeframe. In addition, they may exhibit learning disabilities or have problems with vision or hearing—this is why the statute of limitations is a decade.
When suing a public hospital in New York, the statute of limitations is very short. A notice of claim requires filing within 90 days of the action causing the injury. Therefore, contacting a birth injury lawyer as soon as possible is critical.
Proving Professional Negligence in a Birth Injury Lawsuit
Four elements of proof are necessary to prove professional negligence in a birth injury lawsuit. First, the plaintiff must show that defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff. The second element is showing that the defendant breached that duty of care. That involves proving that the defendant did not provide the appropriate level of care for the mother or infant.
The third element concerns causation. The breach of care must directly cause the birth injuries. The final element pertains to damages. You must prove that the birth injury caused an economic or non-economic loss.
How Our Birth Injury Lawyers Can Help You
A Rockland County birth injury lawyer at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman will identify all potential defendants in your case. This may include the obstetrician, midwife, anesthesiologist, nurses, other medical providers, and the hospital. Besides reviewing medical records, we will provide experts to testify about the proper standard of care pertaining to your child. Birth injuries are complicated. That is why it is imperative that you choose an attorney with expertise in this complex field.
Contact a Rockland County Birth Injury Lawyer
If your child suffered a birth injury due to medical malpractice, contact the experienced birth injury lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman today. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at our office. Since we work on a contingency basis, there is no fee unless you receive compensation.