Although birth injuries are not as common as they once were, they still happen. Sometimes a birth injury occurs naturally or from circumstances beyond anyone’s control. In other cases, though, they occur due to errors and negligence on the part of the delivering doctor or other medical staff.

These injuries can significantly impact the life of the baby and their parents, especially if the child needs extra medical care that comes at a high expense. Birth injuries can also be very emotionally taxing on parents and other family members.

Fortunately, the seasoned legal assistance a qualified medical malpractice attorney can provide could help you and your family achieve a better future. If you or your child are hurt by a doctor’s negligence during childbirth, an experienced Newburgh birth injury lawyer may be able to help you seek justice for your child’s birth injury.

Defining Birth Injuries

Birth injuries can come in many shapes and forms, but by definition, they all occur during labor and delivery. Some birth injuries are minor and heal within a few days to a couple of weeks, but others can be long-term or even permanent, such as a traumatic brain injury.

In addition to physical trauma, birth injuries often cause emotional pain and suffering for the child and their family as they grow, as well as significant financial difficulties. Common types of birth injuries that Newburgh birth injury lawyers often see include:

  • Head and brain injuries, including brain bleeds and broken skulls
  • Nerve injuries to the face, spinal cord (paralysis), arms, hands, phrenic nerve (difficulty breathing), and neck
  • Fractures to the collarbone, legs, or arms
  • Perinatal asphyxia due to decreased blood flow to the baby’s tissues before, during, or after delivery
  • Skin and other soft tissue injuries, including bruising caused by forceps or a vacuum delivery

Risk Factors for Birth Injuries

While birth injuries could happen to anyone under the wrong circumstances, certain risk factors increase the likelihood of an injury. These risk factors could be present in the mother, the infant, or both. Understanding and addressing these risk factors is one of the primary roles a doctor should fill.

Some of these risk factors are exclusively related to the mother. For example, a mother’s pelvis shape or size could be an indicator that a birth might be difficult, or that an injury during delivery might be possible. Prolonged or difficult labor is another factor.

There are also factors related to the infants. Larger infants—in a condition known as macrosomia—are statistically more likely to face a difficult delivery than smaller infants. Babies born prematurely are also at higher risk of injury. One of the most common factors that could increase the chances of a birth injury is abnormal fetal position. If the child is feet-down instead of head-down, the odds of a medical injury go up.

While it is true that there are risk factors among mothers and infants alike that could increase the chances of a birth injury, that does not eliminate a care provider’s duty to avoid harming their patients. Doctors and nurses could face civil liability if their mistakes result in an injury to the newborn and/or the mother.

Medical Negligence and Birth Injuries

In order for compensation to be available for a birth injury, there must be evidence of negligence. This negligence could have occurred at the hands of the attending physician, a nurse, or even the administrative staff of the hospital.

While the term “birth injury” suggests these injuries occur during labor, the reality is that birth injuries (such as cerebral palsy) could result from negligence at any point during pregnancy, labor, or delivery.

A medical mistake during the early phases of pregnancy might not manifest until the mother goes into labor. One of the most common forms of negligence in these situations is the failure to identify or address a serious health concern with the mother or the infant. If these conditions go untreated during the course of the pregnancy, it could lead to devastating outcomes during labor.

Many birth injuries occur as a result of medical mistakes during delivery. One of the most common examples involves injuries to a child by the doctor during a difficult delivery. Doctors who struggle to remove the infant often turn to tools like forceps of vacuums to forcibly remove them. These tools, when used incorrectly, could cause devastating injuries to the child. Careless doctors could damage the skulls or spine of the infants by applying too much force.

Birth injuries can even happen immediately after delivery. Some serious medical conditions will only become obvious in the moments after delivery. If the doctor or nursing staff fails to adequately monitor the infant, the symptoms could go unnoticed. This could lead to a dangerous delay in treatment that could cause significant harm to the child, which necessitates a call to a Newburgh birth accident lawyer.

Birth Injury Filing Deadlines

As per New York Civil Practice Law and Rules §214-A, plaintiffs in a birth injury case have a time limit of two years and six months to file their lawsuit. However, there are some scenarios—legally referred to as “tolls”—that will freeze the proverbial clock in the deadline to file.

The most common toll in a birth injury case is listed under New York CPLR § 208. Under this toll, the statute of limitations periods would not begin until the minor is the age of majority. Upon the minor’s eighteenth birthday, they would then have 30 months to file their lawsuit.

Families who have questions about how the statute of limitations might run in their case should contact a qualified birth injury lawyer in Newburgh. Even though the infancy toll exists, the sooner a family can contact an attorney, the better the evidence and facts can be preserved in a birth injury case.

Talk to a Newburgh Birth Injury Attorney Today

A child suffering a birth injury is a uniquely challenging and heartbreaking setback to experience. Your life and that of your child may have forever changed due to the negligence of medical staff.

While you cannot turn back time and change the outcome of your child’s birth, you can pursue justice for you and your child. No amount of money can change what you and your child have gone through, but a fair settlement or judgment award may help ensure that your child gets the care they deserve for the rest of their life.

A compassionate Newburgh birth injury lawyer can assist you with this pursuit by reviewing your birth injury case, detailing your legal options and rights, and helping you file suit in civil court. Call today to find out how a dedicated attorney may be able to help.