In the months preceding childbirth, you and your partner likely have many hopes and dreams for your child that you cannot wait to see come true. However, all these plans could change in a heartbeat if a medical professional makes a mistake and causes a birth injury. If your baby has suffered a birth injury, it may be beneficial to consult with a Poughkeepsie birth injury lawyer to determine your legal options and rights.

Birth injuries may drastically change the course of life for both a child and their parents, as well as siblings and extended family members. Filing for compensation could assist with lifting a financial burden brought on by the negligent actions of a physician or medical staff member. Consider the benefits of working with a dedicated injury attorney who could fight tirelessly on behalf of your family’s welfare.

Birth Injury Causes

A variety of factors and situations may lead to a birth injury. Some of them could occur despite how skilled and conscientious the medical staff is during the birth, but others may be preventable. When a medical professional fails to observe and act quickly on certain clinical signs and symptoms, a preventable birth injury may occur.

Many birth injuries are caused by a lack of oxygenated blood in the baby’s brain near the time of delivery. This could lead to a serious condition called hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). Other common causes of birth injuries may include brain bleeds, excess fluid on the brain, infections, increased bilirubin, traumatic deliveries that place excessive force on the fetus, and premature delivery. Someone who has an infant or child that suffered such an injury may substantially benefit from reaching out to a Poughkeepsie birth injury lawyer.

Determining the cause of a birth injury can be challenging. Medical professionals are not always transparent about how an injury occurred or why they believed a specific decision was necessary. A birth injury lawyer in Poughkeepsie could help a family determine whether their child’s birth injury might have resulted from a medical professional’s negligence.

The Importance of a Certificate of Merit

When any type of medical malpractice civil suit is filed in New York, including a birth injury claim, the plaintiff typically must file a written certificate of merit. This certificate is generally required to be filed with the claim, or within 90 days of filing if the statute of limitations passes prior to the ability to obtain such a certificate.

More about the certificate of merit requirements could be found in New York Civil Practice Law & Rules §3012-A. Generally speaking, the certificate must state either of the following:

  • The plaintiff’s Poughkeepsie birth injury lawyer has reviewed the facts of the claim with at least one licensed physician and, through this consultation, determined that there was a founded medical reason for a birth injury lawyer
  • The attorney is not able to comply with the aforementioned requirement, although they have made three individual attempts to consult with three different physicians

The Lasting Impact of Birth Injuries

A child might suffer from the results of inadequate prenatal care or poor decision-making during delivery for the rest of their life. The long-term injuries that negligent medical care might inflict on an infant include:

  • Bruises and cuts to the scalp and face, from assisted delivery with vacuum or forceps, sometimes lead to permanent scarring
  • Bone fractures typically happen during assisted delivery with vacuum or forceps—most heal without complication but skull fractures during birth could have long-term consequences
  • Developmental delays
  • Facial nerve damage resulting from improper use of forceps during delivery
  • Erb’s palsy—damage to the nerves affecting the hand, arm, shoulder, and neck. Paralysis and loss of sensation often improves over time but sometimes permanently impairs the functioning of the affected limb
  • Cervical Dystonia, which causes the child’s head to tilt forward, backward, or toward one side
  • Retinal damage or blindness
  • Epilepsy and other seizure disorders

Some children with birth injuries develop cerebral palsy. The severity of cerebral palsy varies significantly but children with even mild cases usually have some permanent impairment of their motor function. Children with more severe cases might never learn to walk or feed themselves, could have significant intellectual disabilities and cognitive impairment, and might never be able to live independently.

Securing Damages for Birth Injuries

Children with significant birth injuries might require ongoing medical care and extensive therapeutic support throughout their childhood and into adulthood—perhaps for the rest of their lives. A child with severe disabilities could require care that is ruinously expensive, even for families with excellent insurance.

When a medical professional’s negligence caused the injuries, they should be responsible for bearing the costs of care, not the family. Seeking damages is a way to ensure that a disabled child gets the care they need.

Medical malpractice damages might cover the child’s injury-related medical expenses and necessary interventions, both past and future. Damages could also provide funds to acknowledge the child’s suffering, lost opportunities, disability, disfigurement, and physical pain. A family might receive damages for their emotional distress over the injury to their child.

In rare cases, an experienced Poughkeepsie birth injury attorney might suggest that a family ask the court to award punitive damages. Punitive damages do not compensate the injured person for a particular loss, but punish a negligent person for their outrageous conduct. Most birth injury cases do not merit punitive damages, but they might be appropriate when a medical professional’s conduct is reckless, malicious, fraudulent, or indifferent to a patient’s suffering and distress.

Speak with a Poughkeepsie Birth Injury Attorney

A birth injury may be traumatic both physically and emotionally, leaving permanent visible and invisible wounds. To make matters worse, these wounds often come with high medical and care expenses that could impact finances far into the future. Planning for life after a birth injury could be overwhelming and full of uncertainty. By hiring a well-versed Poughkeepsie birth injury lawyer, you could begin pursuing fair compensation.

While no amount of compensation may change what has already happened, a fair award or settlement could provide for your child and help them prepare for the future challenges of life. Call to schedule an appointment today and begin discussing the legal steps of moving forward with a negligence claim.