Injuries that are sustained during birth are obviously unfortunate, but can also have a wide range of consequences. From something as simple as a birthmark in the form of a scar to more serious life-altering conditions such as a disability, the effects of birth injuries are not to be considered lightly. Bringing a new life into this world is a wonderful feeling, but there is no argument that the process of giving birth is a complicated one. It is an arduous procedure for both Mother and Baby, which isn’t always as straightforward as we would like it to be. There must be an understanding before entering the delivery room that something could go wrong, and if it does; what to do next. As the adage goes, you must plan for the worst and hope for the best.
For those who are unfortunate to experience an injury as a result of the birthing process, there are a few options available after the event which may provide some support or closure to the traumatic experiences that were endured. They depend on the reasons and the circumstances of how the injury took place, and what the result was. Some injuries suffered at birth can lead to 24-hour care being a requirement for the newborn until they are older, whereas some may require an endless amount of support for the rest of their lives. Sadly, some injuries are too much to come back from and a loss of life can occur.
If the injury was the result of human error, malpractice, or negligence, then it’s likely that a case can be made to recoup some compensation. Here are a few tips on what to do, in order to follow up on a birth injury case.
Establish how the injury took place.
There is no doubt that healthcare and medical professionals are dedicated, careful and hard-working people. But they are also human and can make mistakes. From something as simple as nicking a baby with a scalpel during a Caesarian-section to missing signs of complications during the delivery of the baby, the margin for error is always going to be present. Accidents do happen, and even though they aren’t ideal, doctors and nurses are insured to make sure that there are provisos in place should an injury occur.
However, there have been cases of medical negligence in the U.S., and it would not be a good idea to ignore this either. Of course, making this claim is a serious and sensitive issue and one that would involve a significant investigation. You must be sure that this has taken place before you take matters further. As such, it would be a good idea to speak to a different doctor, perhaps one not remotely related to the staff or hospital where the delivery took place. They can provide you with insight and can either confirm or deny that negligence has been the cause. Note that they will not be dissuading you from making a claim should an injury have been sustained, but clarifying what type of claim or case will be best suited to follow up with.
Instances whereby the injury was brought about by a third-party, such as a car accident or an abusive attack, will automatically fall within the realm of personal accountability. However, whichever way the injury was caused, you should take that information to a birth injury lawyer.
Be wary of the statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations (the length of time after an event within which a legal action must be brought) begins counting down from when the injury was noticed. From then, in most of the United States, claimants have two years to bring a case, or else the statute of limitations will run out, and there can be no claim made. It is advisable to speak to a birth injury lawyer as soon as possible, even if that is before you complete investigating the cause of the injury. They will help you with this as part of their discovery anyway, so even if you aren’t sure; speak to a professional as time is of the essence.
Who should you speak to?
Injuries that are caused during birth fall under the remit of personal injury attorneys and lawyers, regardless of if caused by a medical professional or a third party. It helps to keep local in terms of who you select as your attorney in these cases, as you will be having a significant dialog with them and building an airtight case. However, make sure that you research the success rates of your potential attorneys before enlisting their help, and ensure that they will not charge you until you have made a successful claim for compensation. Chicago birth injury attorneys Schwaner Injury Law are an example of a law firm who will only charge if successful, and also provide free consultation as part of your decision-making.
Who should you avoid?
Don’t speak to anyone else who works within the hospital, or is affiliated with whoever caused the injury–under any circumstances. The hospital management will be looking to minimize any losses–even if the injury is an accident–and will do anything to keep the situation under wraps. If you have been forced into a situation whereby your child will need expensive care as a result of someone else’s wrongdoing, then it is their responsibility to ensure that care is funded. Whatever they offer at first will just be to make the situation go away, but won’t resolve anything. As alluded to earlier, if you need another medical opinion, then speak to a doctor who has no ties to the hospital (the attorneys will help with this if you have problems), but no one else.
If the injury was the result of actions by someone not affiliated with the hospital, then you might have to track that person down. This sounds a lot more difficult than it looks, as lawyers will go to great lengths to find someone who does not want to be found, including employing an investigator. If that person has apparently disappeared, they will be found regardless of if they have fled town or are incarcerated. However, even if you do know how to find out if someone is in jail, then (once again) do not engage with them in any way. Let the lawyers handle it, within the confines of the law.
Preparing for court.
In most instances, personal injury claims are settled out of court, and only a small percentage go to trial. But there are going to be many meetings along the way that you will need to be present at, and during these, you would be best served to make a good impression.
Dress appropriately, i.e. swap t-shirts for tunics, leggings for trousers, and sweaters for jackets. This may seem obvious, but it is a common misconception that a person must dress down slightly to give the impression of being less well off. The opposite is the case–remember, the best arguments are made calmly and professionally. If you dress as such, you can only help your case; so check out a brand like Chico’s and source some smarter apparel before a sit down with lawyers from the other party, or on the rare chance you end up in court.
In many ways, following up on a birth injury case is also a case of planning for the worst whilst hoping for the best. There is a possibility that you could lose your case. But, if you have made a watertight claim, explored all avenues with your attorneys, and gotten multiple testimonies, that possibility can only shrink.