The birth of a new baby is one of the most joyful times in any parent’s lifetime, but when that joy is forever dampened by the trauma and unknown consequences of a preventable birth injury, worry for the future can quickly turn a time of bliss into weeks, months, and even years of fear and devastation.
We trust our doctors and healthcare providers to perform to the highest medical standards, especially when bringing a vulnerable new life into the world. But when a doctor or medical staff member fails to provide care that lives up to the accepted standards of the medical community and the result is a birth injury or harm to a mother during the birthing process, the devastated family deserves a resounding voice.
Why Choose The Negligence Attorneys at Knapp & Roberts?
While monetary compensation can’t undo a birth injury, it can provide access to the best medical care and relieve financial burdens so new parents can focus on their child’s wellbeing. The Phoenix, Arizona attorneys at Knapp & Roberts feel passionate about advocating for families who face the overwhelming understanding that they’ve suffered a preventable injury with possible lifelong consequences.
Birth injury is a complex and highly specialized legal field. Our birth injury legal team has compassion and understanding for parents struggling to come to terms with the fact that a preventable mistake caused harm with long-reaching impacts on the entire family.
Call or contact Knapp & Roberts today so we can put our over 20 years of experience in this specialized arena to back you while we begin a strategy for restoring your family’s future to the maximum recovery possible.
Common Types of Labor and Delivery Negligence Claims
Childbirth is unpredictable, and not every problem that occurs in the labor and delivery process is the fault of medical providers, but when those responsible for the careful monitoring of both mother and child during the stages of labor, delivery, and postnatal care make a catastrophic mistake, their faulty decision or lack of proper monitoring can cause harm to their most vulnerable patients.
Failure to order an emergency C-section in a timely manner
Failure to recognize fetal distress or respond to distress with quick, decisive action
Failure to identify and treat preeclampsia
Improper application of forceps
Improper application of vacuum delivery extractor
Improper or incorrect administration of medication
Pitocin errors during labor induction
Epidural injection injury
Failure to recognize and address complications of prolonged labor
Failure to recognize and treat meningitis
Failure to prevent or treat infections
These medical mistakes may result in injuries to an infant and/or laboring mother that can have significant impacts on health ranging from mild and treatable to catastrophic and permanent. Laboring mothers rely on a medical staff’s training, skill, alertness, and judgment. When a problem occurs and providers fail to address the problem correctly and in a timely manner, they’ve committed an act of medical malpractice.
Understanding Untimely C-Section Injuries
Injuries due to an untimely C-section are one of the most common birth injury claims.
A Cesarean section can be a medical miracle. The ability to deliver newborns in this way has saved the lives of countless mothers and infants who would have died during the birthing process in centuries past. But when a medical provider fails to order a C-section in a timely manner, it can cause irreparable harm. If a doctor or team of medical providers fails to recognize signs of birthing complications and fetal distress that another reasonable healthcare provider would quickly address with an emergency C-section, it’s an act of negligence with the potential for serious injuries or even death.
Even under ideal circumstances, C-sections carry risks of infection, anesthesia complications, blood clots in the mother or infant, and other complications. When a C-section isn’t performed promptly and correctly in a medical situation where it’s warranted, the risk of serious injuries increases with serious or even catastrophic results.
Pitocin and Epidural Problems in Birth Injury Law in Arizona
A large number of birth injury claims address problems with two of the most common medical interventions in the birthing process. Pitocin is a widely used medication given to laboring women to increase the timing and intensity of contractions, aid cervical dilation, and expedite the labor process. When Pitocin is administered incorrectly, when it isn’t medically warranted, or if laboring mothers given Pitocin are not properly monitored, the medication can cause over-stimulation and fetal distress, increasing the risk of birth injuries.
While Pitocin speeds up the laboring process, Epidurals—meant to block pain during childbirth—can potentially slow down the labor process significantly, leading to an increased risk of birth injuries. Epidurals can also cause side effects such as a sudden drop in blood pressure in the mother and reduced oxygen to the unborn infant. If not identified and quickly addressed, these side effects can cause birth injuries to the infant as well as potential harm to the laboring mother.
What Are Some of the More Common Birth Injuries?
Failure to recognize and address problems during childbirth or improper medical treatment and errors can cause the following common birth injuries:
Bruising and/or forceps marks
Brachial palsy (nerve damage to the shoulder and arm)
Caput Succedaneum (swelling injury to the scalp from vacuum extraction)
Facial paralysis from forceps delivery
Some common birth injuries result from the use of unnecessary or excessive force while others result from insufficient oxygen and damage to an infant’s developing brain.
Arizona Medical Malpractice Liability and Birth Injuries
Negligence and errors that lead to birth injuries to a child or harm to a laboring mother constitute medical malpractice and leave the at-fault provider or providers liable for damages. Proving this type of liability requires showing the following to be true:
That a patient/provider relationship existed between the laboring mother and the doctor, medical staff, and/or hospital
That the healthcare provider(s) owed a duty of care to provide an acceptable standard of care to the injury victim
That the provider breached this standard with an act of negligence
That the negligence directly caused the injury
That the injury caused real economic and non-economic damages to the patient
Proving liability in the specialized area of birth injury law requires an investigation to identify the liable party and prove that their act of negligence led to the injury. Liability in medical malpractice, including birth injuries, requires asking what another, reasonable provider would have done in the same circumstances.
Who Is Liable for a Birth Injury in Phoenix?
Birth injury is an egregious type of medical malpractice with potentially life-altering consequences for families. Properly identifying the liable party in this type of injury can be challenging. While the OBGYN physician may be directly liable for the injury if they work as an independent contractor with privileges at an associated hospital or birthing center, in Arizona, the liable party could also be the hospital or birthing center itself if the provider is an employee. Possible liable parties in birth injury cases in Phoenix include:
The hospital, clinic, birthing center, or medical facility
A nurse or member of the healthcare staff
A medical equipment manufacturer
Identifying the liable party and proving liability is a critical first step toward negotiating a settlement with the appropriate insurance company or pursuing a birth injury lawsuit in court.
Signs of a Possible Birth Injury
It takes a diagnosis from a qualified medical professional to confirm a birth injury, but parents should be alert for the following possible signs and symptoms:
A baby who feels stiff when held
An infant who feels floppy or has a limp appearance
A baby with one limp or immobile arm
Bruising or red marks on the head, face, or shoulder
An infant who fails to begin breathing immediately after birth or requires interventions to breathe
Seizures within the first 48 hours after birth
What Should You Do if You Suspect a Birth Injury Related to Medical Malpractice?
Parents who suspect their child has suffered a birth injury due to preventable negligence may feel overwhelmed and unsure where to turn. The following steps may help parents to take positive steps forward for physical and financial recovery:
Have a trusted neonatal-care pediatrician give your child a thorough evaluation and make a full medical report
Follow all of the doctor’s recommendations for tests, evaluations, and treatment of the injury
Obtain copies of your records from the facility where the labor and delivery took place
Keep all photos and videos taken during the labor, delivery, and hours and days after the birth
Keep all medical records and bills
Contact the Phoenix trial attorneys at Knapp & Roberts for a free evaluation of your case
Having an attorney with the specialized knowledge and experience in navigating birth injury lawsuits on your side can help you gain the compensation your family deserves.
What Compensation Can I Gain From a Birth Injury Lawsuit in Phoenix?
Birth injuries can require extensive and ongoing medical care to address. While some may resolve over time and with treatment, some injured infants may require lifelong medical interventions. Parents of a child with a preventable birth injury shouldn’t have to shoulder the financial burdens alone. A successful birth injury claim can help families to move forward with access to the best medical care for their child and fewer financial frustrations.
Most birth injury lawsuits settle out of court through a provider’s malpractice liability insurance, but a diligent birth injury attorney is also willing to litigate in court to achieve maximum compensation. You could gain compensation for damages such as:
Reimbursement for medical care expenses already accrued
Future medical expenses for ongoing treatment, care, equipment, and prescriptions
Lost income if an injured child’s medical needs require a parent to give up a career or reduce their working hours
Pain and suffering
Dealing with the lingering or lifelong consequences of a birth injury has far-reaching effects on physical, financial, and emotional health. Families deserve financial compensation and justice for preventable birth injuries.
Arizona Birth Injury Statute of Limitations
Like all states, Arizona places a time limit on birth injury claims in order to ensure evidence remains fresh and obtainable and to prevent defendants from suffering the indefinite threat of potential lawsuits. In Arizona, families have two years from the time of the injury to file a birth injury claim if the injury is immediately identified. In some cases, however, birth injuries do not become apparent until months or even years later when children miss milestones or face delayed diagnosis. In these circumstances, the two-year statute of limitations begins on the date of the discovery of an injury.
How Can a Phoenix Labor and Delivery Negligence Attorney Help?
The seasoned attorneys at Knapp & Roberts of Phoenix have years of experience in birth injury claims. We want families affected by birth injuries to have a voice and we’re ready to hear the details of the trauma that’s occurred to your child and your family with a free evaluation of your case. Our legal team will begin investigating evidence to identify the liable party and prove they are at fault for the injury through an act of negligence, a medical mistake, or treatment that did not follow the accepted standard of care.
Our Phoenix medical malpractice attorneys understand how to draft a powerful demand letter and make a compelling case when dealing with medical malpractice insurers. We have a track record of success in helping families to gain ample compensation that opens doors to the best medical care to maximize their child’s recovery. We focus our entire attention on your case with open communication through every step of the process. We have extensive access to medical experts and other resources to effectively present your birth injury experience so your voice is heard. Best of all, we don’t take a fee until you receive your substantial compensation.
Reach out to the firm of Knapp & Roberts today so we can begin strategizing on your case.
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The personal injury attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona, at Knapp & Roberts have the compassion and trial lawyer skills to tell your story to a jury. We will get to know you and your family so that we can help the jury understand what has happened to you and your family and how it has changed your lives. Obtain the compensation necessary for the injuries and losses you have suffered.