The health and safety of both mother and baby are jeopardized by complicated labors, which can increase the chance of fetal injury. While birth trauma is not entirely preventable, there are heartbreaking cases that can clearly stem from human error. The negligence of medical professionals before, during, and after the birthing process can result in lifelong complications for newborns.
With proper care and monitoring throughout a woman’s pregnancy, high-risk deliveries can be identified prepared for and early on.
Harrell Injury Law believes that negligent healthcare workers should be held accountable for their actions.
Our legal team is here to provide peace and reassurance that you have a legal advocate looking out for your rights. Thorough investigations can determine if medical negligence played a role in your child’s harm.
Explore your rights to legal recourse. Speak to a compassionate birth injury lawyer New Jersey residents have come to trust. We are here to listen to your concerns and provide the answers and guidance your family needs.
What is a Birth Injury?
A birth injury is any type of harm or trauma suffered by the baby during gestation or the delivery process. Babies may experience minor injuries due to the natural forces of labor. There are a number of well-documented scenarios that can present obstetric complications and difficult delivery.
The following are risk factors for a more complicated birth:
- Maternal obesity
- Gestational diabetes
- Large babies that weigh more than 9 pounds or more
- Babies born before 37 weeks
- Cervical incompetence
- Maternal infections
- Umbilical cord problems
- Breech presentation
- Placenta previa – the placenta grows on the lower part of the womb
- Preeclampsia – acute maternal high blood pressure
- Cephalopelvic disproportion – mother’s pelvis is too small for the baby’s head
By detecting potential complications before a woman goes into labor, medical staff can take appropriate precautions to help prevent physical injury to the mother and child.
Types of Birth Injury
Health care providers – including nurses, physicians, ob-gyns, anesthesiologists, midwives and hospital staff – must provide a certain standard of care when treating patients. This standard refers to the care that a qualified medical professional with a similar level of education would have provided to a patient under similar circumstances. When medical practitioners deviate from this standard of care – whether intentionally or by accident – serious injuries can result.
Some of the most common types of birth injuries cited in malpractice lawsuits include:
- Brachial plexus injuries— Damage to the nerves that send signals to the shoulders, arms and hands. This injury is linked to shoulder dystocia, which is when the baby’s shoulders are caught behind the mother’s pelvis.
- Erb’s Palsy— A condition that directly results from brachial plexus injuries and can cause partial or permanent motor deficits in the affected arm.
- Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)— a form of brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation during delivery. Children with HIE may suffer developmental and cognitive impairments.
- Cerebral Palsy— An incurable condition that may be caused by brain damage during childbirth. The symptoms and severity of CP can vary but can affect muscle movement, coordination, vision, hearing and cognitive abilities.
- Spinal Cord Injury— Injuries to the spinal cord are more prevalent in deliveries involving breech birth, shoulder dystocia, and use of vacuum extraction or forceps.
- Facial Paralysis— Nerves that control certain facial muscles are damaged during a traumatic delivery causing unilateral or full facial paralysis.
- Bone Fractures— When medical staff use excessive force during delivery or improperly use instrumentation, the baby is more prone to suffering fractures to the skull or clavicle.
In suspected birth injury cases, it’s crucial to seek guidance from a New Jersey personal injury lawyer who can provide strong advocacy and insight on the best strategy for moving forward. Unsure if you have grounds for seeking legal compensation? Contact a birth trauma lawyer at Harrell Injury Law.
Common Causes of Birth Injuries
In the context of medical negligence, there are many scenarios that can give rise to a birth injury lawsuit. Healthcare providers make mistakes like the rest of us and may be more prone to errors or lapses in judgment when inexperienced or overworked.
Did the negligent actions or inaction of delivery room personnel cause endanger the health and cause bodily harm to your child? Consider the following causes of preventable birth injuries.
- Failure to order/ perform a C-section
- Failure to monitor for fetal distress
- Improper use of forceps
- Excessive force during delivery
- Improper use of vacuum extractor
- Failure to diagnose and treat maternal complications such as infection, preeclampsia or placental abruption
- Failure to identify and properly manage shoulder dystocia
- Failure to detect fetal asphyxia, or oxygen deprivation
- Mishandling umbilical cord prolapse
Improper Pitocin administration
Maternal Injuries During Childbirth
Injuries to women during childbirth are more prevalent than generally assumed. Whether the baby is delivered vaginally or by C-section, mothers can suffer the following types of trauma:
- Uterine rupture
- Pelvic organ prolapse
- Nerve injuries
- Severe postpartum hemorrhaging
- Pelvic fractures
Our attorneys understand that litigation can never undo the harm that has been suffered. When a mismanaged delivery results in injury to the mother or child, a successful claim can recover the compensation needed to help you cover unexpected medical expenses and ongoing care.
NJ Birth Injury Lawsuits – Who Can Be Held Liable?
Liability for preventable birth injuries in New Jersey can rest with numerous parties. Depending on the specific facts of your delivery, your attending doctor may not be the only named defendant. Physicians and staff are usually agents of hospitals where they are employed, which may also be sued for damages.
Medical records and expert testimony can help our legal team identify which parties should be held accountable. Any healthcare facility or professional that breached their duty of care during your childbirth may be sued for their wrongdoing. This includes the hospital, medical or birthing center, obstetricians, nurses, anesthesiologists, midwives, and physician assistants.
Compensation Available to Families
No two birth injury lawsuits are the same, and many factors will determine the value of your case. Our lawyers understand the sensitive nature of these claims and work diligently to ensure your family secures the financial reparations needed.
While some children will recover fully from birth injuries, others will require medical care and assistance for the remainder of their lives. Plaintiffs can seek monetary damages to account for the following:
- Medical expenses: doctor visits, surgeries, hospitalization, medications and assistive devices
- Special education costs for children with cognitive delays
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Lost income, if parents are in-home caregivers
- Punitive damages, in egregious cases, to punish the defendant
If your family has been affected by a birth injury caused by medical malpractice, let Harrell Injury Law pursue justice — and maximum compensation — on your behalf.
Contact Harrell Injury Law for a Free Case Review
Working with the right birth trauma attorney is the most effective way to pursue justice for your child and hold negligent healthcare professionals responsible.
With a law office in Wall Township, our lawyers here at Harrell Injury Law welcome clients throughout Howell Township, Monmouth County, and adjacent New Jersey communities.
Reach out online or call our office to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. We are proud to offer New Jersey families high-caliber legal representation on a no-win-no-fee basis.