The feeling of holding your bundle of joy for the first time is simply indescribable. Thus, welcoming a new addition to your family should be a cause for celebration, not distress. However, pregnancy and labor can sometimes be dangerous, not only for the mother but for the baby as well. Even worse, they can be life-threatening if the mother is left in the care of an incompetent medical facility or doctor. For some parents, the joy of welcoming a new baby may turn into havoc when they realize that their infant has sustained a birth injury. Since this can be a traumatic event for both the mother and the rest of the family, the party at fault should be held accountable. Read on to know more about who can be sued for birth injuries.
What is a Birth Injury?
Before you jump to conclusions and declare that your baby has sustained a birth injury, you must know the difference between birth injuries and birth defects.
Birth injuries happen during delivery and labor.
While some birth injuries are easily preventable, others are bound to happen depending on the condition of the mother and any health issues she might be suffering from.
The most common injuries that happen at birth are cerebral palsy and Klumpke’s palsy.
These conditions affect the infant’s motor functions to varying degrees.
Other common birth injuries include brain trauma and issues with organ performance.
On the other hand, birth defects happen due to uncontrollable variables like heredity.
Some of the aforementioned birth injuries are considered birth defects if they occur before labor or delivery.
This is why it is crucial to have enough evidence to prove that your baby has indeed sustained a birth injury due to negligence or incompetency.
Who Can be Held Liable?
After affirming that your infant’s condition was really caused by a birth injury and is not simply a genetic defect, you should file a lawsuit against the party at fault.
In some cases, it can be hard to figure out who to blame.
Nonetheless, expert Long Island attorneys point out that if your infant suffered an injury during birth, you can sue the medical institution where you gave birth at.
In this case, you will be suing the hospital for negligence.
If the hospital failed to thoroughly check the credentials of their employers, including nurses and doctors, before hiring them, this constitutes solid grounds for your case.
Moreover, if the injury happened due to a staff shortage at the time of the delivery, the hospital should also be held liable.
Yet, before you decide that you will legally pursue the medical institution, consult a lawyer to ensure that this option is feasible.
Most of the time, it might be hard to determine who to file a lawsuit against for a birth injury, chiefly because many doctors are not considered hospital employees.
Since many doctors now opt for different self-employment options, the term “independent contractor” has become increasingly popular in the medical field.
As opposed to employees, independent contractors enjoy different payment structures and benefits.
For an average Joe, it may be sometimes impossible to determine whether the physician who was overseeing the delivery is indeed an independent contractor.
If the doctor is an independent contractor, they are the only party that should be held accountable.
In this case, you cannot indict the hospital.
On the other hand, depending on the terms of the relationship between the medical institution and the physician, you may still be able to sue both.
Your lawyer can decide to incriminate the hospital as well if it exercises enough control over the doctor that the relationship between them qualifies as an employer-employee one.
Some birth injuries arise from the use of a dangerous drug, either during pregnancy or delivery itself.
When doctors prescribe any medication, they must inform the patient of all potential side effects.
If the obstetrician knew the possible complications the drug might cause but failed to warn the mother, they are the ones held accountable for the injury.
On the contrary, if the pharmaceutical company itself did not warn the doctor of the dangers of their drug, you can press charges against the company.
Your happiness of finally seeing your baby might turn sour if they become the victim of medical malpractice.
If you suspect that your baby’s injury occurred during delivery or due to a dangerous medication, you are entitled to file a case against the perpetrator.
However, as some birth defects can be mistaken for birth injuries, you should consult a medical professional first to pinpoint the root of the problem.
If it indeed turns out to be a birth injury, be sure to hire a skilled attorney to protect your rights and receive fair compensation.