How Medical Errors Can Cause Birth Injuries
Most families have two main concerns after hearing that their child has suffered a serious birth injury. Their first concern is always whether their son or daughter will recover, what their life will be like with the injury, and how the family can give the child the full support they need. Next, most parents wonder how the birth injury happened and if anything could have been done to prevent it.
Because birth injuries have become so much rarer than they were just a few decades ago, the question of medical negligence is often raised in these cases. Sometimes, a birth injury may happen due to unavoidable complications, such as a genetic condition. But many of these injuries only occur because a doctor, obstetrician, or other medical professional failed to follow the accepted methods of their field.
Some common examples of medical negligence in North Carolina birth injury malpractice lawsuits include:
- Failure to properly monitor the health of the fetus or the mother
- Failure to order a c-section, which could have prevented birth complications
- Improper use of forceps, vacuum extractors, and other delivery tools
- Using too much force during a difficult delivery
Anytime one of these professionals handles a medical situation differently than another similarly qualified professional would have and an injury occurs, that professional could be considered medically negligent. Negligence is the basis of all medical malpractice cases.
Common Birth Injuries In Malpractice Claims
Some birth injuries are minor and may heal with little to no treatment. Others can lead to lifelong complications for the child. Some of the most severe injuries that require financial compensation include:
Children with severe birth injuries often require a lifetime of support. When a medical professional is responsible for causing the injury, it’s important for the child’s family to understand their legal options.
North Carolina Medical Malpractice Laws
North Carolina has their own state of laws and statutes that apply to medical malpractice cases. It’s good to have a basic understanding of these laws, but we recommend speaking with an experienced North Carolina birth injury malpractice lawyer in order to fully grasp how they may apply to your case.
Statute Of Limitations
In every state, there is a time limit for filing a medical malpractice – this time limit is known as the statute of limitations. If you fail to file your claim by this deadline, you may lose your right to take legal action for your child’s birth injury. Determining when this time limit begins and ends can be complicated, so it’s best to speak with a lawyer soon after discovering your child’s injury.
Limits On Financial Compensation
In North Carolina, there is a cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits. Non-economic damages include all losses without a direct financial cost, including things like pain and suffering and loss of quality of life. Economic damages, such as medical bills and lost wages, are uncapped. This cap was set at $500,000 in 2014 but is continually raised to adjust for inflation.
Expert Medical Witness Requirements
In North Carolina medical malpractice lawsuits, the injured person must obtain a sworn affidavit from at least one medical expert and file this document in court. In this affidavit, the expert must swear under oath that he or she has reviewed the medical records related to the case, and is willing to testify that the injured person received medical care which fell below the accepted standard of care.
How A Lawsuit Can Help Your Family
Fortunately, advancements in medical technology have allowed children with serious birth injuries to enjoy comfortable and fulfilling lives. However, providing the full resources your child needs can be a challenge for middle-class families. Some common expenses related to these injuries include:
- Frequent and ongoing medical care (including doctor’s appointments, surgeries, medication, etc.)
- Adaptive devices (e.g. wheelchairs, prosthetics, braces, etc.)
- Personal daily caretakers
- Handicapped-accessible vehicles and home renovations
- Occupational, physical, speech, and other therapies
For serious and permanent conditions like cerebral palsy, the lifetime costs of these support systems can easily exceed $1 million. This is why it’s crucial for families affected by preventable birth injuries to seek damages through birth injury malpractice lawsuits. Our dedicated North Carolina birth injury lawyers help these families plan for the future by securing the financial support their children need. To find out more about your family’s legal options, contact us today for a free consultation.