How Do Preventable Birth Injuries Happen?
There are numerous different medical errors that have the potential to cause a serious birth injury. Any time a medical professional deviates from the accepted practices of their field, there is the possibility that an injury could occur. Legally, this is known as the concept of medical negligence, which is the most important principle in any medical malpractice lawsuit.
Some of the most common forms of birth injury negligence include:
- Conducting a natural birth when a c-section could prevent an injury
- A delayed c-section resulting in birth complications
- Failure to anticipate or respond to complications, such as a prolapsed umbilical cord
- Errors made while using assisted delivery tools like forceps and vacuum extractors
- Failure to identify and treat maternal health conditions, like preeclampsia
If you believe your child’s birth injury may have been the result of medical negligence, our resourceful Pennsylvania birth injury lawyers can review your case and have the medical evidence examined by a qualified medical professional.
How Much Does A Serious Birth Injury Cost?
The lifetime costs of a birth injury will vary depending on how severe the condition is. Some injuries, such as bruising or minor fractures, can heal quickly with minimal treatment. Other more serious conditions, like cerebral palsy, require extensive support which can add up to lifetime costs of over $1 million.
Some of the expenses children with severe injuries can expect to face include:
- Ongoing medical treatment, including doctor’s appointments, surgeries, medication, and more
- Occupational, physical, speech, and other therapies
- Handicapped-accessible vehicles and home renovations
- Personal caretakers
- Adaptive devices, such as wheelchairs, braces, and prosthetic devices
Medical Malpractice Laws In Pennsylvania
In each state, there are different laws that apply to medical malpractice cases. If your child suffered a serious birth injury in a Pennsylvania healthcare facility, you may be wondering about how these state laws could influence your family’s case. We’ve provided a basic overview of these laws, but it’s important to remember that each case is unique. It’s usually necessary to speak with an experienced Pennsylvania birth injury lawyer in order to fully grasp your state’s medical malpractice laws.
Statute Of Limitations
Pennsylvania and all other states have laws known as statutes of limitations, which set time limits for filing lawsuits. The date of the statute of limitations will vary depending on the specific circumstances of a case. Determining this date for birth injuries can get especially hazy. It’s best to take legal action as soon as possible to make sure you file your claim within the statute of limitations.
Caps On Damages
Pennsylvania limits the amount of financial compensation in medical malpractice claims, but only for punitive damages. Both economic and noneconomic damages are uncapped. Punitive damages include compensation for excessively dangerous behavior on the part of the defendant. These damages are rarely awarded in medical malpractice cases anyway, so most settlements and awards are uncapped in Pennsylvania.
Expert Testimony Requirements & Certificates Of Merit
In Pennsylvania, there are several legal requirements regarding testimony from expert medical witnesses. If you’re filing a malpractice claim for a birth injury lawsuit, your lawyer must also file a certificate of merit within 60 days of filing the lawsuit. This certificate must contain a written statement from a medical expert with one of the following three claims:
- There is a reasonable chance the defendant violated the medical standard of care,
- The defendant was responsible for the employee who violated the standard of care, and/or
- Expert testimony is not necessary for this case
Pennsylvania law also requires testimony from medical experts in the courtroom, unless the degree of malpractice is so obvious that this testimony isn’t necessary. For example, a foreign object being left inside someone after surgery would likely be considered obvious to a layperson and may not require testimony from a medical expert. However, birth injury malpractice claims almost always require testimony.
How Our Birth Injury Malpractice Lawyers Help Families
If your child suffered a serious birth injury in a healthcare facility in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Harrisburg, or anywhere else in Pennsylvania, our local lawyers can help your family plan for the future. We can help you determine if your child’s injury was caused by medical negligence, and hold negligent medical professionals liable for the complications they’ve caused.
With sufficient financial support, you can provide a happy and healthy life for your child. But it’s important to stand up for your legal rights in order to receive this financial compensation. To find out more about how our Pennsylvania birth injury lawyers can help your family, get in touch with us today for a free legal consultation.