What Is Medical Negligence?
Medical negligence is the basis of any medical malpractice claim. Nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals have a duty to follow the accepted medical standard of care – or the best practices of their professions. When one of these professionals makes a mistake that a similarly qualified professional would not have in the same situation and a patient gets injured, that professional may be considered medically negligent.
There are several common forms of medical negligence in birth injury cases:
- Choosing a natural birth when a cesarean birth could prevent complications and injuries
- Delayed deliveries leading to avoidable complications
- Physical trauma caused by excessive force during difficult deliveries
- Errors involving forceps and vacuum extractors
- Failure to diagnose and treat maternal health problems, like infections or high blood pressure
- Failure to identify and respond to signs of fetal distress, like oxygen deprivation
Determining how a birth injury occurred usually requires a thorough investigation of the evidence by a qualified medical expert and an experienced West Virginia birth injury lawyer. If a medical expert determines that the injury could have been prevented by better medical care, your family could have grounds for a birth injury malpractice lawsuit.
Common Birth Injuries & Complications
Medical mistakes can cause a variety of birth injuries, from relatively minor bruising that clears up within weeks to permanently debilitating physical and cognitive disabilities. Some of the more severe conditions we’ve seen in birth injury cases include:
West Virginia Medical Malpractice Laws
If your family is considering a birth injury malpractice lawsuit in West Virginia, you may be wondering how your state’s medical malpractice laws could influence your case. It’s good to have a basic knowledge of these laws, but be aware that they apply differently depending on the unique circumstances of a case.
Statute Of Limitations
Each state has a law called the statute of limitations, which sets deadlines for filing personal injury, medical malpractice, and other tort lawsuits. This law usually has a standard deadline, along with several other deadlines which may apply based on specific circumstances. For example, the statute of limitations for cases involving minors is usually different than the statute of limitations for adult cases.
It’s extremely important to make sure you begin your lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires. We suggest speaking with an experienced West Virginia birth malpractice lawyer as soon as possible following the discovery of a birth injury.
Medical Expert Witness Requirements
When bringing a medical malpractice lawsuit to court, your lawyer will need to find a qualified medical expert who can testify about the accepted medical standard of care and how your healthcare provider caused an injury by violating that standard. The medical expert must specialize in the same field as the healthcare provider who the lawsuit is being brought against.
Caps on Damages
Like several other states, Virginia limits the amount of financial compensation you can recover for noneconomic damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Noneconomic damages include personal losses that can’t be easily calculated, such as pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. Economic damages, such as medical bills and lost wages, are uncapped.
Filing A Birth Injury Lawsuit
Building a successful birth injury malpractice lawsuit is a complex process. It’s important to find a reliable West Virginia birth malpractice lawyer who understands how to meet the strict requirements of your state’s laws, gather medical evidence, find medical expert witnesses, and present arguments effectively in the courtroom.
Our local lawyers are proud to help families affected by preventable birth injuries in Charleston, Huntington, Morgantown, Parkersburg, and throughout the state of West Virginia. If medical negligence played a role in your child’s injury, we can help you secure the financial support you’ll need to raise your child in a comfortable and nurturing environment. To find out more about your family’s legal options, contact us today for a free consultation.