If your child recently suffered a birth injury, you may be wondering how the injury happened and what your child’s future will be like. Each year, roughly 28,000 newborns in the United States suffer a birth injury. Our Utah birth injury malpractice lawyers represent these victims and their families.
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— Laurence Banville, Esq.
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Birth Injury Advocate
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When a newborn suffers serious injuries and complications during childbirth, the consequences can last a lifetime. Many of these children suffer from permanent physical and developmental disabilities. While birth injuries are rarer than they once were, they still occur in about 7 in every 1,000 births. This means that roughly 355 Utah families were affected by birth injuries in 2015.
In cases where a birth injury only occurs because of medical negligence, it’s important for the infant’s family to consider their legal options. Birth injury malpractice lawsuits can help provide the financial support these families need for raising a child with a serious birth injury.
All medical professionals have a duty to draw on their training, experience, and knowledge of accepted medical standards of care while treating their patients. Sometimes, these professionals make mistakes which violate these accepted standards and a patient gets injured. When this happens, these medical professionals may be considered medically negligent.
Establishing medical negligence is the centerpiece of any medical malpractice lawsuit. There are several forms of medical negligence common in birth injury malpractice cases:
Conducting a natural birth when a c-section could prevent complications
Failure to identify and treat maternal health conditions, like preeclampsia or infections
Failure to respond to signs of fetal distress, like prolapsed umbilical cords and oxygen deprivation
Excessive force while using forceps and vacuum extractors
Prescription errors with harmful side effects for the pregnancy
Birth injury negligence is a complex concept. Determining if your child’s birth injury was the result of medical negligence will require a careful review of the evidence by a qualified medical expert.
Common Birth Injuries In Malpractice Lawsuits
Medical negligence during childbirth often leads to permanently debilitating conditions for the infant. Some of the more severe conditions include:
Raising a child with one of these severe birth injuries usually includes many expenses, such as ongoing medical treatment, adaptive devices (wheelchairs, braces, prosthetics, etc.), handicapped accessible vehicles, home renovations, and more.
Most families are not financially prepared to handle these expenses. This is why it’s extremely important to hold negligent medical professionals liable through birth injury malpractice lawsuits.
Utah’s Medical Malpractice Laws & Statutes
Each state has their own unique laws which help set rules for medical malpractice lawsuits. If your family is considering taking legal action after a birth injury, you may be wondering how Utah’s medical malpractice laws could affect your family’s case. We’ve briefly summarized some of these law below, but be aware that they apply differently depending on the circumstances of a case. An experienced Utah birth injury lawyer can help explain how they may apply to your family’s potential lawsuit.
Deadlines For Filing Malpractice Lawsuits In Utah
In Utah and all other states, there are deadlines for filing medical malpractice lawsuits – known as statutes of limitations. You’re required to file your claim within a certain time period from when the injury occurred or when it was discovered.
In cases involving minors (such as birth injuries), these deadlines are more complicated. It’s important to seek legal guidance as soon as possible if you suspect malpractice may have contributed to your child’s birth injury. If you fail to meet the statute of limitations, you’ll lose your opportunity to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Notice Of Intent & Expert Requirements
Before officially filing a birth injury malpractice lawsuit in Utah, you must submit a notice of intent to file a lawsuit, which will be reviewed by a pre-litigation panel. The findings of this panel are not binding and are not admissible in court. This requirement can be waived or converted to binding arbitration if both parties agree.
While there are no official laws regarding expert testimony in Utah, it’s almost always necessary to have testimony from a medical expert who supports your claim that an injury occurred because of medical negligence. These experts can establish the definition of the medical standard of care, how the defendant violated this standard, and how this violation directly caused your child’s birth injury.
Caps On Damages
Utah is one of many states to limit the amount of financial compensation you can recover in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Non-economic damages (including compensation for pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, etc.) are capped at $450,000. Economic damages (such as medical bills, lost wages, etc.) are uncapped and determined based on the dollar figure for expenses related to your injury.
How Our Birth Injury Malpractice Lawyers Can Help
In all states, medical malpractice cases are some of the most complex and difficult forms of personal injury lawsuits. Utah’s medical malpractice laws are especially difficult and arguably favor defendants. However, with the right legal representation, families affected by preventable birth injuries can successfully secure financial compensation through Utah’s civil court system.
Our experienced Utah birth injury malpractice lawyers are proud to represent families in Salt Lake City, West Valley City, Provo, West Jordan, and throughout the rest of the state. We can help your family make sure your child has all the support he or she needs for a happy, fulfilling, and comfortable life. To find out more about your legal options, contact us today for a free consultation.