How Medical Negligence Causes Birth Injuries
Childbirth is a delicate procedure, but it’s relatively safe as long as the medical professionals involved follow the medical standard of care at all times. Some birth injuries are unavoidable even when these standards are followed. However, many others only occur because of medical mistakes made during pregnancy, labor, or delivery.
What Malpractice Looks Like In The Delivery Room
Some common ways medical negligence can lead to a birth injury include:
- Mistakes or excessive force while using assisted delivery tools, like vacuum extractors and forceps
- Failing to call for a c-section when it could prevent complications, such as those involving an abnormally large infant
- Beginning a delivery too late, which results in preventable complications
- Failure to properly monitor the pregnancy and address health problems in the mother or child
- Prescribing a medication that has harmful side effects for the pregnancy
In most cases, it’s not obvious how a birth injury occurred. You’ll usually need to have the medical records and evidence of your case reviewed by a qualified medical expert before you can determine if medical negligence is to blame.
Common Birth Injuries In Malpractice Lawsuits
The birth injuries caused by medical negligence have the potential to develop into permanent complications for the child. Permanent injuries are more common in malpractice lawsuits since they often require a lifetime of financial support.
Some of the birth injuries common in malpractice cases include:
Not all cases of these severe conditions will be eligible for financial compensation. But if a medical expert determines that your healthcare provider didn’t handle your childbirth as effectively as they could have, you will likely have grounds for a birth injury malpractice claim.
Washington State Medical Malpractice Laws
If you’re considering filing a medical malpractice lawsuit for your child’s birth injury, you may be wondering how your state’s laws may influence your family’s case. We’ve compiled a brief overview of Washington State medical malpractice laws here, but be aware that they apply differently depending on the circumstances of a case.
Statute Of Limitations
The statute of limitations is a law that sets deadlines for filing lawsuits. The date this deadline runs out depends on numerous factors and varies from state to state.
In Washington, the statute of limitations for minor injuries does not begin running until the child’s 18th birthday. While this means you likely still have time to file a lawsuit for your child’s birth injury, it’s important not to hesitate. You’re much more likely to win your case if you take action immediately following the discovery of your child’s injury.
Washington State law requires both parties to go through a mandatory mediation process before bringing the case to trial. The rules for this mediation are set by the Washington Supreme Court. Our Washington birth injury attorneys can give you a better idea of what to expect from this part of the process in a free consultation.
Requirements For Medical Expert Witnesses
Testimony from medical experts is not a legal requirement in Washington. However, it’s almost always necessary to have this testimony in order to win in court. A medical expert witness can define the medical standard of care in layperson’s terms and show how your healthcare provider caused a birth injury by deviating from this standard.
No Caps On Damages
There are no caps on financial compensation in Washington malpractice cases. The Washington Supreme Court ruled that damage caps are unconstitutional in a 1989 decision.
About Taking Legal Action After A Birth Injury
Compared to other states, Washington is relatively plaintiff-friendly when it comes to medical malpractice cases. However, that doesn’t mean these cases are easy to win. It’s still important to seek assistance from a knowledgeable birth injury malpractice lawyer with experience in Washington birth injury cases.
Finding An Experienced Attorney
You’ll need a lawyer who understands how to build a case that meets the requirements of state laws, how to present that case effectively in court, and how to ensure your family recovers the maximum compensation you deserve.
At Birth Injury Advocate, our local lawyers focus their practice on helping families affected by preventable birth injuries in Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, and throughout Washington State. We understand that with the right financial support system, your child can still have a rewarding life after a serious birth injury. To begin planning for your son or daughter’s future, contact us today for a free legal consultation.