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Bellevue Birth Injury Lawyer
The birth of a new child is a wonderful and exciting event for many Bellevue families. During the labor and delivery process, we expect that doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals will perform the birth with a certain level of care and respect. However, not all healthcare providers uphold their duties to their patients, sometimes committing negligent errors that can harm both the mother and her child.
If you or your child have sustained a birth injury in Bellevue, you may have grounds for a lawsuit against the negligent medical professional. In these situations, Colburn Law can help. Our Bellevue birth injury lawyers can represent you in your claim and hold the at-fault provider accountable for his or her actions.
Birth Injury Resources:
- Why Hire Colburn Law
- Birth Injury Statistics
- Compensation Available in a Birth Injury Lawsuit
- Free Consultation: Contact Colburn Law
Why Choose Our Bellevue Birth Injury Lawyers?
- Our attorney, Greg Colburn, has helped hundreds of Washington residents secure the settlements they deserve. We will fight tenaciously to seek justice for you and your child.
- Throughout your lawsuit, you will have a direct line of communication with your attorney. We will always be available to answer your questions, respond to your concerns, and provide you with important case updates.
- Our firm operates on a contingency fee basis for birth injury lawsuits. If our attorney does not secure compensation in your child’s case, you do not have to pay legal fees.
Birth Injury Statistics
While many medical professionals treat babies and their mothers with an appropriate level of care during the childbirth process, others do not, leading to serious infant harm. The following statistics illustrate the prevalence of infant injuries in the United States.
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 3 percent of all births in the United States involve a birth defect.
- Brachial plexus injuries, or injuries that occur due to unnatural stretching of the brachial plexus nerves during delivery, occur in 2.5 out of every 1,000 live births in the United States.
- Clavicular fractures, or broken collarbones, occur in up to 15 out of every 1,000 live births in the United States.
- Facial nerve damage occurs in up to 10 out of every 1,000 live births.
- Cephalohematoma, a form of brain damage, occurs in up to 2.5 percent of all deliveries in the United States.
Types of Birth Injuries
A birth injury refers to any harm that occurs to an infant before, during, and after labor and delivery. Some of the most common types of birth injuries include the following.
- Asphyxia, or oxygen deprivation
- Kernicterus, or untreated jaundice
- Cerebral palsy
- Brachial plexus injuries
- Erb’s palsy
- Brain hypoxia
- Bone fractures
- Spinal cord injuries
- Facial paralysis
- Nerve damage
- Soft tissue injuries
- Shoulder dystocia
- Birth defects
What Causes a Birth Injury?
Birth injuries can arise for several reasons. In many cases, genetic conditions and maternal illnesses put a mother and her child at risk of a potentially dangerous childbirth. With competent prenatal care and a comprehensive birth plan, medical professionals can prepare for these risky conditions in advance of labor and delivery.
In some cases, however, a medical professional’s negligence before, during, and after childbirth leads to a birth injury. Some common causes of these injuries include the following.
- Failure to identify an ectopic pregnancy
- Labor and delivery mistakes, such as dropping a baby after childbirth
- Failure to induce pregnancy when required
- Failure to provide proper treatment for infant conditions, such as jaundice
- Failure to order a Cesarean section when required or during an emergency situation
- Failure to properly monitor a child’s heart rate or vital signs during childbirth
- The inappropriate use of birthing tools and techniques, such as forceps or vacuums
- Failure to diagnose maternal conditions, such as preeclampsia or infections, prior to labor and delivery
If you believe a healthcare provider’s negligence caused your child’s birth injury, you may have grounds for legal action. Identifying the cause of your or your child’s injuries will help you understand whether or not you are eligible to file a claim. An attorney at Colburn Law will conduct a full investigation into your case, helping you understand the cause of the birth injury and taking the first steps to hold the at-fault provider accountable.
Additional Birth Injury Information:
- Signs of a Birth Injury
- Proving Doctors Negligence in a Birth Injury Lawsuit
- Your Guide to Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim
Proving Liability in a Birth Injury Case
To prove liability in a birth injury claim, you will need to prove that the healthcare provider acted in negligence at the time of your child’s birth. Specifically, you and your attorney must gather enough evidence to establish the four elements of negligence.
- Duty: The at-fault medical professional owed you and your child a duty of care. All healthcare providers have a duty to uphold a certain standard of professional conduct while treating patients in a formal capacity.
- Breach of duty: The at-fault medical professional breached his or her duty of care through a negligent act or failure to act. You will need to prove that his or her actions deviated from what a similarly trained and reasonable medical provider would have done under the same circumstances.
- Causation: The at-fault medical professional’s breach of duty caused the birth injury. For example, a doctor may fail to monitor your child’s vital signs for a period of time during labor and delivery, leading to prolonged oxygen deprivation. If your child develops brain damage due to this failure to monitor, the doctor caused his or her injury.
- Damages: You, your child, and your family sustained damages due to the at-fault medical professional’s negligence that you can collect in your lawsuit. These damages may include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Providing Evidence and Documentation for Your Claim
In order for a birth injury lawsuit to be successful, you will need to provide a significant amount of evidence that establishes the four elements of negligence. This documentation should detail the extent and cost of your child’s injuries, establish that the at-fault medical provider owed you a duty of care, and prove that his or her negligence contributed to your child’s damages.
For example, say that your child develops brain hypoxia after your doctor failed to order an emergency Cesarean section, despite an ultrasound showing that your child is in breech. As a result, your child develops permanent brain damage and requires long-term disability accommodations. You file a lawsuit against the doctor to recover compensation for medical expenses, rehabilitation, and other costs.
In this situation, you can use your and your child’s medical records to establish that the doctor treated you and your child in a professional capacity. You can also use your child’s medical records to establish the nature and extent of your child’s injuries. To prove damages, you can use medical bills, correspondence with your employer, invoices, and other financial documents.
Proving causation can be more complex. Your attorney from Colburn Law can enlist the help of expert witnesses, such as medical professionals, who can analyze your child’s injuries and provide testimony on your behalf. This expert can also establish that the doctor’s actions deviated from the accepted standard of care, proving his or her breach of duty.
How Long Does a Birth Injury Lawsuit Take?
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, a birth injury lawsuit can take a year or longer to reach a conclusion.
- First, your attorney will wait for your child to reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) so that you have a better understanding of his or her injuries, future needs, and the extent of his or her damages.
- Once your child reaches MMI, your attorney will decide whether or not to send an initial demand letter to the at-fault medical professional. You may enter into negotiations at this stage and your case may reach a settlement before filing a lawsuit.
- If these negotiations are unsuccessful or your attorney decides against the initial demand letter, your lawyer will then file your lawsuit in Washington civil court. After filing, your case will move to the discovery phase, which takes about six months to one year to complete.
- Before your case goes to trial, you may enter into pretrial negotiations with the at-fault medical professional and attempt to reach a settlement. If these negotiations are successful, your case will conclude at this stage.
- If pretrial negotiations are unsuccessful, your case will proceed to trial. Medical malpractice trials can take a few days, a week, or longer to reach a verdict. If your lawsuit is successful, it may take a few weeks for your payment to be disbursed to you.
Although it may take some time for your lawsuit to reach a settlement, it is important to pursue your claim to the furthest extent possible. Accepting an insufficient award early on in your case can lead to financial hardship further down the road. However, your attorney from Colburn Law will advocate strongly for maximum compensation during each stage of your case and will work tirelessly to reach an adequate settlement as soon as possible.
What Damages Can I Receive from a Birth Injury Claim?
Under Washington law, you have the right to hold a medical professional accountable for the economic and non-economic losses associated with the birth injury. Economic damages involve your financial losses, while non-economic damages refer to physical and emotional pain and suffering. Unlike many states, which place caps on the amount of compensation that you can recover, Washington does not limit the damages you can claim in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Some of the most common damages in birth injury lawsuits include the following.
- All past and future medical expenses associated with the injury, including surgeries, hospitalizations, and prescription medication
- Disability accommodations, such as live-in caregivers, modifications to your home or vehicle, and mobility equipment
- Lost wages during the recovery period, and the loss of future earnings and benefits if you are unable to return to work due to the birth injury
- The cost of rehabilitation, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other necessary treatment programs for you and your child
- Pain and suffering, such as mental anguish, emotional distress, chronic pain, disability, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression
- The loss of care, companionship, love, and quality of life
Your attorney will work with you to calculate the full extent of your and your child’s damages. He will review medical records, correspondence, bills, invoices, and paystubs to determine your current losses. To estimate any future medical expenses, your lawyer will enlist the help of expert witnesses, such as life care professionals and healthcare providers, who can create a long-term plan. Your attorney will also have knowledge of formulas used to calculate your pain and suffering losses.
Benefits of Hiring a Birth Injury Attorney in Bellevue
Navigating the aftermath of a birth injury can be a painful and highly emotional process, making it difficult to focus on your daily tasks—let alone filing a lawsuit. If you or your child are injured due to a medical professional’s negligence, you need an attorney on your side. A Bellevue birth injury lawyer can provide several benefits to your case, including the following.
- After your child is born, it can be difficult to know whether or not you have grounds for a birth injury lawsuit. Your attorney will be able to evaluate your claim and identify your best legal options, guiding you through each stage of litigation. This guidance will allow you and your family to focus on healing, not complex legal processes.
- Your lawyer will have extensive experience representing birth injury cases similar to yours. He will use this experience, along with his knowledge of personal injury and medical malpractice law, to build your case. Your attorney’s skills and knowledge can help you avoid common errors that could delay your case or harm your ability to recover compensation.
- Because of the sensitive and highly technical nature of birth injury lawsuits, you will need to gather a significant amount of evidence to prove your case. A birth injury lawyer will handle the entire investigation process on your behalf, leveraging the firm’s resources and network of expert witnesses to develop a compelling case for your child’s recovery.
- To ensure a sufficient settlement, you will need to accurately calculate all of the damages you and your child qualify for, including future medical expenses. Your lawyer will have the resources and capacity to estimate these costs, helping you avoid an insufficient award.
Contact a Bellevue Birth Injury Lawyer
Has your child been injured due to the negligence of a medical professional? The Bellevue birth injury lawyer at Colburn Law can represent you in your lawsuit against the at-fault healthcare provider, helping you secure the compensation you and your family deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free case consultation and discuss your legal options.