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Seattle Birth Injury Lawyer
A birth injury is a serious form of medical malpractice that can affect an infant for life. Negligent acts or omissions during a mother’s pregnancy, labor, or delivery can lead to injuries that a reasonably skilled doctor would have prevented. Birth injuries can cost thousands of dollars in medical bills and significant pain and suffering for the family.
As the parent of a child with a birth injury, you have rights. Seek legal counsel from the personal injury attorneys at Colburn Law. We are passionate about giving a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves. Our lawyers can walk you through the steps of filing a malpractice claim against a physician, hospital, or birthing center in Seattle. Contact us for a free consultation.
Why Choose Colburn Law?
- We have been helping Seattle residents achieve justice and get back on their feet since our doors opened years ago.
- We have achieved outstanding results for our past personal injury clients – including many medical malpractice and birth injury cases.
- We operate on a contingency fee basis. We only charge for our legal services if we secure you financial compensation.
Do You Need a Birth Injury Lawyer?
You might think you will save time or money by not hiring a lawyer, but neither is true. A lawyer can take care of the complex claims process, including confusing legal paperwork, on your behalf while you focus on your child’s health and recovery. A brain injury lawyer will know how to expedite your claim, follow the filing rules, and argue for maximum compensation from insurance companies. Hiring an attorney ensures no one takes advantage of your family during your claim. Your lawyer will fight for the full compensation your child’s injuries demand.
Types of Birth Injuries
A birth injury can describe any type of injury an infant sustains before, during, or after delivery. In a legal context, birth injuries are a type of medical malpractice. If you notice any signs of symptoms of an injury shortly after birth, seek medical advice. Then, call a birth injury attorney at Colburn Law.
- Asphyxia (oxygen deprivation)
- Brain hypoxia (lack of oxygen to the brain)
- Brain injuries
- Cerebral palsy
- Brachial plexus injuries
- Erb’s palsy
- Bone fractures
- Facial palsy
- Kernicterus (untreated jaundice)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Lacerations or soft tissue injuries
These are some of the most common examples of birth injuries that can happen when hospital personnel or the facility itself engages in negligence health care practices. Your child may suffer lifelong damages from conditions such as cerebral palsy, or have to attend weeks or months of rehabilitation to recover.
What Causes Birth Injuries?
Identifying the cause of your child’s birth injury is one of the first steps toward obtaining justice. It is up to you or your attorney to identify the defendant before you bring your claim. The defendant could be a doctor, nurse, surgeon, obstetrician, the hospital, or another party. Negligence is the most common cause of birth injuries in Washington.
- Failure to diagnose maternal conditions
- Failure to monitor fetal vital signs
- Missed red flags during delivery
- Failure to order an emergency C-section
- Lack of proper use of birthing tools
- More: 5 Signs of a Birth Injury
Holding an at-fault doctor or facility responsible for your child’s birth injury takes help from an attorney. You must bring your medical malpractice claim within three years of your child’s injury. A lawyer can investigate your case, identify the defendant, and help you with the claims process in Seattle.
How Long Does a Birth Injury Lawsuit Take?
Birth injury cases can be very complex. Depending on the nature of the injury and the severity of your child’s damage, you may have to undergo a number of procedures and collect compelling evidence to successfully prove your case. You may have to file a lawsuit against multiple medical professionals, government agencies, or maybe an entire hospital.
To successfully prove a birth injury case, you and your attorney will need to satisfy the following four elements.
- First, you will need to prove that the at-fault party or parties named in your case owed your child a duty of care. You will need to prove that the medical professionals responsible for the injury had a formal patient-doctor relationship with you and your child. All medical professionals need to uphold a certain standard of care when treating patients.
- Next, you will need to prove that the at-fault party breached his or her duty of care to you and your child in some way. You may need to consult with an expert witness on whether this breach occurred. If you can prove that the medical professional did something that a similarly trained and reasonable professional would not have done, you can satisfy this element.
- Then, you will need to prove that the breach of care led to your child’s injuries. You may need to consult with a medical expert to provide evidence of this causation.
- And finally, you will need to prove that your child suffered damages as a result of the breach of care that you can collect in the lawsuit.
You will need to provide crucial pieces of evidence to prove each element along the way, as well as documentation detailing the extent and the cost of your child’s damages. These processes can take a very long time, often a year or longer.
Many birth injury cases settle outside of the courtroom during negotiations, but you may need to go to trial if the at-fault parties refuse to provide a settlement – and going to court can lengthen your case. You will need to present your evidence to a jury, wait for a verdict, and potentially enter additional investigative processes – all of which are necessary to provide the compensation your child needs to treat his or her injury.
To streamline the investigative, negotiation, and courtroom processes, contact a birth injury lawyer at Colburn Law as soon as possible. Your attorney will be familiar with the laws surrounding birth injury cases and can launch an in-depth investigation into your child’s injury, helping you collect the evidence you need to establish a compelling claim.
Cerebral Palsy and Birth Injury
One form of birth injury that many children suffer from is cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy refers to several disorders that result after brain damage or improper brain development in infancy. There are many causes of cerebral palsy, but the condition can sometimes manifest as a result of a preventable mistake during labor, before the child is born, or in the moments after birth.
During labor and pregnancy, doctors have to carefully monitor the mother to ensure that the baby is healthy and developing at a normal rate. However, some medical professionals can fail to monitor heart rates, oxygen levels, or maternal health issues, like infections or toxic exposures. As a result, the baby can suffer damage to the brain – leading to the development of cerebral palsy.
Symptoms of cerebral palsy vary from child to child. Some children may have difficulty moving, but no trouble learning or speaking. Others may require assistance performing daily tasks and need lifelong care. Some of the most common symptoms of cerebral palsy include the following.
- Difficulty reaching movement milestones, such as crawling or sitting up
- Difficulty eating or sucking
- Issues with speech development, speaking, or learning
- Difficulty performing fine motor skills, like tying shoelaces or picking up small objects
- Muscle tone that is either too stiff or too relaxed
- Involuntary movements or spasms
- Difficulty balancing or coordinating muscles
- Intellectual disability
- Difficulty seeing or hearing
Currently, there is no cure for cerebral palsy. However, there are many options for treatment your child can undergo, which may make the effects of the birth injury more manageable.
- Medications, such as muscle relaxants and nerve injections
- Physical, speech and language, and occupational therapies
- Surgical procedures, including orthopedic surgery and cutting nerve fibers
- Psychological counseling and support
Often, children who develop this condition as a result of a birth injury have to undergo lifelong treatment and require ongoing care. These medical expenses can be very difficult on most families, but filing a birth injury lawsuit can help.
With the assistance of a medical malpractice attorney from Colburn Law, you and your child can recover compensation for multiple damages related to the injury. You could recover past and future medical expenses for ongoing care, as well as disability accommodations to your home and vehicle.
In addition, a lawsuit can provide you with the funds you need to provide in-home nursing to your child, attend regular physical and occupational therapies, and compensate for emotional damages as well. Contact Colburn Law as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.
Brachial Plexus Injuries
Another common birth injury that causes serious damage to infants occurs to the brachial plexus. The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves that travel from your spine to your shoulder, and then again from the spine to your arm and hands. The purpose of the brachial plexus is to provide a line of communication between your brain, hands, and arms.
However, the brachial plexus is at risk during delivery, if the medical professionals commit an act of negligence. Usually, an injury to this nerve bundle occurs when a violent or forceful action tears or stretches it. As a result, the baby can develop paralysis or weakness in his or her arm.
During labor, this can happen when the delivery is too lengthy or the medical team improperly position the baby in the birth canal. In addition, forcing the baby through the birth canal, pulling on his or her shoulders, or stretching his or her arms can lead to permanent nerve damage.
There are many different types of brachial plexus injuries, depending on where the baby sustains the damage.
- If the baby suffers an injury to the hand only, the injury is Klumpke’s palsy or Klumpke’s paralysis.
- If the baby suffers an injury to the upper arm only, the injury is a brachial plexus injury.
- If the baby suffers an injury to both the upper arm and lower arm, the injury is Erb’s palsy or Erb’s paralysis.
You may notice symptoms of a brachial plexus injury in your child soon after birth. Your baby may have trouble moving his or her arm or hand, or you may notice some weakness in the affected area. In addition, the child may not be able to produce proper reflexes below the injury.
Treatments are available for brachial plexus injuries, depending on the severity of the condition and what type of injury he or she has. Physical therapy, corrective surgery, and medication are all available to help repair your child’s injury – however, the impact of the damage could last for a very long time.
Birth Injury Statistics
Birth injuries are a serious problem throughout the United States. We may trust that the medical teams responsible for delivering our children are upholding a certain standard of care, but some individuals can make serious mistakes and cause significant injury. The following statistics help highlight how serious birth injuries truly are throughout the country.
- According to the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP), mothers and infants sustained nearly 157,500 injuries during labor in 2006. These injuries were mostly avoidable with proper medical care.
- Obstetrical traumas to the mother during childbirth occurred at the highest rates when doctors used instruments to aid in vaginal birth. Trauma occurred during 160.5 out of every 1,000 births.
- For every 1,000 births in the United States, between 6 to 8 infants suffer a birth injury. Every year, approximately 30,000 babies are born with some sort of a birth injury – nearly one every 20 minutes.
- Newborns under Medicaid had the highest birth injury rates than newborns under private insurance. However, birth injury rates were relatively similar between wealthy and poor communities.
- Injury to newborns was highest in rural areas, as compared to urban areas. However, obstetrical trauma to mothers was higher in urban areas.
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability in children.
- Approximately 1 in every 323 children has cerebral palsy in the United States.
- Most birth injuries are moderate to severe, leading to significant damage to a child’s bones, brain, and nerves.
- Birth injuries account for nearly 20% of all infants who die during childbirth – making birth injury the fourth leading cause of death for babies, behind low birth weight, sudden infant death syndrome, and congenital defects.
- Approximately 135 children will die as a result of a birth injury during labor for every 100,000 live births.
Contact Us Today
Colburn Law understands birth injury law. We can put our years of experience to use for your family. If you believe you have grounds to file a birth injury claim against one or more parties in Seattle or Bellevue, call (206) 880-7628 to speak to our attorneys. We want to help you fight for justice and fair compensation for your child’s injuries. Contact us online to request a free, no-obligation case evaluation today.