Birth Injury Lawsuits: FAQs
September 23, 2014
Welcoming a new child into the world and your family is undoubtedly an exciting and wonderful experience; however, when a child may have sustained a birth injury that will cause significant impairments for the rest of that child’s life, families can be left with a lot of frustration, stress and questions. One option these families may have is to pursue a birth injury lawsuit to hold the negligent parties accountable and to obtain the compensation necessary to pay for their child’s ongoing medical needs.
In this article we’ll respond to some common questions people have when their child may have suffered a birth injury and they are considering filing a birth injury lawsuit. Although the answers provided herein are general, you can get specific answers about your situation and best options by contacting the Portland birth injury lawyers at the Savage Law Firm today.
Answers to Common Questions about Birth Injury Lawsuits
Q – How do I know if negligence was involved in my child’s birth injury?
A –There may be some telltale signs that your child’s birth injury was caused (at least in part) by some type of negligence. For example, any of the following circumstances or events may indicate that some type of negligence contributed to your baby’s birth injury:
- Failure to diagnose maternal issues or conditions during the pregnancy (such as preeclampsia or maternal diabetes)
- Failure to recognize signs of maternal distress when they are readily apparent
- Failure to perform C-sections in a timely matter
- Newborn babies being immediately admitted to a NICU (natal intensive care unit)
It’s important to note that there may be less obvious indications that some type of medical negligence contributed to a baby’s birth injury. Therefore, it’s best to consult with an experienced birth injury attorney for a professional, thorough case evaluation.
Q – How long do I have to file a birth injury lawsuit?
A – In Oregon, the statute of limitations for filing birth injury cases is two years, and in Washington, the statute of limitations for these cases is three years. This means that parents will have two (or three) years from the date on which their child’s birth injuries are discovered/diagnosed to file a lawsuit.
Although these periods of time may seem substantial, the facts of the matter are that they can pass really quickly and that:
- Waiting can end up making a case more challenging that it needs to be (as evidence may not be as readily available, witnesses’ memories of certain events may fade, etc).
- In some cases, waiting may end up impacting the amount of compensation a family may be able to obtain.
- When these time limits expire, people will lose their opportunities to file these cases and obtain the birth injury settlements to which they are entitled.
Q – How long will it take to resolve my case?
A – It depends on your case. In fact, some of the specific aspects of a given case that can impact how long it will take to resolve that birth injury case include (but are not limited to):
- The type and severity of the birth injury
- Whether one or multiple medical professionals may be named as defendants in the case
- Whether hospital liability may have been a factor in the case
- Whether one or multiple expert witnesses may be needed in the case
- How willing the defendants are to fight the charges or resolve the case as efficiently as possible.
The takeaway here is that birth injury cases tend to be complicated and are, consequently, not usually resolved quickly. Instead, it generally takes months (or possibly longer) for birth injury cases to be resolved.
Q – What type of compensation can I receive if I move forward with a birth injury lawsuit?
A – While the compensation in a birth injury case will vary according to the details and facts of that case, in general, people can obtain the following types of compensation when they move forward with these cases:
- Compensation for past medical bills related to treating the birth injury
- Compensation for the ongoing treatment costs of the birth injury (This can include, depending on the nature of the child’s injuries, the future need for surgery, physical therapy, specialized medical equipment, etc.)
- Compensation for the permanent quality of life impacts related to the birth injury
- Compensation for the mental suffering the birth injury has caused.
Q – What if my child’s condition gets worse overtime? Is there a way to plan for this in a birth injury case and settlement?
A – Yes. Tragically, there are some types of birth injuries that may result in conditions or impairments that are expected to get progressively worse over time. When this may be the case for a child and his family, proving the progressive nature of the birth injury will be critical to the case (this can be done, for example, through medical expert witness testimony).
When it comes time to negotiate (or otherwise workout) a birth injury settlement, incorporating specific language into the terms of this settlement can account for a child’s potentially worsening condition, his future medical needs and the likely escalating costs of them.
Again, it’s best to consult with an attorney to find out specifically how this factor or issue may play a role in your birth injury case and, consequently, your best options for dealing with it to ensure your child’s future medical needs are covered.
Q – Who will be held liable for my child’s birth injury?
A – It will depend on the specifics of your case, who was involved and the roles that each medical professional may have played. Generally, however, the following parties may be sued (i.e., named as defendants in birth injury cases):
- OBGYNs responsible for a woman’s care during her pregnancy and through the labor and delivery process
- Hospital nurses or other support staff who are responsible for monitoring a woman’s and baby’s care during their stay in the facility
- Hospital anesthesiologists who administered the epidural and are responsible for monitoring mothers’ and babies’ condition after providing this drug
- The hospital itself if or when the negligence of its staff has contributed to the birth injuries of newborns.
Q – What else should I know before moving forward with a birth injury case?
A – In addition to all of the information we’ve discussed so far regarding birth injury cases, some of the things we haven’t yet pointed out but that can be important for people to know are that:
- These cases tend to be complicated. Between establishing the nature and severity of the birth injury and proving the medical negligence that caused the injury, there can be a lot to these cases.
- These cases can take a while to resolve, particularly when hospital liability may be an issue and hospital lawyers (and insurers) are involved in the case.
Q – What do I need to do to get my case started?
A – Contact us today. Once we meet to discuss your claim, we can get your case started at no upfront cost to you. We have the experience, skills and resources you can rely on to successfully resolve your birth injury case so that you and your family have the financial support you need to treat your child’s injuries and move on with your life.
Portland Birth Injury Lawyers at the Savage Law Firm
Is your child living with the impacts of a serious birth injury? If so, it’s time to contact the experienced Portland birth injury lawyers at the Savage Law Firm. For more than three decades, our trusted attorneys at the Savage Law Firm have been dedicated to doing whatever it takes to help them obtain the best possible outcomes.
To learn more about our legal services and what we can do for you, call us at 503-222-0200 (in Portland) or at 206-957-7272 (in Seattle). You can also email us using the form on this page.
We represent clients in communities in both Oregon and Washington from our offices in Portland and Seattle.