Childbirth can be a complex and delicate process. While many births have no complications, some births can cause injuries to the baby. One type of injury that birth injury attorneys don't pay much attention to is a broken bone that can occur during childbirth due to the negligence of a doctor or other health care provider. When a baby breaks a bone at birth, it can be traumatic for both the baby and the parents.
When these fractures are caused by medical negligence, parents can seek compensation through birth injury lawsuits to compensate both parent and child. This article discusses birth injuries related to fractures, the legal process for filing a lawsuit, and the factors that can affect the outcome of a lawsuit.
Types of broken birth injuries
Several types of fractures can occur during childbirth, and some of the most common are:
- Fractures of the clavicle:these areMost oftenA type of birth-related fracture, usually caused by a difficult birth, such as pelvic presentation or shoulder dystocia. In most cases, a clavicle fracture heals without any long-term complications, but it can cause pain and discomfort for the child.
- skull fracture: These fractures are less common, but can be more serious. A newborn's skull is designed to be flexible during birth because it is made up of several separate bones. this flexibilityhelps preventrupture. But skull fractures can still occur at birth if there are complications during delivery. They can appear as a result of using tweezers or suction during childbirth or excessive pressure on the baby's head. Skull fractures can lead to brain damage, developmental delays and other long-term complications. These are the worst birth fractures and these claims tend to have the highest compensation.
- long bone fracture: Fractures of the humerus (shoulder), femur (thigh), or other long bones can also occur during childbirth, especially when labor is difficult or during labor. These neonatal fractures are usually diagnosed as nonaccidental because they are fractures of long bones and ribs.often combinedwith medical errors.
Causes of birth fractures
Fractures at birth can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- medical negligence: If health care providers do not follow standards of care during childbirth, such as using excessive force or misusing birthing instruments, they can be held responsible for infant fractures.
- Long or difficult birth:A long and difficult labor increases the risk of birth injuries, including fractures, because the baby can experience more stress and strain during the birth. Why is work difficult? Often doctors can't do anything. But in many cases, an unplanned C-section or mistakes made while trying to get the baby out of the hospital can result in a broken head.
- High birth weight:Babies with a higher birth weight are more likely to break during delivery because their size can make delivery difficult for both the baby and the doctor delivering it. Another cause may be medical error, such as failure to monitor gestational diabetes.
- breech presentation or other abnormalities: If your baby is breech or in another abnormal position during delivery, there may be an increased risk of fracture as the baby may need to be manipulated or removed with forceps or a vacuum.
Filing a claim for a birth injury related to a fracture
If your baby was born with a broken bone and you believe the injury may have been caused by medical negligence, consider filing a birth injury claim. Here are the key steps in this process:
- Consult with an experienced birth injury attorney: It is essential to work with the best birth injury attorney you can find who has experience handling birth injury cases. Good lawyers play an important role in such cases.
- Investigate the cause of the injury: Your attorney will gather evidence to determine whether medical negligence caused your child's fracture. This may include reviewing medical records, questioning witnesses and consulting with medical professionals.
- Construction control:To win a birth injury lawsuit, you must prove that the healthcare provider's negligence directly caused the baby's bones to break. Your attorney will need to show that the healthcare provider failed to meet the standard of care and that their actions or omissions caused the harm.
- calculate the lossYour attorney will help you determine the compensation you may be entitled to in your case, which may include medical expenses, future medical care, pain and suffering, and other losses related to your injuries. In some cases, you can also seek punitive damages if the healthcare professional's behavior was particularly outrageous.
- agreed solution: Many birth injury lawsuits are resolved through settlement negotiations where the parties agree on a compensation amount. Your attorney will negotiate with the defendant's legal team to reach a fair settlement that will adequately compensate you for your losses.
- go to trial: If no agreement can be reached, the case may continue. At trial, your attorney will present evidence and present arguments to the judge and jury. The jury will then decide whether the health care professional was negligent and, if so, how much you should receive.
Factors affecting the resolution of fracture and birth injury litigation
Several factors can affect the outcome of a birth injury claim related to a fracture, including:
- the severity of the injury: The more severe the child's injuries, the higher the potential compensation. Cases involving long-term complications such as brain damage or developmental delays may result in higher compensation.
- strength of evidence: The success of a birth injury claim depends largely on the strength of the evidence that medical negligence caused the child's fractures. Strong testimony from medical professionals and clear documentation of health care providers' procedures can increase the odds of a favorable outcome.
- The defendant is ready to enter into a settlement: Some defendants will prefer to settle out of court to avoid the uncertainty and expense of a trial. If the defendant is willing to negotiate a settlement, you may be able to resolve your case more quickly and efficiently. Few birth injury lawsuits have settlement payments prior to extensive pre-trial discovery. However, if there's one type of birth injury claim that's most likely to settle before going to court, it's a broken bone claim.
To calculate the fee, you need to look at the elements of the claim. Compensation in a birth injury claim may include:
- medical expenses: Calculates past and future medical, surgical, drug and rehabilitation costs associated with injuries. Projections of future medical costs often influence settlement amounts in these lawsuits.
- pain and suffering: Consider the physical pain and emotional suffering your child and family are experiencing as a result of the injury. The amounts here can run into the millions, so the question is whether your jurisdiction limits the pain and damages suffered.
- lost wages: Calculate the loss of income claimed by the parent if the injury affects the parent's ability to work.
- loss of profitability: Assessment of lost earning capacity if the injury would have a long-term effect on the child's future working capacity. In some cases, the number can be in the millions.
- Home improvement equipment and accessories: Calculate the cost of any necessary home modifications and assistive devices such as wheelchairs or specialized equipment to meet your child's needs.
Example of Settlement Payment and Jury Award for Breach in Birth Trial
- California (2018) $9,950,000 settlementThe lawsuit alleges that neglect and overuse of vacuum pumps during dystocia caused various birth injuries, including clavicle fractures and brachial plexus injuries. Delayed labor caused by inadvertent vacuum aspiration can also lead to hypoxia and lead to cerebral palsy and severe mental retardation. The case was settled for $9.9 million, although only a small portion of that amount was for damages related to the broken collarbone. This case highlights that birth injury cases often follow other major birth injuries.
- Pennsylvania (2017) Judgment for $17,967,086: The infant sustained two skull fractures, left cerebellar contusion, ventricular compression and hydrocephalus. The lawsuit alleged that the injury was caused by the carelessness of the forceps because the obstetrician misplaced the forceps and over-tensioned the baby's head without specific instructions. Skull fractures cause brain damage that permanently damages the child.
- Pennsylvania (2017) $1,000,000 Settlement: The defendant obstetrician allegedly caused excessive force and lateral distension during a vaginal delivery with shoulder dystocia, resulting in Erb's palsy and a fracture of the baby's right arm. The lawsuit alleges that the defendants failed to properly address the complications of shoulder dystocia.
- Wisconsin (2011) Settlement for $360,000: The infant in this case had a broken clavicle and a damaged part of the brachial plexus. The lawsuit alleges that the OB/GYN used excessive force and traction to push the baby out of the birth canal during a long and difficult vaginal delivery.
Hiring a Lawyer for Your Child's Injury Lawsuit
The trauma of birth with fractures can be a traumatic experience for both babies and their parents. If you believe that medical negligence caused your baby's injuries, filing a birth injury claim can help you get compensation for your losses and help your baby get the care he needs. Working with an experienced birth injury attorney is key to navigating the legal process and achieving the best outcome for your case. Although every case is unique, understanding the cause, the legal process, and the factors that affect the outcome can help you make an informed decision and protect your child's best interests.
Traumatic birth compensation claims. If you suffered a traumatic experience during childbirth which has led to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), you might have a claim for compensation if it was due to medical negligence.What is birth injury caused by medical negligence? ›
Common types of birth injuries caused by medical negligence include: Brain damage. Intrauterine fetal demise. Intraventricular hemorrhage.What are fractures of birth injury? ›
Fractures. Fractures (breaks) can occur when there is difficulty getting a baby through the birth canal. The bone that most often breaks is the collarbone (clavicle), and this can happen when the baby's shoulder gets stuck (shoulder dystocia), or if the baby is born breech (bottom first).What is the most common birth fracture? ›
Clavicular fractures are the most common bone fracture during delivery and can occur in up to 15 per 1000 live births.