The birth of a child is one of the most incredible events a person can experience, and an injury during delivery can tarnish this amazing memory. It can also cause a lifetime of other difficulties. Birth injuries and defects are every new parent’s fear, and it’s vital to know how to recognize when a birth injury resulted from medical malpractice. The Charleston birth injury lawyers at HawkLaw want people living in Mt. Pleasant and the Charleston area to know what to do when facing a birth injury.
Understanding Birth Injuries
Personal injury law covers civil disputes between private citizens and organizations. If one person causes injury or financial damages to another, the injured party can seek compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. However, if a newborn suffers an injury during birth, the parents must file a civil action on behalf of their injured child. Doctors and other health care professionals have a legal duty to do no harm to patients. This includes unborn children. If doctors fail to recognize problems with a pregnancy, use unapproved treatment plans, or take dangerous action during delivery, they might commit medical malpractice.
Birth injuries can affect the mother, the baby, or both. During delivery, a mishandled baby may suffer brain damage, cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, or wounds from surgical instruments. A mother could experience preeclampsia, which can cause seizures, if the doctor fails to note her high blood pressure. These situations are not only dangerous, but children injured at birth typically face lifetimes of disability and medical difficulties. It is crucial for expecting parents to trust their doctors and know the signs of medical malpractice.
How Can I Sue for Malpractice?
Medical malpractice lawsuits function similarly to personal injury lawsuits with a few important exceptions. First, most medical malpractice claims must proceed through an internal medical review board with the organization in question. For example, this could be a private practice, hospital, or other treatment center. If the internal board deems that malpractice took place or that the plaintiff has reason to pursue a case, the plaintiff can then proceed with a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Similar to personal injury law, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant of a medical malpractice case was negligent in his or her actions, and that negligence directly harmed the plaintiff. To show negligence, the plaintiff must prove four facts to the court:
An official doctor and patient relationship existed between the plaintiff and defendant. The doctor must have officially agreed to treat the plaintiff, and the plaintiff must have officially agreed to receive the doctor’s treatment.
The doctor had a duty to act with reasonable care. This is an expectation of everyone, but the court holds doctors to a much higher duty of care considering the nature of their work. Doctors must diagnose patients using accurate deductions based on symptoms, and then treat those patients accordingly using accepted methods and treatment options.
The doctor breached this duty of care in some way. The plaintiff must prove that the defendant acted in a way that no other reasonable and similarly skilled professional would have in the same situation. The plaintiff might also prove that the doctor missed a crucial detail that even an untrained person would have caught, such as reading an x-ray backward. In some cases, the plaintiff’s attorney will call on expert witnesses to testify as to how the defendant’s actions were contrary to accepted medical standards.
The defendant caused actual harm. The plaintiff cannot sue if he or she suffered no injury or damage. The plaintiff’s attorney will help him or her gather the evidence necessary to prove the extent of the damages caused by the defendant’s actions.
Charleston Birth Injury Lawyers Covering the Charleston Area
Medical malpractice cases can quickly turn into complex legal matters. Reach out to HawkLaw’s personal injury team about your birth injury case in Charleston today. We can help parents of injured babies secure compensation for their children’s medical expenses and pain and suffering, as well as coverage for the costs of long-term care. We offer free consultations* to new clients, so contact us today in Mount Pleasant and we’ll let you know how we can proceed with your case.
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