How Does a Birth Injury Lawyer Help Your Family?
There is nothing more precious than the life of a newborn child. A new parent welcomes their baby’s potential, and is ready to work for their health, happiness, and care. What happens when an avoidable birth injury derails all of your carefully laid hopes and plans?
At Hodes Milman, our birth injury lawyers have proven experience helping families recover damages and secure resources for their child’s future care needs. We know what it takes to prove cases against hospitals or physicians who attempt to dodge responsibility for the harm they’ve caused. We are parents ourselves, and fight with unshakeable determination on behalf of your child. A negligent birth injury could happen to anyone, and it’s absolutely unacceptable.
A successful settlement or verdict could mean better care for your child, fewer burdens for your family, and greater dignity and comfort for all involved. A lawsuit could also help remove dangerous actors from patient care, and prompt safety improvements to the hospital or birthing center.
Contact Hodes Milman today at our Orange County, California headquarters by calling (949) 640-8222 — we’re ready to discuss your needs in the wake of this life-altering tragedy. There is no cost to consult with us, and no obligation on your part. To hear from one of our attorneys and find out more about birth injuries, see the video and information below.
What Is the Average Birth Injury Settlement?
It is not possible to name one “average” birth injury settlement because each case is entirely unique. Factors include whether the birth injury was temporary or permanent, how it was caused, and what the losses are to the child and the family. However, we can tell you the successful settlements and verdicts that attorneys at Hodes Milman have achieved for birth injury cases.
Our birth injury case results include:
- $6 million for a twin whose growth was restricted after the other twin’s death during pregnancy.
- $5.7 million for a child harmed by sustained insufficient oxygen (over an hour without hospital staff noticing the baby’s distress).
- $4.2 million for injuries related to hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (defined lower on this page) due to the mishandling of protracted labor.
Though a settlement does not make up for all that you’ve lost and suffered, it does provide real, tangible benefits. These include payments for medical bills and long-term care needs in cases of brain injury. A verdict could cover any lost wages or work-related benefits (like health insurance) sacrificed in order to care for your child. A judge also has the ability to grant punitive damages, which are fees meant to punish any wrongdoers in your case, money which is then awarded to you. These funds could go towards home health aids, high-quality treatments and therapies, or educational and developmental specialists. Additional funds could also help ensure that your household and your other children have a financially stable future.
A comprehensive settlement could greatly improve your child’s healthcare access. It can also help ease the worry and stress you, your marriage, and possibly your other children are experiencing. It can also put financial incentive to make sure that the negligence that harmed your child never happens again to another innocent life.
Testimonial: “My daughter was born with a disability due to doctor neglect. I emailed over 200 lawyers over a 2 year time span. I had ONE lawyer believe in my case and he worked with Jeff Milman over the next year helping build my case. Jeff won my case and I cannot thank him enough for believing in me!! He was so pleasant to work with and professional. I will forever be thankful to him and his team!”
– Kymbirley B.
How Long After Birth Injury Can You Sue?
Hodes Milman is located in California, where birth injury cases may be brought at any time before the child turns eight years old (California CCP 340.5). That is a general guideline, however, as there are certain exceptions related to whether it was a public or private hospital. There are also different timelines for actionable circumstances like:
- Parental malpractice claims — 1 year: For medical malpractice injuries to the mother
- Wrongful death — 1 year: For instances where labor- and birth-related injuries cause or contribute
It is vital that you contact an attorney before these timelines expire. Let the legal professionals at Hodes Milman meet these deadlines on your behalf, so that you can focus your attention on your child, your own health, and the well-being of your family.
You only have one chance to file each type of lawsuit, which is why the attorneys at Hodes Milman pursue every available claim. These lawsuit damages can help your child receive the best care available, and secure it for the baby’s lifetime. We do everything in our power to maximize your reward so that your child always has the care and attention they need.
What Is the Most Common Birth Injury?
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) tracks the rate of infant injury and mortality each year. The most common birth injuries are caused by either physical injury (damage to the head and neck during delivery) or oxygen injury (insufficient or complete lack of oxygen).
The negligence that may contribute to these injuries include: unsafe forceps (product liability), improper handling of tools like suction machines, failure to properly monitor for signs of fetal distress, incorrect drugs or dosages, and delayed reactions to emergency circumstances such as a lack of oxygen.
The most common birth injuries from negligence or carelessness include:
Brain hypoxia occurs when the brain receives a reduced amount of oxygen while simultaneously maintaining an adequate supply of blood. Often the cause of a birth injury, surgical error, or anesthesia error, symptoms can include sweating, dizziness, reduced vision, sleepiness, and severe brain injury.
Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)
Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a brain injury that occurs in infants when a lack of blood flow leads to oxygen deprivation in the brain. Studies show that most HIE cases are due to a lack of oversight or mishandling of events before birth, though it can also arise from delivery complications. The long-term effects of HIE will vary based on which area of the brain has been affected and how long it went without oxygen.
Shoulder dystocia occurs when the infant’s shoulder becomes lodged behind the mother’s pubic bone after the head has already emerged. This condition can create risks for both the child and the mother. Many times, this issue is not discovered until birth is already in process. However, if your doctor determines that your baby’s size could create shoulder dystocia, he or she may recommend a C-section delivery to avoid this.
Erb’s Palsy (or Erb-Duchenne) is a shoulder dystocia injury that is common, but also serious. Erb’s Palsy occurs when the nerves in the shoulder are injured and affect the spinal cord, arms, and hands. This condition almost always surfaces immediately following birth, whereby the infant is unable to move his or her hand or arm on one side of the body. Each case is different and some symptoms worsen while others go away after a few months.
Klumpke’s Palsy is a type of brachial palsy that affects the brachial plexus — the network of nerves that connects the spinal cord to your shoulder, arm, and hand. It happens when the first thoracic nerve and eighth cervical nerve are damaged before they have had time to join. This condition is a partial paralysis that disturbs a baby’s hand and forearm muscles. It often occurs in situations where the mother is particularly small, while the baby is larger, or when a doctor is aggressive when delivering the baby through the birth canal.
Cerebral palsy affects an infant’s control of movement. There are different types of this condition, such as spastic, athetoid, and ataxic. Often showing within the first few years of life, muscles in the arms and legs become stiff. Physical therapy, drug therapy, or surgery may then be required. Approximately 10,000 babies are born with cerebral palsy each year, according to Cerebral Palsy Guidance. There is no known cure for it.
Facial paralysis causes the infant to lose muscle movement in the face, often as a direct result of pressure on the facial nerve before or at the time of birth. This condition is most obvious when the infant cries. During facial paralysis, the eyelids may not close, the lower face can appear uneven, and an uneven movement of the mouth can be present. Surgery and/or special therapy may help with this.
Spinal Cord Injury
A spinal cord injury is often the result of a head, neck, or back injury, and occurs when the vertebrae are either fractured or dislocated. Damages for this condition are generally irreversible, and can lead to other complications in the body, such as extreme pain throughout, heart failure, bladder dysfunction, pressure sores, and scoliosis.
Necrotizing enterocolitis often occurs in premature babies and causes damage to the intestinal tract. Portions of the baby’s bowel tissue do not function, causing a range of symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, delayed gastric emptying, abdominal distention, abdominal tenderness, and hematochezia.
If an infection develops during pregnancy, or a pre-existing infection is not properly diagnosed and treated by a doctor or nurse, both the mother and infant can face additional health problems throughout the delivery process. A few of the most common and dangerous infections include rubella, chickenpox, syphilis, urinary tract infection, and toxoplasmosis.
Depending on the birth injury, treatment may be possible, but in far too many instances, the above injuries cause life-long difficulties. In the most extreme instances, the healthy child you nurtured in utero is faced with a permanent disability that robs him or her of the life they should have lived.
The CDC’s data suggests that roughly 7 out of every 1,000 children will suffer a birth injury, and many will never fully recover.
Can You Sue for Traumatic Birth?
“Traumatic birth” is a term used to describe harmful birth-related experiences. These can include both physical injury to the mother or the baby, as well as negative psychological impacts. If you were mistreated or given inadequate care while giving birth, then you may have the ability to sue for medical malpractice.
Psychological pain is recognized by the law as well as physical pain, real enough to cause trauma-related conditions like PTSD, anxiety, and depression. Once you are released from care, it is common for healthcare providers to try and dismiss birth injury cases as unavoidable, including instances of traumatic birth.
Factors Contributing to Birth Injuries
Multiple factors can be responsible for a birth injury, including carelessness and negligence on behalf of an obstetrician. Examples include:
- Failure to follow a proper birth plan guide
- Failure to appreciate worrisome signs on a fetal monitoring strip
- Improper execution of a delivery technique
- Refusal to order a C-section delivery
- Use of a faulty product or the inexpert use of a working medical device (like forceps)
- Improper prescription/administration of a harmful drug
Even if your baby’s ailment was genetic and appeared while the fetus was developing, the doctor can still be held liable in certain instances. For instance, they could be liable for failing to diagnose a condition, misdiagnosing a condition, or failing to provide suitable treatment options.
To be sure that the birth injury was caused by human error or mistake, you’ll need evidence to prove it. An experienced birth injury lawyer can help you obtain necessary documents such as medical records, expert testimonies, and witness statements to build a strong, successful case.
Your injuries, pain, and trauma are real. Your attorney from Hodes Milman will hire the expert witnesses and verify the evidence required to secure you a fair settlement or verdict.
Contact Experienced Birth Injury Lawyers
There are some conditions and injuries that are unavoidable in birth and in life, but negligence is not one of them. The horror of a preventable injury robbing your child of the future he or she deserved is unacceptable. You have every right to hold each party accountable for such profound errors.
If your child was affected by a birth injury and you suspect it was a result of negligence or carelessness, the birth injury attorneys at Hodes Milman are here to help. Our experience in child injury and maternal injury during birth, as well as numerous other medical malpractice cases, means we have the proven experience to help your family.
You are not alone. Your thoughts, concerns, and questions matter, and the birth injury attorneys at Hodes Milman are here for you. From making phone calls on your behalf to collecting medical records, we will handle all aspects of your case, so that you and your family can focus on healing and moving forward with your lives. Reach out to us online or by calling (949) 640-8222 — we’ll be reaching back to help you.
Birth Injury FAQs
What other birth injury cases have Hodes Milman won or settled?
The following are a few additional cases we have successfully handled on behalf of affected families:
- $4.1 million awarded to the family of an infant who suffered continuous seizures after hospital negligence.
- $2.5 million settled for the family of premature triplets after a lack of adherence to protocol caused them to contract infections, resulting in death and brain damage.
- $1.7 million secured for the family of a baby born with Down syndrome after negligent interpretation of prenatal genetic testing.
We are here to ensure that your baby receives the best care and attention available, for both the long- and short-term effects of the birth injury. We are glad to answer all of your questions and can help you decide what is right for you and your family.
How long does a birth injury lawsuit take?
There is no set time for how long a birth injury lawsuit can take. Depending on the case, it can take anywhere from 1-2 years, though again, each individual case will vary. A qualified and experienced birth injury lawyer can ensure that your case gets the attention it deserves. While it may seem like a slow process, in the long run, the outcome can provide lasting benefits for your difficult situation.
Can I afford a birth injury lawyer?
Yes, at Hodes Milman, you can. Our attorneys work on a “contingency fee” basis, which means you pay no money upfront, and owe us nothing if we cannot deliver a settlement for you. We only earn our fee by achieving for you, and we do this for two reasons:
- We understand that most of our clients do not have the funds on hand to pay for an attorney before they receive a settlement or award
- We would not feel comfortable taking money from families in need to fund the work for a case we have yet to settle or win
We are confident in our ability to see your case through, and so we invest our funds in building the foundation of the argument. If that means expert witnesses, digital recreation artists, and hours worked now for later compensation, then that is exactly what we do for our clients.
How is birth injury compensation calculated?
Birth injury compensation is different for each case. However, the following factors may be considered when calculating compensation:
- Amount of harm to the infant
- Degree of negligence or recklessness of the liable party
- Projected long-term effects of the injury
While no amount of damages can ever undo the permanent effects of birth injury caused by negligence, compensation can help the victim and their family offset the various associated costs. Contact a birth injury lawyer at Hodes Milman by calling (949) 640-8222 if you or a loved one needs help with legal representation. We do the heavy lifting and will prepare all the documents and evidence needed for litigation while you focus on the needs of your family.
ABOUT HODES MILMAN, LLP
Hodes Milman, LLP has won $200 million and has over 30 years of experience securing justice for victims of negligence. We are proud to call our clients family and offer them the resourceful, committed and accessible legal advocacy they deserve.
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When you work with us, you’ll see the difference. A lot of firms are quick to show you numbers, and it is absolutely true that your lawyer should have experience and a strong track record in the area that you require. However, we’ll take it one step further. We also believe that your attorney should put your needs, cares and desires first. Because you deserve more than just compensation for your losses - you deserve a true advocate.