The arrival of your newborn baby should be a joyous occasion, filled with happiness and anticipation. However, there are unfortunate instances where unexpected birth injuries can cast a shadow over this momentous event. If you believe your child has experienced a birth injury due to the actions of a healthcare professional, Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys wants to advocate for you. Our nationally recognized personal injury attorneys are leaders in the field, and we are equipped with the necessary resources, expertise, and understanding to support you in pursuing a lawsuit against those responsible for your baby’s harm.
Call the Bethlehem birth injury lawyer at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys for a free, no-obligation consultation.
You have nothing to lose; we don’t get paid until you get paid.
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Are Birth Injuries and Birth Defects the Same?
Birth injuries and birth defects are not the same. They are distinct in their nature and timing. Birth injuries occur during labor or immediately after delivery, specifically during the process of childbirth. They are injuries that happen to the baby as they are being born. On the other hand, birth defects occur while the fetus is developing in the womb. These defects are often, although not exclusively, caused by genetic mutations, exposure to toxins, or the use of certain medications during pregnancy.
Causes of Birth Injuries in Bethlehem, PA
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), in the United States:
The 10 leading causes of infant death in 2021 (congenital malformations, low birth weight, sudden infant death syndrome, unintentional injuries, maternal complications, cord and placental complications, bacterial sepsis of newborn, respiratory distress of newborn, diseases of the circulatory system, and intrauterine hypoxia and birth asphyxia) accounted for 66.2% of all infant deaths in the United States.
Birth injuries in Bethlehem, PA can arise from a variety of causes, however, there are some common factors that can contribute to the occurrence including:
- Medical Negligence: Errors or negligence on the part of healthcare professionals, such as doctors, nurses, or midwives, during prenatal care, labor, or delivery can lead to birth injuries. This may include failure to monitor the baby’s well-being, improper use of medical instruments, delayed or improper response to complications, or medication errors.
- Difficult or Prolonged Labor: In some cases, a complicated or prolonged labor can increase the risk of birth injuries. Factors such as fetal distress, abnormal fetal position, or a large baby can put added stress on the baby during the birthing process.
- Oxygen Deprivation: Oxygen deprivation is a significant issue that can result in various injuries to newborn infants. This deprivation may occur due to factors such as a prolapsed umbilical cord or underdeveloped lungs, commonly seen in premature births. It’s important to note that many brain-related birth injuries stem from oxygen deprivation during the birthing process. The most severe brain injuries can have long-lasting effects that persist throughout a person’s lifetime.
- Premature Birth: Babies born prematurely are at a higher risk of birth injuries due to their underdeveloped organs and susceptibility to complications during the delivery process.
- Instrument-Assisted Delivery: The use of instruments, such as forceps or vacuum extractors, to assist in the delivery can sometimes lead to birth injuries if not used properly or if excessive force is applied.
- Maternal Health Conditions: Certain maternal health conditions, such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, or infections, can increase the risk of birth injuries if not properly managed during pregnancy and delivery.
Compensation for your Bethlehem, PA Birth Injury
By filing a birth injury lawsuit on your behalf, Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys aims to secure compensation for your child’s pain and suffering, as well as the financial burdens associated with their medical treatment, ongoing therapies, necessary adaptive equipment, home modifications, and other relevant expenses.
The objective of pursuing financial compensation is to provide you with the necessary resources to enhance your child’s quality of life and ensure they receive the essential care and support they require.
In Pennsylvania, the compensation awarded in a birth injury case can vary widely depending on various factors, including the severity of the injury, the long-term impact on the child and family, the costs of medical treatment and rehabilitation, and the financial losses experienced by the affected parties.
In general, the compensation in a birth injury case may cover:
- Medical Expenses including current and future expenses related to the injury, such as hospital bills, surgeries, therapies, medications, assistive devices, and other necessary treatments.
- Rehabilitation and Therapy Costs such as costs associated with ongoing rehabilitation and various therapies to help the child recover or improve their condition.
- Pain and Suffering compensation may be awarded for the physical pain, emotional distress, and psychological suffering endured by the child and their family due to the birth injury.
- Lost Earnings and Future Loss of Income if the birth injury results in long-term or permanent disabilities that prevent the child from earning a living in the future.
- Home Modifications and Assistive Devices for modifications to the home environment or the use of assistive devices if the birth injury necessitates these accommodations.
How Do I Know if My Child Suffered a Preventable Birth Injury?
In certain situations, the occurrence of a birth injury or condition may be beyond the control of even the most skilled healthcare professionals. However, there are instances where birth injuries could have been prevented if the doctor, nurse, or other medical professionals had provided an appropriate standard of care.
It is crucial to differentiate between unavoidable circumstances and cases where inadequate care contributed to the birth injury or condition.
Birth injuries can be identified through various methods, including developmental tests, medical examinations, and the recognition of signs and symptoms associated with such injuries. It’s important to note that not all birth injuries are immediately apparent at the time of delivery. While some may be evident right away, others may only become noticeable when your child demonstrates developmental delays.
How Long Do I Have to File a Birth Injury Lawsuit in Bethlehem, PA?
When it comes to pursuing legal action for a birth injury in Bethlehem, PA, a claim can be filed by the family on behalf of the child, or by the child themselves.
If the family is filing a claim, in general, there is a two-year timeframe starting from the date the injury is discovered or reasonably should have been discovered. According to state law, a parent has a two-year window to make a claim on behalf of their infant who has suffered an injury. Specifically, under 42 Pa. C.S. § 5524,
An action to recover damages for injuries to the person or for the death of an individual caused by the wrongful act or neglect or unlawful violence or negligence of another must be commenced within 2 years. Pennsylvania courts have adopted a discovery rule for injuries to the person. The statute does not begin to run until the injured party discovers or reasonably should discover that he has been injured by another’s conduct.
If the child is filing a claim, as long as the birth injury occurred before the child reached the age of 18, the court provides them with the opportunity to file a claim until they reach 20 years old. Specifically, under 40 Pa. Stat. § 1303.513,
No cause of action asserting a medical professional liability claim may be commenced by or on behalf of a minor after seven years from the date of the alleged tort or breach of contract or after the minor attains the age of 20 years, whichever is later.
Talk to a Birth Injury Lawyer in Bethlehem, PA Today About Your Case
When you or someone close to you is anticipating the arrival of a child, it is reasonable and natural to expect that the highest standards of medical care will be provided. However, instances of medical negligence can occur, resulting in severe injuries and lasting harm. In such cases, it is crucial to hold responsible medical professionals accountable, and you have the legal right to pursue a lawsuit to seek damages for the harm caused.
At Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, we have almost decades of experience handling Pennsylvania medical malpractice and birth injury claims in Bethlehem, PA. Call our team today and let us review your case. We offer free case evaluations, and you do not pay anything unless we win compensation for you in your birth injury claim.
Call our office today for your free consultation with a Bethlehem birth injury attorney.
Munley Law – Bethlehem Birth Injury Lawyer
Munley Law – Bethlehem Birth Injury Lawyer
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