As a parent, all you want is for your child to grow up happy and healthy. To learn that your newborn infant or growing baby suffered an injury at birth is one of the most difficult pieces of news you can receive. Suddenly your child’s future seems uncertain. You’ll do whatever you can to give them the tools they need to thrive – but you know you’ll face additional challenges now.
In many cases, birth injuries are preventable, and are caused by medical negligence. If your doctor or another medical professional’s action or inaction caused your child to suffer an unnecessary injury, you have the right to hold them responsible. A birth injury lawyer at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys can help you. We represent people in Reading and throughout Berks County who have suffered because of medical negligence. We have won numerous multimillion-dollar settlements and verdicts. Let us help you and your family.
Contact the family of board-certified trial lawyers at Munley Law today. We will listen to your story, give you advice, and explain your legal rights – at no charge. We only get paid when we win your case, so you have nothing to lose. Call, chat live, or fill out our contact form today to get started.
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How Does a Reading Birth Injury Lawsuit Work?
A birth injury can have lifelong consequences for your child and your entire family. In addition to the physical pain and discomfort your child may experience, birth injuries can cause significant financial strain. A birth injury lawsuit seeks to compensate you and your child for their pain and suffering, as well as the costs of medical treatment; ongoing speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy; adaptive equipment and home modifications; and other related expenses. The goal of obtaining financial compensation for these losses is to give you the resources you need to improve your child’s quality of life and ensure they get the care they need.
The defendant in a birth injury case might be your obstetrician, the doctor or nurse who delivered the baby, the hospital itself, or anyone else who was responsible for your baby’s care and contributed to their injury.
To determine the exact cause of your child’s injury and identify the at-fault parties, your lawyer will work with a physician and/or medical experts to review your child’s medical records and the mother’s records. Then, we will calculate not only the costs you have incurred thus far but the total costs you are likely to incur over the course of your child’s lifetime.
Next, we will draft a demand letter stating the amount of money we demand on your behalf. Then we will build your case and file a complaint in the appropriate court of law. We will conduct discovery and negotiate with the defendant until a settlement is reached. If they do not agree to a settlement, we will take your case to trial.
Types of Birth Injuries
There are many different types of birth injuries. Some of the most common types of birth trauma include:
- Cerebral palsy – a group of disorders that affect motor function, balance, and posture
- Erb’s palsy – a form of brachial plexus caused by injury to the infant’s shoulder
- Brachial plexus – weakness or paralysis in parts of the infant’s arm due to an injury to the brachial plexus during the birthing process
- Perinatal asphyxia – oxygen deprivation leading to brain damage
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Brain injury
Many birth injuries result from some form of oxygen deprivation or nerve damage resulting in paralysis. Cerebral Palsy is the most common form of birth injury, and can present in different ways, ranging from mild to severe disability.
Causes of Birth Injuries in Reading, PA
Birth injuries can occur during labor and delivery, or much earlier. Causes of birth injuries include:
- Failure to detect signs of fetal distress
- Failure to respond to a mother’s complaints of pain, bleeding, or other complications
- Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose
- Improper use of forceps during delivery
- Delaying or failing to perform a Cesarean section
- Umbilical cord complications, resulting in oxygen deprivation
- Failing to adequately monitor the mother or baby’s heartbeat during the pregnancy, labor, and delivery
- Failure to order or perform sufficient prenatal testing
Proving Negligence in a Birth Injury Case
To be successful in a birth injury lawsuit, you must prove not only that your child has suffered an injury, but that the injury was caused by a specific form of medical negligence. Specifically, you must prove the following elements:
Duty – You must be able to demonstrate that the defendant owed you a duty of care. In medical malpractice cases, the existence of a doctor-patient relationship indicates that the doctor or medical professional owed you a duty of care.
Breach – You must demonstrate that the defendant breached their duty by failing to act with reasonable care. In medical cases, doctors and healthcare professionals are held to a standard of care for their profession – higher than what might be expected of the average person. The medical standard of care refers to the level and type of care you would have received from another doctor in the same specialty with the same training.
Causation – You will need to prove that the defendant’s failure to uphold their duty of care directly caused you (or in this case your child) to experience an injury.
Damages – Finally, you will need to illustrate that you suffered specific damages as a result of the injuries caused by the defendant.
It’s important to know that in medical negligence cases, it is not enough to merely prove that you or your child suffered harm and that that harm was caused by your doctor. In medicine, sometimes things go wrong; doctors can make mistakes despite doing everything they should. The crux of your case, then, is not just to show that your doctor caused your baby to suffer an injury, but to show that your doctor violated the standard of care for their profession. Your birth injury lawyer will consult the best experts from around the U.S. to determine whether your doctor’s actions amount to malpractice.
Reading Birth Injury FAQs
Can I sue a hospital in Berks County?
Reading is home to a number of medical facilities, including St. Christopher’s Hospital, Penn State Health St. Joseph’s Medical Center, Reading Hospital and Medical Center, Tower Health, Temple Brandan, and more. If you believe that your doctor or other healthcare provider gave you substandard care during your pregnancy, labor, and delivery, you may be able to sue the hospital for damages. An experienced Reading birth injury lawyer can identify who is responsible for your child’s injury.
How long do I have to file a birth injury lawsuit?
Some birth injuries might not be identified right away. You may not realize your child has a physical or cognitive impairment until they start missing important developmental milestones. In Pennsylvania, you have two years from the date of the child’s eighteenth birthday to file a lawsuit for a birth injury.
However, it is in your best interest to contact an attorney as early as possible. This is true for a few reasons. First, the longer you wait, the greater the chances that important information can become corrupted or lost. The doctor who treated you during your pregnancy might be retired, moved away, or passed away by the time your child is grown. Second, filing a lawsuit early on can secure the financial resources you will need to provide your child with all the best tools and treatments to maximize their potential and quality of life. Early intervention can make a big difference in your child’s life plan.
What is the difference between a birth injury and a birth defect?
You may hear the terms birth injury and birth defect used interchangeably, but they are different. Generally speaking, a birth defect is a genetic condition, or an otherwise unpreventable condition or illness. Birth defects can also be caused by environmental factors, like a contaminated living space, or harmful medication taken by the mother that can harm her unborn baby. Birth injuries, on the other hand, are caused by some form of trauma during delivery or medical negligence during pregnancy.
Can I afford a top-rated birth injury attorney?
Every child deserves a chance at a full, healthy, happy life. If your child has suffered a birth injury that might cause them to face challenges later in life, you deserve the chance to fight for your child, and the cost of legal representation should never stand in the way.
At Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys in Reading, we only get paid when we win your case. We put forth all of the resources necessary to build your case, and if we do not succeed, you owe us nothing. In this way, you are protected from the financial risk associated with pursuing legal action. This is especially important in a medical malpractice or birth injury case because medical cases can be particularly expensive to litigate.
f you’re unsure whether you have a case, you can have a birth injury lawyer review your case for free. During the initial consultation, we will listen to your story, gather some preliminary information, and advise you as to how to proceed. Should you agree to have Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys represent you, we will get to work on your case right away and guide you through the legal process from that point forward.