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Charleston Birth Injury Lawyer

Charleston Birth Injury Lawyer

Here at Hendrickson & Long, PLLC, we have a long track record of handling birth injury cases.

We know what evidence is needed to forward strong cases that prove liability. And, when clients hire us, they can count on us to not only be sensitive to what they’ve gone through when communicating with them but to demonstrate our belief in using the legal system to hold negligent parties accountable no matter what it takes—even if it means we need to aggressively fight for your rights at trial.

So, if you’re looking for a tireless advocate, look no further than our legal team. Our attorneys offer free consultations. Contact us to schedule one now.

Most Common Causes of Birth Injuries

Our role as attorneys who represent birth injury victims is to investigate why these incidents occurred.

In our experience, the most common causes include:

  • Ineffective prenatal care: Pregnant mothers are prone to developing hypertension, gestational diabetes, and other conditions, which may not only adversely impact their health but that of their fetus but also cause childbirth injuries. Doctors should not only be proactive in diagnosing these conditions during pregnancies but also try to help their patients manage their conditions. If unsuccessful, physicians should aid their patients in implementing a birth plan that minimizes the chances of injuries to mom and baby, especially since certain conditions like maternal obesity and diabetes can cause babies born to be heavier in weight.
  • Negligent use of birthing instruments: It’s not uncommon for obstetricians to use surgical tools such as forceps or medical devices like vacuum aspirators to deliver babies stuck in the womb. Improper use of these instruments can be potentially dangerous to both mom and baby. Babies run the risk of developing lacerations, hematomas, skull fractures, brain damage, and even shoulder dystocia, which can severely damage the brachial plexus nerve. In addition, mothers can suffer uterine perforation and other significant outcomes if these tools are misused.
  • Ineffective monitoring: This can apply to when a baby is still in utero. Ultrasound techs must look for situations like oligohydramnios, low amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus, intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), and if the baby’s body is breached and report these findings immediately to doctors. Additionally, physicians must monitor a mom’s and baby’s vital signs, like blood pressure, oxygenation, pulse, etc., during the pregnancy and childbirth process and respond accordingly to keep both safe.
  • Failure to act expeditiously: A baby being stuck in the birth canal for too long can compress their brain, causing them to become distressed. Additionally, a fetus that has an umbilical cord wrapped around their neck may face oxygen deprivation. If monitored for and a shift is quickly made to deliver the baby by C-section, adverse outcomes that typically result in situations like these, like brain injuries, can be avoided.
  • Medication errors: Obstetricians must be particularly cautious when prescribing pregnant women any medications to ensure they won’t harm mom or baby. Additionally, doctors must be careful when administering drugs to induce labor, such as Pitocin, as it has the potential to change the rhythm of contractions. Additionally, anesthesiologists must be careful in administering epidurals and other drugs intravenously so as to not over-sedate patients or cause unnecessary nerve damage.

My Child Suffered an Injury at Birth—What Can I Do?

West Virginia law allows patients hurt during childbirth due to mistakes made by their doctors, nurses, and other providers to file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the parties who caused them harm.

It’s commonplace for doctors to have medical malpractice insurance and hospitals to have liability insurance for when errors like these happen. When you file a claim, while the doctor, nurse, or facility is listed as a defendant, any settlement awarded is paid by their insurer as opposed to by that defendant directly.

Our legal system views the civil legal system whereby you can recover monetary compensation for your losses as making a victim “whole” once again.

Statute of Limitations for Labor & Delivery Errors

Like any civil matter, there is a statute of limitations that applies to cases like these. West Virginia Code §55-7B-4 specifies how that timeline would typically be two years from either your child’s birth (or the onset of your injury) or when you first discovered its existence.

And, if childbirth injury ultimately claimed the mom or baby’s life, then you would have two years from the date of that fatality to file suit.

While two years may seem like a long time and thus give you a feeling that you can delay and let life return to some sense of normalcy or that you can begin the grieving process and address any potential legal claim later on, don’t. We know that you’re going through a lot and likely feel like you can’t handle anything more right now, but there’s no time like now to have us help you compile evidence to prove liability in your case. This is especially true when it comes to witness accounts.

So, reach out to our law firm, Hendrickson & Long, PLLC, right away to discuss your case so we can start gathering all necessary evidence now.

Why You Need Help Building Your Injury Case

In medical malpractice cases like birth injury ones, there are certain elements that you must be able to establish to move forward in taking legal action.  Those center around proving that a medical provider owed you a duty of care or had a responsibility to uphold a certain standard of care and that they breached it. You must also demonstrate causation.

This essentially means that you must show that there’s a connection between the injuries you and/or your baby suffered and the health care provider’s actions. Satisfactorily establishing these elements so you can move forward in filing a claim can prove challenging.

Aside from proving the elements of negligence above, it’s necessary to file a “notice of claim” and “screening certificate of merit,” the latter of which must be signed by a health care provider without any financial interest in the claim, per West Virginia Code §55-7b-6. Navigating this process can prove challenging if you’re dealing with recovery from a childbirth injury yourself, have a child with special needs, or are grieving. We can help you navigate your responsibilities in this respect.

Additionally, our state laws, and specifically West Virginia Code §55-7b-8, generally cap the amount of money plaintiffs can recover for noneconomic damages, so, for example, damages for pain and suffering in medical negligence cases like these at $250,000. However, that amount increases to $500,000 when the harm done results in death or a permanent physical deformity or functional injury.

These amounts undergo annual re-adjustments for inflation. Attorneys like ours are skilled in calculating the value of not easily quantifiable losses like noneconomic ones, so you receive the fairest possible offer in your case.  The three examples above are just a few ways our legal team can assist you in preparing a solid claim that has the strongest potential of yielding the best possible chance of a settlement for you.

Contact our firm to discuss what you and your baby went through that shouldn’t have on what should have been the most joyous day of your life.

A consultation with a Charleston birth injury lawyer is completely free, and we only get paid if we are able to secure a settlement for you.

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Call us or fill out the form on the right to tell us about your potential case. An attorney will get back to you as quickly as possible.