Experienced Attorneys Fighting for Injured Babies and Their Mothers
Like many expectant parents in Minnesota, you looked forward to the birth of your child with great joy and anticipation. However, the birth did not go smoothly, and you or your child suffered injuries during the process. What’s worse, your injuries resulted from the negligence or carelessness of your physician or other medical staff involved in the delivery.
Now, you are dealing with a serious situation involving your health and the health of your baby, and you or your child will need additional medical care to treat the injury and begin the recovery process.
You shouldn’t bear the additional costs associated with the birth injury, and you may need compensation to accommodate any permanent disabilities or ongoing adverse effects the birth injury caused.
You may obtain compensation from the hospital, doctors, and other medical providers involved with your delivery, but you will need an attorney for help.
Minnesota birth injury attorneys at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers have extensive knowledge of birth injuries and birth injury claims, and we have recovered millions of dollars for our clients dealing with serious injuries someone else caused through their negligence or wrongdoing. Contact us today at (612) 446-3999 for your free consultation.
How We Can Help With Your Minnesota Birth Injury Claim
Founded in 2007 by experienced personal injury attorney Russell Nicolet, our law firm has grown to become one of Minnesota’s most prominent personal injury practices.
Our attorneys provide personalized, assertive representation that gets results. We are fully committed to helping you get the money you need and the justice you deserve following a birth injury.
You can rely on us to take an active interest in your case and assist with:
- Researching the birth injury event fully
- Identifying those responsible
- Taking the appropriate legal action
We will review your claim and discuss your options during our free initial consultation. You don’t need to worry about the legal issues and the challenges that come with pursuing compensation, and you can rest assured knowing that you have an experienced attorney on your side who is ready to fight for you and your child.
What Is a Birth Injury?
A birth injury refers to any harm or injury that occurs to a newborn baby during the labor and delivery.
These injuries can occur due:
- Physicians not ordering an emergency C-section when the child is at risk
- Not properly monitoring a child for distress or failing to react appropriately to a child in distress
- Failing to address and monitor a mother with a high risk for birth complications
- Using excessive force when delivering a child
- Using forceps and other delivery tools unsafely or inappropriately
- Administering drugs improperly
Birth injuries can range from mild to severe and may have long-lasting effects on the child's health and development. Obstetricians and delivery support staff should reasonably prepare for complications and contingencies to mitigate the potential for birth injuries. If your child suffers serious injuries because of their negligence or carelessness, you could hold the responsible parties accountable and get the compensation you need.
What Are Common Types of Birth Injuries?
Some common birth injuries include:
Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that affect movement, muscle coordination, and posture. It can result from brain damage or abnormal brain development during or shortly after birth. Oxygen deprivation or trauma during labor and delivery often causes the condition.
Erb's palsy, also known as brachial plexus palsy, occurs from damage to the nerves in the upper arm. It can result in weakness or paralysis of the affected arm due to nerve trauma during a difficult delivery, particularly when doctors apply excessive force to the baby's shoulder.
Broken bones can occur during childbirth, especially if doctors apply excessive force or the baby's position presents challenges. The clavicle (collarbone) is a bone that doctors commonly fracture during birth.
Facial Nerve Injuries
Pressure on the baby's face during delivery can cause facial nerve injuries, leading to temporary or permanent facial paralysis. In severe cases, these injuries may require medical intervention or may never heal.
Hypoxic-ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)
HIE is a condition characterized by insufficient oxygen and blood flow to the baby's brain during or shortly after birth. It can result in brain damage and lead to long-term neurodevelopmental disabilities if not promptly treated.
Perinatal asphyxia occurs when a baby experiences a lack of oxygen during labor and delivery. It can lead to serious complications, including brain damage, organ dysfunction, and long-term developmental delays.
Some birth injuries can occur despite appropriate medical care due to factors beyond anyone's control. However, in cases where negligence or medical errors contributed to the birth injury, victims may pursue legal action to seek compensation for the child's medical expenses, ongoing care, and other related damages.
If you suspect that your child suffered a birth injury, consult a birth injury attorney to evaluate the circumstances and determine the best course of action.
How Birth Injuries Affect Children and Their Families
Birth injuries can have significant physical, emotional, and financial impacts on both the affected child and their family.
Here are some ways birth injuries can affect children and their families:
- Physical disabilities. Depending on the type and severity of the birth injury, a child may experience physical disabilities such as impaired motor function, muscle weakness, paralysis, or sensory impairments. These physical limitations may require ongoing medical care, therapies, and assistive devices to improve the child's quality of life and promote their independence.
- Developmental delays. Birth injuries can lead to developmental delays and cognitive impairments. Children may experience challenges in reaching developmental milestones, such as sitting, crawling, walking, and speaking. They may require specialized interventions and therapies to address these delays and optimize their development.
- Emotional and psychological impact. Both the child and their family may experience emotional and psychological distress because of the birth injury. The child may struggle with frustration, low self-esteem, and social challenges due to their physical limitations. Parents and siblings may also experience guilt, grief, stress, and anxiety related to the child's condition and the impact it has on their lives.
- Financial burdens. Birth injuries often result in significant medical expenses, including hospital stays, surgeries, therapies, medications, and assistive devices. Families may face financial strain due to these ongoing medical costs, especially if the child requires long-term care and support. Additionally, parents may need to reduce their work hours or leave their jobs to care for their child, leading to a loss of income and increased financial pressure.
- Impact on family dynamics. The care needs of a child with a birth injury can strain family relationships and dynamics. The physical and emotional demands of caring for the child may affect the parents' relationship, as well as the attention given to other siblings. Families may need to adjust their routines, lifestyle, and social activities to accommodate the child's needs, which can affect the entire family.
- Advocacy and support needs. Families of children with birth injuries often become strong advocates for their child, navigating the healthcare system, seeking appropriate services and therapies, and protecting their child's rights. This can create an additional burden and source of stress for parents.
Families need to access appropriate support networks, including medical professionals, therapists, support groups, and community resources. They also need legal assistance to explore avenues to obtain compensation to help cover the costs of medical care and support services.
What Compensation Can I Get for Birth Injuries?
Compensation for birth injuries can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case, the severity of the injury, and state laws.
Some common compensation you could obtain from a birth injury claim include:
- Medical expenses. Compensation may cover current and future medical expenses related to the birth injury, including hospital bills, surgeries, medications, therapy sessions, assistive devices, and specialized care.
- Rehabilitation and therapy. Children with birth injuries often require long-term rehabilitation and therapy to improve their functioning and quality of life. Compensation can pay for physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and other necessary interventions.
- Home modifications. When a child's birth injury requires modifications to the home to accommodate their special needs, the family may seek compensation to cover those costs, including wheelchair ramps, widened doorways, accessible bathrooms, or specialized equipment.
- Assistive devices. Birth injuries may necessitate the use of assistive devices such as wheelchairs, braces, hearing aids, or communication aids. Families can obtain compensation to cover the expenses associated with obtaining and maintaining these devices.
- Pain and suffering. You could pursue compensation for the physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish experienced due to the birth injury. This can encompass the pain and suffering endured thus far, as well as any reasonably anticipated future pain and suffering.
- Loss of enjoyment of life. If the birth injury significantly limits the child's ability to participate in activities or enjoy life as they would have otherwise, you can seek compensation for this loss.
- Loss of future earnings. When a birth injury affects the child's ability to earn income due to physical or cognitive impairments, you could obtain compensation to account for the loss of future earning potential.
- Parental loss of consortium. In some cases, parents may seek compensation for the loss of the child's companionship, support, and services resulting from the birth injury.
- Legal fees and expenses. In successful birth injury cases, plaintiffs may receive compensation to cover the legal fees and expenses associated with pursuing the claim.
This is some compensation you could receive, but you need to consult an experienced birth injury attorney in Minnesota to evaluate your situation and calculate all the compensation you will need to help your child realize the fullest recovery and quality of life possible.
Minnesota Birth Injury FAQs
Who Is Liable for a Birth Injury?
With supporting evidence, you can hold the obstetricians and other physicians involved in the delivery liable for birth injuries. However, other parties may also bear responsibility for the birth injury, such as non-doctor medical staff and medical device manufacturers if the birth injury resulted from defective products.
Additionally, you may hold the medical facility liable, such as the hospital where the delivery occurred or the entity that employs the doctor and their staff, if they failed to properly screen or monitor their doctors and staff or endangered your child in any other way.
The attorneys at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers will thoroughly investigate your situation to identify all parties that hold responsibility for your child’s birth injury.
How Long Do I Have to Sue for a Birth Injury in Minnesota?
Birth injuries typically fall under medical malpractice, and Minnesota allows parties injured by medical negligence four years to file a lawsuit in civil court. The statute of limitations begins when the doctor concludes their treatment or services for a specific issue.
However, the state also offers extensions to the statute of limitations. One is when the doctor or healthcare provider intentionally concealed material evidence regarding the claim. Another exception involves minors (which includes infants). The law suspends the deadline for seven years or until the child turns 19, whichever occurs sooner. This applies to cases where the child serves as the plaintiff in the injury claim.
Consult an attorney right away to discuss your case and get their advice on when you should file.
Will My Case Go to Trial?
In many cases, the physician or healthcare provider's malpractice insurance will cover your birth injury claim. Despite what television and movies suggest, most personal injury claims settle outside of court.
Still, you may need to take your case to trial and sue for the money you need.
For one, the insurer may deny your claim unjustly and refuse to negotiate. The insurer could also act in bad faith by not honoring their policy or unnecessarily delaying proceedings. Your attorney may also advise taking the insurer to court if it violates any terms of the settlement agreement or doesn’t tender the settlement within the required deadline.
How Do I Prove a Birth Injury?
Proving a birth injury typically requires a comprehensive and detailed investigation, gathering evidence, and expert testimony.
Here are some steps our lawyers may take for you:
- Obtain and review medical records. Request and obtain copies of all relevant medical records related to prenatal care, labor, delivery, and postnatal care. These records include prenatal tests, ultrasounds, fetal monitoring data, medical notes, and reports.
Carefully review the medical records to identify any potential red flags, deviations from standard practices, or signs of negligence that may have contributed to the birth injury. However, interpreting medical records accurately often requires consulting medical professionals.
- Consult medical experts. Medical experts play a crucial role in birth injury cases. Your attorney will work with qualified medical experts, such as obstetricians, neonatologists, or other specialists, who can review the medical records, evaluate the care provided, and determine whether your physician departed from the accepted standard of care. These experts can provide opinions and testimony regarding whether your doctor could have prevented the birth injury or caused it by negligence.
- Establish a causal link. You must establish a causal link between medical negligence and the birth injury. This involves demonstrating that the negligent actions or omissions directly led to the harm your child suffered. Medical experts can establish this link by providing their professional opinion on how negligence contributed to the birth injury.
- Collect supporting evidence. Additional evidence can strengthen your case. This may include witness statements from healthcare providers or staff who were present during the delivery, expert reports, photographs, videos, or any other relevant documentation that can support your claim.
- Establish damages. Along with proving liability, you must prove the damages the birth injury caused. This includes gathering evidence of medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, ongoing care needs, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, and other applicable damages.
Proving a birth injury case requires a thorough understanding of medical and legal complexities. A knowledgeable birth injury attorney who has experience in handling such cases can build a strong medical malpractice claim and increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.
Contact Our Minnesota Birth Injury Lawyers Today
You likely face a long road ahead in dealing with your child’s birth injury, particularly if it resulted in cerebral palsy or another chronic, debilitating condition.
You don’t have to face these emotional, physical, and financial struggles alone. You can turn to the experienced Minnesota personal injury attorneys at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers for help. We have assisted thousands of clients in getting the compensation they need following an unexpected and preventable tragedy, and we are here to help you get the justice you deserve.