Birth Injury Attorneys in Charleston, WV
Children are at their most vulnerable in the womb and immediately after birth. It is vital that medical professionals, whether obstetricians or ER doctors, follow accepted medical standards and procedures when caring for a mother, fetus or baby. We place a lot of trust in health professionals who care for us and our children, and when a preborn or infant does not receive the proper level of care, the child could have serious birth defects that will affect the rest of his or her life.
At Bailey, Javins & Carter, L.C., we understand how difficult it can be to see your child suffer an injury or birth defect, especially if it could have been prevented. Our attorneys will stand by your side and provide you with the advice, support and advocacy you need while bringing a medical malpractice lawsuit. For more than five decades, we have stood up for injury victims in West Virginia, and we have a successful track record with even the most complex cases. Contact our firm for a free consultation about your case.
Types of Preventable Birth Injuries
Approximately five out of every 1,000 babies that are born in the United States sustain some type of injury at birth. These injuries can happen for a number of reasons:
- Pulling or twisting excessively during delivery.
- Misuse of obstetrical tools such as vacuum extraction pumps and forceps.
- Failure or unnecessary delays in performing an emergency C-section.
- Drug related negligence – such as overusing of the drug Pitocin during the induction of labor.
- Undiagnosed medical conditions of pregnant mothers.
- Failure to properly attend to the mother shortly before and during birth.
- Medical device malfunctions.
Many birth injuries can be prevented through proper care and treatment before and during birth. This includes injuries such as:
- Erb’s palsy, shoulder dystocia and brachial plexus injuries involving damage to the nerves in the neck and shoulder during birth.
- Cerebral palsy, which can be caused by a lack of oxygen or an infection.
- Brain injuries caused by lack of oxygen or lack of blood to the brain.
- Spinal cord and joint injuries caused during birth.
- Mechanical trauma during birth, often caused by excessive force from the vacuum or forceps or other reasons.
- C-section injuries, including skull fractures, brain damage, and facial nerve palsy.
- Birth-related mental disabilities, which can be caused by various types of pregnancy complications, such as high blood pressure, medication overdoses, and excessive force during delivery.
Determining the cause of your child’s injury is the first step to bringing a claim. Our attorneys frequently work with medical experts and health professionals in order to understand the cause of an injury and the full impact it will have on our clients’ lives. Then, we can pursue full and fair compensation for the injuries caused by the defendant’s negligence.
Common Symptoms of Birth Injuries
A birth injury is not always readily apparent, and there is a good chance that the hospital or clinic will not be eager to diagnose such an injury since they would likely be the ones responsible. For this reason, it is important to know some of the common symptoms that you might notice with your newborn. These may include:
- Trouble eating, sucking, and swallowing.
- Drooling excessively.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Sensitivity to light.
- High-pitched crying.
- Arching their back while crying.
- Fussing excessively without any apparent reason.
- Skull fractures.
- Lack of energy/lethargy.
Damages Recoverable in a West Virginia Birth Injury Claim
When a newborn (or their mother) suffers a birth injury that was the fault of a doctor, hospital, pharmacist, or another party, the victim is entitled to damages, which are broken down into three general categories:
- Economic Damages: These are damages for direct monetary losses that the victim sustains, such as the cost for surgeries and other medical procedures required to treat the birth injury, as well as any ongoing medical care that will be required.
- Noneconomic Damages: These are damages for losses that are real but intangible and more difficult to quantify. Examples include the pain and suffering that the birth injury victim has to go through and the severe emotional distress that families go through when facing the prospect that their newborn will have to grow up with a debilitating condition that could have been prevented.
- Punitive Damages: In some rarer cases, the actions of those responsible for the injury are so egregious that they warrant punitive damages. This category of damages is not meant to compensate the victim, but rather to “punish” the wrongdoer and help discourage similar behaviors in the future.
In West Virginia, there are limits on the amount of noneconomic and punitive damages that a victim is allowed to recover. In most cases, noneconomic damages are capped at $250,000 per occurrence, but that cap increases to $500,000 in cases involving the loss of a limb or organ, permanent disfigurement, permanent disability, and death. For punitive damages, the maximum amount recoverable is $500,000 or four times the amount of compensatory damages, whichever is greater.
It is important to note that West Virginia places a statute of limitations of two years from the date that a personal injury occurred to file a lawsuit. There are exceptions to this deadline, most notably if the injury was not discovered right away. If this is the case, then the plaintiff has two years from the date that they became aware (or should have reasonably become aware) of the injury.
If you fail to file a claim within the allotted timeframe, it is strongly likely that the lawsuit will be thrown out of court. For this reason, it is crucial to get in touch with an experienced West Virginia birth injury attorney at your earliest convenience. In cases like these, critical pieces of evidence tend to disappear over time, so the sooner you get an attorney involved, the better your chances of recovering the full and fair compensation you and your family deserve.
Free Consultation with a Lawyer in Charleston
Our birth injury lawyers have been helping injured clients in West Virginia since 1970. We will evaluate your claim and help you through the legal process of holding the medical professional, hospital or clinic responsible for negligence. Contact our firm today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979 to schedule a free initial consultation with our medical malpractice lawyers in Charleston, Logan or Summersville.
We work on a contingency basis. We don’t get paid unless you do.