Having a baby is one of the most exciting times in many people’s lives. You spend nine months picking a name, decorating a nursery, and dreaming of the future. However, when a birth injury happens, all of those dreams can be torn from new parents in an instant.
No one expects their newborn to be injured at birth, but unfortunately sometimes it happens. Although the overall rate of birth injuries In the United States has dropped, approximately six to seven out of every 1,000 births will still result in a birth injury.
Some common causes of birth injuries include:
- Abnormal presentation and position of the fetus
- A fetus that is too large for the birth canal
- Oxygen deprivation and asphyxia
- Failure to order a cesarean in time or at all
- The use of forceps and vacuum extraction
When a birth injury happens, new parents are left struggling to cope and wondering what will come next. While some infants who are injured at birth will recover with treatment, others will face a lifetime of disability. If your infant has been injured, these are the steps you should take next.
Reach Out to An Attorney
After your baby has been diagnosed, the first call you should make is to a birth injury lawyer. You may also want to contact an attorney if you suspect a birth injury has occurred but it has not been diagnosed yet.
A lawyer who specializes in this area of law has helped families recover in the aftermath of their baby’s injury before. They have the knowledge and compassion to understand what you need and what needs to happen next.
How a Lawyer Can Help
When you’re caring for a newborn who has been injured, the last thing you need to do is deal with red tape and going back and forth with the at-fault party’s insurance. Your attorney can take the burden off of you during this stressful time so you can focus on caring for your baby. They will do this by:
- Helping you determine whether or not the injury was caused by negligence
- Referring you to doctors and counselors who can help your family
- Pursuing your claim and negotiating directly with insurance
- Taking your case to court if insurance won’t offer you fair compensation
A lawyer can help you recover your damages for your medical bills, missed work, and pain and suffering. If your child is going to need medical care in the future, they will make sure you are adequately compensated so you don’t end up paying for someone else’s mistake for the rest of your life. They may even be able to direct you to resources that can help you apply for SSI on behalf of your child.
Document Any Evidence
You’ll want to keep meticulous records of any evidence you have that can help prove your case. This includes any medical records, the contact information of any witnesses, and receipts for any expenses you’ve accrued due to your newborn’s injury. If you’ve missed work caring for your baby, you’ll also want to document evidence of your lost wages.
If you are the parent of an injured newborn, it is not recommended that you try to negotiate with insurance on your own. The at-fault party’s insurance will try to settle for as little as possible to keep their profits. This could leave you in financial trouble down the road, especially if your child’s injury is more severe than you initially realized.
What Your Child May Face in the Future
Many babies who are harmed by birth injuries will recover on their own or with minimal treatment. For some, however, the damage is significant enough that the child will be permanently disabled. Some children who are injured will require a lifetime of physical therapy, specialized schooling and adaptive devices, and constant care and supervision. Some children will also require lifelong medical treatment, including multiple surgeries.
All of this can take a serious toll on families who do not have the resources to cover the cost of treatment. The sooner you contact an attorney, the sooner you can begin getting the help you need for your family to move forward.