A birth injury lawyer standing at a podium during a settlement conference.The birth of a child is a huge event for any parent. For mothers especially, who have been painstakingly caring for their growing baby over the course of nine months, the day they finally see their newborn face to face is a life-defining moment.

Unfortunately, childbirth is not without risk. Harm can easily come to either or both mother and child from either the process itself, the actions of the people in the delivery room, or even sheer bad luck.

The immediate aftermath of a birth injury is a struggle for entire families. On top of paying for the expenses of the delivery itself, the unfortunate parents end up having to shell out money to treat injuries that may or may not completely heal.

There isn’t any reason to face this uncertainty and difficulty on your own. If you’re in need of assistance after a birth injury, Bert McDowell Injury Law is here to help.

What Does a Hartford Birth Injury Attorney Do?

Birth injuries are unique among personal injury cases for several reasons, but most notably because of the complexity of establishing negligence. Doing so requires mastery of the legal system, yes, but also knowledge of medical issues related to prenatal care, childbirth, and any number of anomalies in newborns.

Because of these difficulties, it can be difficult for a new parent to file a birth injury claim. After all, how do you get compensation from an at-fault party if you don’t even know who is at fault for the injury of your child?

Thankfully, your lawyer has the expertise needed to address these concerns. Here are some ways they can help you.

  • Investigating the Birth Injury: All the difficulties we have pointed out so far can be addressed by a thorough investigation, assuming you know what to look for. Your lawyer will gather evidence in order to learn more about the circumstances of the birth injury, allowing you to identify who the responsible parties are and build your case as needed.
  • Negotiating a Settlement: Negotiating with an insurance company on your own is difficult in any case, given how notorious insurers are for prioritizing their own profit, but especially in birth injury cases because of how easy it is to take advantage of a claimant’s lack of knowledge. Working with an attorney means you have a representative who knows their way around and, therefore, can negotiate on a level playing field with the insurer to make sure you aren’t made unfair, lowballed offers.
  • Filing a Lawsuit: Your lawyer may deem it beneficial to escalate your birth injury claim into a lawsuit, often either because there was no middle ground to be found between you and the insurer or because you want to take at-fault parties. The latter is particularly difficult to do on your own when the liable party is employed by the hospital itself because this can mean filing a lawsuit against the hospital as a whole.

With the right lawyer on your side, you stand to get three to four times the amount you might have gotten were you to have pursued compensation on your own, and that is after taking average lawyers’ fees into account. In the event you would have been offered nothing at all, a birth injury lawyer on your side nearly doubles the odds that you do.

This difference matters more for larger claims; the larger the amount, after all, the less likely an insurance provider would be willing to pay out. With average hospital stays in Connecticut standing at $3237 per day and rising, birth injury cases tend to fall under the general umbrella of “larger claims.”

Insurance companies are businesses first, and while they do payout when they have to according to their client’s policies, they will argue to what extent they can why they don’t have to.

Common Types of Birth Injuries

It can be difficult to determine what is and isn’t a birth injury on account of physical marks and/or deformities being a common and often harmless occurrence in newborns. In fact, many birth injuries are actually minor and temporary, resolving on their own within a few days.

Such injuries include the following:

  • Head Molding: This is a common deformity where the baby’s head shape changes due to the pressure exerted by the mother’s pushing during birth. While it can look concerning, it is completely normal.
  • Caput Succedaneum: This is a minor injury caused by fluid building up under the baby’s scalp. It manifests as soft, puffy, swollen lumps that slowly shrink as they heal over several days.
  • Cephalohematoma: This injury is visually similar to caput succedaneum. It occurs when blood collects between the skull and the scalp, and, while uncomfortable for the baby, also usually heals over time.
  • Bruising and/or Forceps Marks: Forceps used to assist delivery can leave marks on the face or head of the baby. These bruises will usually fade over time, though if the physician had exerted more force than necessary to clamp on the baby’s head, there is a chance the damage may be more serious than initially thought.

However, there are also more serious birth injuries that potentially pose a threat to newborns. Medical intervention is often necessary for these conditions in order to preserve the life of the child.

Here is a list of more serious birth injuries newborns may sustain:

  • Brachial Plexus Injuries: This is the stretching and tearing of nerves around the baby’s shoulder, affecting the newborn’s ability to move its hand. Treatment may include electrostimulation or, in the most dangerous cases, surgery.
  • Facial Nerve Injuries: Another form of nerve damage, these injuries affect eyelid closure and smiling and sometimes cause facial paralysis, which can be lethal if the baby is unable to breastfeed. They are more common when forceps or vacuums are used to aid extraction, where improper use can compress or stretch the facial nerve.
  • Clavicle Fractures: A newborn’s soft bones heal much faster than an adult’s, but on the flip side, are also more fragile. Breech delivery (the baby exits the womb feet or buttocks first) and shoulder dystocia (the shoulder gets stuck behind the pubic bone) are some common complications that lead to clavicle fractures in babies.
  • Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE): This serious brain injury results from a lack of oxygen and blood flow and can occur before, during, or even after delivery. There are multiple ways that this can occur, with the most notable being due to the umbilical cord constricting the baby during delivery.

Both mild and severe birth injuries may be included in a claim. That said, because some mild injuries do not require treatment to resolve, insurers may argue against compensation, especially if they can be considered normal occurrences and/or consequences of birth.

While most discussions on birth injuries involve the baby, the mother herself may also sustain injuries while giving birth. These may be included in a claim depending on the case.

  • Perineal Tears: These tears occur between the vagina and the anus and are extremely common during injury. Doctors may recommend episiotomy – surgical incisions in the perineum – in order to prevent larger tears.
  • Pelvic Floor Muscle Damage: When the muscles that support the uterus stretch beyond their limits, the resulting damage can lead to long-term problems such as lack of bladder and bowel control. This type of injury may occur naturally, especially with bigger babies, but might be included as part of the claim if it is found to have been avoidable.
  • Nerve Damage in the Perineal Area: Damaged nerves can lead to numbness, pain, or even lack of function in the vagina and, sometimes, down the legs. Nerve damage may not heal completely without intervention and can require large investments of time and money to treat.
  • Pelvic Bone Fractures: Especially common with normal delivery of large babies, pelvic bone fractures can take longer to heal than other injuries on this list. Treatment for these fractures is usually non-surgical, though pain medication and physical therapy can be long-term challenges all on their own.
  • Healing Issues: Complications during childbirth can lead to hematomas, infections, and other healing issues that may need additional medical treatment to address. Of these, infections are the most dangerous, though they are quite rare thanks to the sanitized conditions in hospital delivery rooms.

Bert McDowell Injury Law Is the Hartford Birth Injury Law Firm for You

When you need help after you or your child sustained injuries after childbirth, the expert birth injury attorneys at Bert McDowell Injury Law stand ready to help. We offer free consultations and charge you nothing until we’ve gotten you the maximum possible settlement for your claim.

At Bert McDowell Injury Law, we focus on you, our client, to get you back on your feet. We value client communication, keeping you in the loop at all times, client attention, actively involving you throughout the process and ensuring you are never overwhelmed, and client success with the knowledge you received a fair and just amount for your losses.

Call Bert McDowell Injury Law today at (203) 590-9169, and let us fight for you. It’s time to Bring On Bert!