Boston Birth Injury AttorneyClick for Free case evaluation
The birth of a child is a joyous occasion for many Boston families. However, birth injuries can cause these celebrations to come to a halt. Negligence on behalf of medical providers can severely harm both mother and child, resulting in serious injuries and even death.
If you, your child, or a loved one have suffered due to a birth injury, you deserve justice. The Cashman Law Firm represents victims of medical negligence in their lawsuits against at-fault providers. Our Boston birth injury lawyer will fight diligently to protect your best interests. Contact an experienced attorney at (978) 595-0601 to file a claim today.
Why Choose Us for Your Birth Injury Claim in Boston
- Our attorney, Mark A. Cashman, has significant experience handling medical negligence claims. He will leverage his skills, experience, and resources to secure justice for your child.
- Our firm has a strong history of successful settlements and jury verdicts. We have recovered millions of dollars for our clients.
- The aftermath of a birth injury can be devastating. Our firm will handle every stage of your claim so you can focus on supporting your child and family.
What Is a Birth Injury?
A birth injury refers to a physical injury that arises during childbirth, affecting the mother or the baby. The most common types of birth injuries include cerebral palsy, maternal infections, facial paralysis, brachial plexus injuries, and fractured bones, especially the collarbone.
These injuries often occur when a medical professional makes a mistake during the labor and delivery process, or while providing prenatal care to a pregnant mother. The following are common examples of medical negligence:
- Using improper equipment during labor, such as forceps
- Failing to monitor a baby’s vital signs during delivery
- Failing to monitor a mother for common pregnancy complications
- Failing to identify issues prior to delivery, such as a baby born in the breech position
- Improperly prescribing dangerous labor-inducing drugs
- Failing to check for maternal infections
- Failing to respond to abnormal bleeding from the mother or fetus
- Failing to order a timely Cesarean section
While the exact cause of injury is, unfortunately, unknown in many cases, working with an attorney during this difficult time can help uncover the cause. An attorney can request access to important evidence including medical and hospital records to determine how your child was injured and who is responsible.
How Common Are Birth Injuries in the U.S?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), birth injuries occur in approximately 29 out of every 1,000 births in the U.S. While scalp injuries and clavicle breakage are the most common birth-related injuries, more serious injuries with long-term implications on health and quality of life also occur. Serious, life-altering, or fatal injuries include: There are many different types of birth injuries that are usually recognized. Below, we will provide a brief overview of several categories.
- Brain Injuries – There are various types of brain injuries that can affect newborns. This can include bleeding within the brain itself and bleeding that occurs between the skull and the brain. Perhaps the most well-known is Cerebral Palsy – a brain injury that occurs when a baby’s developing brain is deprived of oxygen. This can happen before, during, or shortly after birth, or in the first few years of life.
- Peripheral Nerve Injuries – This is also referred to as Erb’s Palsy. This type of injury happens when the nerve that controls arms and hand movement (the brachial plexus) is injured. This can leave a child unable to rotate or flex their arm.
- Cranial Nerve and Spinal Cord Injuries – These types of injuries are usually associated with the improper use of pulling, stretching, or rotating the baby during the delivery process. Facial nerve paralysis could happen, which means the baby will have no movement on one side of their face (typically resolves on its own but could require surgery. A spinal cord injury could also occur due to the misuse of force during delivery.
- Bone Fractures or Dislocations – Broken or dislocated bones – including skull fractures – are more likely to occur if there is a breech birth, in shoulder dystocia births, or if the baby is rather large.
- Intra-Abdominal Injury – This includes injuries to the child’s inner organs and could have life-threatening consequences.
- Subgaleal Hemorrhages – This occurs occurs when blood accumulates between the galea aponeurotica and the periosteum, the membrane tissue that covers the skull. The condition is caused by the rupture of emissary veins, which connect the dural sinuses and the scalp veins. Subgaleal hemorrhage can cause significant bleeding and neurological compromise within one day of life.
Risks for Birth Injuries
Birth injuries can permanently damage the child physically and mentally. Around 2% of neonatal fatalities can be blamed on birth injuries. There are various ways that birth injuries happen. In most cases, your obstetrician and midwife will do their best to prevent traumatic birth injuries such as the following from occurring:
- When an infant is larger than expected for their birth date, usually weighing in at more than 8lbs and 13 ounces.
- If the mother’s pelvis size or shape makes giving birth complicated, it is referred to as cephalopelvic disproportion.
- When labor exceeds 20 hours for a first-time mother or 14 after previously giving birth, it is known as a prolonged labor and can result in birth injuries.
- Childbirth injuries can take place in babies who are born preterm, before 37 weeks gestational.
- When instruments like forceps or the vacuum are used in delivery, it can result in birth injuries.
- If the baby is breech or face delivery, complications can occur. The medical attendants will often try to turn the baby to avoid injury.
- When there is extreme pulling during the delivery, trauma can occur, leading to an injured baby.
Who Is Liable for a Birth Injury in Boston?
All medical providers have a duty to uphold a certain standard of care while treating patients in a formal capacity. A provider may be liable for medical malpractice if he or she commits an error and harms a patient—including infants and their mothers.
For birth-related injuries, it can be challenging to determine the exact person or entity responsible for the injury. In some cases, the doctor fails to make prudent decisions or acts negligently. Doctors may be held individually liable if they function as independent contractors to the hospital. If they are hospital employees, the hospital or birthing center may be ultimately responsible and liable.
In other cases, it could be part of the labor and delivery team, including nurses and other practitioners who failed in the care of duty a laboring mother and infant have the right to expect. Again, a member of the care team may be liable, or the responsibility may fall on the hospital for failing to ensure their staff adheres to hospital policy, hiring unqualified healthcare workers, or for understaffing.
It may require a qualified and experienced attorney to investigate a birth injury claim to find out exactly who is liable in each unique case.
If you or your child suffered a birth injury, you have the right to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit against the at-fault healthcare provider. In order to receive compensation in your lawsuit, you will need to gather sufficient evidence to prove the following four points.
- The medical professional owed you a duty of care at the time of the birth injury.
- The medical professional breached his or her duty of care through a negligent act or failure to act.
- The breach of duty caused the birth injury.
- The hospital management failed in its duty to hire qualified staff members or failed to ensure its labor and delivery team, or prenatal staff followed proper procedures
- You and your child suffered damages that you can collect in the lawsuit.
Your Boston birth injury lawyer from the Cashman Law Firm can help you gather the evidence necessary to establish each of these facts and prove your right to recovery. We will leverage our years of experience, legal knowledge, and wide network of resources and expert witnesses to craft a compelling case in your favor.
What Can Parents and Injured Children Gain From a Birth Injury Lawsuit?
In Massachusetts, it often requires the legal expertise of a lawyer with experience in birth injury claims to help victims and their families get the justice and financial compensation they deserve. Most of these claims settle out of court with enough monetary compensation to ease the financial burden caused by the injury. The economic damages typically include compensation for the following:
- Current medical expenses for treatment and a reasonable projection for any ongoing expenses for medical care, treatments, and therapies a child might require
- Compensation for any lost earning potential for a child with impairments or disability due to a birth injury
- Compensation for the pain and suffering the child endured and may continue to endure
- Loss of consortium compensation for the family whose child may face a lifetime of living with a serious medical condition instead of the life they would have had
For parents of children whose birth injury proved fatal, a wrongful death lawsuit can bring them financial compensation for their devastating loss.
Statute of Limitations and Caps on Birth Injury Claims
Massachusetts’ code places a 3-year statute of limitations for parents filing claims on behalf of their child for birth injuries. A second code extends to seven years for a claim made by the child themselves.
While the state doesn’t place a cap on the amount of economic compensation a claim brings to the family of birth-injured children, it does cap pain and suffering compensation at $500,000. The exceptions to the cap include birth injuries that caused:
- Substantial disfigurement in the face or body
- Significant impairment or loss of a body function
- Permanent loss of a body function
Contact an Experienced Boston Birth Injury Attorney Today
Birth injuries can have a devastating impact on your child and your family. In these situations, the Cashman Law Firm can help you secure the justice that you deserve. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more about your legal options with a Boston birth injury lawyer.