Virginia Birth Injury Attorney
Hopeful expectant mothers and their partners do all they can to prepare for a new arrival in perfect health by eating right, exercising, taking prenatal vitamins, putting themselves in the care of an obstetrician and following doctor’s orders to a T. You know that not every baby is born in perfect health and not every birth goes off without a hitch, but you do everything you can to give your newborn the best chance for a healthy life. You naturally expect your doctors and nurses to do the same.
Not every baby is born in perfect health, and sometimes it’s nobody’s fault. But all too often, a doctor or other health care professional will give in to distraction, take a shortcut, fail to monitor, make a poor decision, or make a mistake that causes something to go wrong in the birthing process. Doctors, nurses, and midwives in the delivery room are held to a high professional standard of care. You should expect care that is at least equal to what any reasonably competent physician in the state would provide.
When a careless, negligent, or incompetent doctor was responsible for your child being injured at birth, it is natural that you want to make that person pay and feel the pain that your baby and you must live with. But more importantly, you want to feel secure in knowing that your child will have the best medical care and other services he or she will need to recover from the injury or to learn to live the best life possible with the birth injury.
Every year approximately two million babies are injured at birth. In Virginia, when medical error harms your baby, you can get the help you need to secure your child’s future by calling the Virginia Birth Injury attorneys at MichieHamlett. We’ll work to hold negligent parties accountable to you and ensure you have the financial resources to cope with the medical costs and lasting effects a birth injury can have on your life and the life of your child.
Why Do Birth Injuries Occur?
Doctors deliver babies every day and have been doing so for years, so why doesn’t every birth go off perfectly? Every birth is different, and some pregnancies are more difficult than others. Factors that could make a birth more risky or difficult include:
- Premature baby
- Large baby
- Prolonged labor
- Unusual birthing presentation (breech birth)
- Maternal health factors such as gestational diabetes, obesity or cephalopelvic disproportion
Factors like these can make a birth more risky or difficult, but they never excuse negligence. Fetal and maternal risk factors are well-known, and doctors and nurses should be well-trained to identify these factors and be ready to deal with any complications that arise. Common mistakes that lead to birth injuries include:
- Failing to monitor fetal health
- Failing to monitor maternal health
- Failing to detect problems early
- Failing to use the appropriate intervention
- Nurses delay in contacting the doctor
- Doctor delays in ordering a C-section
- Hospital is unprepared for an emergency C-section delivery
- Improper use of forceps
- Improper use of vacuum extractor
- Impacting the baby against the mother’s pelvic bone
- Pulling too roughly
Errors like these can cause severe and painful injuries at birth, including broken collarbones and nerve damage. Some babies injured at birth face lifelong debilitating conditions such as cerebral palsy. Birth injuries can tragically lead to a lifetime of physical or cognitive deficits. With the help of medical experts, the skilled and compassionate birth injury attorneys at Michie-Hamlett can determine whether a medical error is to blame for causing the birth injury. If so, we’ll devote ourselves to holding the negligent doctor or hospital liable for their mistakes and make sure your baby and family get the care and compensation you need to deal with the physical and emotional pain and other challenges of living with a birth injury.
What if the Injury was Neurological?
Virginia has a special program for neurological injuries, called the Virginia Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Program. This program is run through the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC). To apply, you file a petition with the WCC, giving a statement of facts and providing all relevant medical records, assessments, evaluations and prognoses, along with documentation of all expenses and services to-date. This petition is first reviewed by a panel of expert physicians and then reviewed again by administrators in the birth injury program. Next, a Workers’ Compensation administrative judge holds a hearing to decide whether compensation is appropriate. If your petition is denied, you can appeal to the WCC as well as the Virginia Court of Appeals and even the Virginia Supreme Court.
To qualify for compensation from this program, the following criteria must apply:
- The baby suffered a birth-related neurological injury as defined by Virginia law
- The baby was delivered by a participating doctor or hospital
- The injury involved damage to the brain or spinal cord caused by oxygen deprivation or mechanical injury during labor or delivery or resuscitation
- The child is permanently disabled regarding motor function along with a developmental or cognitively disability
- The child will need assistance with daily living activities permanently
Compensation through this program can pay for hospital and medical services and expenses, including rehabilitation and therapy and residential and custodial care, as well as costs for medically necessary travel and the costs of special equipment or facilities. You can also recover compensation for the projected loss of earnings for the child calculated for ages 18 to 65.
An application to the program must be made before the child turns ten years old. If accepted into the program, your child can receive a lifetime of benefits, but you can’t participate in this program and also file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the negligent doctor or hospital that caused the injury. Having a lawyer represent you in this process is recommended, and attorney’s fees are often paid by the program. Our birth injury lawyers at MichieHamlett can evaluate whether you are eligible for this program and advise you whether you should apply or file a malpractice claim instead. Either way, our attorneys can take your case and help you get the compensation you and your child need and deserve.
Help Is Available After a Birth Injury Mistake
For help after a birth injury in Virginia, call MichieHamlett for a no-cost, confidential consultation to discuss what happened and how to move forward securing appropriate medical care and compensation for an injury caused by a preventable medical mistake.