According to experts, out of every 1,000 infants born in the U.S., between 6 and 8 are born with a birth injury. This translates to approximately 1 out of every 9,714 people in the U.S. being born with a birth injury. Birth injuries are often caused by negligence during the delivery. For example, the delivering physician and/or medical staff may fail to identify that the child and mother are in distress. As a result the fetus may lose oxygen and suffer permanent brain damage.
Bobby Jones is an experienced Greenville, SC birth injury lawyer that has experience representing victims in birth injury cases. If you or your child has suffered an injury during birth, Bobby Jones Law can help you recover the compensation that you deserve.
What is a Birth Injury?
A birth injury is harm to a baby that occurs during or close to the time of birth. There are many causes of birth injuries, such as fetal oxygen deprivation, impact trauma during delivery, and medical negligence. Note that a birth injury is not the same as a birth defect. A birth defect means that the condition preexisted the birth of the child.
Common Birth Injuries
There are many different types of birth injuries. Some of the more common ones include:
- Hypoxoic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). HIE is a type of neonatal brain injury that is caused when the baby’s brain is deprived of oxygen during or close to the time of delivery. Many factors can cause oxygen deprivation in the wound such as uterine rupture or umbilical cord problems. HIE can also be caused by physician negligence. For example, failing to identify fetal heart rate problems.
- Cerebral Palsy. Cerebral palsy is a motor disorder caused by brain damage or other abnormalities. Common causes of cerebral palsy include umbilical cord problems, uterine rupture, and HIE.
- Kernicterus. Kernicterus is a type of permanent neonatal brain injury that is often caused by improperly treated jaundice.
- Brachial Plexus injuries and Erb’s Palsy. These injuries are caused when too much force is applied to the baby’s head and/or neck during delivery. This birth injury can lead to paralysis or muscle weakness.
- Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL). PVL is a permanent injury to the white matter in the brain that is caused by oxygen deprivation or other trauma during the delivery process.
- Intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). I/DDs are caused by oxygen deprivation, trauma, and/or infection. These birth injuries result in permanent intellectual and developmental disabilities.
- Hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus is excess fluid in the brain that results from trauma or deprivation of oxygen during or near the time of delivery.
- Intracranial Hemorrhages. Trauma to the head during delivery can result in bleeding in the brain and permanent brain damage.
- Traumatic birth injuries. These injuries are caused by the excessive use of force during the delivery process. Where a physician uses forceps or vacuum extractors the risk of a birth injury increases significantly.
- Delaying or failing to order a C-section. If a natural birth is not feasible and the baby and/or mother is in distress, the physician must administer a C-section immediately. Failing to order a C-section when dangerous conditions are present can result in a birth injury.
Common Causes of Birth Injuries
Birth injuries are often the result of negligence by the delivering physician, medical staff, and/or the hospital. Common types of negligence that can result in birth injuries include:
- Excessive use of force during delivery
- Excessive or improper use of labor-inducing drugs
- An undiagnosed or misdiagnosed medical condition in the mother. For example, undiagnosed preeclampsia
- Failing to monitor the baby and mother to identify dangerous and potentially life-threatening conditions
Damages in Birth Injury Cases
Under South Carolina law, medical providers can be held liable for instances of malpractice or negligence that result in an injury to the baby and/or mother. Where a birth injury has occurred, the parents and baby are entitled to compensation. Damages in birth injury cases are used to cover the costs of:
- Current and future medical treatment
- Long-term care
- Special education needs
- Lost future wages
In addition to economic damages, birth injury victims may also be able to recover non-economic damages. Non-economic damages include those that are not a documentable expense. For example, victims may be able to recover for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. Calculating the non-economic portion of a damage award can be complex. An experienced Greenville, SC birth injury lawyer can help you to determine the value of your claim and recover the damages that you are entitled to.
South Carolina Statute of Limitations in Birth Injury Cases
Every state has a statute of limitations which sets forth the amount of time that an injured party has to file a lawsuit. If the lawsuit is not filed by the deadline set by the statute of limitations, the defendant in the case will have a basis to object. While there are some exceptions to the statute of limitations, the court will typically agree with the defendant and dismiss your lawsuit. In other words, if you fail to file by the deadline you forfeit your right to recover damages through the court system.
In South Carolina, the statute of limitations for birth injury claims is three years. The clock begins running on the date that the injury was discovered or should have reasonably been
discovered, but not more than six years from the date of the injury. Failing to file a lawsuit by the deadline specified in the statute of limitations can have disastrous consequences. Consult with a Greenville, SC birth injury lawyer to protect your rights.
Discuss Your Case with an Experienced Greenville, South Carolina Birth Injury Lawyer
Bobby Jones is a reputable and highly experienced Greenville, SC birth injury lawyer and nationally recognized trial lawyer. Bobby Jones has recovered over $35 million dollars in compensation for his clients.
Bobby Jones Law serves clients throughout the state of South Carolina with offices conveniently located in Greenville. If you or someone that you know has suffered a birth injury due to medical malpractice, contact us today for a FREE consultation to discuss your rights and options.