Q: What's the difference between a birth defect and a birth injury?
A: A birth defect involves some type of harm to the baby that occurs before labor, whereas a birth injury involves harm that occurred during childbirth. Both birth defects and birth injuries may give rise to a legal claim, depending on the cause and circumstances of each case.
Q: What kinds of situations lead to birth injury lawsuits?
A: Ohio birth injury claims arise from the negligence of a doctor, nurse or hospital - or perhaps all three. The form of negligence our attorneys see most often is when a physician fails to adequately monitor, assess or respond to complications that manifest during pregnancy. If they go undiagnosed or are ignored, there's a significant chance that harm will result to the baby or mother.
Other common birth injuries involve negligence during the actual birthing process. This can include medication errors involving a drug such as Pitocin, a delayed C-section or improper infant extraction.
Q: My baby was harmed during childbirth, so is it true that I will win my lawsuit?
A: Not necessarily. Infants can be hurt during labor without it being the fault of a doctor, nurse or parent. The key is whether the defendant acted negligently and whether that negligence caused actual harm to the child or mother.
Q: What's the difference between a medical malpractice and birth injury claim?
A: A medical malpractice claim is a type of personal injury case where negligence was committed by a health care provider - a doctor, nurse, hospital or other medical professional. A birth injury claim is a specific type of alleged medical malpractice where the infant or mother was wrongly harmed or killed.
Q: Who receives money in a successful birth injury case?
A: If the child survives the harm, the damages will be awarded to him or her. In some instances, the parents may also be able to recover compensation for emotional damages. When the alleged medical negligence causes the child's death, then a wrongful death lawsuit is brought in the deceased's name. The estate will collect the damages, which typically go to the parents.
Q: Is there a time limit for bringing a birth injury lawsuit?
A: Yes. In Ohio, birth injury claims must generally be filed within two years; this time limit is known as the statute of limitations. While this rule is strict, there are exceptions to the statute of limitations.
In some cases, negligence that caused an injury or death was not apparent when it first happened. The statute of limitations will begin, then, at the time the injury is discovered or should have reasonably been discovered. This exception to the statute of limitations is known as the discovery rule.
Q: My child was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Do I have a birth injury claim?
A: Your child's condition may or may not be the result of malpractice. If your child has recently been diagnosed with cerebral or Erb's palsy, an experienced Ohio birth injury attorney can help you ascertain whether medical negligence was involved.