Massachusetts Birth Injury Attorney
Boston Lawyer for Victims of Medical Negligence
Few things are more exciting than bringing a new baby into the world. That time is supposed to be filled with anticipation and preparation. Although most people are nervous when the big day arrives regardless of whether it is their first child or a subsequent child, we put faith in our medical providers that they will keep us safe and deliver our child successfully. When unavoidable situations happen that result in injuries to the mother, baby, or both, our Massachusetts birth injury attorney can be your ally.
Sometimes, medical providers fail to use the attention and care a patient deserves during this serious situation causing avoidable harm and potentially permanent injuries through oversight, misdiagnosis, or other mistakes.
- Birth injuries occur during childbirth and can range from minor to severe, impacting the baby’s physical or neurological well-being.
- Brachial plexus injuries, cerebral palsy, caput succedaneum, cephalohematoma, and other injuries may occur during childbirth.
- Bruising, limited movement, excessive crying, and other signs may indicate a birth injury, requiring consultation with healthcare professionals and a birth injury attorney.
- Difficult labor, breech presentation, assisted delivery tools, and other factors can contribute to birth injuries, necessitating careful monitoring by healthcare providers.
- Medical malpractice can contribute to birth injuries, involving failures in monitoring, interventions, medication management, communication, and more.
- Seeking compensation involves proving a causal link between negligent care and injuries, covering medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
- The statute of limitations in Massachusetts is generally 3 years, requiring prompt legal action, especially for cases involving minors.
What Are Birth Injuries?
Birth injuries are injuries that occur to a baby during the process of childbirth or delivery. For numerous reasons, these injuries might range from slight to serious. Birth injuries can harm the baby’s brain or body. Note that birth injuries are not birth deformities. Prenatal birth abnormalities are often hereditary or environmental.
Preventing birth injuries requires skilled labor management by healthcare practitioners. When medical negligence or malpractice is alleged, the kid and family may sue for compensation.
Types of Birth Injuries
Common types of birth injuries can vary in severity, and they may affect different parts of the baby’s body. Here are some of the more frequent types of birth injuries:
- Brachial Plexus Injuries: The brachial plexus is a network of nerves controlling the muscles of the arm and hand. Stretching or tearing of these nerves during birth can result in conditions such as Erb’s palsy or Klumpke’s palsy, affecting the movement and sensation in the affected arm.
- Cerebral Palsy: Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. It is caused by damage to the developing brain, often occurring before, during, or shortly after birth.
- Caput Succedaneum: This refers to the swelling of a newborn’s scalp, often caused by pressure on the head during delivery. It is usually harmless and tends to resolve on its own.
- Cephalohematoma: This is a collection of blood between the baby’s skull and the periosteum (the membrane covering the bones). It is typically caused by pressure during delivery and may resolve over time.
- Facial Nerve Injuries: Damage to the facial nerves during birth can lead to facial paralysis. This condition is often temporary, but it may require medical attention.
- Clavicle Fractures: Fractures of the clavicle (collarbone) can occur during a difficult delivery, especially if there is shoulder dystocia. These fractures usually heal on their own with proper care.
- Intracranial Hemorrhage: Bleeding within the baby’s skull can result from trauma during delivery. The severity of intracranial hemorrhages can vary, and medical intervention may be necessary.
- Perinatal Asphyxia: This refers to a lack of oxygen before, during, or after birth. Perinatal asphyxia can lead to various complications, including brain damage and long-term developmental issues.
- Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE): HIE is a type of brain injury caused by oxygen deprivation and insufficient blood flow to the brain. It can occur during childbirth and may lead to long-term neurological issues.
- Shoulder Dystocia: This occurs when the baby’s head passes through the birth canal, but the shoulders get stuck behind the mother’s pelvic bone. It can lead to various complications, including brachial plexus injuries.
How To Determine If My Baby Has Suffered a Birth Injury?
It might be difficult to tell if the baby has a birth injury because not all health issues during or after birth are caused by medical misconduct. However, some symptoms may indicate birth injury. Only medical specialists can diagnose.
If you have concerns, it’s crucial to consult with your child’s healthcare provider. Here are some potential signs of a birth injury:
- Bruising or Swelling
- Limited Movement
- Excessive Crying
- Difficulty Feeding
- Unusual Behavior
- Unexplained Seizures
- Breathing Difficulties
- Developmental Delays
- Learning Difficulties
- Difficulty Seeing or Hearing
- Hypotonia or Hypertonia
- Jaundice or Other Skin Issues
If you notice any of these signs or if you have concerns about your baby’s health and development, it’s crucial to seek prompt medical attention. Your child’s healthcare provider can conduct a thorough examination, order necessary tests, and guide any necessary interventions or treatments.
Factors That Can Contribute to Birth Injuries
Several factors can contribute to the occurrence of birth injuries. Understanding these common causes is crucial for medical professionals to take preventive measures and for parents to be aware of potential risks. It can also be beneficial if you plan to pursue legal action. Common causes of birth injuries include:
- Difficult Labor or Prolonged Delivery
- Breech Presentation
- Use of Assisted Delivery Tools
- Cephalopelvic Disproportion (baby’s head is too large)
- Fetal Distress
- Maternal Health Conditions
- Premature Birth
- Multiple Births
- Macrosomia (large baby)
- Inadequate Prenatal Care
- Inappropriate Use of Medications During Labor and Delivery
It’s crucial for healthcare providers to closely monitor pregnancies, identify potential risk factors, and take appropriate actions to mitigate the chances of birth injuries. In some cases, birth injuries are unavoidable, but prompt and appropriate medical intervention can make a significant difference in minimizing their impact.
If there are concerns about the cause of your baby’s birth injury, a thorough investigation may be necessary to determine whether any form of medical negligence or malpractice occurred.
Medical Malpractice in Massachusetts
The term birth injury refers to any injury that takes place during or after the delivery of a baby. Several injuries commonly occur during birth and they can be addressed relatively quickly. Examples include jaundice and bruising, which can be treated with observation and appropriate medications. Some more serious injuries could result in developmental delays and other life-altering outcomes for the baby. In some unfortunate situations, the injuries may even cause the baby to die.
In a medical malpractice action, the plaintiff alleges that the medical professionals involved in the situation did not render appropriate medical care. Virtually, any medical professional is subject to medical malpractice regulation, including doctors such as surgeons or OB-GYNs, as well as radiologists, nurses, pharmacists, and urgent care providers.
In general, you must show that these professionals failed to render the same level of timely care and treatment that a doctor with a similar specialty or background would have rendered when faced with a similar situation. This standard takes into account any unique factors such as the patient’s prior medical history and current medical status. In most cases, it is necessary to retain a medical expert witness who can testify about the defendant’s care and how it fell below the required standard.
One of the most complicated aspects of any birth injury case is proving that the defendant’s negligent care was the direct and foreseeable cause of the injuries that the baby suffered. If you cannot show a causal link between the lack of due care and the injuries, then you may be barred from receiving compensation.
There are several ways that birth injuries can result from negligence. Some common examples that occur during labor and delivery are:
- Excessive or improper use of force
- The misuse of forceps and other delivery aides
- Failure of a midwife to seek assistance from a medical professional
- Failure to perform a cesarean section when needed
- Failure to intubate a baby requiring oxygen
- Failing to notice that the baby was not in the proper delivery position
- Mismanagement of complications
- Medication errors
- Inattention to risk factors
Once you have proven that there is a connection between the lack of appropriate care and the injuries suffered, the matter turns to determining the amount of compensation that you are entitled to receive. Massachusetts allows the defendant to seek compensation for the baby to cover the following:
- Reasonable past and future anticipated medical expenses
- Lost wages and lost earning capacity
- Impairment or loss of bodily function
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of chance of survival
- Rehabilitation costs
- Special education and counseling
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Home modifications
- Assistive devices
- Legal fees
How Long Do I Have To File a Birth Injury Claim?
The statute of limitations for filing a birth injury claim in Massachusetts can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case. The statute of limitations is a legal time limit within which a lawsuit must be filed.
Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice
Most medical malpractice lawsuits must be prompted within three years of the claimed malpractice or three years of the patient discovering or reasonably should have noticed the injury. Massachusetts also limits the maximum time for malpractice claims to seven years, regardless of when the harm is found.
Exceptions for Minors
If the birth injury involves a minor under the age of six, the lawsuit must be filed before the child’s ninth birthday. It is crucial to be aware of these nuances and to seek legal advice promptly to ensure that you do not miss any filing deadlines.
The “discovery rule” extends the statute of limitations if the injury is not obvious. The three-year clock may begin when the harm was found or reasonably should have been noticed.
Why Do I Need a Birth Injury Attorney in Massachusetts?
Navigating the complexities of a birth injury case can be overwhelming, and seeking legal assistance becomes crucial. Our Massachusetts birth injury attorney at The Law Offices of Barry Feinstein & Affiliates P.C. can play a pivotal role in helping you and your family pursue justice, compensation, and accountability for the hardships you face due to preventable birth injuries.
Here are reasons why the assistance of our birth injury lawyer is essential in such challenging situations:
- Determining if you have a valid claim
- Gathering evidence to build a strong and compelling birth injury case
- Consulting with medical experts who can strengthen your claim
- Determining the value of your losses
- Negotiating maximum settlement with insurance companies
- Representing you in court if settlement is not feasible
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Birth Injury Lawyer in Massachusetts
We know that no amount of money could truly make this situation right for you and your family, but it can help you offset the crushing financial burden that often comes with infant-related injuries. Our skilled attorneys on our team will guide you through each step of the legal process, gathering evidence and negotiating with insurance companies to pursue the outcome that you deserve.
We are available to represent clients in areas around Boston, Cambridge, Lowell, Newton, Quincy, Dedham, Somerville, Norwood, Waltham, Brookline, and Peabody. Call us or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and get started.