New York Birth Injury Lawyers
Representing Children & Families in New York & New Jersey
In most cases, the birth of a child is a joyous occasion. But, when an obstetrician, delivery room nurse, midwife, or doctor is negligent, it can quickly become one of the worst days of a parent’s life. If a medical provider’s negligence led to your newborn being severely injured, you have the right to take legal action and seek justice on behalf of your child.
The New York birth injury lawyers at Simonson Goodman Platzer PC have decades of experience in helping families of children born with severe congenital or genetic conditions. We understand the immense challenges you and your family are facing, and we are committed to advocating for your monetary recovery throughout the entire legal process.
Common Causes of Birth Injuries
Lawsuits in the area of negligent prenatal screening often stem from a failure to order a standard blood test or a failure to properly interpret or act on the results. Blood tests are used to identify whether a pregnancy is at a higher-than-average risk for a wide variety of serious birth defects. Blood testing for defects is called “carrier screening,” meaning that the test is trying to determine if the parents are carriers of recessive genes that can cause inherited disease. When woman are properly screened, the tests can reveal the presence of Down syndrome, which occurs in about 1 in every 800 births; trisomy 18, which causes severe mental disability and other defects and which occurs in about 1 in every 6,000; and neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, which occurs in about 1 in every 1,000 births. Screening can also be done for cystic fibrosis, sickle cell, thalassemia, and Tay-Sachs.
Ultrasounds are another prenatal screening test that can also form the basis of a lawsuit. With ultrasounds now a standard of care treatment in early pregnancy, some cases occur because a radiologist was negligent in reading the ultrasound. Other cases arise when an obstetrician is negligent in failing to order an ultrasound or failing to follow up when the ultrasound is suspicious or even clearly abnormal.
Birth injuries might also happen during labor or delivery and could be the result of:
- Failure to monitor for signs of fetal distress
- Delayed birth/prolonged labor
- Failure to order a timely cesarean section (C-section)
- Failure to order a C-section
- Improper use of forceps/vacuum extractor
The Tragedy of Childbirth
Every year almost 1000 American woman die as a result of childbirth related complications, and another 50,000 have serious issues. A hidden aspect of maternal death in the USA is that 60% of these tragic deaths could have been prevented. This is the sad conclusion of a report prepared by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
What is shocking is that these unnecessary deaths are largely due to missed and late diagnosis by doctors, much of it caused by the negligent failure to recognize clear warning signs.
"In 21st century America, in the richest and most powerful nation on Earth, no woman should ever die from pregnancy and childbirth...I believe we can cut maternal mortality in half by 2025, and eradicate maternal deaths in the US by 2050, by doing three things: learn from every maternal death, assure quality and safety of maternity care for all women, and improve women's health across their life course (Dr. Michael Lu).”
It is not just the delivery period that is dangerous, because 1/3 of deaths occurred before and after childbirth. Childbirth is one of the most common reasons women go into hospitals, and yet our doctors and hospitals mishandle complicated pregnancies with a stunning regularity.
The CDC has identified the following areas of concern;
During Pregnancy: Improve access to and delivery of quality prenatal care, which includes managing chronic conditions and educating about warning signs.
At Delivery: Standardize patient care, including delivering high-risk women at hospitals with specialized providers and equipment.
Postpartum: Provide high-quality care for mothers up to one year after birth, which includes communicating with patients about warning signs and connecting to prompt follow-up care.
Wrongful Birth Claims in New Jersey
New Jersey has a special name for a parent’s claim that the negligence of a doctor or another health care provider deprived them of their right to terminate the pregnancy rather than give birth to a severely affected infant: wrongful birth. The law in New Jersey recognizes that a parent has the absolute right to be informed of any discoverable condition that may lead to a fatal or disabling outcome and to be advised in time to make an informed choice whether or not to continue the pregnancy.
What to Do If You Think You Have a Birth Injury Case
If you think you might have a case, don’t delay in contacting the New York birth injury attorneys at Simonson Goodman Platzer PC. Time matters, because both New York and New Jersey have strict time limits in place that can prevent even a good case from going forward and a delay could prejudice your rights.
Simonson Goodman Platzer PC has successfully represented individuals in many thousands of medical malpractice cases over decades. We have a 98% success rate in the cases we have handled, and our attorneys have recovered more than $200 million for our clients. We offer contingency fees, so you do not owe any attorneys’ fees until we win compensation for you.
Call (800) 817-5029 today to talk to an experienced medical malpractice attorney at our firm.
What’s the Difference Between a Birth Defect & Birth Injury?
Birth injury claims often deal with birth defects and birth injuries, which are medically different. When a baby is harmed during development or in utero, the injury is called a birth defect. Many birth defects are also considered to be “naturally occurring” or hereditary, but not all. When a baby is harmed during labor or delivery, it is a birth injury. Most birth injuries can be directly linked to a medical provider’s mistakes.
How Long Do You Have to Sue for a Birth Injury?
The amount of time you have to file a birth injury claim or lawsuit depends on the state in which it is filed. In New York, for example, personal injury claims have a three-year statute of limitations that begins on the date of injury, or when the injury should have become reasonably noticeable to the claimant. Birth injuries are tricky because many such injuries are not immediately noticeable, and the newborn cannot clearly communicate that something is wrong. It could be months or years before the symptoms of a birth injury manifest. Courts often start the three-year statute of limitations on the day that the child is first diagnosed with a brain injury. Lastly, in some cases, the statute can be reduced to 30 months.
What Can I Recover in a Birth Injury Claim?
The damages available through a birth injury claim can be significant because they usually account for all difficulties and costs associated with the newborn’s disorder, including those that will occur far in the future. A severe birth injury can cause years of educational therapy needs, for example, and a birth injury claim can get damages for those sessions. Pain and suffering endured by the mother and additional hardships experienced while raising a child of birth injury can also be demanded in a claim or lawsuit.
Who Will Receive Money After a Successful Lawsuit for a Birth Injury?
Money collected through a settlement or verdict award in a birth injury claim will be given to the child’s parents. However, some of the damages might technically belong to the child, not the parents, even if the child is still an infant when the birth injury case ends. In such a situation, the child’s finances could be placed into a set-aside account or trust that is inaccessible until the child becomes a legal adult.
Will a Lawsuit Always Be Successful If a Baby is Harmed by a Birth Injury?
There is no way to guarantee that a birth injury claim or lawsuit will be successful. Even with thorough evidence of liability and clear medical records, a case can swing in favor of the defense for unexpected reasons. Working with a birth injury attorney can give you more confidence as your case develops, and they can also tell you earlier on if they think there might be any issues in your claim that need more attention.