J.R. Parker and the attorneys at the firm founded by Brooks Cutter helped our family through the very difficult loss of our newborn daughter, who died as a result of a medical misdiagnosis. We found the idea of filing suit against such a predominant medical foundation to be extremely intimidating and overwhelming, but J.R. and his team gave us the strength and confidence we needed to obtain justice for our daughter. Their hard work and dedication helped to even further acknowledge our daughter’s life, no matter how short it may have been.
Sacramento Birth Injury Lawyers
Birth complications can result in a variety of injuries to newborn babies or even their mothers. A birth injury happens during labor or shortly after delivery due to improper medical care by professionals who are either unqualified or negligent with their actions. Birth injuries can be terrifying, physically painful for the child, and emotionally devastating to parents.
If someone you love has been affected by a birth injury, they may be able to recover compensation for their losses, including medical care associated with the injury. At Cutter Law, P.C., our birth injury lawyers can help you understand your legal options under California law and hold all negligent parties accountable for the birth injury.
What causes birth injuries?
Many factors, including cesarean section births and breech births, can cause injury to a baby during labor and delivery. While they may seem minor, birth injuries can have lifelong consequences for both mother and child. Although the entire birth process can be unpredictable and dangerous, doctors should utilize medical expertise and modern technology to solve problems that may arise.
Birth injuries can include bruising when babies cross through tight passages, broken or dislocated bones, and extreme brain damage and trauma. The mother or baby could also face the risk of death or near-death due to pregnancy-related complications such as preeclampsia or surgical issues.
What are common types of birth injuries?
Several different birth injuries occur with some frequency during delivery, including:
This is the most common birth injury and is usually easy to identify. During childbirth, an infant’s clavicle can break due to extreme pressure. You might hear a fractured clavicle referred to as a “broken collarbone,” although it’s not in the same area as an adult’s collarbone.
The injury can heal on its own with no long-term effects. However, if accompanied by other injuries, a fractured clavicle can affect breathing or feeding. In these cases, a doctor may recommend intervention.
Cerebral palsy is caused by brain damage before or during birth. There are four types of cerebral palsy, most often caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain during labor and delivery. A cerebral palsy birth injury might not become apparent until months after birth, so if your child shows delays in speech or motor skills around age two, you should talk with your pediatrician immediately.
Brachial Plexus Injuries
A brachial plexus injury occurs when the baby’s shoulder nerves are stretched too much, torn, compressed, or inflamed during birth. The result is generally a weakened arm that may not gain strength as quickly as other children’s arms do. If identified early enough, your doctor may recommend encouraging the development of the arm muscles with physical therapy.
Erb’s palsy is a brachial plexus compression, which can cause weakness or paralysis in parts of the shoulder and arm. If not identified early, Erb’s palsy can have lasting effects on your baby’s movements and motor skills. In some cases, your doctor may recommend surgery to correct issues if they become too severe. Physical therapy also can play a role in helping your child develop normally.
Facial Paralysis (Facial Nerve Damage)
Typically caused by physical trauma during birth or c-section scar contracture, facial paralysis affects the seventh cranial nerve, which controls the mouth and lower eyelid movement. If your child is born with facial paralysis, they may have a crooked smile or drooping eyelid.
The most common form of neck injury that occurs during birth is torticollis, also known as wryneck. Babies with this condition are born with misaligned neck muscles due to pressure on their heads during birth. This condition is usually temporary; however, severe cases may require physical therapy or surgery.
Shoulder dystocia happens when one or both of the baby’s shoulders get stuck during delivery due to their large size compared to the mother’s pelvis. It usually requires immediate medical attention because prolonged pressure on the newborn can damage nerves, blood vessels, and joints in the shoulder. This injury can result in long-term problems like limited range of motion, arthritis, or even heart problems later in life.
Umbilical Cord Injuries
During labor, your doctor may have you lie on your back with your legs in stirrups so they can use gravity to help move the baby down through the birth canal. This position can cause twisting or kinking of the umbilical cord if not monitored closely by medical staff. In severe cases, this can cut off the oxygen supply from the placenta to the baby, resulting in permanent damage.
Sacramento Birth Injury Statistics
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that birth injuries are one of the leading causes of infant death in the United States. Every year, about 3 million babies are born prematurely, which leaves them more susceptible to complications.
According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), nearly 157,700 potentially preventable injuries to mothers and newborns occurred during childbirth for the study year. Although there is limited data on the specific rates of birth injuries in both the city and state, birth injuries can happen at any of Sacramento’s hospitals, including:
- UC Davis Medical Center
- Mercy General Hospital
- Sutter Medical Center
- Kaiser Permanente Sacramento Medical Center
- Methodist Hospital of Sacramento
Steps to Take After a Birth Injury Occurs in Sacramento
After a birth injury, it is essential to take prompt action. At Cutter Law, P.C., our birth injury lawyers can help you work through each step of the claims process to ensure your rights are represented after a birth injury in Sacramento.
- Report the injury to your doctor and the hospital right away: It’s important to let your physician know immediately when a birth injury has occurred so that they can start administering treatment.
- Get all of your medical records: After officially reporting your injury, request copies of all of your medical records. Your birth injury lawyer will need to review the records to determine if negligence has occurred and what legal options are available.
- Determine if you have a case: After a thorough review of your medical records and the facts of the case, if your lawyer finds evidence of wrongdoing, they will explain all of your rights and help you file an injury claim.
- File a claim for damages: If you suspect that someone’s negligence caused the birth injury, your birth injury attorney can help guide you through the process of filing your claim.
- Negotiate for fair compensation: If your case goes to mediation or arbitration, your attorney will negotiate on your behalf to receive adequate financial reparations. They may also work with the negligent party’s insurance company if necessary.
- Follow-up: It is essential not to ignore or neglect the injury as it can worsen without proper treatment.
One important distinction to make is that the process for recovering compensation from Kaiser Permanente will be different due to their arbitration agreement, which applies to birth injuries.
If you believe that negligence occurred during your Sacramento birth, leading to an injury, Cutter Law, P.C. may be able to help. Our legal team can provide honest guidance and work toward getting you the compensation you need for you and your child.
Who is liable in a birth injury lawsuit?
A birth injury may occur if a doctor or medical facility acts negligently. A lawyer must prove that the defendant is at fault in order for them to pursue compensation on your behalf.
If one of the following happened during the birthing process, a medical facility or doctor might be liable for the injury:
- Forceps harmed the baby
- The baby was removed using an improper vacuum
- The baby was deprived of oxygen supply
- The doctor performed an emergency cesarean section later than necessary
There are also some forms of negligent actions that can occur before birth, including:
- Lack of careful monitoring of the baby’s status or position
- Failure to treat pregnancy conditions, such as infections, promptly
- Not conducting specialized and standard tests as needed
These are just a few examples of potential negligence cases. To help identify all liable parties, your lawyer can review your medical records, including pictures, and talk with potential observers or other staff members who witnessed the birth.
While complications may arise during the delivery process, most birth injuries are generally considered to be preventable. If your doctor made a medical mistake during labor and delivery that altered your or your baby’s life, you deserve compensation for all losses you may have because of the negligent behavior.
What can I recover in a Sacramento birth injury lawsuit?
The exact amount you can recover after a birth injury in Sacramento will depend on the specific damages and losses. Some of the different types of damages you may be eligible to claim compensation for include:
- Loss of earning capacity: This is the loss of your ability to make money because of a birth injury.
- Medical expenses: These are the costs associated with treating and caring for your child, including doctor’s fees, hospital bills, medication, physical therapy, and counseling.
- Future medical expenses: These are costs associated with future medical care for your child. Examples include the costs of physical therapy, braces and other equipment, babysitting, and nursing care.
- Loss of consortium: This is the pain and suffering caused by your child’s birth injury and includes loss of companionship, comfort, affection, and guidance.
- Loss of enjoyment of life: This is your child’s loss of enjoyment of life if they have a disability caused by the negligence of a medical professional.
- Other Losses: These could include physical pain and suffering, scarring, disfigurement, emotional distress, and future economic losses beyond the cost of treatment.
However, it’s important to know that California Civil Code Statute 333.2 limits some types of damages in medical malpractice cases, such as birth injuries.
How long do I have to file a birth injury claim in Sacramento?
There is an eight-year statute of limitations for birth injuries in California. You must file a claim for any complications or issues that stem from a birth injury within the first eight years of your child’s life.
For a mother who sustained an injury during birth, there is a 12-month statute of limitations dictated by California’s medical malpractice laws.
Why should I hire a Sacramento birth injury lawyer?
If you believe that your loved one was the victim of medical malpractice and suffered a traumatic birth injury, Cutter Law, P.C. may be able to help. We can review the facts and potential causes of the injury, determine an adequate case value with any damage caps in mind, and ensure you meet the statute of limitation to file your case.
We have experience with medical malpractice cases, including the following case results:
- $2.4 Million for intentional medical misconduct
- $7.6 Million as the largest medical malpractice jury verdict in Sacramento County for a spinal cord injury
- $240 for a defective medical device
Call us at 916-290-9400 or contact us today for a free review of your birth injury case.