Practice Areas

Birth Injuries

Our firm represents individuals and families who have suffered as a result of injury or death caused during labor and delivery.

Kentucky Birth Injury Lawyers

What is a birth injury?

A birth injury is an injury or harm that occurs to a baby during the birthing process. This can include physical injuries, such as broken bones, as well as neurological injuries, such as brain damage. Birth injuries can be caused by a variety of factors, including medical negligence, improper use of instruments during delivery, or failure to properly monitor the baby's condition during labor and delivery. A birth injury may be the basis for a medical malpractice lawsuit against the healthcare providers or facility involved in the birth.

What are some examples of birth injuries?

Some examples of birth injuries that could give rise to a legal claim include:

  • Cerebral Palsy: caused by damage to the brain during the birthing process, can result in problems with muscle tone and coordination, as well as developmental delays.

  • Erb's Palsy: caused by damage to the nerves in the shoulder and arm, resulting in weakness or paralysis in those limbs.

  • Shoulder dystocia: a condition in which the baby's shoulder becomes stuck in the birth canal, potentially resulting in injury to the baby's shoulder, arm, or collarbone.

  • Brain damage: caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain during the birthing process, can result in developmental delays, seizures, and other serious complications.

  • Fractures: broken bones in the baby's skull, collarbone, or other bones, caused by improper use of forceps or vacuum extraction during delivery.

  • Jaundice: a condition caused by the baby's liver not being able to process bilirubin, leading to yellowing of the skin and eyes, which can be a sign of other underlying issues.

  • Meconium aspiration: inhaling a mixture of fetal stool and amniotic fluid during delivery, which can cause serious respiratory issues.

These are some examples, and a legal claim will depend on the facts of each specific case.

How can medical negligence cause a birth injury?

Some of the more common medical errors that can give rise to a birth injury include:

  • Failure to properly monitor the baby's condition during labor and delivery: this can include failure to recognize signs of distress, such as a slowing heart rate, and failure to take appropriate action in response.

  • Improper use of instruments during delivery: such as forceps or vacuum extractors, which can cause physical injuries to the baby if not used correctly.

  • Delaying a cesarean section (C-section) when it is medically indicated: C-sections can be necessary to prevent injury to the baby in certain situations, such as when the baby is in distress or when the baby is too large to be delivered vaginally.

  • Failure to detect and treat infections: such as chorioamnionitis, an infection of the membranes surrounding the baby in the uterus, which can lead to serious complications if not treated promptly.

  • Failure to properly manage maternal conditions: such as hypertension or diabetes, which can affect the baby's health during the birthing process.

  • Failure to recognize and treat placental abruption: a serious condition in which the placenta separates from the uterus before birth, which can cause serious bleeding and deprive the baby of oxygen.

  • Failure to recognize and treat umbilical cord prolapse: a serious condition in which the umbilical cord drops into the birth canal before the baby, which can lead to serious complications if not treated promptly.

These are some examples, and a legal claim will depend on the facts of each specific case.

Can birth injuries be prevented?

Many birth injuries can be prevented through proper prenatal care, appropriate monitoring during labor and delivery, and appropriate interventions when necessary. Some steps that can be taken to prevent birth injuries include:

  • Providing appropriate prenatal care: Regular check-ups and screenings throughout pregnancy can help identify any potential risk factors for birth injuries and allow for early intervention.

  • Monitoring the baby's condition during labor and delivery: This can include continuous fetal monitoring, which can detect any signs of distress in the baby and allow for prompt intervention.

  • Avoiding unnecessary interventions: Such as induction of labor or use of instruments like forceps or vacuum extractors, which can increase the risk of injury to the baby.

  • Recognizing and treating maternal conditions: Such as hypertension or diabetes, which can affect the baby's health during the birthing process.

  • Properly managing high-risk pregnancies: Some women may be at a higher risk of birth injuries due to factors such as a large baby, breech presentation, or pre-existing medical conditions. These pregnancies should be closely monitored and managed by an experienced healthcare provider.

  • Properly managing emergency situations: When emergency situations occur such as cord prolapse, placental abruption, or fetal distress, it is crucial that healthcare providers recognize the signs and act quickly to address the problem.

It's important to note that despite the best efforts of healthcare providers, some birth injuries may still occur and may be out of their control.

How can a lawyer help with my birth injury claim?

At Powell Klausing, our team can help determine if you have a birth injury claim by reviewing the specific facts of your case and assessing whether there is evidence of medical negligence. Our investigations typically include the following steps:

  • Reviewing your medical records: Your lawyer will review your medical records from before, during, and after your delivery, looking for any signs of negligence or malpractice.

  • Interviewing witnesses: Your lawyer will interview any healthcare providers who were involved in your delivery, as well as any other witnesses who may have information relevant to your case.

  • Consulting with experts: Your lawyer may consult with medical experts to help understand the specific facts of your case, and to determine whether the standard of care was breached.

  • Reviewing relevant laws and regulations: Your lawyer will also review relevant laws and regulations to determine whether they were followed and if they were not, how that may have affected your case.

Our firm will help determine if the negligence caused the injury and if so whether you or a loved one may be entitled to compensation. If so, we work to build a case and represent you in seeking compensation for your injuries and damages.

What damages can be recovered in a birth injury claim?

In a birth injury medical negligence claim, you may be able to recover a variety of damages, depending on the specific facts of your case. Some of the types of damages that may be available include:

  • Medical expenses: You may be able to recover the cost of any medical treatments, therapies, or surgeries that were necessary as a result of the birth injury.

  • Lost income: If your child is unable to work or earn as much money over the course of his or her life as a result of the birth injury, the lost income or wages may be recovered.

  • Pain and suffering: You may be able to recover damages for the physical and emotional pain and suffering caused by the birth injury.

  • Loss of consortium: If the birth injury affects your ability to have a normal relationship with your child, you may be able to recover damages for loss of consortium.

  • Future expenses: In some cases, you may be able to recover damages for future expenses, such as the cost of special education or medical treatment that may be required as a result of the birth injury.

  • Punitive damages: These are damages awarded to punish the defendant if they acted recklessly or with malicious intent.

It's important to note that the laws regarding damages in medical negligence claims can vary from case to case, and it's best to consult with a birth injury lawyer who understands the full scope of damages that may be available to you.

Contact an experienced Kentucky birth injury lawyer as soon as possible after an injury.

Do not delay investigation of your potential birth injury claim. When it comes to birth injury claims, an investigation should be performed as quickly as possible to preserve critical evidence. Contact us today to talk with one of our experienced attorneys at no charge. Let us help determine whether you may have a valid birth injury claim.

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Birth Injuries

A "birth injury" is an injury that occurs during the birthing process. Such injuries range from physical trauma to severe brain damage
The Powell Law Firm represents families who have suffered as a result of these devastating injuries.

With our vast experience and an impressive network of medical experts, we stand ready to investigate any case where birth injury has occurred. We are prepared to fight relentlessly on behalf of our clients, once we conclude that such an injury should have been avoided.

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Birth injuries occur in a number of ways. Some are difficult to predict and even harder to prevent. Pregnancy, labor, and delivery is complicated process, and sometimes birth defects or injuries occur naturally despite doctors' best efforts. In other cases, though, birth injuries are entirely preventable. If the doctor fails to act based on the risk factors for an injury, or if he acts carelessly during the birthing process, the infant can suffer permanent injuries.

Some birth injuries that may occur due to a doctor's negligence include:

  • Cerebral palsy and other conditions resulting from a lack of oxygen to the fetus
  • Brachial plexus injuries, such as Erb's palsy and Klumpke's palsy
  • Injuries caused by misuse of assisted delivery devices such as vacuums or forceps

Birth injury claims typically fall under the umbrella of medical malpractice cases, so you must follow all laws relating to Kentucky medical malpractice when filing these claims. Kentucky, however, has far fewer regulations on this type of claim than many other states. For example, there are no pre-suit notice requirements under Kentucky law. The state also does not require filing an affidavit of merit before filing your claim.

While you do not need an expert witness to confirm the merit of your case before you file, you may need one to build your case of negligence against the liable doctor or healthcare facility. Medical experts may testify that the doctor failed to provide a standard level of care.

These experts are usually licensed physicians working in the same specialty, which is most often obstetrics in birth injury cases. The expert witness may testify about:

  • The standard of care in treating your child.
  • Whether the doctor failed to abide by this standard of care.
  • A connection between the doctor's actions or inaction and your child's injuries.
  • The child's prognosis and the effects of the injury.

In Ky. Rev. Stat. § 413.140(1)(e), Kentucky law gives victims of medical malpractice cases only one year from the date of discovering the injury to file a claim against the negligent doctor or medical facility. But when the victim of medical malpractice is a minor, Ky. Rev. Stat. §413.170 puts the statute of limitations on hold until the minor turns 18.

This is good news for parents who suspect their child may have a birth injury. The full impact of some types of birth injuries remain hidden until the child nears school age. Some, in fact, are only discovered when a child fails to meet developmental milestones or cannot keep up with peers in school.

You lawyer will be instrumental in helping you determine how much compensation you need to not only cover your previous injury-related costs, but to pay for all the care your child may need in the future. This could include ongoing nursing care, equipment such as wheelchairs or walkers, and a range of therapies to support your child's physical, occupational, social, mental, and emotional health. Other types of compensation that you may be eligible to recover include:

  • Noneconomic damages for emotional losses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Psychological damages

Birth injury cases are one of the most complex types of medical malpractice claims. Doctors and healthcare facilities usually fight to avoid paying out in this type of claim, leaving victims to fight harder to get the compensation they need and deserve.

With the Powell Law Firm, PLLC on your side, you can worry less about taking on the hospital and focus more on helping your child. We can help you navigate the complexities of a Kentucky birth injury case and secure the settlement you deserve. Call us today at 502-242-7000 to schedule your free case evaluation.

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