The Utah Birth Injury Law Guide: Steps to Follow
Mistakes can be made by medical professionals at the time of delivery which can lead to permanent and sometimes life-altering injuries. When this happens, you need a Utah birth injury lawyer to hold the doctors and insurance companies responsible for the errors that permanently affect your child’s life. In this article, we’ll go over the appropriate steps to take following the delivery that caused your child’s injury as well as the injuries and conditions most commonly caused by medical malpractice.
We’re experts in birth injury law and can help you get compensated. Our personal injury lawyers serve the entire state of Utah including Salt Lake City, Provo, Ogden, and St George. We’ll give you a free consultation on your birth injury law case.
Injuries and Conditions Resulting from Medical Malpractice
There are a wide range of short and long-term injuries that can be the result of negligent or sub-par medical treatment. We have listed some of the most common birth injuries below:
Cerebral Palsy is one of the permanent movement disorders that appear in early childhood. This chronic condition is caused by an injury to the brain shortly after or during birth. The signs and symptoms vary with different people over time but will likely include stiff muscles, poor coordination, weak muscles, and tremors. These symptoms contribute to your child’s motor development and speech. A child with this disorder may also experience sensory issues with vision, hearing, and speaking.
Erb’s Palsy is a nerve condition in the shoulder and arm that results in weakness or loss of muscle function. Palsy is another name for partial or complete loss of muscle function. Newborns sometimes develop Erb’s palsy during a difficult vaginal delivery or during a cesarean section.
Sometimes during the delivery, in order to make room for the baby’s shoulders, the healthcare provider must move the baby’s head. In certain cases, this act can stretch or even tear nerves, causing damage.
Spinal Cord Trauma
A spinal cord birth injury can happen when a doctor or nurse strains a child’s neck by twisting, pulling, or using tools to remove the baby from the birth canal. A spinal cord injury disrupts the connection of
nerves between the body and the brain. These injuries can range from mild to very severe. Babies with spinal cord injuries will show symptoms of paralysis or weakness. Injuries of this nature can occur at any location along the spine.
The most common type of brain damage in newborns happens when the baby’s brain doesn’t get enough oxygen or blood flow over a long amount of time. While a child may be able to completely recover from some mild forms of brain damage, severe cases will likely require lifelong medical treatment.
Can Medical Mistakes Lead to Cerebral Palsy?
When medical staff fail to follow the proper medical procedures during the delivery of a baby, the child could suffer a brain injury resulting in cerebral palsy. This condition will not only limit your child’s ability to function fully and independently throughout their life but will also incur substantial medical expenses over time.
If you believe your child or loved one may have been injured at birth by a medical mistake that could have been prevented, contacting a cerebral palsy lawyer can help you determine if you have legal grounds for compensation.
What to do After a Birth Injury
The birth of your child should be one of the most joyous and beautiful moments of your life. But when something goes wrong to permanently affect the health of that child and you feel it could have been avoided, what exactly do you do? We’ve compiled some guidelines to help protect your rights as well as ensure you receive the maximum compensation you deserve.
Contact an Attorney
Hiring an attorney right away is extremely important if you see your child showing signs of a birth injury such as cerebral palsy. The hospital and its insurance company are experienced in protecting themselves with no real interest for your child. However, an attorney will put their focus on protecting your family’s future.
Don’t Take a Settlement
Oftentimes, the hospital or their insurance company will offer you a settlement early on in the game. Don’t accept it. Their offer will likely be a low amount in an attempt to appease you and your family. Typically, their first offer won’t take into consideration the lifelong care your child will likely need. Don’t sign anything until you’ve met with an attorney.
Be sure to hold onto any information you receive in regard to the childbirth and any related medical bills. This includes receipts, medical bills, witness statements, and any other appropriate documentation. Your attorney will use this information to build a compelling case and prove the full extent of your child’s injuries.
Time Limit for Filing a Lawsuit in Utah
People often wonder if there’s a statute of limitations when it comes to filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Utah. The answer is yes, you have 2 years after the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. If you feel negligence or malpractice caused injury to your child at birth, it’s best to take legal action as soon as possible. The more time you wait, the more difficult it will be to prove your case which will ultimately affect the outcome.
Birth Injury vs Birth Defects
It can be difficult and confusing for people to differentiate between what constitutes a birth defect as compared to a birth injury. To determine whether or not you have a case, it’s crucial that you understand the difference. Below is a list of detailed distinctions between the two:
- The result of medical malpractice
- Physical injury to an infant’s brain, organs, or bones
- Caused during the birthing process
- Result of natural causes
- The defect is caused by a congenital issue or is genetic
- Not caused during the birthing process
If you feel your child’s issue or injury could have been avoided with the proper medical care or was the result of negligence, contact a Utah birth injury lawyer right away.
Utah Birth Injury Law Guide Conclusion
If you feel your child has a birth injury that could have been prevented by the doctors and nurses, contacting an experienced Utah birth injury lawyer is the most important action you can take. The skilled legal team at Harris, Preston, and Chambers has years of experience counseling families and parents on whether legal action should be taken to seek monetary compensation. Our lawyers work to explain the process to you in a way that can be easily understood. We want you to feel comfortable making decisions you feel are best for your family.
We know that each case is unique and that the most positive outcomes stem from the individual attention we give each case. Our staff knows how difficult dealing with a birth injury of your child can be and we want to help. Don’t try to walk this path alone. Contact the attorneys at Harris, Preston, and Chambers today to get your free consultation.