If your child suffered a birth injury in West Virginia because of a doctor or other healthcare provider’s negligent care, you deserve to be compensated appropriately. The West Virginia birth injury lawyer at Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, wants to help you pursue this compensation.
For over a decade, our firm has worked hard to get our clients the financial resources they need to move forward with their lives after suffering injuries due to the negligence of others. Our success in doing so is why founding attorney Jeff Robinette has received a lifetime membership in the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum® and has been designated as a National Top 1% Personal Injury attorney.
Our compassionate West Virginia birth trauma attorneys are ready to review your situation and discuss what we can do for your family. Contact Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, today for a free and confidential consultation about your legal options.
What Is a Birth Injury?
The term ”birth injury” refers to physical trauma suffered by the baby or the mother before, during, or immediately after delivery. A birth injury causes some form of impairment to the baby’s or the mother’s body function or structure. Although some birth injuries occur due to the dangers inherent in labor, many result from negligent or reckless actions by healthcare professionals treating the mother and child.
Causes of Birth Injuries
Many birth injuries in West Virginia occur due to medical malpractice, a term describing professional negligence by healthcare providers. Common examples include:
- Improper manipulation of the infant’s body before delivery
- Improper use of delivery assistance tools like forceps or vacuum extractors
- Failure to recommend Cesarean section (C-section) when vaginal delivery poses a high risk of complications
- Failure to perform an emergency C-section for complications or prolonged delivery
- Failure to monitor the mother’s and newborn’s vital signs, including heart rate and oxygen saturation
- Failure to monitor and diagnose the mother’s health complications during pregnancy
Types of Birth Injuries
Examples of common birth injuries that newborns can suffer include:
- Broken bones, often due to shoulder dystocia or breech birth
- Nerve damage, including facial palsy and brachial (Erb’s) palsy
- Traumatic brain injury, including brain hemorrhage
- Acquired brain injury caused by insufficient oxygen flow or asphyxia, including cerebral palsy
- Caput succedaneum, or a buildup of fluid underneath the scalp
- Spinal cord injury
Examples of birth injuries suffered by mothers include:
- Perineal tears
- Nerve damage, particularly in the perineal area
- Damage to muscles in the pelvic floor
- Pelvic organ prolapse
- Uterine prolapse
- Uterine rupture
- Post-partum hemorrhage
Short and Long-Term Consequences of Birth Injuries
Birth injuries can have a wide range of short- and long-term consequences for a mother or child. For newborns, some birth injuries could resolve over time with minimal lasting effects. However, many birth injuries cause a lifetime of complications. For example, fluid buildup, bleeding, or hematomas can lead to more severe secondary complications like jaundice or kernicterus. Birth injuries to facial or brachial nerves may require physical therapy or even surgery to repair the damage. More severe injuries can lead to permanent paralysis or cognitive and developmental difficulties for children.
A mother may have a longer recovery time following delivery if she suffers birth injuries such as vaginal tears. Injuries such as nerve damage or pelvic organ prolapse may have long-term consequences for bladder and bowel control or sexual function and sensitivity. Uterine prolapse or rupture may preclude a mother from vaginal delivery in future pregnancies and require her to undergo a C-section. Severe trauma to the uterus may even require a mother to undergo an emergency hysterectomy.
Proving Liability in a West Virginia Birth Injury Case
Several different parties may have liability for a birth injury, including the OB/GYN who oversaw the pregnancy and delivery, nurses, midwives, and hospitals or other healthcare facilities.
To prove liability, our West Virginia birth injury lawyers often rely on evidence like:
- Medical records from treatment during the pregnancy or the delivery
- Analysis from medical experts
- Provider notes
- Staffing records
- Witness statements
- Photos and videos of the delivery or birth injuries
How Long Do I Have to File a Birth Injury Claim in WV?
Under West Virginia’s statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims, you usually have two years from the date of the birth injury to file a lawsuit, or two years after you discover the birth injury caused by medical negligence. However, you may not pursue a birth injury lawsuit more than 10 years after the birth injury occurred. The court can dismiss a lawsuit filed after the expiration of the limitations period, regardless of the case’s merits.
In addition to the statute of limitations, West Virginia law requires a medical malpractice plaintiff to send a notice of claim to each party they intend to sue no later than 30 days before filing a lawsuit. The notice of claim must state the grounds for the lawsuit and the theory of liability, a list of all healthcare providers receiving the notice, and a screening certificate of merit, or an affidavit from a medical expert stating their expert qualifications, the applicable medical standard of care in the case, and an opinion as to how the healthcare providers failed to provide treatment per the standard of care.
How Much Compensation Can a Birth Injury Victim Get?
Depending on the nature, severity, and consequences of the harm your family suffered, a birth injury attorney can pursue compensation for the following:
- Costs of medical care and rehabilitation to treat the injury
- Costs of long-term care and support for permanent physical or cognitive disabilities, such as home health services or special education
- Loss of income if the mother must take extra time off work to recover from a birth injury
- Loss of future earning potential if the victim cannot work due to permanent disabilities
- Physical pain and anguish
- Emotional trauma and distress
- Loss of enjoyment and quality of life due to physical disability, impaired body function, permanent scarring, disfigurement, or loss of childbearing ability
West Virginia places a $250,000 cap, adjusted annually for inflation, on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. Non-economic damages include compensation for pain, suffering, and loss of quality of life. However, the cap increases to $500,000, adjusted annually for inflation, in cases involving death, permanent disfigurement, or severe permanent disability.
Contact a West Virginia Birth Injury Lawyer to Help with Your Case
The birth injury law firm of Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, is ready to fight for the compensation and justice you and your family deserve. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation to find out what a West Virginia birth trauma lawyer from our firm can do for you.