Modern technology and recent advancements in the medical field have reduced the risks associated with childbirth. Despite these improvements, birth defects, birth injuries, and congenital anomalies (also known as congenital disorders) are still possible. In many cases, these develop from external factors and are completely preventable.
When your child has suffered a preventable birth defect or injury, you have a legal right to compensation through a birth defect lawsuit. For example, you would be entitled to damages if your child’s birth defect was caused by a doctor’s negligence before or during labor (i.e., failing to take proper safety precautions, making a mistake during surgery, etc.).
Birth defect lawsuits can be confusing for those who are unfamiliar with litigation. As such, we’re going to briefly explain some of the basics so that you’re well-equipped to navigate your options.
Birth defects are structural changes — identified at birth — that have a negative impact on bodily function or aesthetics. Defects range in severity. Some are quite unobtrusive, while others are quite obvious and severe.
Serious birth defects may affect a baby’s limbs, heart, brain, or overall bodily function. Birth defects can also lower an infant’s expected lifespan. Naturally, parents have reason to be concerned about the impact of a birth defect on their child’s life. Given the severe and wide-ranging impacts in some cases, substantial damages may be available through a lawsuit.
For now, let’s take a look at some common birth defects.
What Are the 5 Most Common Birth Defects?
Neural Tube Defects
What is a neural tube defect?
Neural Tube Defects, or NTDs, occur when there is an abnormality of the neural tube. The neural tube connects the brain, spinal cord, and spine together. When it is damaged during childbirth, the result can be a debilitating or even, life-threatening defect.
What are the 3 types of neural tube defects?
- Spina Bifida
Spina Bifida is a common birth defect that affects the bones surrounding the spinal cord, it causes complications that can lead to long-term disability.
Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate
What causes a cleft palate during pregnancy?
Sometimes an infant’s lips or mouth develops improperly during pregnancy. Toxic environmental factors and certain prescription medications from your doctor can cause this. As it severely alters their appearance, a cleft lip or palate can have a significant impact on a child’s self-esteem and body image.
Congenital Heart Defects
Congenital heart defects are also known as CHDs. They vary, but all CHDs have an impact on the function of a baby’s heart during infancy and later on in life, too.
What are common congenital heart defects?
There are several different types of congenital heart defects. Some involve the transposition of the great arteries, hypoplastic left heart syndrome, and atrial septal defects.
What is the most common treatment for congenital heart defects?
Depending on severity, congenital heart defects may require surgery at some point. In some cases, doctors recommend that corrective surgery happen early in the infant’s life.
Down Syndrome or Trisomy 21
What is Down’s Syndrome?
Commonly termed Downs Syndrome or Down’s Syndrome, Down Syndrome is an impactful mental and physical defect.
What causes Down Syndrome during pregnancy?
Down Syndrome is caused by the presence of an extra chromosome, specifically chromosome 21. Though researchers still don’t know exactly how this defect arises, certain environmental factors and medication may contribute to Down’s syndrome.
Is a Birth Defect a Disability?
Birth defects, if they give rise to functional issues that impede one’s ability to work, can qualify as disabilities.
For example, suppose that your doctor failed to provide proper medication during your pregnancy. This resulted in your child being born with severe mental deficiencies. These deficiencies are such that, even later, as an adult, your son is incapable of working a regular job. This birth defect would then be rightly considered a disability under the law.
The definition of a disability can range quite a bit from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Generally speaking, however, it means serious physical and/or mental impairments.
Disability can be claimed for damages or benefits.
For government disability benefits, an application will have to be submitted to the Social Security Administration. And, you’ll have to show that the birth defect prevents you from working.
For damages claims, you’ll have to simply show the consequences of your physical or mental impairment. The more severe the consequences, the higher the damages you’re likely to recover in your lawsuit against the parties responsible.
What Are the Main Causes of Birth Defects?
Birth defects are oftentimes a result of negligence or medical malpractice, and they can occur in a variety of ways.
Common Causes of Birth Defects
Common causes of birth defects are:
- Medical malpractice
- Environmental toxins
- Errors during labor and delivery
- and more
What is an example of malpractice?
One example of malpractice is: a physician prescribes a medication during your pregnancy that increased the likelihood your unborn child would develop a birth defect. Because they made this dangerous error, they are potentially liable. Another example is: a physician makes mistakes during labor and delivery, and thus gives rise to a birth injury.
That being said, medical malpractice is not the only cause of birth defects. If your workplace or another company exposed you to harmful toxins that contributed to your baby developing a birth defect, they are potentially liable.
Filing a Birth Defect Lawsuit
Under the law, you are entitled to sue and recover damages from parties responsible for the cause of the birth defect. A case can be brought against them on the behalf of your infant in a birth defect lawsuit.
Birth defect lawsuits are, at times, complicated, so it is important to consult an experienced birth defect and birth injury attorney for guidance.
How To File Your Birth Defect Lawsuit
The most important thing to understand is that pursuing a lawsuit on your own is a bad strategic decision. Insurance companies, opposing counsel, and others will do everything they can do undermine your legal case and in court. The complexities of legal procedures can also cause problems if you are not qualified and experienced enough to handle them.
For these reasons, it’s critical to work with a birth defect and birth injury attorney. Some ways they can help you throughout the litigation process are:
- Identifying what type of birth defect your baby has
- Gathering evidence of damages that you and your child incurred
- Calculating the amount of potential compensation due
- Proving that the standard of medical care was insufficient
- Ensuring the filing of appropriate documents prior to the expiration of statue of limitations
- Negotiating a settlement on your behalf
- If necessary, taking your case to court to fight for maximum compensation
Contact Our Experienced Birth Defect Lawyers for a Free Consultation
Birth defects are overwhelming to deal with, because families must also manage the stress that comes with their child’s health and defect. An experienced attorney for birth injury, birth defects, and birth accidents can help ease this situation and secure the compensation that your family deserves.
We understand that birth defect issues can be traumatic. We can help.
To get in touch with a birth defect attorney, fill out the contact form located on this page, or contact us at 1-800-THE-LAW2. We will connect you with an attorney in just 10 minutes or less. The legal consultation is FREE and CONFIDENTIAL, so there’s no downside.