Long Island Birth Injury Attorney
For all their training and technology, there are many ways that the careless actions or poor decisions of medical professionals can harm your baby during childbirth. If your newborn died or suffered serious injury, you have a right to know what happened. If the outcome was foreseeable and preventable, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
The experienced and compassionate medical malpractice lawyers at Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP can help. We will investigate if you suspect that the negligence of doctors or nurses harmed your baby. If your case has merit, we have the skill and resources to pursue the monetary compensation you and your baby need for the lifelong difficulties ahead.
Birth Injury FAQ’s
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Birth Injuries FAQs
Birth injury, or birth trauma, is physical damage to the baby’s body that occurs during delivery or birth of soon after birth. Some common injuries include cerebral palsy, brachial plexus injury and profound brain injury. Birth injuries are not the same as birth defects.
Birth defects are acts of nature that, in many cases, cannot be prevented. Common birth defects include Down syndrome, cleft lip, spina bifida and reduction or deformity of a limb.
In contrast, some common birth injuries include:
- Cerebral palsy, a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. Cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability among children. Lack of oxygen or head trauma during birth, or an infection that develops soon after birth, may cause cerebral palsy.
- Brachial plexus injury (Erb’s palsy, Klumpke’s palsy) is a loss of function in the shoulder, arms, hands and fingers. It is caused by trauma to a group of nerves in the shoulder during delivery.
- Profound brain injury. If the brain does get enough oxygen during birth the child can suffer brain damage. The more complete the oxygen deprivation, the more severe the damage.
- Compromised function of the lungs, vision or other organs
Stillbirth or neonatal death.
Many birth injuries are caused by obstetrical trauma during vaginal delivery conducted with instruments. Lack of oxygen during delivery is another common cause.
In plain language, birth injuries occur when a baby assumes an unnatural position prior to birth and the doctor (obstetrician) applies excessive force when using forceps, suction or other medical instruments to deliver the infant. This can cause such trauma as a head injury, shoulder injury (brachial plexus injury), broken bones, bruising or lacerations.
Another major cause of birth injury is oxygen deprivation. This can result in brain damage, including mental retardation or cerebral palsy. Some common causes of oxygen deprivation include:
- Compression or twisting that blocks the umbilical cord.
- The umbilical cord becoming wrapped around the baby’s neck.
- Leaving the baby in the birth canal too long.
- Failing to recognize that the baby is in distress and perform a Caesarean section.
The baby’s oxygen level is one of many factors that should be constantly monitored during labor and delivery. Failure to recognize a low oxygen level and take appropriate action could amount to medical malpractice if the baby suffers harm.
Contact a Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP birth injury lawyer today for a free discussion of you baby’s injuries. A review of medical records from your baby’s birth may help us understand your child’s birth injury and whether you have a potential claim.
All medical personnel providing care to an expectant mother and child during delivery, birth or soon afterward (post-natal) have a duty to provide care that meets accepted standards. If a birth injury results from negligence, individuals and the medical institution may be held liable.
Attending obstetricians, obstetric nurses, technicians or other medical personnel may be held liable for the losses your child and you face due to your child’s medical problems, physical and cognitive disabilities or other lasting harm. The hospital or medical center where your child was born may be held liable if its policies, procedures, equipment, etc., led to an error or negligence that harmed your child.
If a birth injury has been caused by medical error or negligence, the parents may be entitled to compensation on behalf of their child. Financial compensation can help the family with expensive, potentially ongoing medical care that the injured child may require.
You may also be entitled to damages for your mental anguish as parents. Your child may be entitled to future damages (compensation) based on the life he or she should have had but will not.
Our birth injury lawyers consult medical experts to build compelling cases to support malpractice claims, and we negotiate from a position of knowledge and strength when we present our cases. There is no cost to you to have your case reviewed by our medical experts and we do not accept a legal fee unless we obtain compensation for you.
We have only recently received a cerebral palsy diagnosis for our toddler. Is it too late to file a birth injury lawsuit?
It is probably not too late for you to pursue a legal claim. But New York does have a statute of limitations on medical malpractice lawsuits, which means there is a deadline for filing a lawsuit over a birth injury.
Most medical malpractice claims must be filed within 30 months of the date of the act resulting in the injury. However, the discovery rule permits some malpractice suits to be filed within a certain period of time after the injury is discovered, or reasonably should have been discovered.
Cerebral palsy is commonly diagnosed sometime after a child’s birth, such as when the child experiences delays in reaching motor skills milestones like pushing up on arms, sitting up alone and crawling. Here is some information from the Mayo Clinic about diagnosing cerebral palsy.
But you should not wait to contact an attorney once you have discovered a birth injury. Medical malpractice lawsuits are complicated and can take a long time to develop. Preparing a case requires gathering medical records and having them reviewed by medical experts. If there’s reason to move forward, each medical professional involved in the suspected error or negligence must be interviewed.
The complexity of developing a lawsuit and the statute of limitations are good reasons to contact a medical malpractice attorney experienced in New York as soon as you suspect your child has suffered a birth injury.
Victims of birth injuries caused by medical malpractice may be eligible for compensatory damages in a birth injury lawsuit.
This could include money to help pay for:
- Medical bills (past, current and future), such as is required for surgery, physical therapy, medical equipment or medications.
- Nursing care or specialized daycare.
- Private tutoring.
- Other accommodations.
Your child may also be eligible for eventual costs of lost wages, lost earning capacity and future lost income, as well as compensation for pain and suffering.
You might also be compensated for the lost parent-child relationship if your child’s injury has caused a significant mental disability. A malpractice lawsuit may also seek punitive damages if actions by the liable parties equate to gross negligence or reckless disregard for human life.
Here is more information about pursuing a medical malpractice claim with the help of Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP.
Most medical malpractice claims are settled out of court through negotiation. It’s only when insurers refuse to provide an appropriate settlement that a case must go to court.
Here is a report that says negotiations led to 93 percent of medical malpractice case payouts made during a recent year. It also says New York was the top state for medical malpractice payouts.
The medical malpractice attorneys of the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP will thoroughly document your case and an appropriate settlement before we enter into negotiations with the liable parties.
We will advise you of any settlement offer we receive and provide our assessment of it, but whether you accept a settlement is your decision. If a settlement meets your family’s financial needs, accepting it ends the case and allows you get on with your life.
Each case is different, so we cannot guarantee how your case will progress. But if we cannot negotiate a settlement, we will fully prepare you and your case if we have to go to court, and we will stand beside you every step of the way.
Your family can afford a Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP medical malpractice attorney because you will not pay us for our legal services unless and until we obtain compensation for you.
We provide legal services on a contingency-fee basis, which means our success in your case determines our fees. The legal fees you pay us will be based on a previously agreed-upon percentage of any settlement or court award we obtain for you. Nothing comes out of your pocket.
Our legal services begin with a consultation about your case that we provide at no charge whatsoever and with no strings attached. If we determine that we can help you, you still will have no obligation to retain us for any further work.
We’re ready to have one of our experienced New York medical malpractice attorneys look at your case as soon as you are.
For a free claim evaluation and legal consultation, call us now or fill out our online contact form. We will respond promptly. We can arrange evening and weekend appointments, and we can come to you.
Long Island Birth Injury Lawyers
We are available to represent parents in Long Island, Nassau County, Suffolk County and Queens. Medical malpractice attorney, Richard Jaffe has more than 20 years of experience in medical malpractice litigation as an attorney and former paralegal.
Our legal team is sensitive to the emotional trauma you have suffered, and we understand the challenges, stress and hardships of caring for a child with disabilities and special needs. We are also knowledgeable about what causes birth injuries and how to hold doctors and hospitals accountable for failing you and your child.
We have brought successful lawsuits for negligence of OB-GYNs and nurses resulting in:
- Compromised lung function, vision or organs
- Stillbirth or neonatal death
What went Wrong in Labor and Delivery?
Obstetricians and obstetric nurses are trained to keep the baby safe and the mother safe, by anticipating problems and adhering to specific protocols. Birth injuries typically happen when these medical professionals fail to foresee dangers, stray from accepted practices, panic in urgent situations or simply fail to monitor their patients. Below are some of the most common lapses that constitute medical malpractice:
- Failure to diagnose and appropriately respond to fetal distress — Fetal distress is caused by a lack of oxygen getting to your baby in the womb. When your baby fails to get adequate oxygen while in the womb, the baby’s heart rate begins to fluctuate in an abnormal way. Your baby’s abnormal heart rate patterns should be detected on the fetal heart rate monitor. If your baby’s heart rate does not return to normal within a short time, your baby is said to be in fetal distress. Babies in fetal distress need to be delivered as quickly as possible. If not, they can develop brain damage as a result of inadequate oxygen. This brain damage can lead to permanently disabling conditions such as cerebral palsy. One of the leading forms of medical malpractice during childbirth is the failure to detect fetal distress and to deliver a baby who is in fetal distress quickly enough.
- Failure to respond appropriately to maternal bleeding — Vaginal bleeding should not occur during labor and delivery. If vaginal bleeding occurs during labor or delivery it can be a sign that something is wrong with your placenta or uterus, for example, placental abruption or uterine rupture, both of which are medical emergencies. If you experience vaginal bleeding during your labor or delivery, your baby should be delivered as soon as possible. Any unnecessary delay in the delivery of your baby after you begin to bleed vaginally is most likely due to medical malpractice.
- Delay in ordering or performing a C-section — There are many reasons why your doctor should interrupt your labor, order a cesarean section (C-section) and deliver your baby as quickly as possible. Vaginal bleeding or fetal distress are good examples. Other examples include umbilical cord prolapse (when the umbilical cord appears in the birth canal before the fetus) and umbilical cord entrapment (when the umbilical cord wraps around the fetus’s neck). In any of these situations, if the baby is not delivered as quickly as possible, brain damage (often resulting in cerebral palsy) and/or death can occur quickly. Any delay in the delivery of your baby under these circumstances as a result of the failure to timely order and carry out a C-section may constitute medical malpractice.
- Misuse of forceps or vacuum extractor — The use of forceps or a vacuum extractor is not, in and of itself, medical malpractice. However, great care must obviously be exercised with these devices. If too much force is applied to forceps or a vacuum extractor, serious brain trauma including intracranial bleeding, can result. These brain injuries can lead to the development of permanent harm such as cerebral palsy.
- Too much Pitocin — Pitocin is the brand name for synthetic oxytocin. Oxytocin is a naturally occurring hormone involved in the labor process. Pitocin is used to induce labor. However, too much Pitocin can result in serious maternal and fetal injury, such as uterine rupture, fetal asphyxia, fetal distress or fetal heart rate irregularities.
Compensation for Medical Malpractice Birth Injuries
If your child has physical disabilities, medical problems, cognitive disabilities or other lasting harm, he or she may require years or a lifetime of special care. Our medical malpractice lawyers work with many professionals to anticipate those needs and project the costs of nursing care or specialized day care; surgeries, physical therapy, medical equipment or medications; private tutoring and other accommodations. You are also entitled to damages for your own mental anguish as parents.
If we take on your case, our lawyers will meet with the other side and with a judge who specializes in medical malpractice cases. Sometimes we are able to reach a fair out-of-court settlement that covers your needs and spares you from the ordeal of a trial. Rest assured that Richard Jaffe and his team are prepared to take your case to a jury if necessary to establish the negligence and secure full damages.
There is no cost to you to have your case reviewed by our medical experts. If our Long Island birth injury lawyers do file a lawsuit, there are no attorney fees unless we recover compensation.
For a free consultation, call our New Hyde Park law firm at 516-358-6900 or contact us online. We speak Spanish and Russian.