Bringing your new baby boy or girl into the world should be one of the happiest days of your life. However, what should be cause for joyous celebration can turn into a tragic nightmare when an OB/GYN, nurse, or other care providers make errors that compromise the health and safety of your infant child.
If you gave birth at a hospital in Dallas, and you or your baby was injured by your doctor at any point during your pregnancy, we urge you to contact the Queenan Law Firm, P.C. as soon as possible for legal assistance. Our skilled, accomplished, and trusted Dallas, Texas birth injury lawyers have more than 20 years of experience helping mothers and fathers pursue justice and compensation for the pain inflicted on their families by careless obstetricians. For a free case consultation, call us at (817) 476-1797.
Recognizing Medical Negligence in Birth Injury Cases in Dallas
If you have just given birth and suspect that something might have gone wrong with the delivery, it is important to know how to recognize a birth injury. In many cases, your doctor will tell you that anything that “went wrong” was merely a normal complication and that sometimes deliveries are difficult for both the mother and the baby. In many cases, this is true, but in others, the injuries and complications are actually the results of a doctor’s medical negligence.
Unfortunately, most people do not have the medical training to identify this kind of negligence. Researching symptoms online can help you determine whether a doctor’s care was normal and whether a baby’s symptoms are within the range of normal complications. However, it is usually best to seek a second opinion from a doctor in another obstetrics practice or at another hospital and to talk to a birth injury attorney about your case the moment you suspect that mistakes were made. Waiting too long after you suspect there was negligence could cause you to miss filing deadlines and miss out on your chance to seek justice for the harm your baby faced.
Suing for Injuries Caused by a Negligent OB/GYN in Dallas
Financial compensation is probably one of the last things on your mind while you are processing the recent trauma that you and your child have endured, and that is completely understandable. However, if your infant was seriously injured, they are likely going to need extensive medical care, which may need to continue for many months or years.
You should not be held responsible for covering the costs of treatment on your own, especially when you are already in so much emotional pain and distress over the ordeal your family has been through. The compensation obtained through a successful birth injury lawsuit or settlement can provide your family with the financial resources you need to see that your child receives quality care.
It may be possible to recover compensation if the injury occurred because your physician in some way breached his or her duty to you and your baby. There are numerous errors that can result in wrongful death or debilitating infant injuries, examples of which are provided in the next section. If the injury resulted from OB/GYN negligence in Texas, compensation may be available for:
- Funeral Expenses
- Future Expenses
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life
- Medical Expenses
- Mental Anguish
- Pain and Suffering
- Physical Therapy
Common Birth Injuries Caused by Medical Errors During Pregnancy or Delivery
Whether it takes place through a Cesarean section (C-section) or vaginal delivery, childbirth can be an extremely dangerous process for both mother and child. As such, there must be careful monitoring and assistance from a skilled team of medical experts within the hospital’s maternity ward. The doctors are there to correct a problem if anything goes wrong; but in some cases, it is the doctors themselves who create hazards and inflict injuries, which can hurt or kill the infant, the mother, or both.
Some examples of medical errors that can cause disabling or deadly birth injuries include the following:
- Applying too much physical pressure or force while assisting childbirth, such as pulling too hard on the infant’s shoulders, or using a vacuum extraction device improperly.
- Failing to treat a maternal infection, such as rubella, chorioamnionitis, hepatitis B, Group B streptococcus, or a urinary tract infection (UTI).
- Giving the mother dangerous medications during pregnancy or labor, or administering too large of a dose. For example, an overdose of Pitocin, a uterine stimulant used to strengthen contractions, can lead to adverse effects.
- Making errors during a C-section, such as making too deep of an incision, or making the incision at an improper location.
- Making errors when cutting the baby’s umbilical cord, such as clamping the cord prematurely.
- Making unreasonable delays in performing a C-section, without a valid medical purpose for the delay. This can cause the baby to become deprived of oxygen, which is extremely dangerous.
- Performing an unnecessary C-section.
These and other errors can lead to a host of serious, sometimes fatal illnesses, injuries, and long-term disabilities, including:
- Birth Asphyxia
- Bone Fractures
- Cerebral Palsy
- Erb’s Palsy
- Fetal Macrosomia
- Hearing Problems
- Klumpke’s Palsy
- Nerve Damage
- Shoulder Dystocia
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Vision Problems
- Wrongful Death
Filing a Birth Injury Lawsuit in Dallas
If you believe your child was injured during delivery or because of negligent prenatal care, the first thing you should do is talk to a lawyer. If you suspect that something went wrong, your lawyer can guide you through the process of seeking a second opinion and uncovering the answers to any lingering medical questions. If you have already sought a second opinion and your new doctor has confirmed that the first doctor’s treatment fell below the proper standards, then you are ready to work with a lawyer and move your case forward.
Once we know what kind of medical malpractice case we are dealing with – forceps injuries, hypoxic brain injuries, etc. – we can have your case reviewed by a physician and file an affidavit of merit and a complaint with the court. In the affidavit, a doctor will need to affirm that your case has merit and that the doctor’s care may have fallen below proper medical standards. In the complaint, your attorney will lay out the facts of what happened, the claim of how the injuries occurred, a description of what the doctor did wrong, and a list of damages you and your family are claiming for your injured child.
Your lawyer will be able to handle all of the technical aspects of the filing, including filling out court paperwork, serving the defendant with a copy of the complaint, and handling any responses or additional filings.
The Process of Handling a Birth Injury Case in Dallas, TX
The court process behind your birth injury claim can be complex, but your attorney can be with you every step of the way. Once you file your complaint, there may be multiple rounds of requests and motions filed with the court. Then, your case will move to the “discovery” stage. At this point, you will be able to take depositions and ask questions of the defendant doctor, the hospital, and any other parties involved in your case. You can also use the court’s powers to subpoena documents and evidence of what happened to your baby since you might not have been fully aware of what was happening at the time of the delivery.
From there, cases are often settled. Once both sides have begun sharing evidence, it becomes clear how strong or weak a case is, and both sides should have a good idea of their chances of succeeding at trial. If the defense offers a settlement that is worthwhile, we can help you decide whether to take it or press the case at trial.
If the case does progress to trial, the trial will usually be held over the course of a few days, in most cases. Your attorney will present evidence and arguments to the judge and jury that say that the defendant failed to use the proper care and skill necessary to accomplish the medical procedure in accordance with the “standard of care.” In most birth injury cases, proving what the standard of care was will require expert testimony from other doctors that perform similar procedures. The defense will also have their own experts, and many medical malpractice and birth injury cases come down to a “battle of the experts” to determine whether the care was negligent or not.
From there, the jury will move to deliberations. If they decide in your favor, the judge will enter a verdict and order the defendant to pay the damages they owe you. In most cases, these damages are ultimately paid by the doctor’s medical malpractice insurance company or the hospital and their insurance company.
Should I Settle a Dallas Birth Injury Case?
It is important to consider the options you have in how to get compensation in your case. In some cases, the defendant’s medical malpractice insurance company will understand that their doctor committed serious errors, and they will offer to pay you quickly to help you get past this situation and avoid a lawsuit with the doctors or hospitals they represent. However, those settlement offers do not always cover your needs.
As mentioned, there are a wide range of damages you can claim in a birth injury case, including the cost of ongoing future expenses. Especially for injured newborns with conditions like cerebral palsy or serious brain injuries, their future could involve substantial medical care costs and other expenses to deal with life-long disabilities. It is vital to have a lawyer review any settlement offers so that you can understand better whether they cover the damages in your case in full.
One consideration with settlement amounts is that accepting a settlement means lower costs in pursuing your case. If you do not need to take your case to court, hire expert witnesses, and pay a lawyer for all of that time in court, then you save money, overall. To reflect these savings, many settlements are reduced from what the damages would be at trial, but they still ultimately pay you more in the end. Accepting a settlement also means getting damages sooner. Again, talking with a lawyer about the specific offer in your case can help you understand whether the settlement is fair in light of court costs and trial expenses.
If the money you are offered is not enough to cover your damages, you should consider fighting the case in court. Our Dallas birth injury lawyers are prepared to advocate for our clients and their children in court, fighting to get the compensation they need for serious birth injuries.
Birth Injury Attorneys Representing Families in Dallas, TX
Watching your newborn child struggle with pain and disability, or losing your baby to fatal medical errors, is an experience that no parent should ever have to go through. We understand that birth injuries are a sensitive matter, and assure you that your family will be treated with compassion and given support. We are here to help you get through this difficult time, and we want to provide assistance in any way that we can.
When doctors cause harm through their careless actions, they must be held accountable. The Texas birth injury lawyers of Queenan Law will fight aggressively to recover the maximum compensation for your family – and to see that justice is served. Our Dallas and Arlington, TX personal injury attorneys handle birth injury claims against negligent doctors and hospitals throughout Dallas, including but not limited to…
- Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas
- Medical City Dallas Hospital
- Parkland Hospital
- Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital (Margot Perot Center for Women and Infants)
- UT Southwestern Medical Center
To speak privately with a Dallas birth injury attorney about your case in a free legal consultation, call the Queenan Law Firm, P.C. at (817) 476-1797.