Evidence in Birth Injury Cases
Competent and careful medical care is vital during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Without appropriate care, your child might suffer a serious birth injury, such as cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, deformities, or a subgaleal hemorrhage. Because such injuries may be caused by medical malpractice, safeguarding evidence in birth injury cases is essential to preserving your rights. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, our Syracuse birth injury attorneys understand that treatment and care that are needed as a result of this kind of negligence can be quite expensive. When parents lack sufficient savings to address those injuries, it becomes even more important to hold the responsible parties accountable.Birth Injury Lawsuits
Both the mother and child face risks during childbirth. If the obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN) fails to monitor the child, conduct appropriate diagnostic checks, use forceps properly or order a C-section or other emergency medical procedure, the child can sustain harm while in utero or during labor. To recover damages in a birth injury lawsuit, you will need to show that the OB-GYN deviated from accepted standards of medical treatment in his specialty and geographic location.
In pursuing your claim, you will need to show by a preponderance of the evidence: (1) the defendant owed you a professional duty of care, (2) the defendant deviated from the professional standard of care, (3) causation, and (4) damages. The professional standard of care varies depending on the specialty and geographic location at issue. In other words, you will need to establish that the health care provider did not act competently given the accepted standards and practices of his specialty and what other doctors in or around Syracuse would have done.
In most cases, the plaintiff must retain an expert witness in a birth injury case to explain the professional standard of care in a particular situation and to analyze whether the doctor breached the standard in light of the medical record and other evidence at hand.
Different types of claims can be filed in connection with a birth injury. The infant can sue a doctor through a guardian for medical malpractice. While medical malpractice lawsuits usually must be filed within 2½ years of the act of malpractice, minors have a longer period to bring a medical malpractice action because some birth injuries may not be apparent until a child is several years old. Additionally, a mother may have a claim not only for physical injuries, but also for emotional distress. Speaking with a lawyer as soon as you suspect a birth injury enables appropriate evidence to be gathered, preserved and evaluated.Evidence in Birth Injury Cases
Expert testimony is often the most important evidence in a birth injury lawsuit. Sometimes, the medical record contains ambiguities that need to be clarified or requires the collection of further evidence. Because the case may depend on the interpretation of facts and events, birth injury lawsuits can turn into a battle of experts. Generally, the plaintiff must put forward an expert who believes the defendant breached the professional standard of care that applied to the baby’s particular case. Meanwhile, the defendant may put forward an expert who believes the defendant met the appropriate professional standard of care.
During discovery, the plaintiff has an opportunity to obtain important evidence regarding the pregnancy or birth, such as by deposing nurses, staff members, anesthesiologists, OB-GYNs, and specialists, who witnessed what happened during the pregnancy or labor and delivery. They may testify that complications could not have been avoided or that the appropriate actions were provided under the circumstances. However, their testimony may also reveal that the doctor or other health care professional who attended the procedure did not abide by the professional standard of care for Syracuse doctors in the same specialty as the defendant.
Your medical record, along with your child’s medical record, also constitutes important evidence in a birth injury case. Medical records will identify all health care providers involved in the care that led to the injuries. They will also contain lab results and imaging that can be useful in establishing liability. Doctor must take notes for your file, and sometimes the notes help doctors and other providers refresh their recollection or show that health care providers are not remembering accurately or truthfully what happened. In some circumstances, witnesses to all of the events leading up to the birth injury are not available and the medical record serves as evidence of what transpired over a period of time. A medical record can help answer the question of when a doctor should have noticed the problem and what the doctor should have done to address it.Consult a Seasoned Lawyer in Syracuse
Preserving valuable evidence in birth injury cases often requires the immediate assistance of legal counsel. Otherwise, as time passes, evidence may disappear and the memories of witnesses may fade. Our attorneys at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represent babies and their families who were harmed at birth by medical malpractice in Syracuse, Rochester, and other places in Upstate New York, including in Auburn, Canandaigua, Lyons, Oswego, Watertown, Elmira, Herkimer, Ithaca, Lowville, Utica, Wampsville, Binghamton, Oneida, and Cooperstown. Please contact our firm at 315-479-9000 or via our online form.