Navigating Birth Injuries During Prenatal Care: Your Legal Rights and Options

The journey of pregnancy and childbirth is meant to be filled with joyful anticipation for the future. However, when a birth injury occurs due to errors during prenatal care, it can turn families’ worlds upside down. As difficult as this situation is, you have legal rights, and there are options to pursue justice and compensation. This article provides an overview of California laws regarding birth injuries and guidance for next steps.

Stalwart Law Group has decades of experience guiding clients through birth injury cases. Our team of talented and dedicated attorneys is available to give you personalized and strategic attention. Call our offices today at 310-954-2000 for your free consultation.

Overview of Relevant California Laws

California has specific laws that govern medical malpractice cases, including birth injuries that stem from negligence by healthcare providers during prenatal care. It’s crucial to understand these laws as you consider your options.

Time Limits to File a Lawsuit

There is a statute of limitations in California law specifying deadlines for medical malpractice and birth injury lawsuits. According to California Code of Civil Procedure 340.5, you have 3 years from the date of injury or 1 year from when the injury was discovered to file a claim. These time limits apply to both adults and minors. Consulting a medical malpractice attorney can help you assess the next steps, especially if the deadline is approaching.

Establishing Liability and Negligence

To successfully pursue compensation, your legal team must demonstrate that the medical provider’s negligence or errors during prenatal care resulted in preventable injury to you or your baby. This involves analyzing medical records, establishing what the appropriate standard of care should have been, and proving how the provider fell short of meeting this standard and caused harm.

Damage Awards in Birth Injury Cases

Possible damage awards vary widely based on the details of each case but often cover the substantial costs of medical care, rehabilitation services, and support services the child will need over their lifetime due to disability from the birth injury. Families also may be awarded compensation for emotional suffering and loss of wages if a parent must reduce work hours or stop working to care for their child.

Examples of Common Birth Injuries

To understand your options for legal action, it helps to be aware of some of the more common birth injuries that occur. While no two cases are alike, some patterns have emerged regarding the types of injuries sustained when physicians fail to adhere to the proper standard of prenatal care.

Oxygen Deprivation Injuries

One of the most prevalent types of birth injuries stems from oxygen deprivation before, during, or just after labor and delivery. This can occur if signs of fetal distress go undetected or proper interventions are not taken. Lack of oxygen can cause brain damage, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, visual or hearing impairment, and more.

Pregnant woman sitting on bed with hand on back in pain potential cerebral palsy birth injury

Negligent Delivery Methods

Improper use of delivery methods like vacuum extraction or forceps can cause physical trauma, including nerve damage, broken bones, and organ damage such as kidney injury or intestinal issues. Physicians have a duty to assess conditions carefully and only utilize these techniques when truly needed and safely. 

Failure to Recognize High-Risk Pregnancy Issues

Certain pregnancy complications like preeclampsia or infections require heightened monitoring and care. Overlooking signs and symptoms or delaying needed tests or early delivery in the case of these high-risk issues lead to stillbirths and health problems for some infants that likely were preventable. 

While this list covers some of the more prevalent birth injury scenarios, there are many other ways harm can occur when appropriate standards of care are not met during prenatal care.

Steps to Take After a Birth Injury Occurs

It’s devastating for parents when a long-awaited baby arrives facing severe, preventable disabilities or health issues. The financial, emotional, and logistical impact is immense. Although the situation seems overwhelming, strategic steps can aid you during this difficult period.

Speak to a Knowledgeable Medical Malpractice Attorney

Consult a birth injury attorney with a skill set in birth injury cases as soon as feasible once problems surface. There are intricate legal specifics surrounding medical negligence claims, so working with a lawyer well-versed in this area gives you the best chance for success. They can also refer you to helpful medical experts and support resources.

Gather and Preserve Medical Records

Work methodically with your birth injury attorney to collect, copy, and ensure safe storage of all prenatal and birth-related medical records, even notes from regular OBGYN visits. Thorough analysis helps build your case regarding exactly what went wrong and where the breakdown in proper care occurred. Let your legal team guide you, but offer to assist in gathering information however possible.

Connect with Support Groups

Bond with other families facing similar disabilities and obstacles. Local nonprofits, hospital programs, and online communities provide solidarity and advice during the difficult times ahead. Your social worker and medical providers can suggest helpful groups. Opening up saves families from isolation and aids emotional healing.

The combination of professional legal guidance and an understanding community by your side makes the long road toward justice and compensation less lonely. You and your child deserve acknowledgement and assistance after preventable harm occurred.

Frequently Asked Questions

As you explore your legal options related to birth injuries stemming from medical negligence, some common questions may arise. Here is more insight to address these key issues:

          1.How Can Errors During Prenatal Care Lead to Birth Injuries?

Mistakes like failing to recognize warning signs of fetal distress, delaying needed testing or professionals, utilizing risky delivery techniques unnecessarily, or generally providing care that falls below accepted medical protocol can directly cause oxygen deprivation, brain damage, physical trauma, stillbirth and other devastating harm. 

          2.What Key Details Do Birth Injury Attorneys Look for in Birth Injury Cases?

Lawyers analyze medical charts extensively to pinpoint errors like overlooked symptoms and test results, failure to perform correct interventions, identifiable instances of harm occurring immediately after questionable treatment decisions, and other indicators that accepted standards of care were breached, resulting in injury.

          3.Will Pursuing Legal Action Make the Grieving Process Harder?

Every family handles grief differently in these sensitive situations. Some find comfort in fighting against wrongdoing, while others prefer to focus energy in alternative directions. Discuss options discreetly with your support network and attorney without pressure. There is no right or wrong way to proceed.  

          4.What If I Can’t Afford an Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyer Upfront? 

Many birth injury attorneys work on contingency fees, meaning no payment is owed unless your claim succeeds and settlement money comes through. They understand the massive financial burdens families suddenly face, so they assume risk knowing their skilled involvement is key to compelling cases that may lead to reasonable compensation.

          5.How Long Might the Legal Process Take to Resolve Birth Injury Cases?

Every case follows its own trajectory, but medical malpractice claims often take 2-3 years at minimum, and complex birth injury lawsuits can sometimes last even longer depending on details surrounding liability, negligence, and damages. This extended duration is why having an attorney actively investigating and building your case from the beginning is essential. 

The decision to take legal action is highly personal after suffering the tragedy of a birth injury due to medical negligence. You deserve clarity and support surrounding the process and California birth injury laws before moving forward. With the guidance of a compassionate and dedicated birth injury lawyer, families can better understand their options and make fully informed choices during an incredibly difficult period. You do not have to shoulder this burden alone when professionals have your back and want to help give you and your child the secure future you deserve.

Choosing a Birth Injury Lawyer

Don’t hesitate to contact our talented and knowledgeable birth injury lawyers at Stalwart Law Group to protect your rights and your child’s future. Our attorneys have graduated from top law schools and are prepared to support you and your case. Justice may be a long process, but the outcome and results our attorneys achieve can make a tremendous difference for your family. Call us today for more information at 310-954-2000.

* The articles provided on the Stalwart Law website are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be used as professional legal advice or as a substitute for legal consultation with a qualified attorney.  

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