Your child's life was not supposed to turn out this way. Your doctor didn't find any problems in the screenings, tests, or imaging techniques administered during your pregnancy.
But something went wrong.
Approximately 7 out of every 1,000 infants born in the United States suffer birth injuries, according to the National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report.
In this article, we'll take a look at birth injuries in Oklahoma, including birth injury liability, how long you have to file a lawsuit, and what damages may be available in a birth-related medical malpractice case.
A “birth injury” occurs when a child suffers physical harm during the birth process.
Most birth injuries are relatively minor and typically caused by the natural forces of labor and delivery. Relatively minor birth injuries include:
However, birth injuries can be life-changing. Serious birth injuries are often the result of oxygen deprivation to the baby's brain and include:
Healthcare professionals are not liable for every birth injury that occurs.
Some birth injuries are unavoidable. For example, swelling and bruising may occur around a baby's eyes and face during a head-first delivery. Other birth injuries are necessary to avoid greater harm. For example, a doctor may fracture a baby's clavicle to free the baby from the birth canal before the baby suffocates.
In order to establish a medical malpractice claim based on a birth injury in Oklahoma, you need to prove that:
In other words, the law acknowledges that there are certain standards a healthcare professional should be held to. If a healthcare professional delivers care that falls below these standards, the healthcare professional will be liable if an injury occurs as a result.
Birth injury cases almost always include several expert medical witnesses who testify as to what the appropriate medical standard of care is under the circumstances, and whether the healthcare professional met those standards.
Examples of medical malpractice that might lead to a birth injury lawsuit include:
Every state has something called a “statute of limitations.”
The statute of limitations determines how long you have to file a lawsuit. It's important to know the statute of limitations in your state because your case will be dismissed if you fail to file a lawsuit within the allotted period of time. What's more, you will be permanently barred from filing the lawsuit again.
There are, however, several factors that might change the statute of limitations for a birth injury. For example, in some cases, the statute of limitations won't start running until the symptoms of the birth injury appear (which may be weeks, months, or even years after the injury).
Because the exact deadline to file your lawsuit is not always clear, it's best to meet with an Oklahoma attorney as soon as possible to make sure you don't miss out on filing a lawsuit.
In Oklahoma, you can receive economic and non-economic damages in an Oklahoma birth injury case:
Oklahoma is one of the few states that doesn't place any damage caps on the amount of damages you can recover in a medical malpractice case.
When you're trying to get your child the financial resources they need and deserve, you don't want to just hire any lawyer off the street. Birth injury claims are highly specialized. It's important to hire an attorney in your area who has the knowledge to investigate birth injuries, negotiate with medical malpractice insurance companies, and take your case to trial if necessary.
How do you know which attorney is right for your case?
Fortunately, most attorneys offer free initial consultations. An initial consultation is your chance to interview an attorney and find out whether the attorney is right for you. Not sure where to start? Here are some resources to help you make the most of your initial consultation: