New Jersey Birth Injury Lawyer

Welcoming a newborn into your life brings many parents sheer joy. Even though many births take place without any significant complications, there may be times when there is an injury during the delivery process. A birth injury involves an event that took place during delivery that would compromise the infant’s normal function of the body. 

Many parents do not know what to do when facing such a gloomy situation. Do not let a physician go unpunished for their mistake. If your child has experienced a birth injury, do not delay in contacting Varcadipane & Pinnisi, PC today to discuss your rights.

pediatric intensive care unit

Common Types of Birth Injuries in New Jersey

According to a 2020 study performed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 5.4 babies died per 1,000 live births, with birth injuries being the fourth leading cause of infant mortality. 

Birth injuries may stem from head trauma, nerve damage, and vacuum extraction or forceps-assisted complications.

  • Head trauma: any damage taking place to the skull or brain during birth; often, it is the result of direct force on the head; this can result in brain bleeds (hemorrhage) and possible brain damage 
  • Nerve damage: could include a facial nerve, brachial plexus, phrenic nerve, or spinal cord, as follows: 
    • Facial nerve: pressure against this nerve would cause a newborn’s face to appear lopsided
    • Brachial plexus: nerve bundle which includes the nerves between the neck and shoulder which control the functioning of the arms and hands; during delivery, these nerves may be stretched, causing weakness or paralysis of the infant’s hand and arm.
    • Phrenic nerve: this is the only nerve that controls the function of the diaphragm; damage to the phrenic nerve during delivery may result in the newborn having trouble breathing
    • Spinal cord injuries: extremely rare, however, damage to the spinal cord is often permanent
  • Vacuum extraction complications or forceps-assisted delivery: both tools may be used to assist during a difficult childbirth, such as the baby being in an occiput posterior position (baby’s head is down and baby is descending birth canal “sunny side up”)
    • Physicians may elect to use a vacuum extractor to create suction and use force to pull the baby out of the womb; this can lead to brain bleeding, skull fractures, and shoulder damage
    • The same damage can be caused by using forceps, which are shaped like large tongs that fit around the baby’s head to assist in delivery.

Birth Injury Disorders

Each type of injury carries complications that can result in the following disorders:

Cerebral Palsy 

  • Affects a child’s muscle control, often resulting in speech and developmental delays
  • Generally caused by brain damage before or during difficult deliveries
  • Can be caused by vacuum extraction or forceps-assisted deliveries

Erb’s Palsy

  • Causes paralysis to a child’s hand, arm, or shoulder
  • Caused by damage to the brachial plexus nerves during the birthing process 
  • Can be caused by vacuum extraction or forceps-assisted deliveries

Newborn Cephalohematoma

  • bleeding underneath the scalp; can lead to swelling of brain tissue, seizures, and even jaundice (damage to the liver)
  • Can be caused by vaginal delivery since an infant’s head has to fit through a tight space
  • The chances of a baby having the disorder increase with prolonged labor

 baby feet newborn child

Medical Negligence

Health care providers may be found accountable for birth injuries when they did not provide the standard of care that is expected of them. Medical professionals must be held responsible for their negligence.

Ways health providers exhibit negligence during labor and delivery:

  • Failing to make a medical diagnosis of a mother or infant in a timely fashion
  • Not using birthing tools (forceps and vacuum extractor) correctly
  • Failing to monitor mother or infant after delivery
  • Failing to elect for cesarean (C-section) in cases where vaginal delivery is too risky

Who is responsible for a birth injury in New Jersey?

Childbirth is dangerous in the United States, and a team of medical professionals is in the room to ensure the safety of the mother and newborn. Each member of the team is vital to safe labor and delivery. Since there are so many professionals in the room, if one fails, it can cause injury, and they must be held responsible. Examples of parties who can make an error and harm the mother and newborn are:

  • Doctors
  • Midwives
  • Hospitals
  • Nurses
  • paramedics/EMTs
  • Anesthesiologist 

You will need to prove that the negligent actions of these parties were a breach of the standard of care in their specialty. 

Why you should file a birth injury claim

Monetary recovery does not erase what happened but provides a financial foundation for the future. For many families filing a birth injury claim also provides justice because the negligent party is paying you for the harm they caused. Your child will require accommodations for the rest of their life, and while you know that raising a child comes with some expenses, these were not in the plan, and you need compensation to circumvent them. You can recover damages for:

  • Medical expenses: hospital visits, surgeries, medical treatments, imaging scans, lab tests, medications, physical therapy, and all past and future medical costs. 
  • Therapy and counseling: mental health is a significant aspect of a person’s well-being, and living with a congenital disability means you will need counseling. Compensation can cover expenses for psychiatric and counseling visits and cognitive behavioral therapy.  
  • Special education needs: lifelong disability requires children to have special classes and accommodations. 
  • Disability accommodations: transportation and living arrangements must be altered, which can be costly. You need compensation for home and vehicle modifications and other long-term care needs. 
  • Pain and suffering: there is physical and emotional pain and suffering the child endures resulting from the birth injury. New Jersey classifies these damages as non-economic, and there are no caps. 
  • Punitive damages: in extreme cases of gross negligence, the court can award damages that specifically punish the negligent party for their actions. There are caps to these damages, and the jury has complete discretion whether they award these or not.  

These damages aim to punish the negligent party and compensate the parents so the child can live a meaningful life. There will be some upheaval in the coming years, and the finances should not be a significant concern. 

You do not have time to waste

Congenital disabilities are very complex, and a child is left with a restricted life without ever having the chance to experience some normalcy. When it comes to minors, legal matters are complex. The parents can begin seeking legal recourse immediately after an injury, and they should. The New Jersey statute of limitations for birth injury claims is two years. However, when a minor child is involved, the deadlines extend to two years after they turn 18. You must take action because medical records and other substantial evidence can disappear, especially after nearly two decades. You can also recover compensation sooner which can help with your expenses.

Your Birth Injury Lawyer In New Jersey

When a medical mistake occurs, your first thought is how to come to terms with the tragedy. If your child has sustained a birth injury, you will be facing a lifetime of doctor’s visits and continuous medical bills. Allow us to ease the financial burden. Seek legal help from A New Jersey birth injury lawyer. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. 

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