Hiring An Ohio Birth Injury Attorney
Birth injuries can happen in a few different ways, some of which are unavoidable and unfortunate natural events. Other injuries that happen to a newborn baby or a mother during the childbirth process are avoidable events of human error. When the birth injury is the result of a negligent (careless) action by a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional, the law calls it “medical malpractice”.
A birth injury medical malpractice claim is a legal procedure to get compensation related to an injury that happened to you or your child during childbirth. Lawyers who are experienced and trained in Ohio medical malpractice law are your best resource to evaluate a potential claim for a birth injury. Birth injury attorneys are skilled at reviewing and understanding medical records and working with medical experts to prove their claims.
What Are Birth Injuries?
When you or your child has suffered an injury during childbirth, you will be faced with many challenges – financial, emotional, and physical. It is understandable for you to put your trust in medical professionals to care for your health and guide you safely through medical procedures, but that doesn’t prevent these professionals from failing you and your family. Even a skilled and well-trained medical professional can make a devastating error.
Medical malpractice can come in almost unlimited forms, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case. Some common examples of negligence that can lead to birth injuries with potentially serious complications include: medication errors for the mother; a failure to diagnose an infection or other medical condition in the mother or baby; failure to promptly delivery the baby by C-section following signs of fetal compromise; or the use of excessive or improper force with forceps or a vacuum extractor during childbirth.
Medical negligence during childbirth procedures can result in injuries such as:
- Cervical (neck) injuries;
- Clavicle (shoulder bone) fracture;
- Brain or head trauma;
- Brain damage;
- Cerebral palsy;
- Erb’s palsy;
- Facial paralysis;
- Brachial plexus palsy;
- And even death.
With a serious birth injury comes additional medical charges for treatments and care. Also, you must consider costs of special furniture or equipment to care for your child’s special physical needs. The costs of a birth injury can add up to a lifetime of exorbitant expenses and special needs. It is appropriate that the person who caused the injury be held responsible for covering the costs that you will incur as a result of their negligence.
Affidavit Of Merit from An Expert
To bring a medical negligence claim to court in Ohio, you must provide a statement under oath from a medical expert that certifies that your claim meets the legal standards required to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. A legal claim arising out of any type of medical procedure requires that the person bringing the claim, called the plaintiff, present an Affidavit of Merit supporting the claim.
The law requires that the Affidavit of Merit come from a medical expert who is familiar with the records of all the events that are involved in the lawsuit and who knows the standard for medical care in the type of medical specialty involved in the case. The medical expert must set forth in this Affidavit, under oath, that there was a failure of the medical professional in question to meet the proper standard of care in the case, and that the mother’s or child’s injuries were caused by the medical professional’s mistake.
This Affidavit of Merit can be obtained by your birth injury attorney. It isn’t something that should be left up to you as the client to do. An experienced malpractice attorney will present the case to the appropriate experts and draft the Affidavit for the expert or experts to sign.
What Is the Time Limitation On Filing A Birth Injury Lawsuit?
In Ohio, a child has until their 19th birthday to file a medical negligence case for anything that happened to them before they reached the age of majority (18 years old). This includes incidents that occurred at birth. While the law might allow someone to wait almost two decades to file suit, it is never a good idea to wait that long. Legal cases often depend on the testimony and observations of witnesses and parties to the events that are involved in the case. Such witnesses may be hard to find many years after an event occurs, and even if they are located, their memories may have faded significantly with time. It is typically better to bring suit closer in time to the events that caused the injury, though sometimes it is important to wait until all of the injuries caused by an event have manifested. An experienced birth injury attorney can determine the optimal time to file suit in any given case.
The rules for filing a medical malpractice claim for children and for filing a claim for adults is not the same. While children have until their 19th birthday, adults only have one year. This time limit is one of the most restrictive limits of any type of lawsuit. It also can be confusing. The one year may – but doesn’t necessarily – begin to run on the date of the medical mistake. In certain cases, the one-year time limit may not begin to run until months, or even years – after the mistake. That is why it is important to consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible after a medical mistake, so the attorney can determine the applicable deadline for filing suit.
If the medical mistake results in death, then the time limit situation gets even more complicated. While suit must be filed within one year for damages relating to the patient’s pain and suffering before death, the patient’s family (through the patient’s estate) has two years from the date of death to file suit for the loss they suffered because of the patient’s death.
As if that weren’t complicated enough, there is another provision of Ohio law, called a “statute of repose” that puts an outside time limit of four years from the date of the mistake to sue, even if the injury isn’t discovered until much later. But even that provision has some exceptions and nuances.
No one injured by medical negligence should try to determine the applicable time limit on their own. There are just too many moving parts. In fact, the law is so complicated that attorneys who are not medical negligence experts often miscalculate the deadlines, which can result in a case being thrown out of court. That is one reason why it is so important to consult an experienced medical negligence attorney about your case.
What Kind Of Compensation Can I Receive For A Birth Injury?
The legal system has two main types of compensation that it offers to people who have suffered an injury. In the law, the amount of money to compensate for injuries is called “damages,” and damages usually come in two basic categories in most cases: economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are the amount of money that the injured person had to pay out or lost because of the injury. These damages relate to things like medical bills, lost wages, and future medical care and treatment.
Non-economic damages are payment for other types of problems caused by the injury, including physical discomfort, called “pain and suffering” in the law, as well as loss of enjoyment of life. In other words, not all damages can be quantified based on a receipt. Laws in Ohio limit the amount of compensation available for non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, but there are no limits on the amounts available for economic damages.
Calculating amounts of damages is a complicated job that involves many legal and economic factors that must be considered. An experienced birth injury attorney will take into account all the relevant factors in making a claim. Every cost and expense relating to the injury will be addressed.
The Eisen Law Firm – Distinguished Ohio Birth Injury Lawyers
Navigating a birth injury lawsuit is extraordinarily complex and necessitates the involvement of a skilled medical malpractice attorney. Backed by more than four decades of experience, and led by an esteemed Harvard Law School graduate, The Eisen Law Firm knows how to hold bad doctors accountable for the lifetime of pain they have caused you and your family. Our experienced trial attorneys will thoroughly evaluate your case, help you clearly understand your legal options, and vigorously fight on your behalf to get you every single penny that you deserve from the medical professionals who have failed you. To learn more about how The Eisen Law Firm can help you, call (216) 687-0900 or contact us online for a free consultation today.