Because of negligence, inexperience, or carelessness, serious birth injuries occur every day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 2,333 birth injuries occur each month in the United States. This means that on average, of all the babies born every day, 80 are likely to sustain preventable injuries.
If your child suffered a birth injury as the result of the negligent actions of a healthcare provider in Oregon, the attorneys at Paulson Coletti can help. We understand how serious birth injuries are and how profoundly they can affect your family. Call (503) 226-6361 today for a free, confidential consultation.
Our attorneys will listen to the story of what happened and thoroughly explain the options you may have to seek justice for your child. We serve clients and their families in Portland and throughout the state of Oregon.
How Our Attorneys Can Help
After a birth injury, no amount of money can reverse what has happened to your child or loved one. However, a birth injury claim can recover compensation to cover hospital bills, pay for treatment and long-term care, and offset the financial impact it has on your family’s life. As attorneys, we can be the voice for your injured or lost child and hold those responsible for the injury accountable for their actions or inaction. We can help ease your burden by taking on the legal process and allowing you to focus on your family and loved ones.
At Paulson Coletti, our birth injury attorneys have over 100 years of collective legal experience and a demonstrated history of taking complex birth injury and medical malpractice cases and winning for our clients.
Representative results include:
- A $3.5 million dollar settlement for a family whose baby sustained a birth injury during a VBAC delivery.
- $1.1 million dollar settlement for a family whose child was born with a brain injury after failing to timely do a c-section.
- $3.55 million dollar settlement for surgical error.
- $9 million dollar settlement for delay in diagnosing sepsis during pregnancy resulting in amputations.
Portland Birth Injury Resources
- Types of Birth Injury
- Birth Injury Causes
- Risk Factors in Pregnancy
- Do I Have a Claim for a Portland Birth Injury?
- Is an Attorney Required for Your Case?
- Who Can Be Held Liable for a Birth Injury?
- Statute of Limitations for Birth Injury Cases
- Why Should I File a Claim?
- Cost of a Portland Birth Injury Lawyer
- How Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys Can Help
Types of Birth Injury
Birth injuries are different from congenital birth defects or malformations in that they are caused by trauma during labor and delivery or by a missed or misdiagnosis during pregnancy. The National Center for Biotechnology Information at the National Library of Medicine defines birth injury as any impairment of the body function or structure of a neonate due to an adverse event that occurred at birth. Birth injuries are particularly common in deliveries that involve vacuum extraction or forceps. These injuries include a wide range of minor to major injuries and can require a lifetime of care for your baby, placing a heavy financial burden on families.
Common types of birth injury include, but are not limited to:
- Skull fractures
- Caput Succedaneum
- Intracranial Hemorrhages – including epidural, subdural, subarachnoid, intraventricular, and intracerebellar hemorrhages.
- Brachial plexus injuries including Erb’s palsy, Klumpke’s palsy and total arm paralysis
- Spinal Cord and skeletal injuries due to excessive traction, rotation, or excessive force in extraction.
- Facial injuries – including ocular, soft tissue, and visceral injuries
- Water birth injuries
- Cerebral Palsy
- Preeclampsia / HELLP Syndrome
Discussing the circumstances of your case with a knowledgeable Portland birth injury lawyer is essential. Many birth injuries occur due to avoidable errors, such as failing to conduct an emergency C-section at the appropriate time or incorrectly monitoring the vitals of mother and baby. A lawyer from our team at Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC can help you better understand your unique situation and its legal ramifications.
Are Birth Injuries & Birth Defects the Same Thing?
Birth injuries are not the same as birth defects. A birth injury can be caused by the actions of medical professionals involved in the labor and delivery process or but some other avoidable mistake that happens before, during, or after the birth of the child.
A birth defect is different than a birth injury. A congenital disability is considered a health condition that develops while the mother is pregnant that is not due to any type of medical error or other type of avoidable mistake.
Unfortunately, the phrases “birth injury” and “birth defect” are often used interchangeably. This can lead some individuals to think that they are the same thing, but they are not. When it comes to the context of a civil personal injury claim, the lawsuit will be brought as a result of a birth injury caused by a medical error, not a congenital disability.
If you have any confusion about whether or not you can move forward with your birth injury claim, we encourage you to reach out to an attorney who can offer assistance and guide you toward the best path moving forward.
Birth Injury Causes
Some babies are born with congenital anomalies and other abnormal conditions at no fault of the doctor or hospital. Everything from genetics to prescription drug use during pregnancy can affect the child’s health and physical appearance. If your child was born with some type of injury or disability, or was diagnosed with one shortly after birth, it’s alright if you don’t have all the answers. Some of these injuries and disabilities are caused by doctor negligence, but it is difficult to determine cause until you speak with an attorney experienced in this field.
Risk Factors in Pregnancy
Birth injuries are a common occurrence in high-risk pregnancies, but there are steps doctors can take to identify these risk factors and respond to them appropriately. Some of these risk factors include:
- Large birth weight
- Poor neonatal care
- Pre-pregnancy diabetes
- Gestational diabetes
- Pre-term labor
- Being over the age of 35
- Past pregnancy complications
Proper identification of these risk factors, together with a proper response to these risk factors, can mitigate injury to the child or mother. Birth injuries may still occur when the doctors do everything within their power to prevent them. It is when doctors fail to adhere to the accepted standard of care that parents may have cause for a birth injury claim against a hospital / doctor. This type of claim, if successful, could produce the money you and your family needs to support a child living with the effects of a birth injury.
Do I Have a Claim for a Portland Birth Injury?
Doctors and other healthcare professionals can be held responsible for any negligence or wrongdoing that contributed to the injury. You may have a claim if your situation meets the following criteria:
- There was a doctor-patient relationship, establishing the duty of the defendant to the injured party;
- That duty was breached, whether by negligence or wrongdoing;
- The breach of duty proximately contributed to the baby or mother’s injuries;
These cases are complex, and best evaluated by an experienced attorney. You may not know your right to file a birth injury lawsuit until you speak with a lawyer experienced in this field, which is why we encourage you to contact Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC today. Evaluations are free, and should we represent you, you won’t pay a fee unless we win your case.
Is An Attorney Necessary for Your Case?
The unfortunate reality is that medical malpractice claims are notoriously difficult in the Portland area, even when it seems like fault lies squarely with a medical provider. Doctors and medical facilities have deep pockets, and they also have comprehensive insurance plans. These insurance carriers also have their own attorneys who will do what they can to defend the claim.
The ultimate goal of insurance carriers and the medical providers involved is to limit how much money they pay out in a settlement. They do not want to pay anything at all. However, when you work with a skilled Portland birth injury lawyer, you will have an advocate with the resources necessary to stand up to these other parties on your behalf. The role of an attorney for a birth injury claim is multifaceted and includes:
- Fully investigating the incident in question
- Liaising with trusted medical experts who can review the case and the patient
- Opening communication with attorneys and insurance carriers
- Handling all complex negotiations with other parties involved
In the event the insurance carriers and other parties refuse to offer a fair settlement, or if they deny the claim altogether, it may be necessary for an attorney to fully prepare the case for a medical malpractice trial. Medical malpractice trials are challenging, and there are various rules in place for filing these claims and ensuring success. A Portland medical malpractice lawyer specializing in birth injuries can help at every step of the way.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Birth Injury?
There may be various parties who could hold liability for a birth injury claim in Portland. This includes the following:
- The doctor or surgeon. The labor and delivery process will typically be overseen by an OB/GYN. This person will have overall responsibility for the entire process. In some situations, a surgeon may be required for a more complicated procedure. Because these individuals are the ones in charge of the process, they will usually be the first place to look for liability.
- The medical facility. If a doctor or other negligent medical professional is an employee at a facility where the birth injury occurred, then that facility may hold responsibility through the theory of vicarious liability. However, it is not uncommon for medical professionals to contract with a medical facility, which can complicate holding the facility responsible. It is crucial to fully examine every aspect of the claim to determine whether or not the medical facility could hold responsibility. Even if a doctor or surgeon is a contractor, the facility could hold responsibility if they knew or should have known about negligent practices by that practitioner.
- Other medical staff. There are various other members of staff who play a role when it comes to the labor and delivery process. This can include nurses, anesthesiologists, physician’s assistants, and more. Any of these individuals could make a mistake that could cause harm to a child, and they could hold responsibility for the incident.
Determining liability is complicated and revolves around negligence. Negligence for medical malpractice claim is difficult to prove and involves showing that there was a doctor-patient relationship and that the medical provider failed to uphold an acceptable standard of medical care for the given situation.
Is There a Statute of Limitations for Birth Injury Cases in Portland?
There is a specific time frame involved with medical malpractice claims in Oregon. Typically, medical malpractice lawsuits must be brought against an alleged negligent party within two years from the day the injury occurs. There is a special rule for minors who are harmed. Under state law, the statute of limitations can be paused (or tolled) for five years until after the incident occurs if the victim is a minor.
Understanding the earth injury statute of limitations in Oregon can be complicated, and we strongly encourage you to reach out to a skilled attorney who can help you understand how long you have to file your claim.
Why Should I File a Birth Injury Claim?
Many people who like their doctors are hesitant to file a claim against them, so if this describes you, you’re not alone. What is important to remember is that your child is now living with the effects of a birth injury. This might include anything from partial paralysis to brain injury or even cerebral palsy. Rehabilitation and care for these conditions is not cheap, which is why these claims are primarily about ensuring your child gets the care they need for the rest of their lives.
Cost of a Portland Birth Injury Lawyer
At Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC, our team is proud to handle birth injury claims in Portland on a contingency fee basis. This means that clients will not be responsible for paying any upfront or out-of-pocket costs related to their birth injury claim. We handle all of that on behalf of every client that we handle. Additionally, clients will not pay any legal fees until we successfully recover the compensation they are entitled to. If we do not win, our clients do not pay anything.
The final legal fees will be determined based on an agreed-upon percentage of the settlement or jury verdict awarded.