The birth of a child should be one of the most joyful experiences in a parent’s life. Sadly, this experience can quickly become a nightmare when medical professionals fail to monitor the pregnancy or delivery properly and fail to react promptly to fetal distress.
If you or your child suffered a serious birth injury or was diagnosed with a life-altering condition after a difficult pregnancy, labor, or delivery, there is hope.
At The Donnelly Law Firm, our lawyers have over 50 years of experience and have recovered over $100 million on behalf of New Jersey families.
Although birth injury cases can be complex and challenging to navigate, we have the resources and skills to seek justice for your family in Summit and throughout New Jersey.
Helping You Recover the Compensation You Need
Defining Negligence in Birth Injury Cases
Childbirth has always been a dangerous process that can result in life-altering injuries for both mother and baby.
While medical science continues to improve and make childbirth safer for modern families, many pregnancy-related complications can cause injury, disability, and death – and many of these complications are considered preventable.
In the United States, expecting mothers face the highest rate of maternal death in the entire developed world, and each year, there are 29 birth traumas for every 1,000 births.
Physicians and childbirth specialists may be liable for serious injuries when they fail to avoid preventable birth complications. In the context of a medical malpractice case, “negligence” is often defined as a failure to act in the same manner that a reasonable physician would have with the same background and degree of training.
Some of the most common birth injuries caused by negligence include:
- Brachial plexus injuries
- Facial paralysis
- Cerebral palsy
- Erb's palsy
- Klumpke's palsy
- Shoulder dystocia
- Infant hemorrhage
- Birth asphyxia
- Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)
- Forceps or vacuum injuries
Why File a Birth Injury Lawsuit?
While financial compensation cannot undo what has happened, it can allow you to achieve a sense of justice in knowing that the responsible parties have been made accountable.
A successful birth injury case can also provide the compensation you need to provide a complete and meaningful life for your child and ensure that similar mistakes do not occur to other innocent children.
In a birth injury lawsuit, you may be able to sue for the following damages:
- Medical expenses: Includes past and future costs for doctor and hospital visits, surgeries, medical treatments, lab tests and X-rays, physical therapy, and medications.
- Therapy and counseling bills: Covers bills related to your mental health, such as psychiatric visits, counseling visits, cognitive behavioral therapy, and other needs.
- Disability accommodations: Includes all home modifications, vehicle updates, and long-term care needs related to your child’s disability.
- Special education needs: Includes special education costs for children with cerebral palsy and other lifelong disabilities caused by a birth injury.
- Pain and suffering: Accounts for physical pain and suffering and the emotional pain related to a severe birth injury. These are called “non-economic damages,” and there is no limit on these in New Jersey.
- Punitive damages: Awarded at the jury’s discretion to punish defendants in extreme cases of gross negligence and abuse. These are limited to $350,000 or five times the number of compensatory damages.
Common Causes of Birth trauma
Common birth issues that can lead to injury or trauma include:
- The baby is overlarge: When the baby is huge, it can make delivery difficult for the mother. In these circumstances, the doctor may have to use birthing tools, such as forceps or a vacuum, to help with the birth. Or, if the baby is too large and the mother cannot deliver naturally, the doctor must perform a cesarean section.
- Premature birth: If a baby is not fully developed at the time of birth, it can result in developmental issues. When a pregnant mother exhibits signs of preterm labor, the doctor must monitor her and provide appropriate treatment to help prevent any serious harm. If a doctor fails to do this, or if he or she does not recognize the signs of preterm labor, premature birth can occur. Also, if premature birth occurs, the doctor is responsible for taking extra precautions to allow for the fragility of the preterm baby. Failure to respond appropriately could cause the baby harm.
- Prolonged labor: When a mother’s labor is prolonged, she can tire, resulting in exhaustion, lack of muscle control, and other serious issues that inhibit her ability to deliver the child safely. If the mother’s labor has gone on for too long, she could injure herself while pushing, or the baby may become distressed. Fetal distress can be severe and lead to oxygen deprivation, decreased fetal heart rate, and other serious issues.
- Breech birth: Babies in the breech position are upside down, which makes delivery far more complex and dangerous. Doctors must be able to spot this issue and respond quickly to turn the baby around, deliver the baby in a breech position, or by ordering a cesarean section. In most U.S. hospitals, breech births are delivered via C-section.
Doctors, midwives, and nurses must respond quickly in any of these situations.
A delay in treatment or a mistake can have disastrous repercussions and endanger the life of the unborn baby and the mother. Babies cannot be deprived of oxygen while in the womb, and any distress could ultimately lead to complicated birth injuries and trauma.
National Leaders in Birth Injury Litigation
Our attorneys, including our Senior Partner, Dennis M. Donnelly, have been recognized as leaders in the field of birth injury. We have secured hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients, including a wrongful birth case that provided a $14 million verdict.
Recently, Dennis won a twenty (20) million dollar verdict due to a catastrophic birth injury after a month-long trial. He has handled many such complex catastrophic birth injury claims over his career. We are passionate about helping innocent victims of negligence secure the justice and compensation they are owed.
We understand that you likely have many questions and concerns about the future. Our legal team is here to provide you with the compassionate, personalized legal guidance you need and deserve. Throughout the legal process, we will serve as your dedicated advocate.
RECENT BIRTH INJURY CASE RESULTS
$20 Million - Cerebral Palsy
$14 Million - Wrongful Birth
View More Victories & Settlements
Fighting for Justice One Case at a Time
A birth injury can change your child’s life and your family's future. But that doesn’t mean your child can’t lead an entire life. At The Donnelly Law Firm, we not only seek justice on behalf of our clients, but we are also focused on helping families recover the maximum compensation they need to provide for their child’s current and future medical expenses, pain, suffering, and other losses.
While we strive for swift, favorable settlements, we are fully prepared to take your case to trial if a fair settlement cannot be reached. Our New Jersey birth injury lawyers can handle every aspect of your case so that you can focus on getting your child the crucial care he or she needs.