DC | MD | VA Birth Injury Lawyer

    Washington, D.C. Birth Injury Lawyers

    The birth of a child can and should be one of the most exciting moments that any family will experience. But when a child is injured due to medical negligence during childbirth or in the hospital after childbirth, this joyous moment can become a lifetime of pain, overwhelming medical costs, and loss. You need a Washington, D.C. birth injury lawyer on your side.

    Medical and nurse mistakes that occur before, during, and after childbirth can result in severe and potentially lifelong injuries. Often these types of devasting injuries leave families with a lifetime of financial strain. In the worst cases, mistakes made by medical professionals can be fatal.

    If your baby was harmed by the negligence of a physician, nurse, anesthesiologist, or another healthcare provider, you could be entitled to financial compensation. The birth injury lawyers at Bertram Law Group, PLLC understand the devastating effects that birth injuries can have on families. We’ve helped many families in the Washington area secure significant settlements to help with their child’s long-term care.

    To learn more about how a Washington, D.C. birth injury attorney can help you, contact us to schedule a free consultation.

    What Is a Birth Injury?

    A birth injury is any injury caused by mistakes or delays in care made by the health care team. These errors can occur before, during, or after the childbirth process.

    For example, if the mother has an infection during pregnancy and it goes untreated or undiagnosed, this can cause brain damage for the unborn child. Another example would be the failure to promptly deliver a baby when the baby starts to show signs of distress. Oxygen deprivation and physical trauma during or right after delivery can also cause long-term harm to babies.

    Not all birth injuries are the result of negligence. In some cases, a birth injury is just a very unfortunate outcome of complications during childbirth and cannot be attributed to the doctors or nurses. However, if the doctor or other healthcare professional failed to meet the standard of care and caused harm, then this would be negligence or medical malpractice.

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    How Our D.C. Birth Injury Attorneys Can Help Your Family

    Bertram Law Group, PLLC is led by medical malpractice attorney Catherine D. Bertram, who has been handling birth injury cases in Washington, D.C. for the past 30 years. Our legal team understands the gravity and importance of these complex cases. We will do everything possible to secure compensation and restore peace of mind for your family. These are just some of the ways a D.C. birth injury attorney can help:

    We’ll Conduct a Thorough Case Review.

    Are you still deciding whether filing a birth injury lawsuit is necessary? We understand that this is a big decision, and we help make it easy for you to fully weigh your options. After your consultation, we can have one of our in-house nurses or doctors review your child’s medical records and imaging. A thorough medical and legal review at the outset is critical. You need your questions answered in order to make an informed decision.

    We Have Firsthand Experience.

    Birth injury lawyer, Attorney Catherine D. Bertram has worked in hospitals and has firsthand insight into how preventable birth injuries occur. In fact, she previously served on a local hospital task force that focused solely on preventing birth injuries. With her nuanced understanding of risk management, medicine and law, she knows how to build a strong birth injury case and take it to trial, if needed.

    We’ll Aggressively Fight for Your Compensation.

    If you decide to proceed with your claim, a birth injury lawyer will be sure to document your child’s ongoing medical problems and have experts in nursing and pediatrics give us cost projections for the medical expenses that may be necessary to care for your child for a lifetime. That is called a Life Care Plan. That comprehensive report and the experts who support the conclusions in that report are usually a key element of the damages claimed in these cases. Victims of birth injuries often require rehabilitation, therapy, and other medical services throughout their lives. Our birth injury lawyers will aggressively fight for full and fair compensation for your child, so you can focus on raising your child.

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    Types and Causes of Negligent Birth Injuries

    These are some of the most common types and causes of birth injuries and complications during childbirth:

    • Brain Damage – Brain damage is one of the most devastating types of birth injuries. It typically occurs when a pregnant mother’s infection or illness goes undiagnosed and untreated. Brain damage can also result from physical trauma during delivery or a delay in delivering a baby who is showing signs of distress and needs to be delivered ASAP. A child with brain damage might have severe developmental delays requiring long-term care. Brain damage can also cause an abnormal physical appearance, seizures and developmental delays.
    • Failure to Timely Cool – Brain damage is one of the most devastating types of birth injuries. If your baby was born and did not breathe right away or seemed to be limp and very ill, the doctors need to suggest brain cooling for your baby. This process can help a baby’s recover from a traumatic delivery and may, in some cases, prevent permanent brain damage. There are set protocols for when head cooling needs to be considered and when it should be offered to families. In smaller hospitals, doctors need to think about this option right away and get the baby timely transferred to another hospital that has the cooling expertise and equipment.
    • Cerebral Palsy – Cerebral palsy is a severe condition that affects muscles and motor skills. It’s generally agreed that this condition can be caused by different types of birth injuries. Cerebral palsy might have multiple causes, including physical trauma during delivery, oxygen deprivation, a mother’s untreated infections, and other untreated conditions during pregnancy. There are different degrees of this condition, but it can severely inhibit a person’s ability to eat, talk, control their bowels and bladder, and even breathe.
    • Erb’s Palsy – Erb’s palsy is sometimes called brachial plexus palsy, and it results from nerve damage to the brachial plexus. This injury causes harm to the arm or hand of the baby. The brachial plexus is an essential nerve network that sends signals from the spinal cord to the arms and hands. When the brachial plexus is damaged, it can severely limit a child’s ability to use their arm muscles. Complications during childbirth, like overstretching the baby’s neck or use of devices improperly during the delivery can cause this condition.
    • Klumpke’s Palsy – Klumpke’s palsy is a type of arm paralysis that often occurs due to shoulder dystocia. This birth complication occurs when the baby’s shoulders or arms become lodged in the mother’s pelvis during delivery. If the doctor is not trained on how to deal with this emergency or does the wrong things when the emergency occurs, the baby can be severely injured. Sometimes due to the large size of the unborn baby or the small size of the mother’s pelvis, doctors should predict this might happened and plan for it by offering the mother a C-section or have equipment ready. The sensitive network of spinal nerves can be injured due to excessive pulling, causing paralysis and a claw-like appearance to the hands.
    • Fractures – Fractures might occur during delivery, especially if there are complications during childbirth. This type of injury tends to happen when the doctor pulls too hard during a breech delivery. Some fractures resolve without complications, but they can sometimes cause long-term medical issues.
    • Cephalohematoma – Cephalohematoma is an injury where blood pools under the child’s cranium. This injury tends to appear a few hours after delivery and is common when birth-assisting tools are used. Cephalohematoma is not always harmful, but it can lead to health problems, such as anemia, infection, or meningitis.

    The above birth injuries and conditions are frequently caused by:

    • Oxygen deprivation
    • Physical trauma from medical instruments, such as forceps
    • Delayed birth or failure to perform a C-section
    • Failure of nurses or midwives to get a doctor involved
    • Failure to identify fetal distress
    • Failure to transfer a pregnant mom or baby promptly to another facility for a higher level of care
    • Failure to identify the breech position
    • Failure to diagnose a mother’s infections and other illnesses that can harm the fetus
    • Failure to conduct proper screenings and tests

    Did your child suffer from the above injuries or complications? If so, your child and your family might be entitled to financial compensation.

    Costs Related to Medical Malpractice During Labor and Delivery

    Medical malpractice before, during, or after childbirth can lead to physical trauma, debilitating conditions, and long-term medical care – all of which can be costly for families.

    These are some of the most common costs related to childbirth negligence:

    • Long-Term Medical Care – For victims of childbirth injuries, medical care doesn’t stop after delivery. These children typically require long-term care in order to manage their conditions. This might include repeat visits to specialists, corrective surgeries, expensive medications, special schooling, nursing and home care and ongoing medical care to monitor their progress.
    • Medical Equipment – Children who were injured during birth might require wheelchairs, foot braces, walkers, tracheostomy tubes, oxygen and more. Parents frequently have to implement home modifications as well, such as adaptive highchairs, special car seats, ramps, modified bathtubs, lifts, a handicap van and other equipment to ensure their child’s safety.
    • Rehabilitation and Other Services – Conditions resulting from childbirth injuries might require lengthy rehabilitation care, nursing care, physical, speech and occupational therapy, and home health care services. Costs for these specialized services can add up over the years and is often not fully paid for by insurance plans.
    • Loss of Income – Another cost that parents don’t initially think about is lost income. One or both parents might have to take significant breaks from work in order to care for their injured child. Likewise, if the child’s conditions are so severe that he or she cannot work in the future, then their earning capacity might be affected.

    At Bertram Law Group, PLLC, we take all of these and other costs into consideration for all of our families. A birth injury lawyer’s goal is to secure full and fair compensation for the harms your child suffered and will suffer, as well as the costs we can project into the future to give your child the best and safest life possible and reduce financial strain for your family. We want you to focus on being parents and focus on your family.

    Health Care Providers Who Could Be Liable for a Birth Injury

    In some birth injury lawsuits, the doctor who delivered the child might be the only defendant. But depending on the circumstances, there might be additional defendants.

    When determining fault in a birth injury case, many factors should be considered:

    • Did the doctor who delivered the baby act negligently, or were there complications during childbirth that were out of the doctor’s control?
    • Did a physician’s assistant, nurse, midwife or other supporting medical professional act negligently during delivery?
    • Did the mother’s OB-GYN fail to order appropriate tests during pregnancy or consider delivering the child earlier to prevent this outcome?
    • Did the mother’s OB-GYN fail to consult with specialists, such as Maternal Fetal Medicine doctors before the delivery to give the mom and the baby the best possible change of a safe delivery?
    • Given the known possible complications, did the doctor and team transfer the mom or the baby to a hospital with a higher level of care promptly to protect them?
    • Did the doctor delivering the baby use defective surgical instruments that caused harm?
    • Did the hospital where the baby was delivered fail to provide safe or adequate equipment or fail to make sure the doctor or the other team members were trained and safe?

    In light of the many factors that can cause childbirth injury, possible liable parties in a birth injury lawsuit include:

    • OB-GYNs
    • Medical residents
    • Other doctors
    • Physician’s assistants
    • Nurses
    • Midwives
    • Hospitals
    • Medical practices
    • Manufacturers of medical instruments

    In medical malpractice and birth injury cases, establishing the national standard of care is essential in proving fault. The standard of care is what is required of a doctor in the same or similar circumstances. In other words, what would a reasonable doctor have done in that circumstance? During the initial investigation process, your attorney will hire medical experts to identify and determine which of the potentially liable parties failed to meet the standard of care, and if those errors caused harm to the baby.

    If the medical experts identify evidence of negligence after reviewing the case and they believe the mistakes resulted in harm to the baby, they can testify on your behalf. The expert’s official opinion can also be used to assist with settlement negotiations as well.

    At Bertram Law Group, PLLC, we work with top medical experts to build the strongest case possible to hold responsible parties accountable.

    Compensation Your Family Could Recover for a Birth Injury in Washington, D.C.

    Victims of birth injuries in Washington, D.C. may be entitled to different types of financial compensation, such as:

    • General Damages – This type of compensation covers non-economic losses, including pain and suffering, emotional distress, disfigurement, embarrassment, and any other psychological suffering.
    • Special Damages – This specifically covers economic losses, such as past and future medical care, repeat visits to specialists, future lost wages, hospitalizations, therapy, special schooling or counseling, home care, medical equipment, medications and sometimes even home modifications to make your home safe for your child, and more.

    To learn more about the types of compensation your child and your family may be entitled to recover, contact us to schedule a free consultation. The legal team at Bertram Law Group, PLLC would be happy to speak with you about your options.

    How Long Do You Have to File a Birth Injury Claim in D.C.?

    If you’re thinking about filing a birth injury claim in D.C., you might be researching topics like:

    • Is it too late to file a birth injury lawsuit?
    • Statute of limitations birth injury

    The statute of limitations is the deadline within which you can file a birth injury claim. This deadline varies by state, and multiple exceptions might apply. We cannot give you legal advice on this as we do not know the facts in your case.

    Claims against the D.C. government for acts by D.C.’s employees or agents require written notice within 6 months of the negligence.

    In Washington D.C. the deadline for birth injury claims is usually:

    • Three years from the date the birth injury occurred for the parents’ claims; or
    • Three years from the date the birth injury was discovered
    • The child can usually file up until he or she reaches 21.
    • If the birth was at a military facility in the US or overseas there are other deadlines that also apply. In general, you must file an SF95 form with the proper governmental entity within two years of the negligence in order to protect this type of claim.

    If the child or the mother died as a result of the birth injury, then the family typically only has two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death claim.

    Ready to Talk to a D.C. Birth Injury Lawyer?

    Was your child harmed during labor and delivery? It’s important to know that you have legal options and that your child and your family might be entitled to financial compensation.

    A Washington, D.C. birth injury attorney at Bertram Law Group, PLLC has the experience to understand the challenges you are facing. You likely want to focus on your child and getting them the best care possible, but the enormous medical bills are a constant reminder of what happened and you are worried about how you are going to be able to pay for what your child needs in the future. With full and fair compensation, you can build the best and safest life for your child and hopefully reduce the financial strain for your family so you can focus on being a parent.

    If you’re ready to take the next step, give us a call. Our medical malpractice lawyers would be happy to meet with you for a free consultation.

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