If you or a loved one are experiencing the devastating and lasting impact of a birth injury, you may be eligible to file a claim. At Cuneo & Leonetti, our Cherry Hill birth injury lawyers understand the emotional and financial strain that families go through when faced with such a life-altering event. With years of experience in handling complex medical malpractice cases, we are committed to fighting for the justice and compensation you and your child deserve. Whether it’s a case of cerebral palsy, forceps injuries, or any other form of birth-related harm, we approach each case with the meticulous attention to detail and compassionate representation that you need during this difficult time. Trust Cuneo & Leonetti to be your relentless advocates, so you can focus on what truly matters—caring for your family.
What is a Cherry Hill Birth Injury?
A Cherry Hill birth injury refers to an injury that occurred during the process of childbirth. Birth injuries can occur due to various reasons such as medical negligence, complications during labor and delivery, or unavoidable circumstances. These injuries can have long-lasting consequences for both the child and the family. Types of birth injuries can include but are not limited to, brachial plexus injuries, cerebral palsy, fractures, or hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE).
Types of Cherry Hill Birth Injuries
Common types of Cherry Hill birth injuries that could occur in any medical facility, including those in Cherry Hill, are as follows:
- Brachial Plexus Injury: Damage to the brachial plexus nerves that control the arm muscles, often occurring when there is excessive pulling during delivery.
- Cerebral Palsy: A disorder affecting muscle tone and movement, usually due to brain damage occurring before, during, or shortly after birth.
- Erb’s Palsy: A specific form of brachial plexus injury affecting the arm’s upper nerves.
- Fractures: Broken bones, most commonly the clavicle, can occur during a difficult birth process.
- Caput Succedaneum: Swelling of the soft tissues on the baby’s head, often caused by vacuum extraction or prolonged labor.
- Intracranial Hemorrhage: Bleeding within the baby’s brain, often due to traumatic birth or use of forceps.
- Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE): Brain damage resulting from lack of oxygen and blood flow to the brain.
- Facial Nerve Injury: Injury to the facial nerves, possibly caused by the use of forceps or trauma during birth.
- Meconium Aspiration Syndrome: Occurs when a newborn inhales a mixture of meconium and amniotic fluid, which can lead to respiratory issues.
- Perinatal Asphyxia: Lack of oxygen before, during, or after birth, potentially leading to various neurological impairments.
- Subconjunctival Hemorrhage: Breakage of small blood vessels in the eyes, generally harmless and resolves on its own.
- Skull Fractures: Though rare, difficult births or the use of delivery instruments can cause fractures in the baby’s skull.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: Extremely rare but severe, these can occur due to hyperextension or excessive rotation of the spinal column.
Causes of Birth Injuries
Here are some common factors that may contribute to birth injuries:
- Medical Negligence: In some cases, medical errors or substandard care can contribute to birth injuries. This may include misuse of medical instruments like forceps or vacuum extractors, incorrect medication dosage, or incorrect surgical techniques.
- Prolonged Labor: An extended labor can cause distress to the baby and increase the risk of injuries like fractures or oxygen deprivation.
- Oxygen Deprivation: Whether due to a compressed umbilical cord, poor fetal positioning, or other reasons, lack of oxygen can cause severe and often irreversible injuries like hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE).
- Fetal Position: A baby’s position (such as breech or transverse lie) can complicate labor and may require special surgical interventions. Failure to appropriately manage these situations can lead to injury.
- High Birth Weight: Large babies are at a higher risk for birth injuries, particularly when delivered vaginally. Conditions like shoulder dystocia can occur, leading to potential nerve damage or fractures.
- Premature Birth: Babies born prematurely have more delicate bodies and are at higher risk for various types of injuries.
- Failure to Monitor: Lack of adequate fetal monitoring can lead to missed signs of fetal distress, delaying crucial interventions.
- Maternal Health: Pre-existing health conditions in the mother like hypertension, diabetes, or infections can complicate labor and contribute to birth injuries.
- Failure to Perform Timely C-Section: In certain situations, a cesarean section is necessary for the well-being of the mother and child. Delays or failure to perform a C-section can result in injuries.
- Medication Errors: Wrong medications or incorrect dosages can lead to complications affecting both the mother and the baby.
- Unskilled or Inexperienced Medical Staff: Lack of experience or inadequate training can result in poor decision-making or technical errors during delivery.
Informed Consent in Cherry Hill Birth Injury Cases
The principle of informed consent is a critical component in birth injury claims. This legal doctrine requires healthcare providers to adequately inform expectant parents—or their legal guardians in cases where the parents are unable to provide consent—about the risks, benefits, and alternative options of any proposed medical procedures or treatments related to childbirth. This can include but is not limited to, discussions about elective cesarean sections, the use of forceps or vacuum extraction, and options in the event of a high-risk pregnancy or complications during labor and delivery. Failing to provide this vital information can form the basis of a medical malpractice claim if the lack of informed consent leads to harm.
In the context of birth injuries, informed consent becomes exceedingly important due to the high stakes involved for both the mother and the baby. If a healthcare provider fails to communicate the associated risks of a certain procedure or fails to mention alternative options and a birth injury occurs as a result, the parents may have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. For example, if a healthcare provider does not discuss the risks involved with a forceps delivery, and the baby subsequently suffers a brachial plexus injury, the absence of informed consent may be considered a significant factor in the legal proceedings that might follow.
Limitations of Damages in Cherry Hill Birth Injury Claims
Cherry Hill doesn’t place a cap on compensatory damages in medical malpractice lawsuits, including those involving birth injuries. Compensatory damages are meant to reimburse the plaintiff for the actual harm suffered and can include costs like medical expenses, future medical care, pain and suffering, and loss of earnings. Given the absence of a cap, these damages are generally assessed based on the specifics of the case—such as the degree of the injury, the level of medical negligence involved, and the long-term implications for the child and family.
New Jersey does impose restrictions on punitive damages, which are designed to punish the defendant for extreme negligence or intentional harm. In medical malpractice cases, punitive damages are typically capped at $350,000 or five times the amount of compensatory damages awarded, whichever option is greater. Punitive damages are relatively rare and are only awarded in cases where it can be proven that the defendant’s conduct was especially egregious, reckless, or malicious.
Statute of Limitations in Cherry Hill Birth Injury Claims
The statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims in Cherry Hill is generally two (2) years from the date the cause of action accrued. This means that a lawsuit must typically be filed within two years from the date the injury occurred or the date when the injury should have reasonably been discovered. This is particularly important for birth injury claims, as failing to file within this window could result in losing the right to pursue legal action entirely.
However, there are exceptions to this rule, especially when minors are involved. In the case of a birth injury, the statute of limitations may be extended due to the child’s minor status. Generally, the statute of limitations for minors begins to run when they reach the age of majority, which is eighteen (18) in New Jersey. After turning eighteen (18), the individual usually has two (2) years to file a claim, unless there are other factors that could further extend or shorten this window.
Contact Our Cherry Hill Birth Injury Lawyers Today
If you suspect that you or a loved one has suffered due to a birth injury, don’t hesitate to take action. At Cuneo & Leonetti Law Firm, our specialized Cherry Hill medical malpractice lawyers bring years of experience and a deep understanding of medical malpractice law to your case. We’re committed to delivering personalized, compassionate legal support while aggressively pursuing the justice and compensation you and your family deserve. With time-sensitive statutes of limitations in play, every moment counts. Contact us today for a complimentary initial consultation, and let us guide you through the complicated yet crucial journey toward achieving the justice you seek.