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BIRTH INJURIES

We’re trial lawyers. Our core competency – above everything else – is trying cases to juries. And we specialize in beating giants.

Minneapolis Birth Injury Lawyers Who Fight for Medical Malpractice Victims

Baby in the hospital

If you are here, your baby may have been diagnosed with a birth injury, like cerebral palsy, brachial plexus injury, facial paralysis, collarbone or clavicle fractures, forceps bruising, scalp laceration, or other broken bones. 

I am so, so sorry for what you, your baby, and your family are going through right now.

There is simply no agony in the world like the pain parents feel for their child. This is especially true when their child is still a baby.

Birth injuries and birth defects caused during labor are tragic and devastating. You may be in deep pain, feel angry and worried, and confused about what to do next. You of course want the best medical care and treatment for your child – for as long as your child needs it – but you’re not sure if you can afford it.
You’re are the right place. We are here to help. Please keep reading, and all us today.

What Caused My Child’s Birth Injury?

Giving birth is a natural, beautiful, and usually safe process. But during the birth process, babies are very vulnerable, and if a doctor fails to recognize or properly treat a complication or condition, that negligence may result in a permanent disability for the child.

The most serious types of birth injuries are those that affect your child’s brain. A lack of oxygen during delivery (hypoxia), or bleeding within the skull or brain, is usually what causes birth injuries that result in irreversible brain damage.

A shortage of oxygen can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Unusual birth position;
  • The placenta separating from the uterus wall too early;
  • A problem with circulation in the umbilical cord; and
  • Labor is that is too long or too short.

Most medical malpractice claims allege that doctors or other medical professionals failed to anticipate, recognize, or react to these dangerous conditions. Excessive force, failing to properly anticipate the size of the child, failing to order a C-section, and pulling or twisting on the baby’s head are other factors that lead to serious birth injuries.

What Damage Results from Birth Injuries?

Although some birth injuries are minor and leave no lasting impact, others can result in permanent disabilities, which may affect the child’s cognitive and/or physical functioning. Birth injuries include brain damage, nerve damage, bone and muscle damage, and in the worst scenarios, death

What are Common Types of Birth Injuries Caused by Medical Negligence?

There are many different types of birth injuries caused by medical negligence. The most common birth injuries are:

What can I recover in a birth injury medical negligence lawsuit in Minnesota?

Birth injuries are devastating. Unfortunately, there is no way to go back in time and just stop your doctor or nurse from being negligent, so that your baby can be born without injury.  I know that’s what you want more than anything else, and unfortunately, we can’t get you that.

So Minnesota law instead allows for full compensation for your losses. If we can show that your doctor was negligent and caused your baby’s injuries, you and your child are entitled to full compensation for losses, injuries, damages, and medical bills. 

You are entitled to recover for:

  • All of the medical bills and costs that have been incurred so far in treating your child;
  • All of the medical bills and costs that will occur in the future to treat your child;
  • All of the expenses that you and your child will incur over his lifetime to care for him as a result of his condition, including expenses for special care assistants, training, home care assistance, etc.;
  • Lost income that your child will never earn as a result of the doctor’s negligence and the birth injury;
  • The full value of your child’s pain and suffering, and bodily and mental harm – past and future, including:
    • The full value of your child’s pain;
    • The full value of your child’s disability;
    • The full value of your child’s disfigurement;
    • The full value of your child’s embarrassment;
    • The full value of your child’s emotional distress.

In some cases, victims are also entitled to punitive damages.

There are no caps on damages in Minnesota.  A jury will determine what the full value of these various items is – that’s why you need a trial lawyer helping you.  You are asking the jury to put numbers are items that have no cost, but are the most valuable things in our lives. We focus our practice on taking complex sets of facts and questions and distilling them into a compelling narrative for juries.

How long do you have to file a birth injury claim based on medical malpractice in Minnesota?

It depends on whether the parent or the child brings the suit.  When a parent sues on behalf of their child, then the claim must be filed within 4 years of the negligence.  But if the child files suit, then the 4 year statute of limitations gets tolled (delayed) for 7 years, so there may be a total of 11 years from the date of the medical malpractice.

But please don’t wait on this. If you think that your child suffered a birth injury due to medical malpractice, contact our Minnesota medical malpractice lawyer today for an evaluation.  Do not wait.

Birth Injury FAQs

  • Some birth injuries are evident immediately after birth. Typical signs that a birth injury may have occurred include:
    • The color of the baby’s skin is pale or blue;
    • The baby is breathing slowly, has a slow heart rate, or requires resuscitation;
    • The baby is sluggish or lethargic;
    • The baby doesn’t express interest in feeding, or the baby has difficulty feeding;
    • There are odd movements in the baby’s face, arms, or legs – like seizures – or the baby favors one side of his or her body; or
    • The baby has low APGAR scores.
  • But there are other birth injuries that don’t demonstrate symptoms until later on in your child’s life. If your child shows any of the following signs, he or she may have suffered a birth injury:
    • Problems with mobility;
    • Difficulty grabbing things;
    • Difficulty sitting upright;
    • Hearing and speaking issues;
    • Learning disabilities;
    • Behavioral problems;
    • Motor impairments;
    • Speech or language disorders;or
    • Seizures.
  • Birth defects are rare in the United States – they occur during pregnancy as the child is developing. They may be caused by genetics or chromosome issues. Such birth defects include: cleft lip, Down Syndrome, and heart defects.  Sometimes though, birth defects are caused by outside factors, like pregnant women taking medication that’s been shown to cause birth defects. Some anti-depressant drugs and even certain birth control medications may cause birth defects. In these cases, the medication birth defects could have been prevented if the physician had not prescribed them in the first place during pregnancy.
  • Birth injuries are traumatic events that happen to the baby and mother before, during, or just after a delivery. They are often caused by the negligence of medical professional.  In most cases, birth injuries are completely preventable.  The most commons types of preventable birth injuries arise from the following types of medical negligence:
    • Pulling or twisting the baby during delivery;
    • Improperly handling tools like forceps or a vaccum extraction tool;
    • Administering the wrong type or amount of medication to the mother during pregnancy and labor;
    • Failing to properly monitor the infant for distress, including failing to regularly monitor the fetal heartbeat; and
    • Failing to timely perform an emergency C-section (cesarean surgery).
  • Here’s a list of the most common types of medical negligence. But be advised that negligence takes a variety of forms.  You need to contact a Minnesota birth injury lawyer to get an evaluation to understand whether your doctor or nurse committed malpractice.
    • Failing to monitor a child or mother’s vital signs during labor;
    • Failing to order and perform a C-section delivery in a timely manner;
    • Making surgical errors during a C-section;
    • Making errors in medical or anesthesia;
    • Improper use of forceps of vacuum extraction devices;
    • Failing to properly deal with shoulder dystocia, causing a brachial plexus injury (nerve damage to the shoulder, arm, or hand);
    • Failing to diagnose and treat a trapped or compressed umbilical cord;
    • Poor sanitation of equipment; and
    • Allowing labor to progress too long without intervention.

It is estimate that 7 out of every 1000 babies in the United States are born with a birth injury. This translates to approximately 28,000 babies born per year in the U.S. with a birth injury.  This breaks down to 2,333 babies per month, 538 per week, and 76 per day.

          Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) data reveals that:

  • Approximately 157,700 potentially avoidable birth injuries are sustained by mothers and children during childbirth every year; and
  • The highest birth injury rates involved vaginal births where birth-assistance tools like forceps or vacuums were used.

The most commons types and causes of birth injuries to mothers include:

  • Vaginal tears during birth;
  • Post-natal depression (PND) and Post-natal Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD);
  • Post-partum Hemorrhage (PPH);
  • Ruptured uterus; and
  • Prolapsed uterus.

The likelihood of a birth injury increases when:

  • The baby is too large for the mother’s pelvis;
  • The baby’s positioning toward the birth canal is incorrect, like feet first;
  • The doctor uses forceps or vacuum extractors during delivery;
  • The baby is born premature (before 37 weeks);
  • The doctor induces labor with drugs like Cyotec or Pitocin;
  • A C-section delivery is necessary but isn’t performed in a timely manner;
  • The doctor fails to diagnose medical conditions in the baby or mother; or
  • The doctor doesn’t identify and respond to fetal distress during labor.

When doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals perform to the standard of care accepted in the community, that will usually prevent birth injuries.  If an injury does occur, you need to know what went wrong and why.

In many circumstances, especially for injuries to the brain, mistakes made by doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals during the delivery process are the cause of the birth injury.

Medical errors that can cause birth injuries include:

  • Failing to identify and address issues and complications during pregnancy, such as infections, pregnancy-induced hypertension, or gestational diabetes;
  • Prescribing a medication for the mother that carries dangerous side effects;
  • Failing to respond quickly to bleeding, umbilical cord entanglement, or fetal distress;
  • Misusing a vaccum extractor or forceps;
  • Failing to properly monitor the mother’s and baby’s condition during labor and immediately after birth, including signs of fetal distress;
  • Miscommunications or non-communications between different doctors and nurses; and
  • Unreasonable delays in performing a C-section when problems arise.

Legal action allows you to get the truth about what happened to your child.  It also allows you to pursue full and fair compensation for the harm and damages inflicted by your provider’s negligence.  Finally, legal action can bring focus to long-standing problems in medical procedures and force hospitals and medical providers to make changes, to prevent something similar from happening to someone else.

 No. Of course there may be unforeseen and unforeseeable circumstances that lead to injury.  And we never want to sue a medical provider that provided the best and most reasonable standard of care to a patient.

But when medical professional depart from the recognized standard of care, and the baby is harmed as a result, we strive to hold them accountable, because that improves the standard of care that all of us receive when we need it most.

The first step to helping prevent birth injuries is good, solid, and sound prenatal care.  This means prenatal testing to assess the mother and baby’s health on a regular basis.  When abnormalities are detected early, it allows for management and treatment to avoid problems during labor.

Second, the obstetrician should closely monitor the mother and baby for signs of fetal distress, which indicates deprivation of oxygen to the fetus.     

Our Minnesota birth injury lawyers will listen to you and understand what happened.  Next, we’ll get all of our medical records and get them to our medical experts for evaluation, so we can understand whether your physician met the appropriate standard of care.  Sometimes, we’ll get multiple opinions on that.  If your doctor met the standard of care but your baby was still hurt, we’ll level with you and tell you the truth.

On the other hand, if your doctor didn’t meet the standard of care, then we’ll talk to you about pursuing a lawsuit, what that means, what your potential outcomes are, what the process is, and what our recommendation is.  If a doctor’s negligence causes harm to your baby, then you and your child should be compensated – in full – for that harm.  We will start a suit, conduct vigorous discovery, and bring your case in front a jury if the provider won’t do the right thing and settle for full and fair compensation.  See here for more about our process.

Contact our Minneapolis Birth Injury Lawyer Today.

Call our Minnesota Medical Birth Injury Lawyer today at 612.349.2723 for a free consultation, or fill out our free consultation form below. You need help from someone who knows what they are doing, to:

a) get all of your medical records;
b) get them to an expert for evaluation;
c) do a legal analysis of your case; and
d) get your case served within the statute of limitations, along with the Certificate of Expert Review.

THE MADIA LAW WAY

We have a process that works in getting exceptional results for our clients. 

We are trial lawyers who prepare every case for trial from Day 1. Investigation and legal research are the first things we do, and we spend a lot of time on them. Because we haven’t filed the case yet, we have complete control – the defendant has no say and we want to use this time wisely.  We interview witnesses that can help us prove the case.  We’ll ask you for all relevant documents in your possession and review those carefully as well.  We also will spend some time conducting legal research about unique issues in the case.  We pull the jury instructions that the judge will ultimately charge the jury with after closing arguments at trial. 

Our next step is typically to send a demand letter to the defendant. In the letter, we thoroughly lay out: the facts surrounding the defendant’s misconduct; the applicable law (including statutory and case citations) that make clear that the defendant broke the law; an analysis of your damages and the defendant’s monetary exposure; a demand for a monetary amount to settle the claim; and an instruction to preserve all relevant evidence, including electronic evidence. The point of this letter is to give the defendant a chance to do the right thing and pay a fair amount before litigation, and to give the defendant an opportunity to present any defenses or evidence it wants us to consider before moving forward.  Sometimes we skip the demand letter if there are strategic reasons to move straight to filing, but we typically give defendants a chance to do the right thing.

If early negotiations fail, great – we file a Complaint and serve the defendant with it. A Complaint is a legal document that states the facts of what happened and alleges how the defendant broke the law. It formally starts the lawsuit.  Many lawyers draft complaints in a general and relatively vague way, just to get it done and filed – because that’s all that’s really required.  We take a different view. We view the Complaint as our first chance to tell your story to the judge, and we take it seriously. So we draft detailed complaints and include legal citations to statutory and judicial authority on unique points.  Sometimes we’ll include a number of exhibits, diagrams, or other demonstrative aids to help the Court understand our claims.  A secondary benefit of this approach is that defense lawyers reading the Complaint can become educated on the problems of their case and the state of the law – sometimes this leads them to reach out to us shortly after service of the Complaint to re-initiate settlement negotiations.  Of course, by that time, the price for settlement has gone up.

Some lawyers view written discovery as a necessary evil – something to get done and out of the way before depositions.  Not us.  Written discovery is a gift and an opportunity.  We spend a great deal of time crafting requests for documents and interrogatories (questions for the defendant to answer in writing) that are specific, detailed, and tailored to get what we need to prove our case.  Many lawyers – even great ones – think written discovery is a waste of time because defense lawyers typically answer them on behalf of their clients and can try to stonewall with legalese and objections.  We view this as a wonderful opportunity.  In our experience, most defense lawyers can’t help themselves when answering discovery: they over-state their defenses and make assertions that their clients will not be able to support in testimony. So we get to commit the defendant to defenses that they can’t back up, leading to contradictions, confusion, and chaos in their depositions later on.  We also use Requests for Admission – which many lawyers don’t.  The Federal Rules and Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure allow us to ask defendants to “admit” certain facts.  We send them RFAs that are very difficult for them to deny.  Of course, they do it anyway, but that sets them up later for cost and fee-shifting, which the Rules mandate for defendants that deny RFAs that are later proven true.  And usually, we can get the defendants’ own witnesses to admit facts that their defense lawyers denied in RFA.  That’s a great situation that leads to more chaos and confusion on the defense side.

One last point on written discovery – we send multiple waves of it throughout discovery.  We typically send 3 or 4 sets of written discovery requests to defendants throughout discovery.  This compounds the problems for them, because the defense lawyers continue to overstate their defenses, but now run into contradictions from not just the defendant witnesses’ deposition testimony, but also their own previous discovery responses.  This makes for a great record that we can present to the judge at dispositive motions, and use for impeachment at trial.

This is our chance to question relevant witnesses, on the record with a court reporter (we typically videotape important depositions as well). We get to confront the defense witnesses with all of the evidence we’ve developed through written discovery and document production. By this time, the defendant put its witnesses in an impossible position through its written defenses, which are often untrue and indefensible.  So the witness has to either lie to support the defense, or admit it’s not true.  That’s a dilemma that works for our clients either way, no matter which option the witness takes.  We use depositions to expose contradictions, create a record for dispositive motions, lock witnesses into their stories so that we can impeach them later at trial, and sometimes, to show defense lawyers how hopeless their case is.  We often calls from defense counsel shortly after depositions of their clients, seeking to re-start settlement negotiations.

The defendant will usually make a motion for summary judgment after discovery, asking the Court to throw out the case without having a jury trial. Because we’ve hit discovery so hard – both through written discovery and depositions – this is a tough motion for defense counsel to write in our cases.  We draft our response for the Court and now get to bring everything together: the admissions, contradictions, nonsense, and obvious fact disputes that we’ve uncovered through discovery.  We tell a compelling story that wraps everything together for the Court and makes clear that the defense motion has to be denied, and the defendant needs to face a jury for its conduct.

Sometimes, we’ll even make an affirmative motion for summary judgment, asking the Court to grant judgment in favor of our client without a trial. These motions are generally rare for plaintiffs to make, because the defendant can usually point to some fact dispute on its intent or some other factor that necessitates a trial. But we make affirmative summary judgment motions significantly more than is typical for plaintiffs, and that’s because the work we put in during discovery helps build a fantastic record to do so.

After the Court denies the defense motion for summary judgment, the defendant has only 2 options: 1) do the right thing and pay you a fair amount to our client to settle your claim (usually much, much more at this point than the defendant could have paid at the beginning of the case to settle); or 2) face a jury for its conduct and risk an enormous verdict. This is the dilemma that we have been creating and forcing the defendant into for the entire case. We’ll engage in settlement negotiations at this point from a position of extreme strength, mainly because most defendants are (rightly) terrified of facing a jury to defend their conduct.

This is, candidly, our favorite part of the case – why we went to law school: to hold the powerful accountable before juries.  We prepare heavily for trial, including: detailed witness preparation, focus groups, and mock trials.  At this point, the potential outcomes and consequences for the defendant are much more severe than if it simply did the right thing at the beginning of the case and paid a fair amount to compensate our client for its misconduct.  As we advocate to the jury for our client, we’re also mindful of protecting the record so that defendants will be unsuccessful in attacking the verdict in post-trial motions or appeal.

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