Physicians and other healthcare providers have a duty to provide the most complete and up-to-date care for their patients. With so much at stake, doctors who work with mothers and babies are often held to even higher standards, as there is virtually no room for error when it comes to birthing a baby properly.
Unfortunately, errors that do occur can often have a lasting impact on the newborn and their family. Cerebral palsy, paralysis of one or more limbs, physical disability, and brain injuries can all occur if birth workers do not act in line with the standard of care.
A Glastonbury birth injury lawyer could work on your behalf to hold medical professionals accountable for the pain and damage caused to your newborn and your family. When you are ready, schedule an appointment to begin assessing your legal options with a compassionate medical malpractice attorney.
What Constitutes a Birth Injury?
A birth injury is any injury that a baby sustains while being born. That often means a complication with the birth, resulting in a loss of oxygen to the brain, which might cause a baby to have neurological problems. A birth injury could also mean they are injured physically during the course of the birth, with a muscle or skeleton injury, or from a laceration of the surgeon’s knife during a C-section.
The most frequent birth injury that lawyers in Glastonbury encounter is something that went wrong during the delivery that caused the deprivation of oxygen to the baby’s brain, known as shoulder dystocia. Shoulder dystocia is when the baby is pulled too hard coming out of the birth canal, which stretches the muscles of the shoulder and causes the baby to have some dysfunction in their neck and their shoulder that is often permanent. Injuries from forceps, a vacuum, or a knife are also common.
Reasonable Inquiry Certificate Required
Connecticut General Statutes §52-190a details the requirements that potential plaintiffs and their Glastonbury birth injury attorney must meet to file a birth injury lawsuit. Before filing any type of medical malpractice lawsuit against a healthcare provider, the plaintiff or their attorney must file a certificate of merit affirming that:
- A reasonable inquiry has been completed by the patient or the attorney that gives merit to the lawsuit on the basis of negligence
- Reasonable grounds exist for a claim against each defendant named in the lawsuit
According to this statute, a reasonable inquiry generally involves obtaining a written and signed opinion from a qualified medical expert in the birth and newborn field. In the letter, the medical expert usually must provide their opinion that the patient was injured by an act of negligence by a medical provider, as well as detailed reasons to support their opinion. In addition to these stipulations, proper notice typically needs to be given within the initial 90 days following an accident.
What If No Certificate Is Filed?
The certificate of merit typically must be filed with the initial complaint. In some situations, such as a fast-approaching statute of limitations, the court may grant a 90-day extension for filing this certificate.
If the plaintiff or their Glastonbury birth injury lawyer fails to file a reasonable inquiry certificate, the lawsuit may be dismissed. Preparing a falsified or meritless certificate can lead to court sanctions.
The reasonable inquiry certification law was passed by the state to help cut down on lawsuits that do not have merit. Although the requirement can make filing a birth injury lawsuit more time-consuming, it helps courts to process cases faster, since they are only dealing with valid claims. The law also helps potential defendants to avoid the expenses and time that come with defending themselves in a meritless lawsuit.
Legal Help from a Glastonbury Birth Injury Attorney
Connecticut is one of several states that does not place damage caps or limits on the amount of compensation a birth injury plaintiff can receive. If the court determines that the defendant(s) are liable for the damages claimed by the plaintiff, the jury can determine how much they should receive, without state law dictating how much is too much.
Economic damages alone for a birth injury can reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars or more due to the potentially long-lasting consequences of such an injury. To find out if your case has merit and how much it may be worth, get legal help from a compassionate Glastonbury birth injury lawyer today. Waiting too long may bar you from seeking recovery in the future.