Birth Injury FAQ: New Mexico Trial Lawyers Answer Common Birth Injury Questions

Tom Rhodes Law Firm P.C. is one of the most nationally recognized law firms in the country, having won notable jury verdicts for victims and families across the nation. This includes a number of successful cases involving medical malpractice and birth injuries suffered by mothers and children.

Because we know birth injuries create profound challenges for families, and because we know victims often have a difficult time understanding the laws in place and whether they have rights to pursue legal action following a birth injury, our award-winning trial lawyers wanted to provide some information to help families learn about their rights, birth injury lawsuits, and important related legal issues.

Below, our legal team answers common questions we hear from clients about birth injury cases in New Mexico.

What is a birth injury, and how is it different from a birth defect?

In the context of personal injury cases, birth injuries are any physical injuries that occur during labor, delivery, or shortly after birth. Birth defects, on the other hand, are congenital – meaning they are present at birth.

Victims of birth injuries – be they mothers or the families of a newborn – may have the right to pursue legal action for their damages because birth injuries can be caused by the negligence of medical professionals who treat pregnant mothers and deliver babies. Birth defects do not generally give rise to litigation because they are often genetic or caused by unknown factors. However, some families may have birth defect claims if those defects were caused by toxic exposure, such as exposure to harmful substances or dangerous medications.

How do I know if I have a birth injury lawsuit?

Whether or not you have grounds to pursue a birth injury lawsuit depends on the unique circumstances of your case. Generally, these claims are based on concepts of medical malpractice, which means doctors, nurses, hospitals, or other health care providers failed to meet their duty of care when treating pregnant mothers, facilitating labor or delivery, or caring for a newborn immediately after birth – and caused preventable injuries as a result.

The legal standards involved in birth injury cases are complex, which is why it is always crucial to have experienced attorneys review your situation to determine whether medical professionals made mistakes or committed acts of negligence that would constitute the definition of “malpractice” under the law. Generally, malpractice or medical negligence occurs when:

Health care providers fail to treat patients in accordance to accepted standards of their profession (i.e. a reasonably skillful doctor or provider would not have done what they did under the same or similar circumstances).

What are common examples of birth injury cases?

Because there are many different situations where medical malpractice can result in birth injuries, understanding whether or not you have a case can be aided by knowing some common examples of situations that can form the basis of a claim. These may include, among others:

  • Preventable injuries (such as lacerations) caused by the improper use of forceps, vacuum extractors, and other medical devices.
  • Failures to recognize or treat risk factors that should have been identified, and which are known to increase risks of complications and birth injuries, such as preeclampsia, high blood pressure, infections, and more.
  • Failures to appropriately monitor fetal heart rate and detect signs of fetal distress. When medical providers fail to identify fetal distress during delivery, newborns can suffer serious birth injuries, including brain damage and cerebral palsy.
  • Failures to appropriately treat newborns with certain conditions or medical issues, including failure to perform therapeutic head cooling after birth when babies experience oxygen deprivation during delivery.
  • Preventable injuries involving C-sections, including failures to perform a C-section when medically warranted.

Who is liable for a birth injury?

When preventable birth injuries occur, victims have a right to seek justice and compensation through the filing of a claim / lawsuit. These legal actions are brought against the at-fault party, must prove negligence and breach of duty (i.e. failure to meet a duty of care), and can hold that party financially liable for the damages victims suffer. Determining who is liable for any birth injury is again a matter dependent on the unique facts involved. Generally, liable parties may include doctors who treated pregnant mothers or facilitated a delivery, as well as nurses, midwives, and even hospitals, depending on the circumstances.

What damages can I recover in a birth injury lawsuit?

Birth injury lawsuits have a few important objectives. Aside from ensuring accountability by holding negligent medical providers liable, raising awareness about the grave consequences of medical mistakes, and alerting the public to potential safety issues in their community, these cases also provide victims and families with the opportunity to recover financial compensation for their damages. In birth injury cases, these damages can be substantial and far-reaching, and may include:

  • Medical expenses, including the costs of future medical needs children with birth injuries / disabilities may need as they grow and mature.
  • Mental anguish and emotional injuries suffered by families.
  • Expenses related to specialized care, treatment, and education for children with disabilities.
  • Lost income suffered by parents who need to care for their children, as well as lost earning potential suffered by victims whose injuries or disabilities may prevent them from working and earning wages.
  • Other economic and non-economic damages.

Place Your Trust in a Proven New Mexico Birth Injury Law Firm

Starting your legal journey after a birth injury may seem like a daunting task, but it can be made easier with the help and support of proven Texas birth injury lawyers who truly care about you and your family. At Tom Rhodes Law Firm P.C., our entire legal team is driven by a desire to help families secure the justice and compensation they deserve, and ensure their futures are protected by holding all negligent parties accountable. With decades of collective experience, extensive resources and professional connections, and an unwavering dedication to clients, our firm is the right choice when it matters most.

Get more of your birth injury questions answered personally by a top lawyer. Call (505) 544-4088 or contact us for a FREE consultation.