Parties Responsible for a Birth Injury
UPDATED: February 5, 2020
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If your child suffers a birth injury, you can file a lawsuit against any party whose negligence, carelessness, or improper conduct contributed to the cause. Parties to a birth injury lawsuit can include not just the people or entities present at the time, but also the hospital where the injury occurred, and the companies that were responsible for producing defective hospital equipment.
Birth Injury Liability
In most states, civil litigation for personal injury, including birth injury, requires a determination of what the injury was and how it came about. This investigation will reveal what parties contributed to the injury, and therefore may be liable. In a birth injury, the following parties should be considered:
- Doctor – The doctor who performed the birth could have made a mistake during the process that resulted in injury.
- Nurses / staff – A nurse or staff member assisting with the birth who made a mistake that resulted in the injury can be liable.
- Hospital - If the injury was due to delays at the hospital, then the hospital and any other entity with a legal obligation to prevent delay would be involved in your birth injury lawsuit. A hospital may also be liable for the actions of nurses or staff that it employs.
- Pharmacist - If the injury resulted from a medication problem, you can file a lawsuit against the pharmacist or the pharmacy that filled the prescription.
- Drug manufacturer - If the birth injury was caused by a defective drug or medical device, you can sue the manufacturer or distributor of the product.
- Medical equipment provider - If the birth injury was caused because the medical equipment supplier failed to properly maintain it, you can sue the supplier.
- HMO employer - If the doctor is an employee of the HMO, a "vicarious liability" claim can be brought against the HMO. The theory of vicarious liability is that there is a third party who did not directly cause the injury but is nonetheless responsible because of either their position or the circumstances surrounding the incident. Generally, employers are responsible for the actions of their employees, so, basically, the suit against the HMO would be claiming that it was responsible for the doctor’s malpractice because it employed him. Because most HMOs do not employ their doctors (the doctors are independent contractors), vicarious liability suits are rare
Before you file an legal action, it is critical that you identify all the parties responsible for the injury that your child suffered. In order to get the compensation you deserve, you will need to know who caused the injury and include the responsible parties in your lawsuit or insurance claim.
Getting Help with a Birth Injury Lawsuit
Seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney right away if you or your baby suffered from a birth injury. Fault, liability, and other legal issues can be determined with greater precision after your first meeting.