How to Prove a Doctor’s Negligence Resulted in a Birth Injury
No parent expects to receive the news that his or her infant has suffered an injury before birth, during the delivery process or shortly after. Unfortunately, not all families receive the proper medical care and attention during labor and delivery. In some cases, a physician, obstetrician or another health care practitioner is negligent, resulting in harm to the mother and/or child. If you wish to pursue financial compensation for this act of wrongdoing in Kentucky, you or your birth injury attorney will need to prove the doctor’s negligence.
What Is Negligence in Medical Malpractice Law?
Negligence refers to the failure to be reasonably careful based on the circumstances. In a medical malpractice lawsuit, a medical professional is negligent if he or she fails to use the level of skill or care that a reasonable and prudent practitioner would have in the same or similar circumstances. This level of patient care is referred to as the “standard of care.” Breaching or violating the standard of care during a patient’s pregnancy, labor or delivery can cause preventable birth injuries.
Four Elements of Negligence
Medical malpractice in a birth injury case can refer to any act or omission by a health care provider that falls outside of the accepted standards of patient care. While birth complications are not uncommon in Kentucky, the presiding physician must make sound medical decisions during the birthing process to reduce risks and address problems that arise in a reasonable manner. The failure to do so, resulting in a birth injury, is negligence. Negligence in a medical malpractice case consists of four elements of proof:
- Standard of care. A doctor-patient relationship existed at the time of the birth injury, which created a specific standard of care for the physician to obey.
- Breach. The physician or defendant failed to fulfill the standard of care, either carelessly or knowingly.
- Damages. The plaintiff suffered compensable damages, including the birth injury itself, related medical expenses, and pain and suffering.
- Causation. The plaintiff’s damages occurred as a primary result of the doctor’s negligence or breach of the standard of care.
Essentially, you or your attorney must prove that the doctor did not act in a way that a reasonably skilled physician would have and that this is what caused the birth injury in question. To have a valid claim to financial compensation against a doctor or hospital in Kentucky, you or your attorney must provide evidence that establishes these four elements as more likely to be true than not true, or true with at least a 51 percent certainty. This is the burden of proof in a medical malpractice lawsuit, which is known as a preponderance of the evidence.
Proof of Negligence in a Birth Injury Case
If you are filing a lawsuit against a doctor for negligently causing your child’s injury in Kentucky, you will need clear and convincing evidence against the defendant(s). These cases are complex and notoriously difficult to win. The strength of your evidence can make all of the difference to the outcome of your birth injury lawsuit. Common examples of evidence include:
- Medical records documenting the victim’s injuries.
- Test results from during the pregnancy.
- SBAR notes – notes written by medical professionals while treating a patient.
- Statements from eyewitnesses who saw the event.
- Photographs or video footage.
- The doctor’s employment records and any previous complaints.
- Opinions from medical and birth injury experts.
Obtaining evidence that proves medical negligence in a birth injury case in Kentucky is easier with assistance from an experienced attorney. An attorney can investigate the incident, collect evidence of malpractice and hire qualified birth injury experts to testify. If your child suffered a birth injury in Louisville, contact the Law Offices of Hendy | Johnson | Vaughn | Emery right away for a free case consultation. With proof of a doctor’s negligence, your family may be able to recover financial compensation for a birth injury.