Birth Injury Information Center
Responsible Parties in Birth Injury Cases
If your child suffered a birth injury, there are several parties who may be responsible for your child's injuries, including the treating physician, assisting staff and the hospital. To learn more about the possibilities for your birth injury case, contact a personal injury attorney in your area. A lawyer experienced in birth injury cases can discuss your options with you.
The first party who may be liable for your child's birth injury is the doctor who performed the delivery. If the doctor failed to meet the standard of care in the delivery of the child, he or she may be liable for any resulting injuries. The standard of care is the degree of care exercised by other doctors in the same or similar circumstances. The plaintiff in a medical malpractice suit has the burden of establishing the standard of care acceptable during delivery and proving the doctor did not meet that standard.
The doctor also may be held responsible for the acts of any residents, interns, other physicians or nurses under his or her control during the delivery under the legal theory of respondeat superior.
Hospitals owe an independent duty of care to patients seeking and receiving treatment at their facilities. Hospitals must exercise the same degree of care that other hospitals would in the same or similar circumstances in arranging and coordinating care for patients.
Hospitals can be held vicariously liable for the acts of its employees, such as nurses, staff physicians, techs and aids. Hospitals also can be held liable for the acts of doctors that work for the hospital as independent contractors. Lastly, the hospital can be liable for corporate negligence. This theory places liability on the hospital for its acts as a corporation and includes the hiring and retaining of employees and agents, supervising the work of employees and agents, denying medical services and maintaining medical equipment.
Nurses may be independently liable for their negligent acts that cause harm to patients. Some of these acts may include:
- Failure to monitor patients
- Failure to communicate significant changes in the patient's condition to the doctor
- Medication errors, including the type, dosage and delivery of the medicine
- Failure to monitor patient for side-effects from medication
While in most cases the hospital and/or doctor will be sued under an agency or respondeat superior theory for the negligent acts of a nurse, in some cases, the nurse will be named separately in the suit. Whether or not the nurse carries an independent medical malpractice insurance policy may impact the decision whether or not he or she will be named. Usually, the nurse is covered by the hospital's medical malpractice insurance.
If your doctor, nurse or hospital acted negligently and your child suffered a birth injury as a result, contact a lawyer in your area today. A medical malpractice attorney can explain your rights and discuss the possibility of taking legal action against those who harmed your child.
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