In personal injury law, the acronym TBI used to refer exclusively to a traumatic brain injury. However, after Caroline Malatesta's case, this may need to change. News broke last month of the $16 million jury verdict awarded to Ms. Malatesta as a result of a traumatic birth injury caused by her nurses's negligence while she was giving birth.
A traumatic birth injury occurs when the mother is severely injured as a result of the birthing process. While medical malpractice is not a prerequisite for this type of injury, it stands to reason that when a claim for a traumatic birth injury is raised, it should be brought alongside, or as, a medical malpractice or medical negligence claim.
When to Sue
A traumatic birth injury by itself will not be enough to state a legal claim for damages. Similarly to any injury, if no one is at fault, there is no legal claim to be brought.
Generally, if a person suffers a traumatic birth injury, they should speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible since it is a complicated claim with strict timelines. Trying to determine if fault can be assigned will require looking at the medical records, interviewing witnesses, doctors, nurses, and other staff, as well as hiring experts, just to find out who is at fault.
To prove a medical malpractice or medical negligence case, you must show that the medical professional's conduct fell below the generally accepted standard of medical care and that as a result of that conduct you were injured.
In Ms. Malatesta's case, the jury award, while large, corresponds to the severity of her injury, which requires ongoing medical treatment and pain management, likely for the rest of her life. Additionally, not only does Ms. Malatesta now suffer from chronic pain as a result of the injury, she can no longer be as active as she used to be and she must spend part of each day tending to her permanent injuries.
What made Ms. Malatesta's case so compelling was the fact that the marketing team for the hospital where the injury occurred was aggressively seeking to bring in pregnant patients and did so through misrepresentations. Not only were the caregivers found to have fallen below the standard of care for labor and delivery nurses, but the hospital was found to have violated the standard of care for marketing health care services as well.
Whether and when you can bring a claim for a birth injury is complicated. If you believe you may have a claim, you should contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.