Carlsbad, NM Birth Injury Lawyer

Fighting for Victims of Medical Negligence Across New Mexico

If you or your child suffered a preventable injury because of a medical professional’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.

In New Mexico, state law gives newborns and families the right to file legal actions against healthcare providers who failed to meet the standard of care during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. These actions, known as birth injury lawsuits, are based on medical malpractice and are notorious for being highly complex and consequential claims. As such, they demand the attention of attorneys with proven experience in this field.

At James Wood Law, we’ve earned a reputation as New Mexico’s leading medical malpractice firm. Comprised of top-rated trial lawyers and a Board-Certified Civil Trial Specialist (James Wood), we’ve recovered millions of dollars in compensation for victims, including millions in cases involving preventable birth injuries. 

If you have questions about a potential case anywhere in Eddy County, our Carlsbad birth injury lawyers want to help. Call (505) 906-6774 or contact us online for a FREE consultation.

What Is Considered a Birth Injury?

A birth injury is any physical harm suffered by a baby or mother during the birthing process, often due to complications during labor or delivery. Birth injuries are distinct from birth defects, which result from genetic or environmental factors before birth. While birth defects are often related to developmental issues that occur in utero, birth injuries typically result from events that transpire during birth itself.

Some examples of birth injuries include:

  • Brachial Plexus Injuries: Damage to the bundle of nerves that affects movement and sensation in the arms and hands. This can happen if the baby's neck is stretched to the side during a difficult delivery and can result in conditions such as Erb’s Palsy.
  • Cerebral Palsy: A disorder that affects muscle tone, movement, and motor skills. It can be caused by brain damage before, during, or shortly after birth and result in a lifetime of limitations and physical and/or mental disabilities.
  • Fractures: Commonly involving the collarbone or clavicle, fractures may occur during labor, especially in breech deliveries or when tools are used to assist in the delivery.
  • Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE): A condition characterized by brain damage from oxygen deprivation. HIE can lead to long-term developmental problems and disabilities.
  • Neonatal Encephalopathy: A severe neurological condition that can be caused by birth asphyxia, maternal health issues, and complications during delivery. Long-term effects include developmental delays, cognitive impairments, motor disabilities, and more. 

How Do I Know When a Birth Injury Is Caused by Malpractice?

Determining if a birth injury was caused by medical negligence requires a complex analysis in which the quality of care provided to a baby and mother is compared to the accepted “standard of care.” In New Mexico, this standard of care is defined generally as the level of care expected from a reasonably skilled and trained provider under the same or similar circumstances.

The standard of care is a critical concept in medical malpractice cases, serving as a benchmark against which a healthcare professional’s actions are measured. If a healthcare provider's conduct falls below this standard, it could be considered negligence. 

However, because not all birth injuries result from medical negligence, cases must also be evaluated to determine if a provider’s substandard care was more likely than not the cause of injury. This determination often requires the testimony of medical experts who can attest to what constitutes acceptable practice within the specific area of healthcare and how likely it was that a provider’s actions caused harm.

While determining whether a provider’s negligence rose to the level of actionable malpractice depends on the specific facts of a case, there are some general examples of how medical negligence can lead to preventable birth injuries. Some of these include:

  • Failure to Monitor Fetal Distress: Failing to monitor fetal heart rate for signs of fetal distress can delay necessary interventions such as emergency cesarean sections, leading to oxygen deprivation and related injuries.
  • Improper Use of Delivery Tools: Misuse of forceps or vacuum extractors can cause trauma to the newborn, leading to conditions such as brachial plexus injuries or skull fractures.
  • Inadequate Response to Complications: Failing to adequately address complications like umbilical cord prolapse or placental abruption can jeopardize the health of babies and mothers, leading to preventable injuries.
  • Delayed Birth: Delays in performing necessary interventions can result in prolonged labor, increasing the risk of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), cerebral palsy, and other forms of brain damage due to lack of oxygen.
  • Medication Errors: Incorrectly administered or dosed medications during labor and delivery can harm both mother and child, potentially leading to birth injuries.
  • Diagnostic Errors: Misdiagnoses and failures to diagnose pregnant mothers can result in complications and preventable birth injuries. This is true in cases where diagnostic errors prevent mothers from receiving necessary treatment for issues such as gestational diabetes. 

Understanding these nuances is vital for parents navigating the aftermath of a birth injury, as it helps to distinguish between unfortunate but natural outcomes and those that could and should have been prevented with better medical care.

Who Can Be Held Liable For Birth Injuries?

Determining liability for birth injuries is a critical step in pursuing a lawsuit for damages. It depends on the specifics of a case, as well as other factors such as available insurance coverage. Some examples of potentially liable parties in birth injury lawsuits include:

  • Obstetricians/Gynecologists: Doctors who provide prenatal care and directly manage the labor and delivery process. They can be held liable for actions that fall below the accepted standard of care during these stages.
  • Pediatricians and Neonatologists: These specialists can be held liable if they fail to diagnose or treat conditions that arise after birth, leading to or exacerbating an injury.
  • Nurses and Midwives: Nursing staff and midwives involved in delivery can be held accountable if their care or actions contribute to the injury. This includes failing to monitor fetal distress or inadequately executing the directives of attending physicians.
  • Hospitals and Medical Facilities: Hospitals can be held liable for systemic issues, such as inadequate staff training, insufficient staffing levels, or lack of essential equipment that contribute to birth injuries.
  • Anesthesiologists: Professionals who administer anesthesia during labor and delivery. They can be liable for injuries if they improperly administer anesthesia or fail to monitor the patient adequately.
  • Pharmaceutical Companies: Companies that produce medications used during pregnancy, labor, and delivery can be liable if their products cause harm when used as intended.

Filing a Birth Injury Lawsuit in Carlsbad, New Mexico

Filing a birth injury lawsuit in New Mexico involves several important steps. Below is a brief overview of the process and how our firm works to support victims:

  1. Consulting a Birth Injury Lawyer: The first step involves a consultation during which we evaluate the merits of a case, discuss the events leading to the injury, and determine the feasibility of moving forward with a case. We will also evaluate whether you can file a claim within the statute of limitations. In New Mexico, the statute of limitations for birth injury cases is generally three years from the date of injury. 
  2. Investigation and Medical Records Review: Our legal team will gather all relevant medical records, interview witnesses, and often consult with medical experts to establish the extent of the negligence and the injury's impact on the child’s life.
  3. Medical Review Commission (MRC): In New Mexico, before proceeding to court, medical malpractice cases (including birth injury claims) must first be presented to New Mexico Medical Review Commission (NMMRC). This panel, composed of healthcare professionals and an attorney, reviews evidence and issues an opinion on whether the healthcare provider failed to meet the standard of care.
  4. Lawsuit & Resolution. After a lawsuit has been filed, our team handles all communications with insurers and defendants. This may entail the process of discovery, in which both sides of the case share evidence and collect further information, and settlement negotiations. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, we’re prepared to litigate on your behalf at trial.

How Much is My Birth Injury Lawsuit Worth?

The value of any lawsuit depends on the unique facts involved, including the nature of the injury, damages incurred, and expected future losses.

At James Wood Law, we carefully calculate our clients’ past and future losses to fight for the compensation they deserve. This may include compensation for damages such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Long-term or life care costs
  • Special education
  • Medical devices and accommodations
  • Other economic and non-economic losses

In New Mexico, state law places a cap on certain damages in medical malpractice cases. While there is no cap on economic damages, such as ongoing medical care, there is a cap on non-economic damages like pain and suffering. This cap is subject to legislative changes and judicial interpretation, so it's crucial to consult with a legal professional to understand the most current laws and how they may impact the potential value of your birth injury lawsuit. 

Request a FREE Consultation: (505) 906-6774

James Wood Law is known nationally for litigating complex claims against powerful medical institutions and physicians of all types. If you or your child were harmed by a negligence medical provider, we’re available to review your case, discuss your options, and explain how we can help.

Our Hobbs birth injury lawyers are available 24/7, collect no fee unless we win, and serve families statewide. To request a FREE consultation, give us a call at (505) 906-6774 or contact us online.

  • American Association for Justice - President's Club
  • Super Lawyers
  • AV Preeminent
  • The National Trial Lawyers
  • Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • Super Lawyers | James F. Wood
  • National Board of Legal Specialty Certification
  • Trial Lawyers College of Thunderhead Ranch
  • Board Certified Civil Law Trial Specialist
  • Avvo 10.0 Rating

Why We Should Be Your First Choice

  • Multiple Verdicts and Settlements Obtained of $1 Million or More
  • Tried More Than 50 Cases to a Jury & Settled More Than 150 Cases
  • Board Certified Trial Lawyer by the National Board of Trial Advocacy
  • Rated AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbell®

Let's Get Started Together on Your Case

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