Farmington, NM Birth Injury Attorney

Leading Birth Injury Litigators With a Record of Success

Preventable birth injuries can upend the lives of families. From tremendous emotional suffering and medical expenses to lasting disabilities, limitations, and extra needs, birth injuries come with a host of devastating consequences. For families who find themselves in these tough circumstances, birth injury lawsuits can provide a path toward the justice and compensation they deserve.

James Wood Law is an award-winning trial practice that’s fought for victims across New Mexico for over six decades. Backed by an award-winning team, a Board-Certified Civil Trial Specialist (James Wood), and millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements, we’ve become a leader in medical malpractice litigation and have what it takes to handle all types of birth injury claims. 

If your child suffered a preventable birth injury anywhere in San Juan County or beyond, our Farmington birth injury lawyers want to help. Give us a call at (505) 906-6774  or contact us online for a FREE consultation.

What Is a Birth Injury?

Birth injury refers to any damage or harm to a baby that occurs during the birthing process. These injuries can range from mild to severe, affecting a child's physical and cognitive development. Some common types of birth injuries include:

  • Cerebral Palsy: A group of permanent movement disorders appearing in early childhood. Cerebral palsy is often caused by brain damage before, during, or just after birth. Symptoms include muscle stiffness/weakness and problems with coordination and balance.
  • Brachial Plexus Injuries: Also known as Erb’s Palsy, brachial plexus injuries occur when the network of nerves that sends signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm, and hand, is damaged. It can happen if the baby's neck is stretched to the side during a difficult delivery, and result in weakness or paralysis of the arm. 
  • Fractures: The most common fracture during birth is of the clavicle (collarbone). This can occur during difficult deliveries or with the use of delivery tools. Typically, the baby recovers quickly, but it may cause temporary discomfort.
  • Asphyxia/Brain Damage: A lack of oxygenated blood flow to the fetus immediately before, during, or after birth. Oxygen deprivation can have profound consequences, and may result in cerebral palsy, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, and other forms of brain damage. 

Each of these conditions requires a different type of medical treatment or rehabilitation and can have long-term effects on a child's health and development. As such, it’s vital for families to seek financial compensation to pay for these expenses. 

Birth Injuries & Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider deviates from the accepted standard of care in the treatment of a patient, leading to harm or injury. The standard of care is defined as the level and type of care an ordinarily prudent healthcare professional, with a similar background and in the same medical community, would have provided under similar circumstances. This standard may vary depending on numerous factors, including the patient's condition and the type of medical facility. 

It’s not easy to determine when a provider deviates from the standard of care, nor is it easy to illustrate how substandard care caused harm. While these are very fact-specific inquiries best addressed during personalized consultations, there are examples of how medical negligence can lead to birth injuries that can give you better perspective. These include:

  • Failure to Monitor Fetal Heart Rate: Healthcare providers must closely monitor the fetal heart rate during labor and delivery to detect signs of distress. Neglecting to do so can result in delayed action in the event of fetal oxygen deprivation.
  • Improper Use of Delivery Instruments: The misuse of forceps or vacuum extractors can exert excessive force on the baby's head or neck, leading to injuries such as brachial plexus or skull fractures.
  • Delay in Performing a Cesarean Section: A delayed decision to perform a C-section in the presence of fetal distress or when the mother is unable to deliver vaginally can lead to oxygen deprivation and resultant brain damage.
  • Poor Management of Shoulder Dystocia: Shoulder dystocia is a critical emergency where the baby's shoulders get stuck after the head has been delivered. Improper handling of this situation can cause brachial plexus injuries or fractures.
  • Failure to Diagnose and Treat Maternal Infections: Healthcare providers have a duty to test for and treat any maternal infections that could potentially harm the fetus during pregnancy or delivery.

Who Can Be Held Liable for My Birth Injury?

Responsibility in birth injury cases can extend to several medical professionals and the institutions they represent. In addition to negligent physicians and medical staff directly involved in prenatal or delivery care, hospitals, and healthcare facilities may also face liability, particularly if systemic issues, such as inadequate training or insufficient staffing, played a role in the event. In some cases, liability could extend to pharmacists or pharmaceutical companies if improper medication contributed to the birth injury. 

Some examples of potentially liable parties in birth injury lawsuits include:

  • Obstetricians/gynecologists
  • Pediatricians
  • Nurses
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Hospitals, birth centers, or medical facilities

Determining liability is a complex process that hinges on demonstrating how each party's actions deviated from standard medical practices and directly caused harm. This often necessitates a thorough investigation involving medical records, expert testimonies, and an in-depth understanding of healthcare protocols.

Birth Injury Claim Reviews in Farmington, New Mexico

In New Mexico, all medical malpractice actions must first be evaluated by the New Mexico Medical Review Commission. The NMMRC is a panel of healthcare and legal professionals that preliminarily reviews medical malpractice and birth injury lawsuits before they are filed. 

Using their experience and insight, panel members will assess the quality of care provided by medical professionals and issue decisions about whether those professionals failed to meet the standard of care. When the panel finds evidence of substandard care, victims can proceed with their lawsuits. 

Because the MRC’s decision determines whether you can pursue a claim and compensation, it’s vital to adequately prepare a case. This means conducting investigations, gathering evidence, and securing supporting testimony from other experts. 

Recoverable Damages in Birth Injury Cases

Medical providers who negligently cause harm can be held liable for the resulting damages. In the case of birth injuries, these damages can be profound and may include lifelong expenses for medical care, special education, and other similar needs. 

Generally, birth injury victims can recover compensation for:

  • Medical expenses (past and future)
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Specialized equipment for the child's care
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages if a parent must stop working to care for the child
  • Punitive damages in cases of egregious misconduct

At James Wood Law, we work diligently to fight for the maximum compensation possible. Often, this requires a careful assessment of our clients’ losses, including any expected future losses based on the nature of a birth injury and any lasting disabilities. In many cases, we’ll collaborate with experts who provide important testimony about the severity of injuries and their long-term effects. 

Another note of importance when it comes to birth injury cases is that New Mexico imposes a cap on certain damages. While there is no cap on economic damages – which can include medical costs, rehabilitation expenses, and lost earnings potential – there is a cap on non-economic damages, which include things like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life, among other impacts that are not directly tied to financial losses. As of the latest legislation, the cap for non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases in New Mexico is set at $600,000. The cap is periodically adjusted.

How Long Do I Have to File a Birth Injury Lawsuit in Farmington, NM?

Each state has its own deadlines for filing medical malpractice lawsuits, known as statutes of limitations. In New Mexico, the statute of limitations for a birth injury lawsuit is generally three years from the date of injury. However, there are exceptions to this rule, particularly when the injured party is a minor. For children, the lawsuit must be filed by their ninth birthday.

Because failing to file within the statute of limitations could result in the loss of the right to recover damages, it’s important to bring your case to the attention of an attorney as soon as you can. Our team at James Wood Law is readily available to discuss the statute of limitations in your case and how we can help you move forward with legal action. 

Call For a FREE Consultation: (505) 906-6774

As New Mexico’s leading medical malpractice law firm, James Wood Law has the experience and resources to help birth injury victims across San Juand County and beyond fight for the compensation they deserve. If you have a case to discuss, our Farmington birth injury lawyers are available 24/7 to discuss your rights and legal options.

Call (505) 906-6774 or complete an online form to request your FREE consultation.

  • 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®

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