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What Is A Birth Defect Lawsuit
A birth defect lawsuit is a type of lawsuit that is filed for damages suffered as a result of medical malpractice, genetic testing, environmental toxins, chemical exposures, or as a result of the negligence of a third party.
In other words, when a child is born with a birth defect and where the child’s defect is attributable to the wrongdoing or conduct of another, a birth defect lawsuit may be filed to seek compensation for the damages suffered.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, birth defects are serious conditions resulting in a structural change in the body of a baby or child.
When a child is born with a birth defect, the mother, parents, or the child’s family may suffer significant financial and emotional damages.
Particularly, the child may require multiple surgeries, medical treatments, medical devices, or not have the ability to lead a normal life.
In addition to the direct costs, medical bills and expenses, the mother, parents, or family may suffer important psychological harm in not only dealing with a child with a birth defect but going through all the medical steps and treatment the child may need.
Birth Defect Meaning
A birth defect can be any type of structural or functional defect that may result in a child being physically or mentally disabled or impaired.
Unfortunately, in the most extreme cases, birth defects can lead to the ultimate death of the minor child.
A structural birth defect is one that affects the child’s structural system like malformations of organs, bones, heart, or others.
A functional birth defect is one that leads to abnormalities in the systems that run through the child’s body such as neurological systems, immune system, or endocrine systems leading to intellectual impairment, autism, disabilities, or others.
Generally, the main cause of birth defects is due to wrongful exposure to toxic chemicals and substances used by the mother at home or at work.
In the United States, statistics show that there are more than 150,000 children that are born with a structural birth defect.
Common Causes of Birth Defects
What are the common causes of birth defects?
There may be many reasons why a child is born with a structural or functional defect.
Here are the most common causes of birth defects:
- The mother was exposed to toxic substances and products
- The use of drugs (over the counter or prescription drugs)
Although not all cases of birth defect can be scientifically proven as to its cause, there are many birth defect cases that are directly linked to exposure to:
- Heavy metals
- Paint and paint thinners
- Cleaning products
- EGE (ethylene glycol ethers)
- Toxic chemicals
- Certain types of medical treatments
- Air contaminants
- Ground contaminants
- Water contaminants
Drugs Causing Birth Defects
In addition to toxic chemicals, many prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications have been linked to causing birth defects.
Certain medications have been linked to serious birth defects such as Accutane, retinoids, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), phenylephrine, nasal decongestants, anti-nausea medication, anti-seizure drugs, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, acne medication, antibiotics, and opioids.
For example, on July 19, 2006, the FDA issued a Public Health Advisory relating to the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) causing birth defects, such as:
- Celexa (citalopram)
- Lexapro (escitalopram)
- Symbyax (olanzapine and fluoxetine)
- Zoloft (sertraline)
- Zofran (ondansetron)
As such, if a pregnant woman works in an environment exposing her to pesticides, paint, chemical products and others, her chances of giving birth to a child with a birth defect go up.
Types of Birth Defects
A child can be born with different types of defects.
Here are some of the most common types of birth defects that are diagnosed:
- Abdominal Birth Defects / Omphalocele
- Anal atresia (complete or partial closure of the anus)
- Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Cardiac (heart) defects
- Cleft lip and cleft palate
- Clubfoot (one or both feet turn downward and inward)
- Craniosynostosis (skull defect)
- Limb Defects
- Neural-tube defects (brain and spinal cord, spina bifida)
- PPHN (Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn)
- Cerebral Palsy
- Cerebral Hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation
- Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate
- Congenital Heart Defect
- Neural tube defects (e.g. Spina Bifida)
- Erb’s Palsy
- Brachial Plexus Dysfunction
- Down Syndrome
According to statistics, every year, 1 in every 33 babies is born with a birth defect of some kind.
Who Can File A Birth Defect Claim
Any woman or parents giving birth to a child with a birth defect that can be attributable to the wrongdoing of another can potentially file a birth defect civil lawsuit.
Many birth defect lawsuits have been filed by individuals working in:
- Beauty salons
- Paint factories
- Manufacturing facilities (like semiconductor factories)
- Metal cleaning operations
- The agricultural industry
- Environments with air or water contaminants
Although these are some examples of places a woman may work increasing her chances of giving birth to a child with defects, there may be many other industries or work environments where exposure to toxic chemicals or products can result in a birth defect.
In addition to exposure to toxic chemicals at the workplace, individuals who were exposed to toxic substances at home or during their personal activities may also file a claim, such as:
- Using beauty products with toxic chemicals
- Using personal care products like creams, shampoos, or others
- Taking prescription drugs
- Using products containing lead or heavy products
If you have given birth to a child with a defect and you believe that the cause is attributable to another party, you should consult with a birth defect lawyer to get a legal consultation on your rights and recourses.
Statute of Limitations Birth Defect Lawsuits
If you have given birth to a child with a birth defect or your child has recently been diagnosed with a birth defect and you believe you have a legal claim, it’s very important to contact an experienced birth attorney lawyer or law firm for legal consultation.
In fact, every state defines the legal timeline for a person to file a civil lawsuit to recover damages from another.
This is called the statute of limitations.
Based on the applicable laws, the statute of limitations establishes how long you have to file a birth defect lawsuit against the defendant or party at fault.
If you do not submit your claim before the expiration of the statute of limitations timeline, your legal action may get time-barred.
In other words, even if you had a valid claim against the defendant, the court would reject your claim as you filed the lawsuit too late.
You should immediately get a consultation from an attorney to understand the legal timelines you have to file a claim so you don’t end up losing the opportunity to hold the at-fault parties liable for your damages.
Birth Defect vs Birth Injuries
What is the difference between birth defect and birth injury?
When you are looking to file a lawsuit for birth defect, the child was affected by a structural or functional defect in the womb (prior to the birth).
However, a birth injury lawsuit is a type of lawsuit that is filed when an otherwise healthy child is injured during labor or in the process of delivery.
Birth defect lawsuits and birth injury lawsuits are both civil proceedings instituted against a party responsible for the health issues caused to a newborn baby.
However, birth defect claims and birth injury claims may differ in terms of who is at fault, the nature of the harm caused to the child, the child’s development, and overall damages.
Birth Defect Lawsuits Takeaways
So there you have it folks!
What does a birth defect lawsuit entail?
When can you file a birth defect lawsuit?
When a child is born with a birth defect or is eventually diagnosed with a birth defect, the news can be detrimental to the mother or parents.
In some cases, the cause cannot be scientifically proven.
However, in other cases, birth defects may be directly linked to or proximately caused by the mother’s exposure to chemical products at home or at the workplace, toxic substances, contaminants in the air, ground, or water, prescription drugs, other causes.
When the birth defect was caused due to unlawful exposure to toxic products and chemicals or due to medical malpractice, the mother or parents of the child may file a birth defect lawsuit to recover the damages caused to them.
The objective of a birth defect lawsuit is to recover monetary and non-monetary damages such as medical bills, surgery costs, medical devices, lost wages and earnings, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and more.
The fact is that birth defect claims may be quite complex and take a long time to resolve.
If you believe that you have a possible claim for birth defects and are looking for compensation, you should call a birth defect attorney for legal advice to assess the merits of your case.
I hope I was able to provide you with the essential information you need on birth defect lawsuits and claims.
Now, let’s look at a summary of our findings.
Understanding A Birth Defect Lawsuit
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