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Bone Fractures

Pediatrician Examines InfantWatching a newborn suffer pain from bone fractures may be the most devastating experience of a parent’s life, as the moment that should be cause for excitement and joy becomes shadowed by doubt, fear, and grief.

Families who’ve suffered such tragedy are encouraged to contact the Los Angeles birth injury lawyers at Ellis Law for compassionate and skilled legal advice. Money alone can never fully compensate for all that parents lose in such circumstances, but a cash award can help relieve day-to-day concerns about medical bills and expenses.A

Our attorneys offer confidential, no-obligation consultations to parents struggling to understand what happened and what to do next.

Bone fracture injuries during childbirth

Roughly one in every 1,000 newborns suffers a bone fracture as a result of the delivery process.  The collarbone (clavicle) is the most common bone to break during childbirth, but other bones can be fractured as well, including the skull; leg, ankle or foot; back; hip; arm or wrist.

Bone fractures and other birth injuries are often associated with certain complications of labor and delivery.

  • Birth weight over 8 lbs., 13 oz.
  • Premature birth, as babies born before 37 weeks have more fragile bodies that may be injured more easily
  • Unusual birth presentation, for example breech (feet first) position
  • Dystocia, a general term for difficult labor or childbirth
  • Prolonged labor
  • Cephalopelvic disproportion, where the mother’s pelvic size and shape are inadequate for a vaginal birth 

But a bone fracture can occur even when none of these conditions is present.  Sometimes medical staff may fail to recognize a problem or provide proper care during delivery.  Delivery room staff may suffer from overwork, fatigue, inadequate training, insufficient personnel, or other causes.  At Ellis Law, we know that even the best intentions cannot always prevent injuries in these circumstances. Our skilled team can determine whether the injury was caused by substandard care, and advise families about their options for legal recourse.

California birth injury lawsuit deadlines 

California law includes a complicated set of deadlines and procedures for filing a birth injury lawsuit.  Cases involving children under age six must be filed within three years of the date of injury OR before the child’s eighth birthday – whichever period is longer.

If the child was born in a county hospital or other government health care facility, a claim must be filed within 180 days.  In cases involving negligence, any physician who may potentially be sued must receive 90 days’ notice before a lawsuit may be filed.

Some health care providers require resolution through arbitration, rather than by filing a lawsuit.  Historically, the Kaiser system in California has required arbitration of such claims, but others may do so as well.

These complex procedures make it even more important for parents to obtain expert legal advice.  Ellis Law attorneys have significant experience in resolving birth injury cases in Los Angeles and throughout southern California.  Parents seeking compensation for their child’s birth injury can rely on our expertise to guide them through the entire litigation process.

Compensation in birth injury lawsuits

Infants who suffered bone fractures during birth may recover quickly, as the baby’s growth during the first months of life proceeds quickly.  Sometimes, however, a child may face expensive procedures and lengthy recovery periods.  Medical treatment may be required for the rest of the child’s life.

Parents of a newborn who suffered a fractured bone during labor may file a lawsuit seeking compensation for their losses.  Litigation can help families struggling to pay for a lifetime of treatment for a child injured at birth due to negligence by a physician, nurse or other health care professional.  Families may also recover for lost income, the child’s pain and suffering, and, in some circumstances, his or her diminished earnings prospects.

In 1975 the California legislature passed a law known as the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA).  That statute provides that malpractice victims can recover a maximum of $250,000 in compensation for pain and suffering caused by the wrongful treatment.

However, that cap applies only to decisions rendered by a jury or judge, after a case has been tried.  A lawsuit that is resolved by voluntary settlement before going to trial may provide for higher pain and suffering damages.  For example, in January 2014, Kaiser Permanente agreed to pay $265,000 to the family of a 10-year-old girl who died after her pneumonia was mistakenly diagnosed as flu.

Birth injury lawyers Los Angeles trusts

At Ellis Law, our birth injury lawyers work with the most talented professionals available, in LA and from across the country, to handle each lawsuit.  Our skillful investigators find all needed medical records and other documentation.  Then we work closely with expert orthopaedists and other specialists to determine what caused the injury.  If negligence or substandard care by doctors, nurses, midwives, and/or the hospital resulted in bone fractures for a newborn, we can file a lawsuit to obtain compensation.

Once we have filed a case on your behalf, the medical staff and their insurance company often seek to settle before going to trial.  If the compensation offered is sufficient, a pretrial settlement may help parents and child move forward with their lives.  But if a full trial is required, our attorneys will put all their experience and expertise to work to get full compensation for a family’s losses.

If your child suffered a fractured bone during delivery, we encourage you to contact us for a free consultation.  Please call 1-800-INJURED or in Los Angeles at (310) 641-3335.

  1. Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital, Stanford Children’s Health, “Birth Injury,” http://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=birth-injury-90-P02340
  2. Russo, C. A. (Thomson Reuters) and Andrews, R.M. (AHRQ). Potentially Avoidable Injuries to Mothers and Newborns During Childbirth, 2006. HCUP Statistical Brief #74. June 2009. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/statbriefs/sb74.pdf
  3. California Code of Civil Procedure sections 340.4, 340.5, http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=ccp&group=00001-01000&file=335-349.4