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Who can be sued for a birth injury?

California patients who have a child who suffered a devastating birth injury may be interested in filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against those who were responsible. There are several parties who may potentially be held responsible for a birth injuries, including the hospital where the injury took place, the doctors or staff members who caused the injury and even pharmaceutical companies.

Hospitals are responsible for ensuring that the health care professionals they hire are properly licensed and trained. This is because, under the respondeat superior doctrine, they employed the person who made the mistake. If a hospital fails to make proper inquiries into an employee’s background prior to hiring him or her, it could potentially be held vicariously responsible if that person makes a mistake that results in a birth injury. Additionally, the hospital could be held liable if it does not schedule a certain number of registered nurses on duty, keep accurate medical records or properly admit patients.

Doctors or other health care professionals who caused the birth injury may also be held liable if they were considered to be an independent contractor. If this is the case, the doctor, but not the hospital itself, can be held liable. Finally, a pharmaceutical company that made a medication that did not provide warnings regarding potential birth defects may be held liable. The exception to this is if the doctor who prescribed the medication knew about the risks but failed to warn his or her pregnant patient. In this case, it is the doctor who could be held liable.

Birth injuries can result in increased medical costs and long-term care for a child who suffers from a birth injury-induced condition like cerebral palsy. With the help of a capable attorney, parents may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the responsible party or parties in order to seek compensation for long-term care costs, medical costs and other damages.

Source: Findlaw , “Responsible Parties in Birth Injury Cases: Who Can Be Sued? “, August 20, 2014

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