Suing Drug-Addicted Mothers for Birth Injuries: What to Do

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There are a number of young women out there who get hooked on crack, heroin, and crystal meth. Some also become addicted to alcohol. When these women become pregnant, their addictions and drugs of choice cross the placentas to their unborn children. Even if the mothers suddenly decide to stop using, by the time they find out that they are pregnant it is often too late for the babies. If you act as guardian for a baby born with an addiction, you can sue for birth injuries.

First, Sue for Custody

If you are related to the mother and you know that she has not or will not give up her drugs, sue for custody of the baby. The baby is clearly in danger and suffering from its own addiction. As next of kin, you can secure custody of the child if the father cannot be found.

Next, Sue the Mother

It is harsh, but the baby will need lifelong care and support—first to beat the addiction, and then to survive the pre-birth damages. You will need to sue for birth injuries in civil court, as well as child support in family court. If so granted by both judges, the mother will begin accruing expenses immediately, for which she will have to pay every time she gets a job.

Pursue the Father as Well

Through DNA tests and any recollection from the mother of her sexual partners at the time of conception, the Department of Human Services can locate these men and request DNA tests via family court. Once the father has been established, you may sue him for support as well. If he is homeless, unemployed, and/or also an addict, it may be difficult. However, a court order that stands is still a court order, which helps in the event that either birth parent cleans up and gets a job.

Your Personal Injury Attorney Will Need Documentation of the Baby's Issues

Fetal alcohol syndrome occurs because the mother drank during pregnancy. Low birth weight, premature birth, heart and lung problems, and breathing disorders are all the result of smoking. Babies born addicted to meth and crack have epileptic fits, neuromuscular control problems, and experience a lot of pain during withdrawal. Babies withdrawing from heroin will have multiple delays in growth and development, and may even suffer cognitive delays. As such, your lawyer will need all of the baby's medical diagnoses in order to formulate an adequate lawsuit for compensation.