The birth of a child should be a joyous occurrence and a happy time for parents and families. However, all too often, the negligence of healthcare providers during pregnancy, labor, or delivery can result in catastrophic birth injuries. In some cases, these birth injuries can devastate parents and children for the rest of their lives.
If you are a parent and suspect that a birth injury to your child occurred because of a medical professional's negligence, you need a knowledgeable Florida birth injury lawyer by your side every step of the way. While no amount of money can truly compensate someone for a lifelong birth injury, the experienced birth injury attorneys of Dolman Law Group can explore all of the facts and circumstances of your case with you. Take advantage of a free consultation with our team to discuss any and all legal options that you may have available.
Why Do I Need a Florida Birth Injury Lawyer to Handle My Claim?
Parents with children who sustained birth injuries caused by negligent medical providers may be entitled to recover compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. Whether or not your settlement reflects the extent of your damages largely depends on the quality of birth injury lawsuits your hire. If you attempt to negotiate on your own behalf, you will likely receive less compensation than you would have with a personal injury lawyer by your side.
A birth injury lawyer will have the combination of medical knowledge and legal expertise to make a convincing argument for maximum compensation. They will also have access to expert witnesses that can prove critical in bolstering your birth injury claim. Birth injury attorneys will manage the paperwork associated with the personal injury claims process, review medical records, craft a negotiating strategy, represent your interests to bill collectors and insurance agents, and advocate for maximum compensation.
In all likelihood, you will actually be facing the medical provider's medical malpractice insurance carrier. They will try to avoid paying out any more than they absolutely have to to protect their profits. While you focus on caring for your family after the loss or injury of your child, let an experienced birth injury attorney pursue compensation for your losses.
Causes of Florida Birth Injuries
In most cases, birth injuries in Florida occur because of:
- Improper use of delivery room techniques
- Improper monitoring of fetal heart rates
- Failure to account for risk factors
- Failure to diagnose birth defects
- Delayed C-sections or improperly performed medical procedures
- Insufficient oxygen to the baby's brain
- Improper use of forceps or other delivery room tools and equipment
- Improper or incorrect delivery room drugs or oxygen provided to the baby’s mother
- Improperly monitoring delivery room patients
- Failure to follow correct delivery room rules, procedures, and hospital policies
Typical Birth Injuries in Florida Hospitals
Florida birth injury cases are unique, and no two are the same. While some birth injuries occur naturally and involve pregnancy complications or difficulties with labor, most birth injuries occur when healthcare providers behave in reckless, careless, or negligent ways—especially during delivery room procedures.
In most cases, delivery room doctors (that is, the obstetricians), nurses, or personnel are potentially responsible for birth injuries. In a medical malpractice lawsuit, they may face liability where birth injuries are involved. When delivery room doctors and hospital staff fail to follow the proper delivery room protocols and procedures, serious birth injuries can result. Common birth injuries include:
- Injuries to the baby’s skull
- Shoulder dystocia
- Cerebral palsy
- Hypoxia (that is, a lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain)
- Irreversible brain damage
- Wrongful death
What Damages Can I Recover in a Florida Birth Injury Lawsuit?
Parents who file birth injury lawsuits may recover compensation for their losses and losses their child has sustained as a result of a medical provider's negligence. A child with a birth injury may encounter life-long complications associated with their injury, which can impact their physical and mental health, job prospects, and finances.
These costs can be compensated with economic and non-economic damages. Non-economic damages provide compensation for emotional costs associated with the plaintiff's injuries, while economic damages account for their financial losses.
Examples of Damages in a Birth Injury Lawsuit:
- Medical bills
- Physical therapy
- Mobility aides
- Job-related losses
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Missed promotions
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Wrongful death
- Funeral and burial expenses
Statute of Limitations in Florida Birth Injury Cases
When children suffer birth injuries at the hands of negligent delivery room healthcare providers or hospitals, the parents only have a limited window of time during which they can file a claim or medical malpractice lawsuit. In most cases, parents must file claims or personal injury lawsuits against the negligent healthcare provider and hospital within two years of the date on which the birth injury should have reasonably been discovered.
Even so, under all circumstances, Florida’s statute of repose prohibits all claims or personal injury lawsuits filed more than four years from the date on which the birth injury was sustained. Finally, for children born after July 1, 1996, "Tony's Law" allows parents to file a claim for medical malpractice until a child's eighth birthday, regardless of the statute of repose.
However, this extended statute of limitations deadline may not apply in cases where the child’s parent or legal guardians knew or should have known that the birth injury was likely caused by malpractice on the part of a negligent healthcare provider.
Due to stringent and unforgiving time constraints, if you are thinking about filing a claim or personal injury lawsuit for medical malpractice based upon a birth injury, you should retain experienced legal counsel as soon as possible. A Florida birth injury lawyer can meet all filing deadlines in timely ways and retain and designate the proper experts.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit in a Florida Birth Injury Case
Florida birth injuries fall within the scope of medical malpractice or obstetrical malpractice. Generally speaking, medical malpractice occurs when a health care provider, such as an obstetrician or delivery room nurse, breaches the established standard of care owed to patients under the circumstances.
As in all Florida personal injury cases, in a birth injury case the injured plaintiff—or the plaintiff’s representative—has the burden of proving negligence, injuries, and damages.
In Florida birth injury cases, healthcare providers are normally held to the standard of care applicable to all medical malpractice cases. The standard is "that level of care, skill, and treatment which, in light of all relevant surrounding circumstances, is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent similar health care providers."
A delivery room doctor who fails to act as a reasonable physician/obstetrician would have acted under those circumstances may have breached the applicable standard of care and may face liability for negligence.
The injured plaintiff must also show that the negligent healthcare provider’s breach of the applicable standard of care resulted in injuries and damages. Damages in a birth injury case may include cognitive impairments, such as growth deficiencies or learning disabilities.
Unfortunately, birth injuries usually cause children long-term or lifelong problems. Upon meeting the applicable burden of proof, the child may recover compensation for related medical bills and treatment, as well as compensation for a lifetime of pain, suffering, inconvenience, and future care.
Frequently Asked Questions About Florida Birth Injury Claims
What should I consider when looking for the best Florida birth injury lawyer near me?
It is important to choose the best Florida birth injury lawyer near you to handle your child's case. This is a personal decision and one that many families must make. The best personal injury attorney for your case will be one that offers insightful legal guidance every step of the way for you and your family. They should have experience handling cases just like yours with successful outcomes. In addition, they should be prepared to take your case all the way to court if necessary.
Before choosing the best Florida birth injury lawyer to handle your case, consider the following:
- Does your birth injury attorney have experience handling birth injury cases like yours?
- What is their track record of success?
- Are they experienced litigators, as well as negotiators?
- Do they practice law in your state and community?
- Does the law firm have the resources and time to take on your case?
- How easy is it to talk with them and get the information you need?
How much does it cost to hire a Florida birth injury lawyer?
For families struggling with medical bills and other expenses related to their child's birth injury, the last thing you need is the additional cost of hiring a personal injury lawyer. Fortunately, hiring a Florida birth injury lawyer is not a cost-prohibitive process. You don't have to pay your personal injury attorney before they represent you.
Instead, they recover a contingency fee after they have helped you settle your claim. This is usually the equivalent of about a third of your settlement or court awards. That way, you have the opportunity to seek compensation for damages from entities with greater resources, and your birth injury lawyer is motivated to maximize your compensation.
Can I pursue a wrongful death claim if my child's birth injuries were fatal?
In the event that a negligent medical provider caused a birth injury that directly led to your child's death, they can be likely held liable in a wrongful death lawsuit. You may be able to recover compensation for emotional distress, loss of companionship, and the expenses associated with a funeral. Wrongful death lawsuits have a more restrictive statute of limitations, so you should consider speaking with a wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible to avoid missing the opportunity to seek damages.
Why Should I Choose Dolman Law Group to Represent Me?
The Florida birth injury attorneys at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA have negotiated personal injury, birth injury, and wrongful death cases for many years. That has allowed us to acquire the medical knowledge and legal expertise required to bring your case to a successful resolution. We know you have many choices when it comes to selecting a law firm.
We want the chance to show you why so many Florida families choose us to represent them in their darkest hours. In addition to acquiring a number of awards and the recognition of other personal injury lawyers, we have the trust of our clients, which is invaluable to our team. Dolman Law Group clients benefit from our reliable work ethic, technical expertise, and dedication to our injured clients.
Dolman Law Group has offices located across the state of Florida to better represent you and we offer free initial consultations for all families. We can also offer support to clients nationwide. Our goal is to get to know you better and help give you the support and guidance you need during this time.
Clients Depend on Dolman Law Group for Fair Settlements
Our team understands the importance of recovering maximum compensation, as the settlement you receive in your personal injury lawsuit is meant to account for past, present, and future expenses related to your child's birth injury. You should feel confident that our team will go above and beyond to secure a settlement that meets your needs.
After all, we have a strong record of maximizing compensation for our injured clients. One of the hallmarks of a reputable personal injury lawyer is the willingness to go above and beyond to negotiate fair settlements. Our team has repeatedly demonstrated this skill set by dedicating the time, effort, and expertise needed to secure fair compensation.
Contact Dolman Law Group for Help With Your Florida Birth Injury Lawsuit
If your child sustained serious birth injuries as a result of a delivery room doctor or other health care provider’s negligence, you may be eligible for monetary compensation. The Florida personal injury attorneys of Dolman Law Group can offer you top-notch legal representation as you navigate the personal injury claims process.
After more than a decade of representing injured clients, we have cultivated the resources and expertise to effectively maximize your compensation. The experienced Florida birth injury attorneys at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA are ready and willing to litigate your case and represent your interests in court, if necessary.
Our team can provide valuable guidance throughout the personal injury claims process. To schedule a free consultation or case evaluation with a Florida birth injury attorney, please call us today at (727) 451-6900 or contact us online. We look forward to reviewing your claim in detail and discussing a strategy to maximize your compensation.
*The above information was written and reviewed by either Attorney Matthew Dolman or another injury lawyer at the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA which has a combined 90 plus years of experience practicing Florida personal injury law. Matthew Dolman himself has been practicing personal injury law in Clearwater and St. Petersburg for the last fifteen (15) years. The information provided comes from extensive research and years of experience trying legal cases in courtrooms throughout Florida.