Parents who are expecting hope for a happy, healthy baby to bring home from the hospital. Often this is the case, but birth injuries do happen; when a birth injury occurs, it can turn a dream into a nightmare in an instant. More generally, Florida saw 3,334 adverse action reports and 1,105 medical malpractice payment reports in 2017. Nationally, about seven babies out of 1,000 are born with a birth injury.
Coping with the consequences of a birth injury is painful and overwhelming, but when an injury could have been easily avoided, it makes matters even worse.
If your infant sustained an injury during delivery, you may be entitled to compensation related to the injury. No amount of money will make up for your family’s physical and mental pain, but recovering damages may help with mounting medical bills and financial stress due to missing work to take care of your infant. Call an experienced birth injury attorney at Sibley Dolman Accident Injury Lawyers, LLP in Boca Raton at (561) 220-4963 to discuss your case.
Preventable Birth Injuries
A newborn can sustain injuries during childbirth that may lead to several different conditions. Cerebral palsy (CP) is the number one birth-related injury; it is treatable if proper measures are taken as soon as possible. Some examples of causes of CP and other birth-related injuries include:
- Lack of monitoring and acting when fetal distress is present
- Failure to perform an emergency Caesarean section (C-section) when necessary
- Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose a prolapsed umbilical cord
Negligence during childbirth may result in other birth-related injuries such as:
- Brachial plexus palsy (Erb’s palsy) occurs when the upper arm is injured during birth, and the infant loses use of the arm. Erb’s palsy sometimes affects the shoulder and hand, too.
- Bone fractures and skull fractures
- Cephalohematoma occurs under an infant’s skull; forceps use is often linked with a heightened risk of cephalohematoma.
- Caput succedaneum is swelling on a baby’s scalp after delivery, often caused by the overuse or misuse of a vacuum and/or forceps.
- Epidural injuries may occur such as brain injuries, stroke, and coma because of too much medication.
- Horner’s syndrome is facial paralysis that is often a result of the misuse of birthing tools.
- Spinal cord injuries may occur from an infection or blunt force trauma during delivery.
Fault in Birth Injury Cases
In most cases, the doctor and hospital are at fault in a birth injury, but nursing staff and other medical professionals involved with labor and delivery may also be liable in certain situations. When medications are involved, the pharmaceutical company may also be held liable in some cases. Often, medical malpractice claims are multiparty lawsuits that include the doctor and the hospital at the very least.
Damages in Birth Injury Cases
If the court awards damages to you because your infant was injured during birth, it is most likely that any of the damages that you recover will be compensatory. The most common damages that may be recovered include medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Medical Expenses. Medical bills from a birth-related injury can add up quickly. Depending on how serious your baby’s injuries are, how long he or she has to be hospitalized, and the quality of your health insurance, you can easily amass tens of thousands of dollars in medical expenses. You can try to recover any medical costs that are directly related to your infant’s injuries including hospitalization, surgery, X-rays and other scans, medication, and physical therapy. In the case of permanent disability, you may also recover damages for long-term care and associated expenses.
Lost Wages. If you had to take time away from your job to be with your infant at the hospital or to provide care at home, you may also claim lost wages. Birth-related injuries sometimes don’t show up until your infant is older. In some cases, you may be able to claim lost future wages for your child, referred to as loss of earning capacity.
Pain and Suffering. Recovering damages for pain and suffering is commonplace in personal injury cases, but determining the amount in a birth injury case is not an easy task. Your attorney will help you put a value on this by considering the following items that the court will consider:
- How severe is your child’s injury?
- How long will he or she suffer from complications?
- How old is your child?
- Is there any scarring or disfigurement because of the birth-related injury? If so, where is it located?
- How much economic loss did you suffer because of your infant’s injury?
You Need a Lawyer to Fight the Defense’s Counterclaims
Recovering damages for a birth-related injury in typically involves filing a medical malpractice claim. Florida requires a presuit investigation with the opinion of a medical expert. Once the medical professional has been notified, they have the ability to respond with their own expert. Even when negligence is clear, insurance carriers will deny claims and downplay your child’s injury. In the case of an injury that begins showing symptoms when your child is a bit older, the defense will claim that the symptoms are not related to the birth injury. Additionally, they will find medical experts to agree with them and discredit your medical expert’s opinion.
Medical malpractice cases are complex because of the extra steps involved. A skilled attorney is familiar with common counterclaims made by insurance carriers, doctors, and hospitals and will fight to make sure you get the best possible outcome for your situation.
How a Sibley Dolman Accident Injury Lawyers, LLP Birth Injury Lawyer Can Help Me
A medical malpractice suit for a birth injury is similar to other personal injury cases in that it is often handled on a contingent fee basis after a lawyer decides they are going to take your case. This means that you pay no attorney fees up front to discuss the details of your case during a free consultation; attorney fees are deducted out of any settlement or damages that the court awards you.
If your infant has sustained an injury during childbirth because of the negligence of one or more of the medical staff where you delivered, you need to call a lawyer as soon as possible. While Florida has no statute of limitations on medical malpractice suits for children younger than eight, a lawyer can help guide you through the process and make sure that you have everything documented. The experienced birth injury attorneys at Sibley Dolman Accident Injury Lawyers, LLP in Boca Raton can evaluate the merits of your case and advise you on the next steps of filing a medical malpractice suit. Call (561) 220-4963 or send us a confidential email for a free consultation.
Sibley Dolman Accident Injury Lawyers, LLP
2101 NW Corporate Boulevard, Suite 410
Boca Raton, Florida 33431
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