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, some of which 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, an attorney can explore all of the facts and circumstances of your case with you, as well as any and all legal options that you may have available.
The Florida birth injury attorneys at Dolman Law Group have litigated personal injury, birth injury, and wrongful death cases for many years, and they have the medical knowledge and legal expertise required to bring your case to a successful resolution.
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 health care providers behave in reckless, careless, or negligent ways—especially during delivery room procedures.
In most cases, delivery rooms doctors (that is, the obstetricians), nurses, or personnel are potentially responsible for birth injuries—and may face liability in medical malpractice cases where birth injuries are involved.
Causes of Birth Injuries
In most cases, birth injuries in Florida occur because of:
- Improper use of delivery room techniques
- Improper monitoring of fetal heart rates
- 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 provided to the baby’s mother
- Improperly monitoring deliver room patients
- Failure to follow correct delivery room rules and procedures
Typical Birth Injuries
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
- Cerebral palsy
- Hypoxia (that is, a lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain)
- Irreversible brain damage
- Wrongful death
Statute of Limitations in Florida Birth Injury Cases
When children suffer birth injuries at the hands of negligent delivery room health care providers or hospitals, the parents only have a limited window of time during which they can file a claim or lawsuit for medical malpractice.
In most cases, parents must file claims or lawsuits against the negligent health care 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 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 health care provider.
Due to stringent and unforgiving time constraints, if you are thinking about filing a claim or 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.
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, health care providers are normally held to the standard of care applicable to all medical malpractice cases, which 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 health care 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.
Contact a Florida Personal Injury Attorney Today for a Free Initial Consultation and Case Evaluation
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 experienced Florida birth injury attorneys at Dolman Law Group are ready and willing to litigate your case and represent your interests in court, if necessary.
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.
*The above information was written and reviewed by either Attorney Matthew Dolman or another injury lawyer at the Dolman Law Group 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.