What Types of Birth Injury Cases Do Birth Injury Lawyers Take On?
Brain injuries sustained during childbirth are much more common than parents realize. For every 1,000 babies born in the US, five will be injured.
Parents hold a certain level of trust that their medical care provider will do everything they can to ensure a safe birthing procedure that protects the health of the child and mother. When a medical professional breaks that trust, the consequences can be catastrophic.
Most injuries that occur at birth are very minor and only result in slight, temporary nerve damage for the baby. However, some birth injuries may lead to significant brain damage that can impair that child’s quality of life years down the road.
Diagnosing a birth injury as a result of negligence is quite tricky and requires the experience and knowledge of an attorney who can adequately evaluate your claim. Newborns to children twenties years or younger may qualify for a birth injury claim with the proper medical history.
Most birth injury attorneys work on cases where medical negligence that leads to a birth injury occurs anytime between prenatal care to labor.
Not sure if your child suffered an injury as a result of medical negligence? Here we’ll discuss what you need to know to qualify for a claim against a medical provider and provide specific examples of cases that may be eligible for restitution.
How Do I Know My Child’s Birth Injury Was Caused By Negligence?
Establishing causation in a birth injury case can be quite difficult and will require a thorough examination. For example, a child born with cerebral palsy could either be due to a lack of oxygen during the birthing process or by another identifiable congenital disability.
Fortunately, there are resources that parents can use to help establish causation. The A.P.G.A.R. scorecard can help diagnose a child’s physical appearance and vitals at birth and determine if any issues exist. Parents can use the A.P.G.A.R. scorecard to diagnose birth injuries that are not immediately apparent at birth.
An attorney can also work with a medical professional to review your patient history and see whether or not a child’s birth injury may have been caused by medical negligence.
Cases That Lead to Birth Injury
There are many examples of medical negligence that can lead to a birth injury. The most common cases include:
Failing to diagnose complications early in the pregnancy. This could consist of poor positioning of the baby that can be seen with an ultrasound or thorough examination. Other complications include infections from the mother, high blood pressure, and other diseases that could potentially impact the child.
Improper care that leads to a placental abruption. A placental abruption could cause a baby to lose oxygen and lead to severe birth injuries, such as cerebral palsy. Complications can be avoided by diagnosing and mitigating the effects of a placental abruption.
Improper care that leads to an emergency c-section. While c-sections are a relatively standard procedure, failure to initiate one promptly or to properly execute a c-section can lead to catastrophic consequences. Just as standard, some medical providers fail to identify potential risk factors that may require a c-section and instead opt for a traditional birth that results in injury.
Leaving the baby at risk by mishandling crucial medications. Improperly prescribing a mother medication that could leave the baby at risk or that the mother is allergic to can have unforeseen consequences that can end up being severe.
Birth Injuries That Are Often a Result of Negligence
Hypoxic brain damage
Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy occurs as a result of oxygen deprivation and not receiving enough blood flow to the brain. Infants can experience a wide range of symptoms depending on their severity, including differences in appearance and skin tone, as well as an increased risk of seizures. An injury that leads to hypoxic brain damage can occur during, before, or after labor.
Cerebral palsy is most commonly caused by leaving a child too long in the birth canal and depriving him or her of oxygen. Symptoms of cerebral palsy include, ataxia, involuntary muscle tremors, and an increased risk for seizures. Many complications can lead to cerebral palsy so it’s essential to work with an attorney to determine if the cause if a result of malpractice.
Cephalohematomas are a collection of blood beneath the baby’s periosteum that usually resolves itself within a few days. In rare cases, if left untreated, cephalohematomas can lead to jaundice and other blood conditions.
Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN)
PPHN is a rare condition where the baby’s blood does not properly circulate throughout their body. Upon birth, this can lead to oxygen deprivation that could cause serious long-term consequences. Identifying this condition early on in pregnancy is key to avoiding any potential birth injuries that could threaten the life of the child.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Many complications could lead to a permanent spinal cord injury for a child. Failing to identify a potential breach or other conditions, such as CPD, can leave a baby at an increased risk for a spinal cord or neck injury. Most often, these injuries are preventable if caught early.
Improper use of a vacuum or clamp device could lead to Caput Succedaneum or the swelling of a baby’s scalp. While symptoms may be mild, they can also be catastrophic if of a result of medical negligence. Establishing causation is vital to getting justice and proper compensation for a preventable injury like Caput Succedaneum.
What Cases Does a Birth Injury Attorney Not Handle?
Birth injury lawyers only handle cases of birth injury where medical negligence or malpractice can be the established cause of an injury. Genetic conditions and birth defects, such as autism do not qualify for a medical malpractice claim. Additionally, unforeseen complications that lead to a severe birth injury may not be eligible for a birth injury claim.
What Form of Compensation Am I Entitled To?
Depending on the court’s decision or the arbitration process, parents are entitled to compensation for any future or past medical bills sustained as a result of a birth injury. Compensation should cover the cost of any attorney you enlist and any court fees as well.
How Do I Find an Attorney Who Understands My Child’s Birth Injury?
Depending on the child’s birth injury, it may be advantageous to find an attorney who specializes in that specific form of birth injury. Latona Law specializes in all cases of birth injury and has experience fighting for claims relating to cerebral palsy, hypoxic brain damage, and many more injuries,
Latona Law has the mentality that every birth injury should be investigated. There are so many factors, at many different stages of care that could lead to these catastrophic situations. If the child is a newborn or born less than 20 years ago, and has suffered a devastating injury, it is imperative to review the case with an attorney.
Birth injury consultations are free at Latona Law, and a team of experienced attorneys handles all cases. Call (570)825-9000 for a free consultation!