Having a child with developmental or physical disabilities can be extremely challenging; emotionally, physically, and financially. When those disabilities are the result of medical negligence, many parents feel overwhelmed by grief, frustration, and anger. Although injuries can occur as part of the normal birth process, some are the result of error or negligence. There are many types of birth injuries, and they can range from minor to severe.
- Bruises, and lacerations: Depending on the size of the infant, the size and shape of the mother’s pelvis, and many other factors, deliveries can be difficult, complicated procedures. Sometimes forceps are required to help ease the baby out of the birth canal. It is not uncommon for both mother and child to experience some minor lacerations or bruising. These birth injuries usually heal over time.
- Brachial Plexus: This condition can occur when an infant’s arm is injured, usually during a vaginal delivery. The injury may result in weakness, the inability to use certain parts of the arm, and pain. Erb’s palsy is a type of brachial plexus injury affecting the nerves of the upper arm. In severe cases, total paralysis of the arm may occur. Klumpke’s palsy affects the lower nerves in the arm, specifically the lower arm, wrists, and fingers. Klumpke’s palsy often results in complete paralysis of the affected limb.
- Shoulder dystocia: During delivery, a baby’s head and shoulders may become trapped behind the mother’s pelvic bone. The situation usually resolves itself, however, in severe cases the infant may have difficulty breathing, or may suffer from brachial plexus fractures, a collarbone fracture, cerebral palsy, and even death.
- Cerebral palsy: This is a permanent disorder characterized by problems with coordination, movement, and other disabilities. Severity varies extensively from person to person. Common symptoms include muscle stiffness and weakness, poor coordination, and tremors. People with cerebral palsy may also have difficulty with sight, hearing, sensation, swallowing, and speaking.
How is Fault Determined?
The first step in a birth injury case is to determine whether the standard of care was met during the labor and delivery process. Basically, the doctor and staff should have cared for the mother and baby as well as, if not better than, a similar doctor would have done in a similar situation. Would another doctor have acted in the same manner? If the answer is yes, the standard of care was likely met. If the answer is no, the doctor may have been negligent.
If negligence played a role in the birth injury, the next step is to determine who is at fault. Because of the significant amount of people involved in the labor and delivery process, many different people and corporations may be deemed responsible when something goes wrong. These include:
- Birth clinics
- Manufacturers of medical devices
- Pharmaceutical companies
Who is at fault is dependent on many factors. For example, a baby may be injured when a doctor fails to do an emergency C-section in time. However, if the doctor wasn’t informed of the need to do the C-section in a timely manner because the hospital was understaffed, the hospital might be at fault. In addition to being extremely emotional, birth injury lawsuits can be very complicated.
How to File a Birth Injury Claim
Contacting a birth injury lawyer is the first step in filing a claim. Time is of the essence with these types of cases. There are very specific notice requirements and statutes of limitations when filing a malpractice claim. In addition, your attorney will need to obtain extensive information, such as medical records and expert opinions, all of which can take a long time. The sooner you get started, the higher your chances of success will be.
The Goldwater Law Firm – Birth Injury Lawyers Helping Clients Nationwide
If you believe that your child’s birth injury is the result of medical negligence, the first step is to contact a skilled medical malpractice attorney. If your child has special needs due to a birth injury, you may be facing a lifetime of expenses. An experienced malpractice attorney can help you obtain the compensation you need to get appropriate medical treatment, educational assistance, and other developmental care and assistance that your child requires. The malpractice team at the Goldwater Law Firm has an impressive track record of obtaining compensation for clients, and we can help you. Contact us today for a free consultation about your case.