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Although many birth injuries develop due to unavoidable complications, others are caused by the negligence or carelessness of a medical professional. In these cases, our Jacksonville birth injury attorneys may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit seeking compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Since birth injury lawsuits require an understanding of both the medical and legal fields, it is important to retain an attorney with the experience and resources needed to handle these complex claims. At Morgan & Morgan, our birth injury attorneys have over two decades of success achieving substantial settlements and verdicts for families who were affected by a birth injury.
Was your child injured at birth? If so, you may have legal recourse. Do not hesitate to contact us by filling out the simple, no-obligation consultation form.
Why Should I Contact a Lawyer?
At Morgan & Morgan, our attorneys understand that, in addition to the emotional demand, a birth injury can also place a serious financial strain on the injured child’s family. The cost of lifelong medical bills, physical therapy, specialized schooling and other necessary accommodations for the handicapped may exceed what an average family can afford.
If it is suspected that medical negligence led to your child’s injury, the attorneys in our Jacksonville office can work alongside medical experts to estimate your family’s projected cost of living and may be able to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for these and other expenses. Through a successful Florida birth injury lawsuit, families can gain the financial freedom needed to make decisions about education and treatment for their child, and will not have to depend solely on limited medical assistance and Social Security.
To help strengthen your claim for damages, our Jacksonville birth injury attorneys will gather evidence and examine your medical records to review diagnostic tests, electronic fetal strip monitoring, the use of birth tools, labor and delivery flow sheets, as well as any additional notes on the pregnancy and delivery.
We will also work with experts in the field to demonstrate how the medical professional responsible for your child’s injury was negligent in his or her treatment. Our experts often prove instrumental in showing that the medical professional’s error was the direct cause of your child’s injury, a necessary condition for proving liability and recovering an award in these types of cases.
Do I Have a Birth Injury Claim?
To have a valid claim, the injury must have been the direct result of a negligent medical professional’s actions or omissions. In Florida, the medical team assigned to a birth is responsible for monitoring the health of the fetus, executing a pre-determined plan, and dealing with any complications that may arise. If a member of that team falls short of the accepted standard of care in the industry, and an injury results, they may be found negligent and therefore liable for any resulting damages.
Birth injuries that are caused by medical negligence may stem from:
Improper Forceps Use: When the infant is in fetal distress or the mother is otherwise having difficulty delivering her child, the attending physician may use forceps to assist in the process. When used properly, forceps can reduce the child’s risk of oxygen deprivation and relieve fetal distress; however, when used improperly, they could result in trauma to the baby’s head. If a brain injury is sustained by the use of forceps, our attorneys may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit on your behalf.
Improper Vacuum Use: When an infant has difficulty escaping the birth canal, a vacuum may be used to expedite the birthing process. In vacuum extraction birth, the instrument can be suctioned to a baby’s shoulder or skull to guide the child through the birth canal. When used improperly, however, vacuum extractors can inflict a wide range of serious injuries on both the mother and the newborn.
Delay in Ordering a Caesarian Section: Emergency C-sections may be ordered if the child is suffering from fetal distress. If the delivery team fails to recognize these problems or delays in ordering a C-section, they may be liable for any resulting injuries.
Hypoxia: Hypoxia occurs when the child’s brain is not receiving enough oxygen. During childbirth, a tangled umbilical cord, infection or damage to the placenta can result in hypoxia. Medical practitioners are trained to detect hypoxia in advance and to take steps to eliminate the risk of further harm. If a doctor fails to notice the hypoxic event and take quick action to avoid injury, he or she may be liable for any resulting damages.
Birth injuries that are caused by any of the following may indicate negligence on the part of the physician or delivery team:
- Improperly using Pitocin, a labor-inducing drug
- Failing to perform specialized tests during pregnancy
- Failing to diagnose or treat birthing complications including infection, placenta abruption or previa, umbilical cord entrapment or premature rupture of the membranes
- Neglecting to communicate problems to doctors
- Failing to refer high-risk patients to specialized physicians
- Failing to recognize and address changes in the fetus’ condition
- Failing to perform sufficient pre-natal testing
Jacksonville Cerebral Palsy Cases
While there are several causes of cerebral palsy, it can result from a brain injury incurred before, during, or after delivery. Specifically, cerebral palsy develops when the baby does not receive enough oxygen to the brain during those critical stages. A largely preventable birth injury, cerebral palsy can, in some cases, be caused by the negligence of an attending physician.
When a mother is in labor, the attending physicians have a legal obligation to ensure that the baby is receiving the required levels of oxygen before, during and after the birth. If a physician makes a negligent decision or fails to correct a dangerous issue in a timely manner, the infant may be put at unnecessary risk of developing cerebral palsy. The attorneys at our Jacksonville office handle birth injury lawsuits where the following acts of medical negligence have led to cerebral palsy:
- Delaying an emergency caesarian section or failing to recognize the need for a caesarian section
- Failing to act when the infant is distressed, such as when the umbilical cord is wrapped around the neck
- Misusing medical tools, such as forceps and vacuums
- Failing to read the fetal monitoring strip
If a Florida healthcare provider is negligent in treating your child during birth, and the child is injured as a result, they may be held liable for damages resulting from the birth injury.
The Cost of Cerebral Palsy
According to the Center for Disease Control, the cost of care for a person with cerebral palsy over the course of a lifetime is $1,000,000. This figure accounts only for the financial costs, and does not account for the physical and emotional burdens that typically accompany such an injury. If your child was born with cerebral palsy, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses present and future, lost wages, and pain and suffering, among other damages. To find out if you can file a cerebral palsy claim, contact our attorneys today with details of your child’s injury.
Other Cases We Handle
At Morgan & Morgan, our attorneys investigate medical malpractice claims involving the following birth injuries:
- Brachial plexus injury (Erb’s Palsy and Klumpke’s Palsy)
- Shoulder dystocia
- Soft tissue damage
- Facial paralysis
- Brain injury (from oxygen deprivation, blood flow problems, or otherwise)
- Drug-related injuries (such as SSRI-related injuries)
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord damage
- Umbilical cord strangulation or injuries
- Internal bleeding
These injuries can affect the quality of life for the child, the mother, and their family, as they sometimes lead to long-term physical, mental, and financial difficulties. Compensation from a birth injury lawsuit can help provide a family with financial stability and ensure that the injured child receives the best quality of medical care for the rest of his or her life.
If your child was injured at birth, you may be able to file a claim. Since there is a time limit (statute of limitations) on filing a Jacksonville birth injury lawsuit, and because gathering the necessary medical records and contracting experts can be a lengthy process, it is important that you contact our attorneys as soon as possible.
To find out how a Jacksonville birth injury lawyer may be able to help you, please fill out our free case review form.