In Hillsborough County, a doctor failed to perform a C-section in time. The delay in that C-section was the cause of serious injuries to the newborn baby. When the family wanted justice, they came to Morgan & Morgan. We got them a verdict of over $38 million.
The unavoidable truth is that negligence on the part of a medical provider during birth can cause serious problems. These can be a drain on the baby’s health, the mother’s health, and on the family’s financial well-being. Our Tampa attorneys have a complete understanding of obstetrics, as well as expert medical witnesses that can help us with a thorough, accurate investigation that proves that you are owed compensation for the injuries caused during birth.
Through both litigation and settlement negotiations, our birth injury lawyers have a successful history of recovering compensation on behalf of infants and mothers who were injured at birth..
Have you or your child been severely injured during childbirth? If so, you may be able to pursue legal action to collect compensation for your losses. To learn more about how we may be able to help, please complete our free case review form.
How Can a Tampa Birth Injury Attorney Help?
Birth injury cases are often complicated and should be handled by a knowledgeable birth injury attorney. These cases require several investigations, including an extensive, in-depth look into the factors leading to the injury, the history of parties involved in the childbirth, and medical complications that may have arisen before, during, or after delivery. Should you decide to pursue legal action, your attorney will carry out an investigation that may include:
- Reviewing the child and/or mother’s medical records;
- Gathering witness statements and accounts of the procedure and surrounding circumstances;
- Reviewing notes concerning the delivery and patient;
- Examining the accused party’s history of providing medical care;
- Exploring the history of other parties who may potentially be liable for damages;
- Consulting experts in the field, including obstetricians and anesthesiologists;
- Combing through the accused party’s description of the procedure with an expert to find any potential omissions, complications, or inaccuracies in the report;
- Reviewing the healthcare facility’s history, looking for previous lawsuits or complaints; or
- Hiring a private investigator.
Using the information he or she collects during the investigation, your attorney will create a claim that seeks compensation for your losses from the defendant(s), which may include the delivering doctor and/or hospital. In doing so, your attorney may engage in negotiations, file a lawsuit on your behalf, and re-negotiate for a settlement before trial.
If negotiations are unsuccessful, your attorney will prepare for court by using the discovery period to review the opposing parties’ records and files that may not have been attainable earlier; deposing and questioning witnesses and the defendant(s); preparing you for questioning from the defense attorneys; consulting an additional expert witnesses to gather more in-depth insight into your claim; and searching for any weak points in your claim or the defendant’s defense.
Proving a Tampa Birth Injury Lawsuit
To have a viable claim, the birth injury must have been caused by a healthcare professional’s negligence. There are four elements that the attorney must establish to prove negligence.
Doctor/Patient Relationship: The attorney must show that the healthcare professional that caused the injury had a relationship with the patient. In birth injury cases, any party involved in the childbirth process, including doctors, nurses, and anesthesiologists, has a doctor/patient relationship with both the mother and child. This relationship establishes a duty of care, which is to practice in a manner which protects the patient(s) from harm and to perform as other healthcare professionals would under similar circumstances.
Breach: Once a doctor/patient relationship is established, the physician or other parties are not automatically responsible for injuries sustained during childbirth. The attorney must show that the healthcare professional breached the duty of care owed to the mother and child through some negligent act or omission. It is vital to the success of a claim to prove negligence occurred; however, it is the most difficult to prove and will require extensive research on part of the attorney.
Injury: The attorney must also show that the doctor or other party’s negligence was the cause of the injury the mother and/or child suffered.
Damages: Lastly, the attorney must demonstrate that the injury caused the patient or family to incur identifiable damages, either physically, financially, or emotionally.
Both the mother and/or the child are at risk of injury during childbirth, and the hospital staff owes an equal duty of care to each. Childbirth includes the period of time before delivery (where vitals and are monitored and evaluated), the delivery itself, and post-birth care.
In some cases, the injury to the mother or child may be a pre-existing condition the staff negligently failed to diagnose. The injury may also be sustained during or after the delivery. In some cases, symptoms of the injury may not manifest until several days, weeks or months after the delivery.
Some injuries the child may suffer include:
- Cerebral palsy;
- Brachial plexus palsy, including Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy;
- Brain damage;
- Shoulder dystocia;
- Spinal cord damage;
- Caput succedaneum; and
- Wrongful death.
Mothers may suffer injuries including:
- Vaginal tears;
- Ruptured uterus;
- Preeclampsia (pregnancy-induced hypertension);
- Placenta acretia (placenta adherence to uterine wall);
- Placenta previa (placenta preventing normal vaginal delivery);
- Spinal cord damage;
- Clavicle fractures;
- Sepsis; and
- Wrongful death.
Cerebral palsy is a debilitating medical condition that adversely affects muscle movement, muscle tone, and general motor function, and is caused by damage to a child’s brain before or during birth. This birth injury can occur naturally or result from a healthcare professional’s negligence.
If a child develops cerebral palsy as the result of a healthcare provider’s negligence, the parents may be able to file a claim for any resulting damages, including present and future medical costs, loss of wages and future earning capacity, loss of enjoyment of life, and pain and suffering. While a birth injury lawsuit cannot cure a child with cerebral palsy, a substantial settlement can provide a family with the financial support necessary for the lifelong care of their child.
Cerebral palsy can develop naturally or due to the negligence of a physician, which may include:
- Depriving the infant of oxygen by leaving them in the birth canal too long;
- Exerting too much force during vacuum extraction or when using forceps;
- Failing to anticipate, recognize, or treat seizures following delivery;
- Not planning a C-section when factors are present that warrant the procedure (e.g. high birth weight, breeched fetal position);
- Failing to detect an umbilical cord wrapped around a child’s neck;
- Failing to perform a timely C-section when the fetus is in distress;
- Failing to properly monitor changes in fetal heart rate;
- Improperly monitoring the mother’s condition during delivery;
Causes of Birth Injuries
Some birth injuries are not due to the negligence of a healthcare professional, but sadly, incurred as a result of complications or circumstances outside of the physician’s control. In some cases, the complication may be caused by the physician or manifest during the delivery. Physicians are expected to know how to safely complete the delivery in the face of most of these unexpected or undiagnosed complications. To help ensure safe delivery and to manage any complications which may arise, the doctor may deviate from the birthing plan, use tools to help the child along or fix their position in the uterus, or perform emergency surgery, if necessary.
Our Tampa attorneys handle cases where the injury was caused negligently by a healthcare professional’s:
- Failure to diagnose a potential complication prior to delivery;
- Failure to examine the mother’s medical history;
- Inadequate monitoring of the mother and child before, during, and after delivery;
- Delayed responses to fetal distress;
- Failure to perform a timely C-section;
- Error(s) in administering medication or anesthesia;
- Improper use of forceps and vacuums while helping the child through the birth canal;
- Infliction of infection;
- Failure to warn the mother of known risks, depriving her the right to make an informed decision; or
- Failure to adhere to complete the procedure as other physicians would under the same circumstances.
Who Can I Sue?
Any party who has a doctor/patient relationship with or care of duty to the mother and child, including the team of doctors who delivered the child, may be responsible for damages. Other hospital staff, including nurses and anesthesiologists, may also be liable. The hospital itself may be named as a party responsible if they failed to hire proficient staff with proper training, or if they failed to enforce administrative rules and regulations which may have affected the birth.
In cases where the delivering physician has his or her own private practice, the practice may also be named as a potentially liable party. Pharmaceutical companies may be liable if their medication resulted in the injury. If a defective instrument led to the injury, legal action may be pursued against the manufacturer of the defective instrument.
What is My Case Worth?
Economic and non-economic damages may be available to a party injured during childbirth, as well as family members who lost a loved one during childbirth due to another’s negligence. Economic damages are calculable expenses the injured or their family has or will incur. Non-economic damages include losses that cannot be specifically calculated or valued, and may require the help of experts who can calculate these damages by evaluating the seriousness of the condition and its impact on the injured party or their family. It is important to note that Florida has placed a cap of $1.5 million for the recovery of intangible (non-economic) damages.
Economic Damages may include medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, funeral expenses, or any other related calculable damages.
Non-Economic Damages may include loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, loss of consortium (loss of companionship, support, and intimacy), and other related damages.
In certain cases, punitive damages may be available to punish a healthcare provider who acted with a conscious disregard for human life or was grossly negligent in causing the injury.
Our Successful Tampa Birth Injury Cases
- $38,750,000 verdict after a serious injury occurred due to failure to perform a C-section in a timely manner.
- $3,265,000 settlement after negligence on the part of the obstetrician led to a brain injury and, ultimately, the death of the newborn.
- $2.3 million settlement after doctor’s negligence caused a brain injury to the baby.
- $2,150,000 settlement after a brain injury to the baby during the birth.
- $1,850,000 settlement for a family whose newborn suffered a brain injury and claimed it was due to obstetric negligence.
- $1.5 million verdict awarded by a jury after a brain injury to the newborn, caused by negligence.
If you or a loved one sustained a birth injury, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. To learn more about your available legal options, please complete the case review form to the right. Your claim will be reviewed by a Tampa birth injury attorney, at no cost to you, to help determine whether you have a viable claim.