Birth is a sensitive, specific, and complex process. As a result, medical professionals working on a birth have an obligation to provide their patients with the amount of care that this requires. If they fail to live up to that standard, your family could be the ones paying the price for it, with a potential lifetime of medical bills and physical pain. If your child has been diagnosed with Erb’s Palsy, brain damage, or another form of birth injury due to irregularities or suspected malpractice during childbirth, you owe it to yourself and to your child to know for sure if it was due to the carelessness of a medical professional.
If you’ve dealt with this firsthand in Winter Haven, you may have options. If you or a loved one has had to endure a birth injury, Morgan & Morgan’s birth injury attorneys may be able to help you receive compensation. To learn more and receive a free evaluation of your case, fill out our case review form.
Causes of Birth Injuries
There are a number of ways someone’s negligence can affect a birth in a way that causes an injury. Child and mother alike are extremely vulnerable, and mistakes can be costly. Our Winter Haven attorneys handle cases where the injury was caused by a healthcare professional’s negligence, such as:
- Failure to diagnose a potential complication prior to delivery;
- Failure to examine the mother’s medical history;
- Error(s) in administering medication or anesthesia;
- Inadequate monitoring of the mother and child before, during, and after delivery;
- Infliction of infection;
- Delayed responses to fetal distress;
- Failure to perform a timely C-section;
- Improper use of forceps and vacuums while helping the child through the birth canal;
- Failure to warn the mother of known risks, depriving her of the right to make an informed decision; or
- Failure to adhere to complete the procedure as other physicians would under the same circumstances.
Nerve damage is a major possibility when negligence occurs during birth, often from applying too much force during delivery. Nerve damage somewhere like the face can result in numbness or paralysis. In the arms or neck, it can damage the spine or the brachial plexus. In cases like these, Klumpke’s palsy or Erb’s palsy can be the result. Erb’s palsy is associated with too much force, difficult deliveries, and prolonged labor. Nerves in the neck are damaged, causing significant injury.
Treatment for Erb’s palsy can potentially take years before any sort of recovery is made, leading to large medical bills in physical therapy and surgery. Even then, there can be permanent damage. In other cases, complications during birth can deprive a newborn of oxygen, resulting in brain damage. This can lead to permanent cognitive delays as well as motor conditions such as cerebral palsy. These types of conditions are often permanent and can require a lifetime of medical care to manage and mitigate.
Proving a Birth Injury Lawsuit
There are four elements to a birth injury lawsuit that your attorney must establish, proving negligence occurred on the part of a medical professional. Those four elements are:
- Doctor/Patient Relationship: A relationship must be established between the doctor and patient, in which the medical professional has a duty of care to the patient. The medical professional in this instance can be the physician, nurse, anesthesiologist, and any other professional that was involved in your birth, if it was their negligence that caused the injury.
- Breach: Breach is the most difficult element to establish, one that involves a thorough investigation of the birth and injury. In doing this, your attorney must prove that the medical professional in question breached their duty of care by acting negligently and carelessly.
- Injury: With a breach of duty established, the attorney now has to prove that the negligent act that breached the duty of care was responsible for the injury.
- Damages: Lastly, the attorney must demonstrate that the injury caused the patient or family to incur identifiable damages, either physically, financially, or emotionally.
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 entail medical expenses (both past and future) as well as lost wages, which involves both time missed at work and whether an injury (such as one to the mother) has negatively impacted their ability to do their job. Non-economic damages don’t have as specific a number to them (pain and suffering, loss of consortium).
Contact Morgan & Morgan Today
You shouldn’t have to face a burn injury alone. Another person’s negligence shouldn’t decide your physical, emotional, and financial well-being. Morgan & Morgan’s Winter Haven attorneys have a track record of success helping families hold doctors accountable for birth injuries and recover the compensation they need to give their children the best life possible. Call us today or reach out to us online to have your child’s case evaluated for free by a birth injury attorney.