Childbirth Injury Attorneys
Childbirth Injury Attorneys in Gainesville, FL
Most would agree that expecting a child is one of the greatest experiences one can have in life. Everyone hopes for a healthy pregnancy and smooth delivery and eagerly awaits the day they get to welcome their little one into the world.
The process of the birth itself is quite intense. All of the pressure of contractions and turning are stressful on both the mother and child. As with any medical procedure, there is always the risk that something can go wrong. According to the CDC, a childbirth injury occurs in 6 out of every 1,000 births in the U.S.
While this risk is certainly understandable, what most don’t expect is for negligence on the part of doctors, nurses and midwives to be the cause of a childbirth injury. Some of these injuries are relatively mild with a quick recovery, but many will require a lifetime of treatment, therapy and assistance for the child. This not only puts a tremendous financial strain on families, but an overwhelming emotional and physical one as well.
It’s important to remember that a childbirth injury is different than a birth defect. An injury occurs during the birthing process whereas a defect occurs because of an issue in the baby’s DNA.
Common childbirth injuries and their causes
An injury during childbirth can occur for many reasons. Again, some injuries are not due to any particular negligence on the part of the doctor, midwives or nursing staff. The inherent risk of the birthing process is the cause of many injuries, but not all.
A few of the more common childbirth injuries include:
- Cerebral Palsy: A disability caused by injury to the brain during childbirth that can dramatically affect a child’s development. Although cerebral palsy can occur for many reasons, low levels of oxygen that are not caught and treated by medical personnel can be grounds for a malpractice claim.
- Erb’s Palsy: Also known as Brachial Plexus Palsy, this injury affects nerves in the neck and upper chest that control feeling in the shoulders and arms. This injury generally occurs when there is excessive pulling on the baby’s head during delivery and if their shoulders get stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone. Erb’s Palsy can occur if the doctor is using the wrong birthing method (for example, going forward with a vaginal birth when a C-section is needed).
In some cases, forceps or a vacuum may be needed to deliver the baby. If either of these instruments is used improperly by the medical staff, the baby could suffer facial paralysis, skull fracture, brain bleeding and more.
Injury can also happen to the mother because of a doctor’s negligence. For example, if an expecting mother has high blood pressure (known as preeclampsia) and the doctor doesn’t catch it, she could experience a seizure during delivery.
Of course, this is just a brief overview of the types of injuries that can occur during childbirth.
Proving malpractice and obtaining compensation for childbirth injuries
Just because a childbirth injury occurs doesn’t mean the doctor, midwife or nursing staff were negligent. Many injuries just happen, but if the doctor’s actions fall below the generally accepted standard of care, you may have grounds for a malpractice claim.
Perhaps the doctor didn’t properly anticipate complications during birth or they didn’t respond fast enough to issues like an irregular heartbeat or low oxygen levels. If the baby was too big and the doctor waited too long to order a C-section, they could be liable for any injuries like Erb’s Palsy.
Proving malpractice can be complicated, especially for childbirth injuries, which is why speaking with an attorney who specializes in childbirth injuries is critical. They will be able to determine through medical records, expert witnesses and interviews whether the generally accepted standard of care was breached.
If it’s determined malpractice did occur, you will be able to file a claim for damages, which can include:
- Medical treatment, including prescriptions, surgeries, hospital stays, therapy and more
- Modifications to your home and car
- Future lost earnings potential
- Special education needs for your child
- Pain and suffering for the parents
In Florida, parents or a child’s guardian have either two years from the date of the injury or two years after they should have discovered the injury (… or no more than 4 years after an injury occurred). Many childbirth injuries don’t present themselves for months or even years after birth.
Childbirth injury attorneys at Warner, Sechrest & Butts passionately fight for the rights of injured infants and their parents.
If you believe your infant has suffered an injury during birth, you should first seek medical attention to prevent any more damage. Next, you should speak to, and provide medical records to, an attorney so he or she can determine if the standard of care was breached.
We understand this is a difficult time for you emotionally, physically and financially, which is why attorneys Marc Warner and Michael Sechrest and their team of exceptional paralegals will evaluate all the details of your case to try and determine what happened.
Don’t wait to speak with a childbirth injury attorney — call our office anytime day or night, or complete our online form to schedule a free case evaluation. Again, the long-term costs of a major childbirth injury are staggering, which is why you should evaluate all of your options as quickly as possible.