Birth Injury Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale
Important Information on Birth Injuries from Our Fort Lauderdale Birth Injury Lawyer
One of the most exciting times in a person’s life is the birth of a child. Of course, this special event can also be nerve-wracking and stressful, but hopefully never complicated. A special team of medical professionals such as OB-GYN, primary care physician, and nurses help guide a mother through the complicated process of labor and delivery. While most times a delivery goes without issue, unfortunately, there are far too many times when newborns suffer from preventable birth injuries. Our Fort Lauderdale birth injury lawyer knows that damages occurring due to medical malpractice before, during, or after the process of labor and delivery could be debilitating and even life-threatening.
How Birth Injuries Occur – Typical Causes
When it comes to the types of injuries from which a newborn may suffer, there are generally two categories of causes. The first category encompasses injuries caused to newborns directly due to the actions of the healthcare providers. An example is the improper pulling of an infant out of the birth canal. The second category has injuries that result from the inactions of the healthcare provider, such as failing to plan a timely c-section or delaying the diagnosis of conditions such as Kernicterus.
The following commons causes of injuries to newborns should be reviewed by a birth injury lawyer:
- Failing to monitor and protect the baby’s oxygen supply
- Improper fetal monitoring, including improperly setting it up, monitoring, and timely intervention
- Improper use of tools for extraction
- Medication overdoses
- Failing to manage a mother’s comorbidities
- Delays in performing an emergency c-section
- Dropping a baby
- Poor pre-labor screening and evaluation
- Failure to diagnose preeclampsia and eclampsia
- Mishandling a newborn
- Failure to identify and then react timely to fetal distress, such as the presence of meconium
- Trauma during the birthing process
- Failure to monitor the newborn for post-birth complications
- Inexperienced staff or negligent hires
- Any other reckless, careless, or negligent causes that result in damage to a baby, which should all be reviewed by our Fort Lauderdale lawyer
Types of Possible Birth Injury Cases Our Law Firm May Accept
Our Fort Lauderdale birth injury lawyer recognizes the many different types of injuries to newborns. Many of these damages are caused by a lack of oxygen to the baby, which is called birth asphyxia. Birth asphyxia can lead to hypoxic damage (insufficient oxygen supply) or anoxic damage (complete lack of oxygen supply). This can lead to any of the following conditions, all of which could potentially be devastating to a newborn and should be reviewed by a newborn injury lawyer.
Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) – What is it and How Does It Happen?
Our birth injury lawyer handles catastrophic injuries such as hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, or HIE. This condition is brain damage to the infant due to the decreased supply of oxygenated blood, but not a complete stop of the supply. HIE can then lead to several other conditions which cause hardship to a newborn and their family, such as cerebral palsy, developmental delays, seizure disorders, and wrongful death. If any of these conditions develop, contact Schlacter Law a Fort Lauderdale lawyer who will review the case and advise you on your rights.
HIE is commonly caused by the following:
- Excessive contractions that are not monitored and can constrict oxygenated blood flow through the umbilical cord and to the baby
- Overuse of vacuum extraction tool on the head
- Dangerous fetal heart rate fluctuations that are not corrected
- Overdose of Pitocin, which is used to induce labor but cannot be used until the cervix if properly dilated and the baby is in the correction “station” or birth position
- Umbilical cord prolapse, which is when the umbilical cord protrudes out the birth canal before the baby is born which can result in a restriction of oxygen flow
- Ruptures of the umbilical cord, which disrupt oxygen supply
- Placenta abruptions, which are when the placenta separates from the uterine wall and the supply of oxygenated blood is cut off completely
- Failing to clear an airway and delays in starting neonatal resuscitation after birth
- Many other reckless or careless errors that could lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit, which our lawyer should review for you
If your child has a birth injury that may be caused by any decrease or complete stop in oxygen supply, an experienced medical malpractice lawyer should be contacted in order to protect your child’s claims to compensation.
Cerebral Palsy (CP) and What Does It Mean for My Child?
HIE is a common cause of cerebral palsy, a condition or combination of conditions that cause weakness and movement disorders. Cerebral palsy (CP) is a permanent, irreversible, and an exceedingly disabling birth injury . CP is caused by lesions on the brain, which are due to damage to the brain as it develops. Some of this damage could be due to natural causes, but because some may be caused by preventable errors by healthcare providers. Every case of cerebral palsy should be reviewed by a Fort Lauderdale birth injury lawyer.
There are four types of cerebral palsy:
- Spastic Cerebral Palsy – The most common type of CP, spastic CP causes increased muscle tone and tightness, a condition known as hypertonia. Because of the muscle rigidity, those affected have trouble with a limited range of motion, resulting in abnormal reflexes and gait. Mobility assistance equipment is often needed for children with spastic cerebral palsy
- Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy – This type of CP causes involuntary, uncontrollable movements. These movements can be twisting/curling, which is a slow writhing, or erratic, which is fast and jerky. Those with dyskinetic CP can have hypertonia, but they may also have hypotonia which is a flaccid muscle tone that causes difficulties with walking, talking, and other basic movement functions. This type of cerebral palsy is also known as Athetoid cerebral palsy
- Ataxic Cerebral Palsy – Those with ataxic CP will have difficulties with their coordination, making gross motor movements such as walking, sitting, and getting in or out of vehicles very difficult. Fine motor skills are also complicated and near impossible in many cases. Sometimes gross motor movements like walking or sitting are possible, but fine motor movements such as button a shirt, writing, typing, or other fine motor skills are just made impossible
- Mixed Cerebral Palsy – Because damage to the brain and its development is so complex, it is possible for a person to experience multiple symptoms of multiple types of CP. Those with mixed CP will have shifting needs and therefore require continuous healthcare and assistance
All four types of cerebral palsy warrant speaking with a Fort Lauderdale birth injury lawyer who can advise you on your rights to compensation and what may be available to your loved one for future care and medical bills.
Kernicterus – Normal Symptoms or Overlooked Complication?
Did you know that it is very common for most newborns to have jaundice? When children are born, their livers and kidneys begin to work on their own for the very first time. It can take a few days for a child’s organs to start working properly and at full capacity. Once they do, jaundice then typically resolves on its own in a few hours to a few days. In some cases, jaundice may last longer and not go away after a few days. If the symptoms are not recognized during healthcare visits, a devastating condition known as kernicterus could occur.
Kernicterus is when excessive bilirubin in the blood system is not filtered quickly enough and begins to reach hazardous levels in the body. High levels of bilirubin can poison the body, particularly the brain which is in crucial stages of development. The same from kernicterus could cause irreversible brain damage. The symptoms of kernicterus are plainly visible in yellowing eyes and skin, and so this catastrophic condition should be preventable with proper medical care. Because of this, a birth injury lawyer should be consulted in all kernicterus cases or anytime a child has had prolonged jaundice suffers any type of developmental delay.
Brachial Plexus Injuries – Completely Preventable, Completely Devastating When It Occurs
A complex system of nerves extends and branches out from your spinal cord in your neck and extends downward through the shoulders, arms, and all the way to the tips of your fingers. This system is called the brachial plexus nerves and they regulate all motor movement, sensation and function for your arms. These nerves are generally very strong, but they can still be stretched, torn, or pulled out of the spinal cord in unfortunate circumstances.
Damage to the brachial plexus network of nerves is typically seen when an infant’s shoulder gets stuck during the delivery process, known as shoulder dystocia. A labor and delivery doctor must then act quickly to unstick the baby from the birth canal to prevent hypoxic damage (oxygen deprivation). In doing so, a doctor may inadvertently apply excessive pressure to the neck or arm. This pressure and excessive manipulation could result in permanent damage to the brachial plexus nerves.
Brachial plexus damage is troubling because it can be avoided with proper care and treatment before labor starts or in the early stages of the delivery process. This is because healthcare providers should have conducted thorough pre-delivery care and evaluation to determine whether a c-section was necessary to avoid damage to these nerves. But when healthcare providers fail to perform these necessary evaluations, it can result in this disabling damage. Whenever your child suffers a nerve injury, especially a brachial plexus nerve injury, ask our lawyer how we can help protect your rights to compensation.
What Compensation Can I Claim for a Birth Injury?
Birth injuries are serious and no one wants to see their child affected by negligent birth care. A child facing birth injuries may require pain management through surgeries, therapy (physical, occupational, and even cognitive), or constant care. The costly damages you could claim include the pain and suffering endured by the child, therapies such as physical, speech, vocational, and occupational, and a cost of living expense that no family ever anticipates when their child is born.
An experienced Fort Lauderdale birth injury lawyer should always be contacted to help you recover this compensation for your child due to the negligence of a healthcare provider. Nothing will ever mend the damage and pain your child has to endure, but being able to provide the proper life-long care and support makes a world of difference. Our lawyer can fight for the compensation to give that care and support.
Has a Loved One Experienced Newborn Injuries in Florida? Ask our Fort Lauderdale Birth Injury Lawyer for Help
Birth related injuries are usually preventable. Victims and their families should be able to have a lawyer who is not only knowledgeable but is also compassionate for newborns injured by negligent healthcare providers. A Fort Lauderdale birth injury lawyer from Schlacter Law will fight back for you and take action against the doctors, and other negligent healthcare providers who caused damages to your child. Ask for a FREE case evaluation by calling (305) 999-1111 or by visiting our website to fill out an easy-to-use form. This is your chance to ensure comfort for your loved ones, so do not delay asking us how we can protect your rights.
How We Handle Cases
- Your attorney will aggressively investigate your case. Schlacter Law will compile all necessary evidence needed to maximize the value of your case. Which includes but is not limited to photographs, police reports, security camera footage, witness statements, medical bills and medical records.
- You will remain in constant contact with Schlacter Law about the progression of your case.
- Your attorney will present your case to the insurance company and will attempt to resolve your case before the case goes to court for maximum compensation.
- Your attorney will make every effort possible to resolve the case as quickly as possible for the most amount of money you may be entitled to. You will be actively involved in the negotiation process with your attorney. Schlacter Law understands that this is your one opportunity to get justice for your loss.
- If settlement negotiations are unsuccessful, Schlacter Law will be fully prepared to bring your case to court to fight for the justice you deserve.
- At no cost to you, Schlacter Law will hire any experts and professionals needed to maximize your recovery and present your case in the strongest form possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do I have to file a medical malpractice lawsuit?
Two years from the date of the medical malpractice. However, there is a toll or extension for a birth injury that is not reasonably discoverable within those two years. In this instance, a family has until a child’s eighth birthday to commence a birth injury claim. This is known as the statute of limitations and it is a procedural requirement of all personal injury actions . Always ask a lawyer for help to comply with these strict deadlines and do not rely on any extensions.
Are there filing extensions for birth injuries?
Yes, in some instances a family may have under a child’s eighth birthday to file a birth injury lawsuit. This is known as “Tony’s Bill” which protects families when a birth injury is not reasonably discoverable within the initial statute of limitations period of two years. While it is always the best practice to commence an action within the first two years, Tony’s Bill may help protect a claim that may have otherwise been dismissed. Ask our lawyer for help to protect your claim today. It is best not to rely on any extensions.
Are there medical malpractice caps on the compensation you may obtain in Florida?
No, the Florida Supreme Court ruled the statutory caps on damages for medical malpractice victims were unconstitutional in 2017 . These caps previously prevented a victim from recovering non-economic damages (pain and suffering) over $500,000 from an individual doctor or $750,000 from a doctor. But now these caps have been abolished and a jury or court may award whatever compensation is just and proper. Ask our lawyer if you have questions regarding damages or compensation in Florida.