All parents know the odd mixture of anxiety and excitement when their little bundle of joy arrives. After nine long months, the waiting ends. No parent expects the worst, but what are your legal rights when tragedy strikes?
Birth injuries can happen. You may be entitled to compensation if your child was injured during delivery. In the state of Florida, the laws regarding birth injury cases are complex. If you feel your child was injured by an obstetrician or other birthing professionals, contact a Miami birth injury attorney to see if you have the legal right to file a lawsuit.
What Can Be Considered a Birth Injury?
Each delivery is completely different. Some go smoothly and without incident, while others can be difficult. Unexpected situations can arise, and the birthing staff is expected to handle each issue with confidence, knowledge, and ease. Unfortunately, sometimes they make mistakes. A birth injury is a result of birthing staff errors or negligence.
Birth injuries that can cause permanent damage include:
- Cerebral palsy – This can be caused by not properly monitoring the mother, negligent birthing techniques, or failing to recognize fetal distress. Cerebral palsy occurs during birth when the infant’s brain is damaged. Slow motor skills development, spasms, and muscle weakness are characteristics of this condition.
- Oxygen deprivation – If the infant remains in the birthing canal too long, its brain could be deprived of oxygen. This could cause a myriad of life-altering conditions, both physical and intellectual.
- Brachial Plexus – Injuries to the child’s upper spine caused by stretching the nerves in this area could be caused by improper birthing methods. Brachial plexus can result in a permanent disability.
- Spinal cord injuries – Aggressive or overuse of forceps can cause any number of injuries to the infant’s spinal cord. Often this type of negligence leads to permanent physical disabilities.
This is simply a short list of possible birth injuries. Inadequate birthing techniques cause many injuries of this type and can be caused by improper use of forceps or other surgical tools used to assist during childbirth.
What Can I Do Legally If I Feel My Child Has Suffered a Birth Injury?
The Florida Malpractice Act allows parents whose child has suffered a birth injury to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. To file a successful malpractice claim, you must work with an experienced attorney with a background in birth injury lawsuits. A good attorney will have working relationships with medical experts who can help to prove medical negligence.
Other than filing a malpractice lawsuit against the negligent party or parties, your lawyer can help you to see if you qualify for the Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Act. This alternative to a malpractice lawsuit allows families to recover damages without the need to prove medical negligence. However, damage amounts are significantly less than those that could be awarded by filing a traditional medical malpractice suit.
The Florida Malpractice Act states that a lawsuit must be filed within 2 years of the child’s date of birth. In some cases, it’s extended to 4 years if the birth injury wasn’t discovered later.
What Types of Damages Can I Claim?
Florida law allows parents to recover various types of damages in this type of personal injury case. Your child’s permanent disabilities can prove to be costly and time-consuming and some can last a lifetime. An experienced birth injury lawyer will fight for you to ensure that you are compensated for all damages. Typical damages that can be claimed are:
- The child’s current and future medical expenses
- Lost current and future wages due to taking time off from work
- Current and future childcare costs
- Any adjustments to your home to accommodate your child’s needs
- Pain and suffering
Ensure That You’re Compensated - Hire a Birth Injury Attorney
No parent should have to suffer emotionally or financially after their child has suffered a birth injury. Unfortunately, the emotional scars of this tragic event could last a lifetime, but the added worry of future medical expenses to care for your child shouldn’t be your responsibility.
A birth injury attorney will fight to get the largest compensation. This way, you can spend more time caring for your child and less time figuring out how to pay for their required care.