How a Birth Injury Lawyer in Canton Can Help Your Birth Injury Case
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
When a child is born, parents trust their health care providers to do everything necessary to ensure the baby’s safety. But when they make mistakes during labor and delivery, there is a chance that the child could suffer lifelong permanent injuries.
In the United States, around four out of every thousand babies are born with a birth injury. Medical practitioners and hospital staff are liable for these injuries, whether it was an error or negligence during delivery.
You may be entitled to compensation if your child was injured at birth due to medical negligence in Canton, Michigan. With an experienced birth injury lawyer by your side, you can ask for legal advice, file your claim, and take your legal case to court if necessary.
Why Do Birth Injuries Happen?
Injuries to the infant during the birth process may occur for various reasons. The mother and the infant are extremely vulnerable during the birthing process.
Often, doctors overlook risk factors that can result in birth injuries—for example, failing to notice a distressed baby before delivery can result in serious conditions such as cerebral palsy. The mother can also transmit infections such as Group B streptococcus (GBS) to the baby during delivery. If this infection is not detected and treated before the baby is born, the baby can suffer serious infections and neurological complications.
Medical professionals and staff are obligated to contribute to the delivery process professionally and safely. It is their responsibility to react quickly and appropriately to any risks before and during the delivery process. They may be held liable for their actions if they fail to provide adequate care for both the baby and mother. If our legal team finds evidence of medical malpractice, we may be able to file a claim on behalf of your family.
Common Birth Injuries
It is an unfortunate fact that many birth injuries occur, and they vary in severity. Children who have experienced a traumatic, stressful birth experience certain signs. Birth injuries can lead to serious complications that can remain with them for life if not treated quickly. Some of the most common and severe birth injuries can include:
During labor and delivery, brain injuries can occur. A small number of children have cerebral palsy called acquired cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy can develop if the brain receives little oxygen or suffers head trauma.
Birth complications like placental detachment or uterine rupture can cut off a baby’s oxygen supply, resulting in cerebral palsy. Breech babies or babies delivered by an obstetrician using particularly forceful methods can sustain brain injuries.
Brachial Palsy/Erb’s Palsy
A brachial plexus is a group of nerves that runs from the neck to the shoulders. These nerves coordinate the function of the chest, shoulders, arms, and hands. The sense of feeling in your upper limbs also comes from this group of nerves.
Sometimes, when a baby comes out breech or the head is trapped in the canal or pelvis, the medical practitioner can pull on the baby too hard, damaging this nerve cluster. This could lead to complications such as loss of muscular function, upper arm paralysis, or Erb’s Palsy if the nerves were stretched too thin.
Shoulder dystocia, in which the infant’s shoulder becomes trapped in the birth canal, can also lead to nerve damage and Erb’s Palsy.
The stresses of childbirth can shatter an infant’s bones and change the position of their hips and shoulders. Doctors may use forceps or vacuum extraction tools, which use more physical pressure on the baby and may lead to permanent injuries.
The most common fracture that occurs during birth is a damaged clavicle. This typically happens if the baby is breech born and can cause movement issues with the arm on the damaged side. However, broken collarbones often heal quickly without permanent effects.
However, hip fractures and displacement are other injuries that can have lasting effects on the infant’s growth and mobility if the fracture fails to heal correctly.
When a baby is born, their spinal cord may get injured. This can lead to paralysis as well as short- and long-term physical problems. It can also damage the child’s mental and intellectual capacities. A spinal cord injury can occur when the head is rotated too much or stretched too far in relation to the body.
Infants can appear yellow after birth as their body breaks down red blood cells, releasing a substance called bilirubin. While newborn jaundice from excess bilirubin typically resolves in 2-3 weeks, it can build up in the infant’s brain if left untreated.
When there is excessive bilirubin in the brain, it causes a condition known as kernicterus, which can lead to brain damage, hearing loss, and seizures.
When an infant is born, the delicate skull bones are not fully formed. Cephalohematoma occurs when the skull is damaged, leading to intracranial bleeding, which puts pressure on the brain tissue. This can cause swelling, head depressions, and brain damage.
Group B Strep Infection
Group B Strep naturally occurs in the urinary and digestive tract and is typically not harmful in adults; however, group B strep newborn infants can have dire consequences, including meningitis, sepsis, bone and joint damage, and pneumonia. Medical staff have a responsibility to test expectant mothers for group B strep, so they can take a course of antibiotics before delivery. Failure to diagnose and treat group B strep could be considered medical negligence.
Types of Damages for a Birth Injury
Aside from daily medical expenses, you need to consider all the costs of ongoing medical care and medical treatment your child may incur in the future. Consider how a birth injury can last your child her entire life and the resources you and your family will need to cope with the consequences of a birth injury.
In these types of cases, economic damages are the measurable expenses from birth injuries that may include:
- Medical bills incurred as a result of the injury such as doctor visits, hospital stays, and specialized medical treatment
- Future medical expenses
- Lost wages and earning capacity
Non-economic damages are the non-measurable costs that can change how you feel, your life, or your wellbeing. These may be recoverable and can include:
- Past and future pain and suffering for you and your child
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment for life
A birth injury attorney may seek exemplary damages, among other damages. Exemplary damages, however, are not intended to compensate for losses. Rather, they are designed to compensate the plaintiff for emotional injury.
What to Expect When Filing a Birth Injury Claim
Medical expenses and other costs related to birth injuries can last a lifetime. If you have a child who has cerebral palsy, you may be entitled to financial compensation. That money could help pay for medical costs or therapy.
It might be your first thought that filing a birth injury claim and getting financial compensation involves an incredibly lengthy process. This isn’t always the case, which is why you should consider working with an experienced birth injury attorney who can guide you through the legal process of filing your claim and understands how to win your case.
File a Birth Injury Claim
Your birth injury lawyer must consult with expert witnesses to determine if there has been a breach of the standard of care proximately causing your baby’s injuries and file a Notice of Intent before the statute of limitations expires. After waiting 6 months, a lawsuit with Affidavits of Merit from qualified experts may be filed. The process is complicated and care must be taken in preparing the pleadings.
The statute of limitations for a birth injury is your child’s 10th birthday. Failure to file before your child’s 10th birthday for birth injury will be barred by the statute of limitations.
In cases involving birth injuries, it can be hard to prove someone was negligent. For hospitals, doctors, and their insurance companies, medical malpractice litigation is very costly. The next step is to determine if the doctor did not meet or exceed the standard of care. If this is the case, you need to find out the actions a qualified doctor would have taken in the same situation.
During the discovery stage, your birth injury lawyer can get all the records and information about your case to prove any medical negligence. They will also go over all of your prenatal care, labor, and delivery records, including ultrasound images and any other digital imaging or diagnostic testing you received as part of your pregnancy.
Negotiate a Settlement
A settlement can be negotiated after the discovery period ends. Often, the parties work through their lawyers to reach an agreement. Settlement amounts depend on a variety of factors, including:
- Severity of the injury
- Injury permanency and how they affect the baby over their lifetime
- Type and amount of medical treatment needed over the child’s life
- Costs and expenses associated with medical care
- Familial financial hardships, such as loss of income
- Educational and other special needs for the child
- Housing, equipment, and transportation costs
- Whether or not the child will need full-time supervision and care
If the defendant refuses to offer financial compensation, then you might have to take them to court. Eileen Kroll, our senior partner, has years of nursing experience and has reviewed numerous cases like yours and will fight to get justice and compensation for your family.
Go to Trial
Each side presents evidence to support their arguments in court. The judge or jury determines your attorney’s burden of proof against the defendant. The court will therefore enter a judgment for the appropriate amount. When working with a skilled birth injury attorney at our law firm, you can rest assured that all the necessary steps will be made to ensure the maximum compensation is obtained for the birth injury claim.
Let Our Experienced Canton, Michigan Birth Injury Lawyers Help You
When birth injuries occur due to medical malpractice, a medical mistake, a negligent medical practitioner, or some other cause, you need to know your legal rights and where to turn for help filing a birth injury claim to achieve justice.
If your child suffered a permanent injury as a result of a birth injury, our Canton, Michigan birth injury lawyers at the law firm of Cochran, Kroll & Associates P.C. can take legal action against the hospital, medical practitioners, and insurance companies on behalf of you and your child so that you can have peace of mind during this difficult time.
We offer free consultations because it is important to do everything we can from day one. Our team of personal injury attorneys also handles other personal injury cases in practice areas, such as car accidents, motorcycle accidents, and workplace injuries. Call our law firm today or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation. Our telephone number is 866-MICH-LAW.
Can my medical practitioner be held liable for the injury my baby suffered?
Parents may wonder how and why their child was injured during birth. In these cases, the injury is caused by the negligence of a medical professional. A Canton, Michigan birth injury lawyer should be contacted as soon as possible if you believe your infant has been injured by someone else’s negligence in the birth process.
What will the amount of money be for my child?
This depends on several factors, including the type of birth injury and if it was caused by medical malpractice. Check with an attorney to see how much money might be available in your case. These lawyers can tell you more about other birth jury cases where there were birth injury settlements for their clients.
How soon will I receive the settlement money?
Some people can get settlements for their birth injuries in a few months, while others can take years. Your settlement depends on the medical practitioners who caused the injury, how strong your evidence is, and other factors.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.