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Birth Injury Lawyer in Michigan

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A mother-to-be and her infant are vulnerable during a difficult birth. Even the slightest misstep by a health care provider can result in complications during labor and cause a catastrophic injury to the baby, such as brain damage.

A birth injury lawyer from Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. in Michigan can fight for your rights and hold negligent medical professionals accountable for your child’s injuries. The medical malpractice law firm, Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. can help if you or your child suffered a birth injury.

Our experienced team of birth trauma lawyers has extensive experience working with birth injury cases and knows how to identify the cause of your child’s injury to prove negligence to insurance companies and juries.

What is a Birth Injury in Michigan?

The birth trauma rate declined from 2.6 to 1.9 per 1,000 live births in 2012. This decline is due to new obstetric techniques, and more Caesarian procedures have made deliveries easier.

Despite these numbers, the possibility of a birth injury still exists in today’s hospitals and birthing centers. A birth injury occurs when a newborn and its mother suffer harm during labor or delivery. A birth injury can also result from medical negligence from labor and delivery staff members and attending nursing staff members.

Medical Conditions Caused by Injuries During Birth

Birth injuries range from minor skin bruising to brain trauma caused by a lack of oxygen supply during birth. Permanent injuries from the birthing process such as cerebral palsy can worsen your baby’s health over time, requiring lifelong care.

Newborns can experience these common types of birth injuries:

Pre-eclampsia

Preeclampsia can develop during pregnancy when there is high blood pressure and protein in the urine. This type of birth injury can lead to birth complications for the baby, such as liver, eye, kidney, brain damage, stroke, or death. You may hold your doctor responsible if they fail to notice and treat these symptoms.

Placenta Previa

Placenta previa happens when the placenta partially or completely covers the cervix. This situation can cause bleeding during pregnancy and the delivery process. Placenta previa is a relatively rare condition in about 1 out of 200 pregnancies.

Placenta previa can be a serious condition that can lead to birth injury complications for the mother, such as vaginal bleeding. It can also lead to an increased risk of premature birth and low birth weight for the baby if not appropriately addressed by medical staff.

Cerebral Palsy

Paralysis and muscular weakness can result from birth injuries like cerebral palsy. Lack of oxygen during birth can damage the brain and cause cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy causes vision, muscle movement, coordination, and balance issues. In some cases, people with cerebral palsy may also have intellectual impairments.

People with cerebral palsy can develop skills and independence through physical therapy and occupational therapy. Those with cerebral palsy with skeletal deformities or muscle spasms may need surgery.

Brachial Plexus Injury

A brachial plexus injury is a birth injury that occurs when the nerves in the neck are damaged. This birth injury can happen if the baby’s head and neck are pulled too far to one side during delivery. The result is that the baby’s arm on the affected side may be weak or paralyzed. In severe cases, the fingers may remain permanently curled into the palm.

Children with brachial plexus injuries typically require physical therapy to regain arm movement. There may also be a need for surgery in some cases.

Shoulder Dystocia

Shoulder dystocia happens when an infant’s shoulder gets stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone. The baby can suffer from oxygen deprivation with shoulder dystocia. Shoulder dystocia is a relatively rare complication, occurring in 0.15%-2% of all births.
Doctors can often resolve the condition by manually manipulating the baby’s body into the correct position. The mother may need an emergency cesarean section if this is not possible.

Birth Hypoxia

During birth, hypoxia can occur if the baby does not get enough oxygen during delivery, such as when the delivery is complicated or the baby is in fetal distress. Birth hypoxia can lead to brain damage, cerebral palsy, and intellectual disabilities.

Hypoxic-ischemic Encephalopathy

Your baby may suffer from hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy if they don’t get enough oxygen during pregnancy, labor, or delivery. Long-term oxygen deprivation can cause the brain cells to die.

Cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and intellectual disability can result from this condition. Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy causes death or severe disabilities in 40% to 60% of full-term babies with the condition. Treatment for hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy may include oxygen therapy, cooling the body to prevent further damage to the brain, and intensive rehabilitation.

Spina Bifida

Incomplete closure of the spinal cord causes spina bifida. Spina bifida results in exposure of a portion of the spinal cord through a birth defect in the bones of the spine, especially in the lower back. In more severe cases, spina bifida can lead to paralysis or other neurological problems. Although spina bifida is congenital, you may be able to sue if your provider fails to diagnose or misdiagnoses it before delivery.

Erb’s Palsy and Klumpke’s Palsy

There are two types of brachial plexus palsies caused by birth trauma during delivery: Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy. Klumpke’s palsy develops when the brachial plexus’ lower roots are damaged. Erb’s palsy results from damage to the upper roots of the brachial plexus.

These conditions may cause weakness, paralysis, and loss of sensation in the affected arm. Your child may require surgery to repair the damaged nerves, and physical therapy improves range of motion and function.

Birth Asphyxia

Birth asphyxia is one of the most serious injuries that can occur during birth. Birth asphyxia occurs when the baby is deprived of oxygen. A baby’s head may become stuck during delivery, preventing the infant from breathing. Brain damage, cerebral palsy, and seizures can result from birth asphyxia if not treated promptly.

Stillborn Infant

A stillborn infant is a child who is born deceased with no discernable vital signs.
Infection, placental problems, high blood pressure, and diabetes are risk factors in stillbirths after the 20th week. Despite stillbirths being rare, they can be emotionally devastating for parents. Parents can seek support from friends, family, and professional counselors after a stillbirth.

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How Medical Negligence Can Result in Birth Injuries

A birth injury can be the result of medical negligence from medical professionals. It can also result from a lack of proper treatment and oversight. Medical errors that may cause birth injuries fall into the following categories:

Labor and Delivery Mistakes

Using physical force can cause birth trauma injuries such as asphyxia, brachial plexus injuries, and fractured skulls. Pressure on the baby’s neck causes damage to the brachial plexus. Skull fractures can occur when the baby’s head is forced through the birth canal too quickly. Asphyxia is oxygen deprivation during birth due to prolonged labor.

Forceful actions during delivery, like forceps or vacuum extractors, may cause birth injuries by inducing bruising or swelling. These tools can cause serious harm to a baby, such as fractures, nerve damage, and lacerations.

Failure to Perform a Timely C-section

Obstetricians may decide to perform a C-section during a difficult delivery. However, the baby can suffer from birth asphyxia if your physician does not perform a timely C-section. Birth asphyxia can result from not monitoring the baby for signs of distress. If your delivery doctor fails to perform a C-section when necessary, they may be liable for damages.

Improper Medical Care During Pregnancy

Improper medical attention can result in serious birth injuries for both mother and baby. Improper medical care includes failing to provide prenatal care for conditions like preeclampsia or placenta previa. If a health care provider doesn’t watch the mother and child’s vital signs and heart rate during labor, it can lead to oxygen deprivation and severe brain damage.

Errors in Neonatal Intensive Care

Medication errors, wrong-site surgeries, and diagnostic errors can occur in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). A NICU nurse may give the wrong medication or administer the correct medication in the wrong dosage to a baby.

Surgery on an infant’s wrong body part can cause unnecessary pain and suffering. Medical team members can also make diagnostic errors by misinterpreting tests or not communicating critical information for appropriate medical care.

Medical malpractice cases arise as a result of these preventable mistakes. An experienced personal injury attorney at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. can examine your case to see if a neonatal error caused your birth injury.

What is Michigan’s Deadline for Filing a Birth Injury Claim?

Birth injuries in Michigan have a two-year statute of limitations. If the birth injury isn’t diagnosed until after birth, you may file within six months of the diagnosis. When the statute of limitations runs out, you can no longer sue for compensation.

Does Michigan Have a Statute of Repose for Birth Injuries?

The statute of repose provides a time limit after which you may no longer file a cause of action and after which an injured party can no longer bring a claim.

In Michigan, the statute of repose runs six years after the last act or omission that caused the injury. Consult an experienced attorney at Cochran, Kroll, and Associates, P.C. to determine if your case falls within the statute of limitations. We can examine the dates on your medical bills to assess when your complications during birth occurred and ensure you file within the relevant time limitations.

What Might a Birth Injury Case Be Worth?

A severe birth injury may require maximum compensation to help pay for you and your baby’s recovery. Recovering the compensation you deserve in a birth injury lawsuit settlement can provide for your newborn child’s future wellbeing and ease your financial burden.

Children who have intellectual disabilities and physical injuries from a birth injury may require lifetime care for their birth injuries. They can receive economic damages for financial compensation. These damages include:

  • Medical expenses for drugs and medication, diagnostic testing, and follow-up care
  • Cost of future medical treatment such as mobility devices, vehicle modifications, and speech therapy
  • Loss of future wages because of the victims’ inability to earn a living from a severe disability from the birth injury

Birth injury victims may experience emotional trauma, impeding their quality of life. The non-economic damages for a birth injury claim can include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Physical impairment
  • Disfigurement
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Loss of consortium

In the case of an untimely death of an infant, you may file a wrongful death claim for pain and suffering from the time of the injury until the baby’s death. Funeral and burial expenses help cover the costs of burying a child who died due to a birth injury. You can file a wrongful death claim within three years of your child’s death.

Estimating the financial losses and non-economic damages over a lifetime can be easier with the help of a personal injury lawyer. Your birth injury lawyer can help you determine what kind of compensation you need to cover your child’s long-term care and ability to lead a normal life.

Why You Need Capable Legal Assistance After a Birth Injury

When you establish an attorney-client relationship with a birth injury lawyer in Michigan, they can protect your legal rights in a medical malpractice claim. Your lawyer can examine hospital records and medical bills to prove negligence during your baby’s delivery.

Medical expert testimony can help your lawyer discover what the obstetrician should have done according to the acceptable standard of care and avoid medical mistakes. They can negotiate with the insurance companies of the medical professionals and their employer for a fair settlement.

How a Birth Injury Attorney Can Help

Our senior partner and registered nurse, Eileen Kroll, is knowledgeable in medical malpractice, including birth injury cases. Her collective experience in medical and legal medical malpractice law ensures no detail of your case goes unnoticed. She has settled birth injury litigation cases for former birth injury victims, including $9 million for a child who suffered a brain injury.

The experienced legal team at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. have a track record of recovering damages for birth injury victims, including:

  • A $15.8 million award to a couple whose baby suffered cerebral palsy due to a delivery room error
  • A $3.8 million settlement for a child in Southern Michigan who developed cerebral palsy due to a traumatic brain injury
  • A $2.2 million award for two Michigan families whose children suffered birth injuries because of medical malpractice

Speak With an Experienced Michigan Birth Injury Attorney Right Away

Returning home with an injured baby from the birth process can be distressing and overwhelming. Providers, nurses, and medical staff should provide a high level of care for your child during birth to avoid common birth injuries. When they fail in this duty, you may seek the help of birth trauma lawyers to obtain compensation for injuries you or your baby incurred.

If your baby is a victim of birth trauma, you can take legal action at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. Your attorney can review all the necessary evidence, including medical records. They can assess the fair compensation you deserve for your ordeal.

Disclaimer: The law offices of Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. is dedicated to representing individuals and families who have suffered catastrophic losses due to injuries, disabilities, and death. The firm does not represent insurance companies or corporations but instead bases its practice upon representing individuals and families.

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A heavy burden to bear

The financial burden of caring for a child with a birth injury can be catastrophic. Because the condition does not improve over time, the parents will face that financial burden throughout the child’s life. Such an extreme financial burden should be shared by those responsible when medical malpractice has been established. Both Kroll and Cochran agree that most doctors, nurses and hospitals are excellent but strongly feel that when malpractice is involved in a birth injury the baby and parents must be adequately compensated.

Act quickly

Statutes of limitation limit the length of time you have to file a lawsuit. Depending on the nature of your case, the time limits may be from one to 15 years after the incident. If you fail to file a lawsuit within that time period you may forever be denied the justice due you. If your baby was injured at birth and you believe that you have a case, it is critical that you seek legal help quickly.

If you believe you are a victim of a birth injury, let Cochran, Kroll & Associates fight for your rights.

Cochran, Kroll & Associates will provide a free consultation, either on the telephone, over the Internet, in person and sometimes at your home or in the hospital room. You will be charged a contingency fee which means that the attorney will only be paid a fee if a recovery is made. “The purpose of the contingency fee agreement is to provide access to justice, says Cochran. “It would be totally unfair if an injured person was unable to seek compensation because he or she couldn’t afford an attorney.”

The Law Offices of Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. is dedicated to representing individuals and families who have suffered catastrophic losses as a result of injuries, disabilities and death. The firm does not represent insurance companies or corporations but instead bases its practice upon representing individuals and families.

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