Taking Legal Action for Birth Injuries in Hollywood
According to the U.S. Census Department, 1,340 women between the ages of 15 and 50 years old had a child in Hollywood, Fla., in 2012. These were joyous occasions for these families, but the challenges of raising a child are only just beginning. Some families may face additional challenges if the child suffered a birth injury.
There are many different types of birth injuries, but if a child suffers a severe injury during birth and a medical professional was responsible for the injury, the child’s parents can pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit against the liable parties.
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Common Birth Injuries
Some birth injuries are relatively minor. Minor cephalohematoma, or bleeding underneath the skull, and subconjunctival hemorrhage, which is bleeding in the eyes, usually heal within the first few weeks of the baby’s life. Many other injuries also heal within a few days, weeks or months and have no lasting effects. But severe injuries can have long-lasting effects.
Below is a list of birth injuries that might be related to medical negligence:
- Brachial plexus palsy (Erb’s palsy): Nerve injuries in the shoulder and neck area can affect the arm. The injury may result in weakness or, in some cases, nerve damage. It may be the result of shoulder dystocia in which the shoulder becomes stuck in the birth canal. The effects may be only temporary in many cases, though in others it can lead to permanent nerve damage.
- Cerebral palsy: Children with cerebral palsy may experience intellectual disabilities, seizures and developmental disabilities. The condition is often congenital, though oxygen deprivation during labor and delivery may contribute to the condition in some cases.
- Fractures: Some children may suffer collarbone or even facial fractures during delivery. This might be part of the natural birthing process, though in some cases it might be related to improper technique used by a doctor during delivery.
Birth injuries can happen during delivery or from failure to provide proper care during labor. In some cases, a doctor might be negligent if he or she doesn’t account for or properly respond to conditions during birth, such as large babies, premature delivery, cephalopelvic disproportion (baby’s head too large for mother’s pelvis) and abnormal (breech) presentation.
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The Family’s Legal Options
Parents can file a medical malpractice lawsuit if they believe that a health care provider’s negligence caused their child’s birth injury. Negligence in a malpractice claim is defined as violating the standard of care:
“… that level of care, skill and treatment which, in light of all relevant surrounding circumstances, is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent similar health care providers.” (Florida Statutes § 766.102)
Families need to show that a doctor, obstetrician or other medical provider took specific action or failed to take actions that violated the standard of care during labor or delivery. They may accomplish this by submitting medical and hospital records, expert testimony and other evidence. Having a medical malpractice lawyer on their side can help parents conduct a thorough investigation of their child’s injuries.
A medical malpractice lawsuit can claim both economic damages, like medical costs, and non-economic damages, like pain and suffering. It’s important to consider the long-term effects of the injury to evaluate the damages the malpractice suit should seek properly. Discuss this matter in greater detail with an attorney.
You have two years from the date of injury or when you discovered (or should have discovered) the injury to file most medical malpractice cases and cannot file after four years. But if the child is younger than eight years old – like in birth injury cases – then the statute of limitations expires on the child’s eighth birthday.
Chalik & Chalik is committed to helping Hollywood parents with children who have birth injuries related to medical negligence assert their legal rights. Contact our office at 855-971-1701.
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