Legal Options for Birth Injuries
Legal Options if Your Child Suffered Birth Injuries in Homestead Related to Negligence
The U.S. Census Department estimates that there are 1,344 women in Homestead, Fla., between the ages of 15 and 50 who gave birth in 2012. These are, of course, happy times for the families, though if a child suffered birth injuries the parents likely have several questions about what caused it and, if related to medical negligence, whether they can take legal action. Read on for more information about birth injuries and legal recourse.
Birth Injuries: Possible Causes and Long-Term Complications
Certain factors might increase the risk of injury during delivery. These factors include large babies, premature babies, cephalopelvic disproportion (the mother’s pelvis is not large enough for vaginal birth), prolonged labor and breech presentation. If these challenges are present, doctors and other healthcare professionals should account for them during the delivery process.
If they do not and the child suffers injury because of it, the parents may have grounds for legal action. Sometimes the injuries result from a doctor’s failure to prescribe a C-section, failure to respond properly to fetal distress that leads to oxygen deprivation, or because of improper use of assistive birthing instruments like forceps.
Some are relatively minor birth injuries, like bruising, that heal a few weeks after birth, in which case taking legal action isn’t warranted. But some injuries are more serious and have lasting effects.
Some serious injuries include brachial plexus palsy like Erb’s palsy, cerebral palsy and fractures. Children can experience both physical and mental disabilities, depending on the nature of the injury. For example, cerebral palsy may result in both intellectual disabilities and impaired physical development.
Taking Legal Action for These Injuries
To prove that a medical provider was responsible for a birth injury, parents need to prove that the professional violated the standard of care expected of other professionals and that the violation led to the birth injury. Under Florida law, the standard of care in a medical malpractice case means “that level of care, skill, and treatment which, in light of all relevant surrounding circumstances, is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably similar health care providers.” (Florida Statutes § 766.102)
Parents may pursue both economic and non-economic damages in a birth injury case. These can include additional medical care that’s required, future care the child will require, pain and suffering, and more.
How does a parent know whether to pursue a case?
Parents who have children with birth injuries should consult a medical malpractice lawyer. Lawyers can assess parents’ rights and advise them on the best course of action and whether they have a right to pursue legal action against the negligent medical professional liable for the injuries.
Keep in mind there is generally a two-year statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases. This starts on the date of the act that caused the injury or when you discovered or should have discovered the injury. You cannot file more than four years after the date of the act that caused the injury. But if the child is younger than eight – such as in the case of a birth injury – the case can be brought before the child’s eighth birthday.
Get started on your case by contacting Chalik & Chalik if you’re in the Homestead area. Contact our office at 855-971-1701 to schedule a free consultation.