A birth injury can cause lifelong conditions for a child, which can have an impact on development and overall quality of life. When birth injuries are the result of medical malpractice, parents may choose to file birth injury lawsuits in order to recover compensation that may assist in paying for the past and future costs of providing care for the child.
Neurological Birth injury Lawsuits
There is a compensation plan established to provide for the needs of infants that have suffered neurological damage as a result of birth injuries. This plan will provide monetary assistance to help custodial guardians with the regular and special needs of any child that has suffered neurological trauma resulting from birth injuries, regardless of fault. The exceptions to this law are cases in which it can be proven that the birth injuries were a result of “…bad faith or malicious purpose or willful and wanton disregard of human rights, safety, or property…” as stated in the Statutes.
Assistance Determining Lawsuit Eligibility
A knowledgeable birth injury lawyer can help victims determine whether neurological disorders resulting from birth injuries are covered by the Birth-Related Neurological Compensation Plan or can be considered for a lawsuit. It is important to establish this fact as soon as possible, as patients are not able to file a lawsuit if compensation has already been provided under this plan. The plan does not account for pain and suffering and other intangible damages, so parents may prefer to file a birth injury lawsuit if the case meets the criteria.
Birth Injury Claims
A birth injury claim is a type of malpractice claim, so the laws governing these types of claims are similar to other types of medical malpractice or negligence. The law that most commonly comes into consideration in birth injury lawsuits is the Statute of Limitations law. Patients typically have two years from the time of injury to file a medical malpractice claim.
Since many birth injuries are not diagnosed until later in the child’s life, allowances may be made to allow an extension of this law, generally two years from the time of diagnosis. It is important for patients to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible following the diagnosis of a birth injury. Birth injury lawsuits are highly complex, so it may take some time to compile and review records to determine birth injury lawsuit eligibility and to form a solid case. If an extension is needed, experienced birth injury attorneys will also assist victims in taking the necessary steps to properly file for the extension.
Determining Medical Malpractice
Birth injuries can be caused by many different factors and some can be very difficult to prevent, even by the most competent medical professionals. A knowledgeable attorney can help victims determine whether the circumstances were unavoidable or indicate malpractice and can help to gather all of the evidence that is necessary to successfully pursue a birth injury lawsuit. Birth injury attorneys will work closely with qualified medical experts when reviewing medical records, fetal monitoring strips, and any other evidence provided. Medical experts that assist with reviewing evidence may also provide expert testimony during legal proceedings, which can be very helpful in proving that an acceptable standard of care was not met during delivery.
Causes of Birth Injuries
Birth injuries can be caused by many different types of medical malpractice, including:
- Delay or failure to order an emergency cesarean section
- Improper use of forceps or a vacuum extractor during delivery
- Misdiagnosis of common pregnancy conditions
- Failure to perform proper pre-natal tests
- Improper use of Pitocin
- Negligence in noting fetal changes before delivery
- Delay in detecting hypoxia and taking action to prevent injury
Putta, Lakshmidevi, and Jeanne Spencer. “Assisted Vaginal Delivery Using the Vacuum Extractor.” American Family Physician 62.6 (2000): 1316-320. American Family Physician. American Academy of Family Physicians. Web. 19 Jan. 2015. <http://www.aafp.org/afp/2000/0915/p1316.html>
“The 2014 Florida Statutes.” Online Sunshine. The Florida Legislature, 17 Jan. 2015. Web. 19 Jan. 2015. <http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0766/Sections/0766.303.html>
“The Florida Senate.” 2011 Florida Statutes Chapter 768 Negligence. State of Florida, 1 Jan. 2015. Web. 19 Jan. 2015. <http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2011/Chapter768/All>