If your child has a serious birth injury, your life is a whole lot harder. Our birth injury lawyers see this up close. It is a terrible thing to happen. It is unfair any way you look at it. But you did not come here looking for sympathy. You came here because you are trying to figure out how to give your child the best life possible.
The reality is that millions of dollars in a settlement or verdict can make a tough situation a little bit better. It makes it easier to care for your child and give him or her the very best. Just as importantly, it can give your child the kind of money needed for lifelong care even after you are gone.
The reason these cases sometimes result in extremely large settlements and verdicts in the tens of millions of dollars is obvious. The injuries in permanent brain damage cases are catastrophic (and there is no cap on economic damages in Maryland).
Sadly, some families have no option for monetary help. This is because their child's birth injury was not the result of a medical error (or they never suspect malpractice was the cause). But when the harm was caused by a medical mistake, there is the possibility for a great deal of compensation.
Our lawyers handle birth injury claims. Our legal team is based in Maryland. But we handle these negligence cases throughout the entire United States. What we can do for you is figure out whether you have a claim and what your options are moving forward. We can also talk honestly about what has been holding you back from making a claim and what your concerns might be. There are complicated statute of limitations issues cases involving children. So while you may want to put off hiring a birth injury attorney, you should not put off talking to one to get legal advice on any statute of limitations issues you may face.
If you think your child may have suffered harm from a medical error during the birthing process, call our birth injury attorneys at 800-553-8082 or get more information about your individual case online.
This umbrella term refers to a group of related disorders in which the brain is not able to control the normal movement and coordination of the muscles in the body. Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the developing brain during pregnancy or childbirth. Cerebral palsy can happen in the absence of a doctor's medical negligence. But far too often CP is caused by mistakes or medical negligence during delivery.
HIE is an extremely harmful and potentially fatal neurologic birth injury. HIE is caused by complications or trauma during the delivery process which results in a significant interruption of blood and oxygen supply. When a baby may not be getting enough oxygen, it is an obstetrical emergency that often requires immediate delivery of the child. Otherwise, the oxygen deprivation may trigger permanent damage to brain cells, often leading to cerebral palsy, damage to the white matter in the child's brain, or other birth injuries.
There is no medical dispute that there are situations where a C-sections becomes medically necessary. Courts have ordered women to get a C-section against their wishes in some cases. So clearly there are cases such as when the baby's heart rate drops dramatically, the cord is wrapped around the baby's neck, or there is a placental abruption where the doctors need to step in and recommend immediate surgical delivery. Any meaningful delay can lead to a lack of oxygen to the brain and other vital organs that can change the child's life forever.
Sometimes, forceps are needed when the birth is not progressing as it should, often because the child is awkwardly positioned in the mother's womb. Good doctors use this tool to assist the baby through the birth canal in the delivery process all of the time. But this tool has to be used with great care. The use of both forceps and a vacuum are correlated with a greater risk of a birth injury. What kind of injury? The risk is usually oxygen deprivation and brain bleeds that can lead to cerebral palsy and other birth injuries. Too many doctors today do not know how to use forceps in a way to avoid injury to the mother or child.
The fetal heart monitor issue comes back to the same place as most of these other errors: hypoxia. Oxygen to the brain is critical for the fetus at this stage of their lives. The medical literature is clear that certain electronic fetal monitoring patterns are suggestive of metabolic acidosis and brain damage. If there is something awry with the fetal heart rate and the medical professionals do not take action, it can lead to brain damages, cerebral palsy, and a host of other problems.
This is when the umbilical cord is wrapped around the infant's neck or head that can stop the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. The problems here are a failure to detect the problem and failing to perform a C-section quickly to protect the child. When cord prolapse is suspected, an emergency Cesarean section is usually warranted and manual attempts to relieve umbilical cord compression must be undertaken.
Malpractice cases involving vacuum errors are similar to forceps errors. When there is a little trouble getting the child out of the womb, doctors should be concerned. But they can't panic. A vacuum is a fine tool but, like any tool, it has to be used properly and too many delivering doctors either do not know how to use it or use it improperly in the heat of the moment. If it is used improperly or the vacuum extractor itself is defective, it can cause serious birth injuries or death to the newborn child.
This common birth injury leaves children with full or partial paralysis in one arm. Erb's palsy results from damage to the brachial plexus nerves in the shoulder which control the movement of the arm. These key nerves frequently get injured from stretching and tearing during a difficult vaginal delivery. The critical thing for obstetricians when there is trouble with delivery is to avoid excessive fundal pressure or perform a C-section.
If you have a potential birth injury claim, you want to know if you are going to win and how much money you are going to get if you take legal action. Let's start with the statistics. Nationally, plaintiffs win approximately 29% of birth injury cases at trial. Maryland, based on our experiences and looking following the verdicts in these cases, is probably higher.
This might sound like a low number but, statistically, it has a high relative success rate. Only 21% of verdicts in all medical malpractice cases nationally end in a plaintiffs' verdict.
What does this tell us about your case? Nothing. Because what is not included in these statistics is how many viable delivery error cases reach an out-of-court settlement. There is no statistical data on this. But the answer is a lot. Ultimately, most birth injury healthcare provider negligence claims that go to trial are hard cases for plaintiff because the evidence is not there.
There is a lot on the line in these cases. This usually leads to the doctor, hospital, or insurance company to settle the case before trial. So if you have a good birth injury case, it is unlikely that you will ever see the inside of a courtroom.
Our law firm handles birth injury cases all over the country. The statute of limitations in birth injury cases varies and is usually different from parents and their claims than it is for the child's claims. In most states, the statute of limitations on birth injury malpractice lawsuits is 2 or 3 years from the date the birth injury is discovered for the parents and longer for the child. In Maryland, the statute of limitations allows the child to bring a claim anytime before he is 21 in most cases. But parents over have three years to make a claim (although there are exceptions to this rule and questions about how a court would interpret this law)
When you find out your baby has suffered a birth injury, there is no immediate way of knowing whether it was caused by medical negligence. The doctors are not going to admit that they made a mistake. However, a high percentage of birth injuries are directly linked to some type of medical negligence. If you suspect that your child's birth injury may have been avoidable, you should consult a birth injury lawyer.
Medical malpractice resulting in a birth injury can occur in an infinite number of ways, but there are specific categories of medical negligence that results in birth injuries:
- C-Section Malpractice: failure to perform or unreasonable delay in c-section
- Forceps Malpractice: unskilled or negligent use of obstetrics forceps during delivery.
- Failure to Monitor: failure watch fetal monitoring devices for signs that the baby is under stress.
- Vacuum Extraction Malpractice: unskilled or negligent use of vacuum pump extractor to deliver the baby.
The settlement value of individual birth injury cases can be difficult to ascertain until a lawsuit has been filed and discovery has been completed. Naturally, parents want to know what kind of financial compensation their child and their family can expect if their child has a permanent disability.
Below we have gathered plaintiffs' verdicts and settlements in specific types of birth injuries cases. This will not help you ascertain the exact monetary value of your child's claim but it does give you a better idea of the potential ranges for successful claims.
- Brachial plexus
- Bradycardia and fetal distress
- Brain Bleeds
- Brain Ischemia
- Caput succedaneum
- Cephalopelvic disproportion
- Cerebral palsy
- Erb's palsy
- Fetal macrosomia
- Forceps errors
- Herpes encephalitis
- Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR or FGR)
- Periventricular leukomalacia (PVL)
- Pitocin misuse
- Placental abruption
- Uterine rupture
Birth injuries are not always the result of a medical mistake. Sometimes, bad things happen to good people. But, sometimes, far too often, a doctor's mistake caused the serious injuries to the newborn.
The stakes in childbirth injury cases are extremely high. There is no damage cap on the recoverable economic damages for past and future medical bills and the cost of maintaining the child for the remainder of the child's. Because the financial burden is so high, damages are often measured in tens of millions of dollars.
How does the birth injury claim process work? We start with a free consultation. Then our attorneys collect all of the relevant medical records related to the pregnancy, delivery, and postnatal case. Our birth injury medical experts review these records with us to determine whether the doctors and nurses breached the standard of care. If the answer is yes, we consult with additional experts to assist in calculating the damages over the child's lifetime. At this point, we often send out a settlement demand letter to the doctor, nurse, or hospital. But the reality is most childbirth injury cases require a lawsuit. Again, medical malpractice lawsuits rarely go to trial because a settlement is usually reached. But there is a real fight to get to that point.
Birth injury lawsuits are complex. The lawyer your hire matters. You need skilled Maryland birth injury malpractice attorney to fight for you. If you want to investigate your potential claim, our legal team will discuss your case with you at no charge so you can learn more about what you are facing. Call our Maryland birth injury malpractice lawyers at 800-553-8082 today or get a free online consultation.