The birth of a child always comes with a risk of complications. Pregnancy, labor, and delivery should not be made riskier, however, by a doctor’s negligence. If a preventable error is made at any phase of a patient’s pregnancy or delivery, resulting in harm to the mother or child, the at-fault party can be held accountable.
The St. Petersburg birth injury attorneys at Bailey & Glasser, LLP can help you and your family seek justice for this wrongdoing. Our team of attorneys has years of experience and has resolved over 3,000 cases. We will fight to secure the case results that your family deserves.
Do I Have a Birth Injury Claim?
Not every birth injury suffered is grounds to file a personal injury claim in Florida. There must be proof of medical malpractice or medical negligence to file a lawsuit. Medical negligence refers to a doctor or health care practitioner carelessly failing to use the correct standard of care when treating a patient, including during a patient’s pregnancy or delivery. Medical malpractice means a doctor knowingly or intentionally breached the standards of care despite a foreseeable risk of harm to the mother or child. Either type of tort can be grounds for a civil claim.
A birth injury lawsuit consists of four key elements:
- Duty: a doctor-patient relationship existed between the plaintiff and defendant.
- Breach: the doctor or defendant breached the required standards of care.
- Causation: the defendant’s breach of duty was the proximate or actual cause of the birth injury.
- Damages: the plaintiff suffered specific damages as a result, such as medical bills or lost wages.
The burden of proof in a birth injury case rests with the plaintiff. This means it is the filing party’s responsibility to prove that the defendant committed the negligent act or omission that caused the birth injury. The burden of proof is a preponderance of the evidence, also known as the more likely than not standard. It requires enough evidence to convince a jury that the defendant committed the tort with at least a 51 percent certainty.
Common Birth Injuries
Medical negligence at any stage of the birthing process can cause great harm to a vulnerable newborn or mother. However, certain types of injuries are more commonly associated with medical malpractice than others.
Common types of birth injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury: harm to the infant’s brain due to blunt force trauma, such as from forceps or a vacuum. Brain injuries can also be caused by a loss of oxygen, such as due to umbilical cord prolapse.
- Cerebral palsy: a group of permanent motor function disorders that affect a baby’s ability to move and balance, typically caused by a brain injury in utero or shortly after birth.
- Brachial plexus injury: damage to the group of nerves in the infant’s shoulder, which can lead to Erb’s palsy. This is an (often temporary) paralysis of the affected arm.
- Forceps injuries: bruising, lacerations, soft-tissue injuries, bone fractures, facial injuries, nerve damage, and other harm caused by the incorrect use of forceps during delivery.
- Facial paralysis: injury to the nerves in the face that can result in temporary or long-term paralysis, often caused by too much pressure being exerted against a baby’s face during delivery.
Finding out that your child has sustained any type of injury or disability from a birth complication can be devastating. At Bailey & Glasser, LLP, we have the ability to handle any type of birth injury claim.
Why Do Birth Injuries Happen?
Birth injuries that lead to lawsuits often have similar causes. Negligent actions or failures by the mother’s doctor, obstetrician, gynecologist, or delivery team can allow an injured infant’s family to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. Every healthcare provider has an obligation to use the correct and appropriate standards of care for the medical industry.
Violating the duty of care in any of the following ways could lead to a preventable birth injury:
- Poor prenatal care for a pregnant mother.
- Failure to diagnose a maternal condition, such as an infection.
- Lack of communication among the delivery team.
- Incorrect use of birth-assistive tools.
- Failure to monitor fetal vital signs.
- Ignored signs of a problem or complication.
- Failure to order an emergency C-section.
- Surgical errors made during a C-section delivery.
- Defective medical devices or malfunctions.
- Failure to diagnose and treat jaundice.
If you are not sure who or what caused your child’s birth injury, an attorney at Bailey & Glasser, LLP can help. Our team can thoroughly investigate the incident to search for signs of medical negligence or malpractice. Then, we can seek evidence that proves your claim and hire qualified medical experts to testify, as necessary.
A successful birth injury suit in Florida could result in financial compensation being paid for your economic and noneconomic losses. These are both tangible and intangible damages that you and your family suffered due to the act of medical malpractice.
Compensable damages may include:
- Past and future required medical care
- Your child’s short-term or long-term disability
- Your child’s lost capacity to earn a living in the future
- Your lost wages from having to take time off of work
- Out-of-pocket costs, such as transportation
- Pain, suffering, and mental anguish
- Punitive damages, in some cases
If you tragically lost your child due to a fatal incident of medical malpractice at any point in your pregnancy, labor, delivery, or shortly after delivery, your family may qualify for wrongful death compensation. This can include reasonable funeral and burial costs, as well as mental anguish and loss of consortium.
Contact Bailey & Glasser, LLP Today for a Free Consultation
If your child has recently suffered a birth injury that may be connected to medical malpractice, contact Bailey & Glasser, LLP for a free case consultation. Our legal team will listen to your story and analyze your case to help you understand your rights and legal options. We are a reputable personal injury law firm with a long track record of success. We also handle wrongful death cases. We will do what it takes to seek justice for your child and family during this difficult time.
Contact us today by calling our St. Petersburg law office at (727) 894-6745. We also respond promptly to queries submitted through our general inquiry form.