Liability in Birth Injury Cases
Childbirth is not an easy task, but when you trust a medical professional to take you through your pregnancy period and help you safely deliver your child, you expect them to do precisely that. Negligence during any stage of the birth journey can cause devastating effects that affect the lives of many, including parents, the injured children, and the parents’ families.
Together with their families, parents of injured children need to invest a lot of money in taking care of these children. First, after a birth injury, you need to secure appropriate treatment for your child. Failure to do so could worsen their condition. Additionally, a child injured at birth will need to see medical specialists when they grow up. Apart from birth injuries requiring a substantial amount of money, they take a toll on parents and other family members both physically and emotionally.
Just like with any other medical malpractice case, you have the right to seek compensation if you believe that a health practitioner is responsible for your newborn child’s injury. You have the right to receive fair compensation so that you can manage to provide your child with the best care. However, do not try to seek justice without involving a qualified medical malpractice attorney.
What Are Birth Injuries?
Birth injuries refer to the health complications that children are born with, and which the liable parties could have prevented had they not been negligent. Some of these injuries can affect the victim for a short period, while others affect them for the rest of their lives. Below are some birth injuries;
- Erb’s palsy – This is one of the temporary injuries correctable by surgery or physical therapy. It is an injury that affects the nerves. When a child suffers from Erb’s palsy, they lose motion in their arms.
- Cerebral palsy – This is associated with infections, oxygen deprivation, and infant stroke. It can cause several cognitive issues.
- Caput succedaneum – This is when an infant’s scalp swells due to pressure exerted on the head during delivery.
- Brachial plexus injury – This injury affects a child’s upper arm. A child suffering from this injury is unable to use some arm muscles.
Who Is Liable in a Birth Injury Case in Florida?
Under Statute 766.102, the state of Florida expects health care providers to provide an acceptable level of skill, treatment, and care to every individual they attend to in their line of work. If a delivery room doctor fails to act per the acceptable standard, you can sue them for medical malpractice. Prove to the court that a reasonable physician would have acted differently to avoid the injury, and you have a case. Notably, nevertheless, delivery doctors are not the only ones who cause birth injuries.
Nurses, too, just like doctors, need to exercise an acceptable standard of care, skill, and treatment when working. A nurse can cause a birth injury, especially if they are not qualified enough for the position. Today, the demand for qualified nurses is high, and some hospitals end up hiring unqualified ones.
Apart from nurses and doctors, other parties that can be held liable in a birth injury case include;
- health care facilities and
- pharmaceutical companies
What Qualifies as Medical Malpractice in a Birth Injury Case?
Some of the actions that cause birth injuries and which are associated with negligence include failure to;
- adequately shield a child and their mother from harm
- maintain accurate records
- follow doctors’ orders (in the case of a nurse)
- use the correct medical procedure during the labor and delivery stage
- conduct much-needed clinical tests
Depending on different situations, medical malpractice in birth injury cases could involve other actions apart from the ones stated above. Therefore, you should speak to a qualified attorney so that they can inform you of the different actions that fall under medical malpractice in case what caused your child’s injury is not listed here.
Suing Liable Parties
Under Statute 95.11(4)(b), medical malpractice lawsuits need to be filed within two years from when the petitioner discovers the incident. Therefore, even though suing the liable parties might not be the first thing on your mind after realizing that your newborn baby suffered an injury, it would be best if you acted fast. There are exceptions to the time rule, and your attorney will be more than willing to inform you about them.
After filing a successful lawsuit, some of the costs that could be covered include;
- lost wages
- pain and suffering and
- your child’s medical expenses
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