When something goes wrong during delivery or childbirth, the experience can be traumatic and devastating, resulting in either immediate physical injury or years of uncertainty during development. If your child has been injured during labor and delivery in Ocala, FL, it’s important to discuss your legal options.
You may have the right to seek compensation from the delivering physician, a member of the delivery team, or the hospital. The Ocala birth injury lawyers from Allen Law Firm, P.A., can help you fight to maximize your financial recovery.
If you would like more information about taking legal action in a birth injury claim, our compassionate legal team is here to help you. To arrange a free and confidential consultation, call us anytime, 24/7.
How Our Ocala Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help You Navigate a Birth Injury Lawsuit
When you hire attorneys at Allen Law Firm, P.A., you will have decades of experience going to bat for you. Collectively, our attorneys have more than 70 years of experience representing clients just like you. And, we have former insurance adjusters and claims managers on staff with more than 130 years of collective experience working inside the insurance industry.
We know what you’re up against – and we know how to anticipate and counter any curveballs the insurance company or hospital might throw at you.
When you reach out to us, your Florida birth injury case will start with a free case evaluation with an experienced Ocala personal injury lawyer. This can be over the phone or video conference, at our office, or at any safe and convenient location. Your free consultation is always confidential, with no obligation.
During your birth injury claim consultation, we will listen to your story, and learn more about your potential claim. We will ask when you first discovered or suspected that your child suffered a birth injury. We will share experiences handling similar claims, and answer any questions you have about our firm, our experience, or the claims process.
If we represent you, we will begin working on your case right away, including:
- Investigating your case
- Reviewing medical records
- Consulting with independent medical experts
- Drafting a settlement demand
- Filing a lawsuit (if pre-litigation settlement is not offered)
- Representing you in court (trial)
- Collecting funds and disbursing to you
When you hire us, you will pay absolutely nothing unless we recover a settlement or verdict for you. This means we take on the financial risk of your case. We advance all fees, so there are never any out of pocket expenses. We are only paid for our legal services, if and when, compensation is recovered. Call to schedule your initial consultation for free today.
What Are the Most Common Types of Birth Injuries?
Common birth injuries include:
Brachial Plexus Injuries
Shoulder dystocia can occur when one or both of the baby’s shoulders become stuck in the mother’s pelvis during labor. Damage to the nerves that lead to the arm can cause a brachial plexus injury. Doctors and midwives should be trained to deal with shoulder dystocia and keep the baby and mother safe. Injury to the brachial plexus from birth is called Erb’s Palsy.
A long or difficult delivery may cause localized swelling on a newborn due to bleeding below the scalp – known as caput succedaneum. In extreme cases, it can change the shape of the skull of a newborn, leading to a pointed or unusually shaped skull. This condition is diagnosed through visual inspection, CT scan, or MRI.
Cerebral Palsy (CP)
One in 323 children is diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, a motor disorder characterized by unusual or involuntary movements. Children with CP often have seizure disorders, cognitive impairments, and challenges with vision or hearing.
There are four types of cerebral palsy: Spastic cerebral palsy, Ataxic cerebral palsy, Athetoid/dyskinetic cerebral palsy, and Mixed cerebral palsy, which involves a combination of symptoms that cannot be categorized into a single type.
Collar Bone Fractures
A fractured collarbone (clavicle) injury is common if forceps are used improperly during delivery.
Hypoxia – or reduced oxygen during birth – can lead to a permanent brain injury, cognitive deficiencies, and cerebral palsy.
Spinal Cord Injury
Blunt trauma from forceps or vacuum can cause permanent injury to the spinal cord. Symptoms may vary widely depending on the extent of damage and level of the cord where the injury has occurred.
If a doctor, nurse, midwife, or care provider makes a mistake or fails to take a risk, the consequences can be devastating and permanent. In just a matter of moments, a birth injury can cause lifelong disability, and require lifelong care and therapy. Families also suffer emotionally, and may require psychological therapy and counseling after going through a devastating birth injury.
Why Do Birth Injuries Happen?
The majority of birth injuries result from adverse events and complications in the delivery room. Medical professionals who carefully monitor the health of an infant and mother during labor will be ready to promptly intervene if needed. However, when a healthcare provider’s negligence leads to an infant’s injury during birth, the results can be life-changing.
Much progress has been made to reduce maternal deaths and birth injuries. Most expectant mothers understand the role they play in their baby’s development, and take cautious steps to protect their developing baby. Medical providers also play an important role in ensuring an infant’s safe arrival.
If a healthcare provider fails to provide adequate and appropriate care – which is “recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent similar healthcare providers” – they may be liable for medical negligence.
When Do Medical Errors Lead To Birth Injuries?
By definition, a birth injury is harm to the baby during or around the time of childbirth. They may be caused by oxygen deprivation (birth asphyxia), traumatic birth injuries (often from excessive force during delivery), infection, or due to medical error, such as a nurse giving the wrong dosage of a medication.
Not every birth injury can be attributed to a mistake or negligent act of a nurse, doctor, or hospital. If the baby is too large to pass through the birth canal, or the umbilical cord becomes twisted or compressed, the baby may be deprived of oxygen without fault being attributable to anyone. However, any birth injury case is worth a careful review by a skilled attorney.
Examples of medical errors that could cause a birth injury:
- A medical professional failing to identify / address problems during pregnancy
- A medical professional failing provide proper prenatal care
- A medical professional failing to respond to bleeding or fetal distress
- A medical professional failing to recognize when vaginal birth may be dangerous or impossible.
- Complications related to a C-section
- Complications related to genetic testing
- Complications related to premature delivery
- Errors in the administration of anesthesia
- Errors in medication in hospital (type or dosage)
- Miscommunications between doctors and health care providers.
The extent of errors (and damage) may not be clear until the case is investigated. Birth injuries can cause developmental delays in all aspects of growth. In some cases, medical intervention can be helpful.
How Long Do I Have to File a Florida Birth Injury Claim?
Not all birth injuries are obvious at birth. For example, speech delays and learning disabilities may only be evident when milestones are missed. If the injury is not immediately discovered, you have up to two years more. If you have reason to suspect a birth injury may have occurred, you are well-advised to speak with a medical malpractice lawyer in Marion County, FL.
What’s Tony’s Law and Does it Apply to My Birth Injury Case?
Florida has a special law – Tony’s Law – which extends a statute of limitation when the victim is a child. Under this law, parents have up to a child’s eighth birthday to file claims for medical negligence.
However, if the parents knew, or should have known, that a birth injury was caused by medical malpractice, they may be barred from bringing a claim outside of the four-year statute of limitations. It is always advisable to pursue claims as soon as possible, and not delay.
The sooner you contact a lawyer, the closer you will be to recovering financial compensation and getting the care and support you need.
What Types of Damages Are Available for Ocala Birth Injuries?
In a Florida birth injury lawsuit, a claim may be brought on behalf of the child and parents. This lawsuit can seek the recovery of economic damages (for verifiable future and present financial costs of a birth injury) and non-economic damages (for intangible consequences of a birth injury).
Generally, recoverable damages in a birth injury case may include:
- Past and future medical bills and medical care expenses
- Parents’ lost wages (past and future)
- Caretaking expenses
- Home modifications to accommodate a disability
- Shortened life expectancy
- Disability or loss of normal life
- Physical, emotional, and mental pain and suffering
- Wrongful death, if a birth injury is ultimately fatal.
Calculating damages is an important part of a claim. We work with life-care planners and medical experts to calculate the care your child will need over the course of their lifetime. In rare cases, such as cases involving medical provider sexual misconduct, punitive damages may be available in addition to regular compensatory damages.
Call Our Ocala Birth Injury Lawyers To Discuss Your Case Today
If your child suffered a birth injury in Ocala, a doctor, nurse, midwife, or other healthcare providers may be responsible. Contact the Ocala birth injury lawyers at Allen Law Firm, P.A. to discuss your case and see how we can help you recover every cent you deserve. Your first consultation is always free and if we represent you, we will not charge any legal fees unless we recover money for you.