Birmingham Birth Injury Lawyers
All expecting parents brace for the challenges of caring for a newborn child. However, few parents know how to respond when their child is harmed during birth. The tragic fact is that many birth injuries are the result of a medical professional’s negligence, which can make it that much more difficult and confusing to comprehend.
In such cases, parents naturally are dismayed and desperately want answers. Considering the very costly medical care that children with birth injuries are likely to incur, these parents can also be entitled to compensation for the multitude of expenses their child will face over the course of his or her lifetime.
The experienced birth injury attorneys at Serious Injury Law Group understand the sadness and anger that parents often feel in these situations. Our firm will fight for the justice you are owed. We have extensive experience handling all types of medical malpractice cases and will stand up for you and your family.
If your child suffered a birth injury due to a mistake made by a medical professional, Serious Injury Law Group can help. Our lawyers are Alabama natives who are committed to pursuing justice for clients in communities all over the greater Birmingham area. Contact us today to have our firm review your case and help you understand all of your legal options during a free consultation.
Common Types of Birth Injuries
A birth injury is not the same as a birth defect. While a birth defect is an unavoidable result of a genetic condition, most birth injuries are caused by some kind of medical malpractice before or during the birthing process.
Some birth injuries are the result of mistakes made before delivery. Brain injuries, for example, could be the result of failure to detect and treat maternal infections, failure to order an emergency cesarean section (C-section) or failure to treat a prolapsed umbilical cord.
Similarly, failure to diagnose gestational diabetes can result in severe complications for a child. A mother who develops high blood pressure can place a child at risk of preeclampsia, which can lead to maternal seizures.
In addition to injuries caused before delivery, Serious Injury Law Group also handles many birth injury cases involving mistakes made during delivery, including:
- Bone fractures — Broken bones may occur in children because of improper use of birth-assisting tools or simply because too much force is used during a more stressful delivery.
- Brachial plexus injury — Improper use of birth-assisting tools or excess force can also be two of the more common causes of brachial plexus injuries. The brachial plexus is a group of nerves that control the arms and hands, and these types of injuries can lead to a child suffering neuropraxia, Erb’s palsy, Klumpke’s palsy or neuroma.
- Caput succedaneum — A significant swelling of the baby’s scalp that often stems from head-first deliveries. The condition is more common in deliveries involving vacuum extraction.
- Cephalohematoma — Babies born with cephalohematoma have a collection of blood between their scalp and skull, often resulting in strange bulges on an infant’s head. Again, improper use of birth-assisting devices such as forceps or vacuums is a common cause of cephalohematoma.
- Cerebral palsy — Not always immediately evident, cerebral palsy can affect a child’s ability to control his or her own muscles. Cerebral palsy could be the result of a physician’s failure to identify certain medical issues such as maternal infections, umbilical cord problems or lack of oxygen.
- Facial paralysis — Also known as facial palsy or Bell’s palsy, facial paralysis is typically evident shortly after birth. In some cases, physicians may have failed to treat viruses or maternal infections in the mother that were subsequently passed onto the infant.
- Intracranial or subarachnoid hemorrhage — Also known simply as brain bleeds, intracranial and subarachnoid hemorrhages are often the result of lack of oxygen or excess force during delivery. Improper use of certain labor-assisting drugs can lead to intracranial or subarachnoid hemorrhages.
- Perinatal asphyxia — Perinatal asphyxia needs to be treated quickly in order to avoid possibly detrimental effects to a child’s brain. These injuries are usually the result of a baby not getting enough oxygen, possibly because of a prolapsed umbilical cord.
- Spinal cord injuries — Many spinal cord injuries in infants are the result of stressful deliveries. In some cases, spinal cords may be overstretched during delivery, and the injuries can lead to a lifetime of complications.
All of the types of injuries listed above could have a number of possible causes, underscoring the importance of having an independent investigation conducted into your child’s birth.
Causes of Birth Injuries
Some birth injuries stem from long and difficult deliveries, but the exact causes can be more difficult to determine. Every case is unique. However, some of the most common causes of birth injuries are:
- Failure to monitor mother and fetus during pregnancy — It is extremely important for the health of a mother to be accurately and consistently monitored in order to avoid children being born with lifelong problems.
- Errors and miscommunication — Many birth injuries stem from simple communication errors between doctors, nurses and other hospital staff.
- Failure to monitor during delivery — During delivery, signs of fetal distress can usually be identified and corrected immediately, but failure to detect fetal distress can lead to serious problems.
- Failure to take steps upon signs of distress — Again, physicians should identify and resolve most signs of fetal distress as soon as possible, as failure to take necessary actions often leads to birth injuries.
- Failure to perform C-section during difficult birth — C-sections are typically ordered when the surgical procedure will be safer than vaginal delivery for the mother and the child. Delays or failure to order C-sections can result in children being born with any one of a number of injuries.
- Errors with techniques — Many birth injuries stem from improper use of certain birth-assisting tools such as vacuum extractors or forceps.
- Improper use of anesthesia — Two of the most common uses of anesthesia are epidurals and spinal blocks. Not only can improper use of anesthesia result in birth injuries such as brain bleeds for a child, but mothers can also suffer injuries in these types of cases.
Determining the precise medical error that caused a birth injury can be very difficult, but Serious Injury Law Group will know how to review medical records, interview witnesses, and consult with experts to get the answers parents deserve.
Compensation for Birth Injury Victims and their Families
In addition to the pain of knowing that their child has been born with a birth injury, parents also must face an entire lifetime of significant medical expenses. For this reason, many parents develop life care plans.
A life care plan is a legal document usually drafted by medical experts and specialists that lays out the expected future costs of caring for a child over the course of his or her life. Some of the most common types of damages parents can recover in these cases include past and future medical expenses (including rehabilitation costs), in-home care, special education, therapy and specialized equipment.
Our Birmingham Birth Injury Attorneys Can Help You
Did your child suffer a severe birth injury in the Birmingham area? If so, you are not alone. Serious Injury Law Group represents clients throughout Alabama. We are ready to listen to you and fight for your family. Our lawyers will provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case when you contact us and schedule a free consultation.