What is a Birth Injury Claim?
Fortunately, most births are joyous events and all goes well. In about three in every hundred births, however, there are serious birth injuries. Not all birth injuries are due to medical malpractice but, if the medical treatment received fell below the medical standard of care and if the malpractice caused the birth injuries, then a birth injuries attorney can establish a case.
When a child has suffered serious birth injuries, the child needs the help of an experienced medical malpractice law firm and the expertise of an experienced birth injuries attorney. All the medical records with details of the childbirth injuries need to be obtained and reviewed. An expert obstetrician needs to review the records, and the medical literature needs to be collected to investigate whether the case has merit. This process could take several months.
The Keenan Law Firm is the most experienced birth injury law firm in the south. When you retain birth injuries attorneys from The Keenan Law Firm, you will be sure to have dedicated and knowledgeable legal help. Our birth injuries attorneys have reviewed hundreds of files and countless verdicts and settlements on areas ranging from forceps injuries, asphyxiation damage, failure to properly c-section, medication errors, improper amniocentesis technique, failing to deliver the child in a timely manner, improper assessment of fetal age, and virtually all types of childbirth injuries.
Do I Have a Claim? How Does it Work?
The only way to know for sure if you have a claim is to talk to birth injury attorneys about what you and your child went through. They will be able to lead you through the details of your case and perhaps evaluate what happened to you to be able to tell you if you have a claim or not. What you would need to be able to prove is if there was negligence.
With the medical field, when something goes wrong, it’s not always negligence. Negligence is proved based on whether or not this incident could’ve been avoided had the medical care professional acted in a different way. If they did not meet the standards of care and that ended up in birth injuries, there certainly could be negligence involved.
The way your claim works is you, as the plaintiff representing your child and your family, bring a claim against the medically negligent liable party. This liable party is not the one being directly sued for damages. Their insurance company is financially responsible for the damages that you and your family have suffered due to the birth injuries caused by the liable party. Your birth injury attorneys stand by your side and fight fearlessly against the insurance company to make sure that you get the justice that you deserve.
The value of a claim is broken down into two categories; economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages include things like your hospital bills, medical costs, prescription expenses, therapy, and lost wages if anyone had to miss time at work. If your child is going to need medical treatment for the rest of their life, the cost of that is going to be included in your case value.
Non-economic damages would be things like the pain and suffering that your family has to go through because of the birth injury. It might also include how the birth injury will affect your child’s life. If your child is going to be impaired for life and affected possibly forever, this is taken into account for your damages. Call our birth injury attorneys to learn more.
What exactly is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral Palsy is a group of disorders which can be characterized by loss of movement or loss of other nerve functions. These disorders are caused by injuries to the brain during fetal development or near the time of birth.
What exactly is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is negligent or incorrect performance of professional duties. In medicine, the term refers specifically to care rendered to patients by health care providers and institutions. Generally, four prerequisites are necessary to establish a valid claim for medical malpractice:
a provider-patient relationship existed;
negligent care was rendered;
the patient suffered damage or harm;
and the damage or harm done to the patient was a result of the negligent care.
What are the causes, incidences, and risk factors of Cerebral Palsy?
The incidence of Cerebral Palsy is approximately two to four children for every 1000 births. Cerebral Palsy results from injury to the cerebrum (the largest portion of the brain, involved with higher mental faculties, sensations, and voluntary muscle activities). Causes can vary from birth asphyxia and trauma, hypoxia (low oxygen) to the damaged areas of the brain, premature birth, or cerebral injury caused by illness or a head injury.
Injury to the cerebrum can result in the loss of nerve functions in widely different areas. The classical finding of Cerebral Palsy is spasticity (decreased muscle tone), which may affect a single limb, one side of the body (spastic hemiplegia), both legs (spastic diplegia), or both arms and legs (spastic quadriplegia). In addition, there may be partial or full loss of movement (paralysis), sensory abnormalities, and defects of hearing and vision. With Cerebral Palsy, speech abnormalities are common and seizures may occur. Intellectual function may range from extremely bright to severe mental retardation. Symptoms are usually evident before age 2 and in severe cases may appear as early as three months of age. Cerebral Palsy is a non-progressive type of encephalopathy (injury to the brain) and symptoms directly resulting from the disorder do not worsen.
What can we do to help our child?
Over 500,000 children and adults in the U.S. have Cerebral Palsy. Cerebral Palsy is a lifelong disorder and long-term care may be required. The disorder does not affect expected length of life. And the cost of care for a child with disabilities may be very high. Depending upon the cause, compensation for the care of your child may be available.
What help could we be entitled to?
Supplemental Security Income
- This is a federally funded program that pays monthly checks to
children who have been determined to be disabled under federal
law. Under the law, you may have assets and income and still
have your child qualify for SSJ.
- This is a federally funded program that can provide extensive
medical benefits to disabled children who meet the eligibility
criteria. These benefits may even be available to those
with substantial incomes if there are extraordinary costs.
Help with Medical Evaluations and Treatment
- Neurology, orthopedic, cardiac and orofacial clinics are just a few of
the special services available for help with the initial diagnosis
or for additional opinions. There is usually no charge to the
family for initial diagnostic evaluations. Even beyond the initial
visit, financial assistance is available if the family is eligible.
- Children, up to age three, are eligible for early intervention programs
with professionals delivering direct services in your home
or in their program center.
Preschool Age and School Age
- Children, aged three to twenty-two, are entitled to special education
services under federal and state laws. These laws guarantee
a child with special needs an educational program designed
to meet his or her individual needs and to maximize the
child’s potential. Special education can include speech,
occupational and physical therapy services and placement
in public or private school programs.
- This provides you with occasional relief from the daily care
of your child. The services are offered by several state
agencies and are often provided free. Respite care can provide
home-health aides, homemakers and the like, in your own
home or twenty-four hour care outside the home in family
or group-care settings.
Handicapped License Tag
- Parents who transport a severely disabled child may be eligible for
handicapped plates on their car as well as an exemption from
sales tax and/or excise tax.
Did you know?
If you should pass away without a will, under the law, your child will inherit part of your estate and may no longer be financially eligible for publicly supported programs. By carefully drawing up a will with professional guidance, your child stands a better chance of maintaining public benefits and a secure future. It is important for you to know if others have included your child in their will. The U.S. Congress passed laws recognizing that the parents can set up a “Special Needs Trust”. This Trust will allow continued payments of government benefits.
A true story…
Here is an actual Cerebral Palsy case history. It is an example of just one of the many cases with varying results. If you think your child’s Cerebral Palsy could have been prevented, contact us. We can help.
A FEW YEARS AGO, A WOMAN IN LABOR went into fetal distress while at the hospital. This necessitated an emergency c-section. The child sustained seizures and brain damage due to lack of oxygen to the brain and subsequently developed Cerebral Palsy, spastic quadraparalysis, severe mental retardation and microcephaly. At the age of three (3), she is unable to walk, unable to speak and unable to feed herself. Through Early Intervention, she receives hours of physical, occupational and speech therapy. She will never be able to live independently and will require 24-hour supervision for the rest of her life. The parents filed a lawsuit for Failure to Respond to Fetal Distress and Failure to Timely Perform a Cesarean Section against the obstetrician and against the hospital. The obstetrician and the hospital maintained that the fetal monitor strips did not show signs of fetal distress and that the child’s injuries were congenital and not related to their actions and inactions. However, all of the records subsequent to the child’s birth indicated that the child suffered from lack of oxygen at birth, or hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.
*Prior to Trial, a settlement of $2.1 Million was reached.
Here is another actual Cerebral Palsy case history. It is an example of just one of the many cases with varying results. If you think your child’s Cerebral Palsy could have been prevented, contact us. We can help.
A FEW YEARS AGO, A WOMAN IN LABOR went into fetal distress while at the hospital. This necessitated a midforceps delivery. No scalp PH was taken to ascertain the adequacy of the fetal oxygen supply. The child sustained seizures and intracranial hemorrhage and subsequently developed Cerebral Palsy and right-sided hemiplegia. She also shows signs of mental retardation with an IQ of about 75. Plus, she walks with a severe limp and has a contracted hand on the right side. At the age of seven, she does not speak and attends a special needs school where she requires therapies in all disciplines. The parents filed suit for Failure to Respond to Fetal Distress-Mid Forceps Delivery-Seizures, Intracranial Hemorrhage, and Cerebral Palsy. The hospital and doctor maintained that a low forceps delivery had occurred and that the fetal monitor strips did not show signs of distress. The defendant recorded a low forceps delivery but pediatric records indicated a mid-forceps delivery, which can cause traumatic injury to the child.
*At the trial, a $4 million settlement was reached.
Where can we turn for help?
The Keenan Law Firm understands that protecting a loved one’s rights is one of your family’s most important responsibilities. Just as significant, our firm understands the law so you receive the best legal representation possible. Together, we have mastered the intricacies of this extremely important area of law. Our firm has the knowledge, experience and passion to help you find out if your health care provider has been negligent. You deserve answers to your questions and to know what options you have. We collect all medical records and conduct an extensive screening process which often requires a review by several obstetrical, neurology, pathology and radiology medical experts. Very often an extensive review indicates that no meritorious case exists, even though the child has severe disabilities. Under these circumstances, the parents owe our firm no fee nor do we require reimbursement of expenses. In the event a meritorious case is established, with the permission of the client, the litigation process begins. The cases mentioned are not meant to create the expectation that the results achieved by other law firms for these clients will be the same that we achieve on behalf of our clients. There are many factors that influence a settlement or verdict including facts that may be unique to a client’s claim.