Canton Birth Injury Lawyer
Awaiting the birth of a child is one of the most exciting times in a parent’s life. You put your trust in the doctors, nurses, and hospital staff to safely deliver your baby. Though all too often, mistakes are made that lead to serious birth-related injuries.
Coping with the consequences of a birth injury is a devastating experience. We want you to know that you do not have to go through this alone. We will take the necessary steps to ensure your child receives the highest level of medical care, so he or she can obtain the best quality of life possible. While you focus on your child’s recovery, we will work tirelessly to hold responsible parties accountable for their actions and to get you and your family the maximum compensation for your child’s injuries.
What is a Birth Injury?
A birth injury refers to any physical trauma caused to a baby or mother during labor and delivery. They often involve injuries to the brain, muscles, bones, and nerves. While complications can occur during the birth process, most are preventable when medical professionals follow a proper standard of care. Common birth injuries include:
Cerebral palsy is a disorder that affects the child’s ability to move and maintain posture and balance. It is caused by abnormal brain development or damage to the brain. Common issues related to cerebral palsy include intellectual disability, vision, hearing, and speech problems, seizures, and joint problems. Some early signs to look for in young infants (under six months of age) are:
- The baby feels stiff
- The baby feels floppy
- While lying on his or her back, their head lags when being picked up
- When being held, it seems they are pushing away from you by overextending his or her back or neck.
Brachial Plexus Injuries
The brachial plexus is a cluster of nerves located between the neck and shoulder that controls feeling in the arm. When injured, it may result in a loss of the ability to feel or move the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand, or fingers.
Erb’s palsy is a type of brachial plexus injury that can also occur during delivery. It causes damage to the nerves that result in either temporary or permanent paralysis of the affected arm.
When one or more of the baby’s shoulders becomes stuck behind the mother’s pelvic bone, it causes the shoulder to be pulled back during birth. If the shoulder isn’t freed from the pelvic bone, it can lead to a brachial plexus injury or a fracture. Sadly, in more severe cases, shoulder dystocia can lead to a lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain, causing brain damage or even death. Shoulder dystocia can also cause complications for the mother, such as vaginal tears or hemorrhaging.
When a doctor suspects shoulder dystocia, they will likely tell the expectant mother to stop pushing and change positions, which will often free the baby’s shoulder. If these steps don’t work, they may need to perform an emergency Cesarean section.
Compensation for a Birth Injury
Birth injuries can lead to serious long-term consequences for a newborn child. They often require several surgeries, extensive ongoing medical treatment, rehabilitation therapy, and special accommodations.
If your baby was injured at birth, you likely have mounting medical bills that you are struggling to pay. But if your baby’s injuries were caused by a negligent party, you are entitled to recover damages on their behalf. This much-needed compensation will help provide your child with the medical treatment they need. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be entitled to compensation for the following:
- Past, present, and future medical expenses
- Costs for rehabilitation, such as physical, behavioral, and speech therapy
- Disability care, including life support, live-in nursing care, and home and vehicle modifications
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Lost quality or enjoyment of life
What You Can Expect During the Birth Injury Claims Process
Each birth injury claim is unique. However, there is typically a general progression of events. Filing a birth injury claim can be stressful, but with the right lawyer by your side, you can navigate the legal process with confidence and ease.
Filing a Birth Injury Claim
To begin the process, your lawyer must file a birth injury claim with the court in the city where the injury occurred. In Ohio, your birth injury claim, which is considered a medical malpractice claim, will generally need to be filed within one year of the date of injury.
The Defendant’s Response
The defendant must respond to your claim within 30 days. They can either accept the claim and enter into settlement negotiations or deny the claim. If the claim is denied, you will likely need to take them to court to recover damages.
If the defendant accepts your claim, settlement negotiations will begin. Most birth injury claims are settled before going to court. Hiring an experienced Canton birth injury lawyer can greatly increase your chances of receiving the compensation you are entitled to. They will skillfully handle all of the negotiations so that you can remain focused on your or your child’s recovery.
Achieving a favorable settlement is often the cheapest and easiest way to resolve your case. However, if the defendant is not willing to compensate you for the amount you deserve, you may need to take them to court.
Going to Court
Should you need to go to court, the process will begin with the discovery phase. Your lawyer will generally already have much of the essential information but may still need to gather additional evidence, interview witnesses, and depose the defendant(s). After the discovery phase, your birth injury trial will begin. Your lawyer and the lawyer representing the defendant will present evidence supporting their positions in court. The judge or jury will then decide whether your lawyer has fulfilled their burden of proof against the defendant. If so, the court will award an appropriate judgment amount.
Working with an experienced lawyer can expedite the birth injury claims process and ensure the proper steps are taken to achieve the maximum compensation possible.
Can labor medications such as Pitocin cause birth injuries?
Doctors dispense Pitocin to stimulate contractions, helping the expectant mother start or speed up their labor. Pitocin is widely used and can be very effective when used correctly. However, if administered incorrectly, it can cause contractions that are too strong or too frequent which doesn’t give the uterus a chance to relax and recover. This can prevent the baby from getting enough oxygen, causing birth asphyxia which can lead to brain damage or even death.
Get Your Questions Answered by a Canton Birth Injury Lawyer
A successful birth injury case can provide the financial stability you and your family need. It will ensure your child has access to the medical treatment and other resources they need to achieve the highest level of health, comfort, and happiness possible.
To get the answers you need and see what your claim may be worth, schedule a free consultation with a Canton personal injury lawyer at Slater & Zurz. We will thoroughly review your possible claim and provide you with honest and informed feedback. Call (330)968-2547 today to speak with a personal injury lawyer today. Let us help you and your family regain control of your lives so you can move toward a bright future.