Birth injuries may be life-altering: assert your child’s rights NOW!
The birth of a child is usually a joyous occasion for new parents. However, if something goes wrong before or during the delivery, the newborn may suffer serious trauma, with effects that can last a lifetime.
Twenty-nine out of every 1,000 babies born in this country suffer birth injuries, often caused by medical negligence, which usually constitutes medical malpractice.
If your child suffered birth injuries caused by the negligent conduct of medical professionals, hospital employees, or hospital policies, you have the right to compensation from those persons or entities responsible for your child’s injuries.
Act quickly: in Ohio, the statute of limitations (the deadline for filing medical malpractice claims) is one year.
Slater & Zurz LLP is a leading law firm in Ohio with decades of experience in handling medical malpractice cases. Our birth injury attorneys can provide you with top-quality legal representation with the compassion and sensitivity you deserve under these trying circumstances. We will protect your rights using our attorneys’ proven expertise and every legal tool at our disposal. Call or email us to schedule a free consultation to assess and advise you of your and your baby’s rights, and answer any questions you may have.
Birth-related injuries are far too common
Before and during the birthing process, both the mother and the baby are extremely vulnerable, and must be treated with extraordinary care. Even the slightest mistake on the doctor’s or hospital’s part can result in catastrophic injuries to the baby and/or the mother.
Here are some of the most common birth-related injuries that can result from medical
Applying excessive pressure, especially while using forceps or a vacuum device, can cause a newborn’s bones to break, or fracture. Similarly, picking up a newborn by the arms can result in a dislocated joint or a fractured limb. If the fracture is not treated immediately or if it does not heal properly, the child could be left with a lifelong disability.
Improper use of birth-assistance tools, such as forceps or a vacuum device, can result in the swelling of the scalp or the pooling of blood between the newborn’s scalp and the skull. Under normal circumstances, these injuries should heal on their own. However, excessive bruising and swelling may lead to anemia, a condition in which the baby lacks enough healthy red blood cells to carry sufficient oxygen to the baby’s tissues; or jaundice, a yellow discoloration of the baby’s skin and eyes.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries can have profound consequences. These injuries can lead to short-term and long-term physical disabilities, affect the child’s cognitive abilities (mental and intellectual functioning), or cause paralysis. Spinal cord injuries can result from the rotation of
the child’s head, or the extension or stretching of the child’s head relative to the body, especially during a difficult delivery.
The fetus may have a condition known as spina bifida, in which the raw nerves in the spine are exposed because of a poorly developed spinal cord. A doctor who fails to diagnose this condition may accidentally touch the exposed nerves during delivery, which can in turn result in a spinal cord injury.
Brachial Plexus Injury
“Brachial plexus” refers to a bundle of nerves connecting a baby’s arms to the spinal cord. An injury to the brachial plexus can result in a partial or total paralysis of the arm(s). There is a high risk of brachial plexus injury when the baby gets “stuck” in the birth canal and the doctor has to pull the baby out manually. Applying excessive pressure on one side of the baby’s body while pulling the baby out of
the mother’s body can injure the baby, whose nerves can be torn; if the baby’s neck gets stretched or twisted during the process, this can result in serious injury. Brachial plexus injury at birth can lead to short- or long-term disability, depending on the severity of the injury. If the nerves are overstretched or bruised, the injury is likely to heal on its own over a period of months. In some cases, physical therapy might be
required to restore mobility and full range of motion.
However, a severe brachial plexus injury at birth, in which the nerves are torn, can result in a total paralysis of the affected arm, leaving the child with a permanent disability, which may impair the child’s ability to function normally in school and further impair his or her ability to obtain and enjoy fulfilling work as an adult in the future.
Cerebral palsy can adversely affect a child’s motor skills, coordination, movement, muscle tone, speech, and cognitive abilities for the rest of his or her life. In the vast majority of cases, cerebral palsy is caused by an injury to the baby’s brain before, during, or shortly after the birth.
There are three types of cerebral palsy: spastic (which causes muscle stiffness and severely restricts the child’s movements), dyskinetic (which causes abrupt and uncontrolled movements), and ataxic (which causes depth and perception problems that affect the child’s vision, balance, and movements).
Birth-related cerebral palsy can result from any of the following factors:
- Oxygen deprivation caused by the entanglement of the umbilical cord around
the baby’s neck;
- Oxygen deprivation caused by the baby’s inability to breathe independently;
- The use of excessive force while delivering the baby;
- Improper use of birth-assistance tools (forceps, vacuum devices, etc.);
- Failure to monitor the baby’s vital signs;
- Failure to detect abnormal positioning of the baby;
- Failure to perform a caesarean section when and if required; and/or
- Failure to take the appropriate steps to prevent a preterm birth.
In addition, cerebral palsy can also result if the baby develops bacterial meningitis or suffers a stroke in the womb prior to, during, or immediately after the delivery.
We offer a free consultation, after which you pay nothing unless we win your case.
If you contact our offices, we will evaluate the merits of your claim free of charge. We will discuss the strengths and any weaknesses of your claim. If we represent you in a birth-injury malpractice case, you don’t need to pay anything up front. Unless we win your case, either by
judgment or settlement, you will have no obligation to pay us anything. If we are successful, we will accept an agreed-upon percentage of the amount we win for you as our fee.
A doctor’s duty is to protect the lives of the mother and child, regardless of the difficulty of the pregnancy or delivery.
A doctor has a professional responsibility to carefully monitor the condition of the mother and the fetus during the course of the pregnancy, provide medical care as needed, and to safely deliver the baby in the best health possible under the circumstances. If your doctor, his or her group practice, the hospital and/or its employees fail to do so, and if their negligence results in a birth injury to your baby, you may have a medical malpractice claim. If you suspect that your doctor and/or other healthcare professionals failed to meet the duty owed to you, you should contact an experienced Ohio medical malpractice lawyer immediately to explore your legal options.
Here’s what your birth-injury lawyer must prove:
In medical malpractice cases involving a birth injury, your lawyer must prove the following:
- That there was a doctor/patient relationship between the child’s mother and the doctor
and/or between the mother and the hospital (including its staff);
- That the doctor and/or the hospital was responsible for safely delivering the baby;
- That the doctor and/or the hospital breached the duty to provide the required level of
care to the mother and/or the child, and acted in a negligent manner.
- That the doctor’s actions or inaction, the hospital staff’s actions or inaction, and/or
hospital policies resulted in a birth injury to the baby and/or the mother.
- That the birth injury caused physical or mental harm to the baby or to the mother,
resulting in financial losses.
These are the damages you may recover:
In medical malpractice cases involving birth injuries, the mother and child, as well as the father
in certain instances, are entitled to compensation for all of the following:
- Wrongful death (all survivors), if the child or the mother died as a result of the malpractice;
- All costs associated with treating the mother’s and child’s birth injuries, including the costs associated with the child’s needs as he or she grows up;
- Pain and suffering endured by the child and the mother;
- All medical expenses attributable to the malpractice
- Loss of earnings (mother if unable to work after the birth because of the malpractice, and child, if the child will be disabled).
We have the experience and resources necessary to win birth-injury medical malpractice cases.
We’ve won over $150 million for our clients in personal injury and medical malpractice cases, including birth-injury cases. Because we’ve handled so many cases throughout Ohio, we know experts who can evaluate your claim and testify concerning diagnostic criteria, medical procedures, medications, and the accepted standards of conduct that apply to medical
professionals and facilities treating pregnant women, delivering babies, and providing the care required for both mother and child after the birth.
A medical malpractice case can be won or lost based on expert testimony, so the selection of a credentialed and credible birth injury expert is critical to success. Based on our experience with medical malpractice cases and the insight we gain from consulting medical experts, we can assess the strengths and weaknesses of your birth-injury case. This assessment enables us to determine whether a settlement offer is reasonable. However, if the medical provider and/or facility refuses to make an acceptable offer, we aren’t afraid to take the case to trial. Our goal is to get you and your child the compensation you deserve.
If you believe that your baby and/or the baby’s mother was harmed as a result of medical malpractice, trust an experienced law firm dedicated to vindicating the rights of birth-injury victims.
Nothing can restore the peace of mind of a grieving parent whose child sustained serious, irreparable, or even fatal birth injuries as a result of medical malpractice. It is essential to begin an immediate investigation into all aspects of the medical negligence while the evidence is still fresh, and before the statute of limitations expires. If your baby suffered from the negligence of a medical provider, you should reach out to an experienced, full-service law firm with expertise in medical malpractice and birth injury cases, and a demonstrated track record of success. We’re here to serve your and your baby’s legal needs with compassion, dedication, and an unyielding determination to win for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Why hire a lawyer to pursue claims for a birth injury resulting in cerebral palsy?
A. Claims for medical negligence which allegedly caused a birth injury that resulted in cerebral palsy are complex to investigate and pursue and are subject to multiple and strict statutes of limitations. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer investigate the viability of the claims by, among other things, obtaining the necessary medical records, reviewing the records to detect deviations from the requisite standards of care, and retaining experts to assist in investigating and pursuing the claims. A seasoned malpractice lawyer can ensure that the claims are timely filed, that all potentially liable providers have been sued, and that the matter is properly and vigorously litigated.
Q2. What are the statutes of limitations for claims for medical negligence resulting in a birth injury?
A. Generally, a medical negligence lawsuit for a parental claim arising from a child’s birth injury must be brought within one year after the cause of action accrued. Except as to persons within the age of minority, no action upon a medical negligence claim can be commenced more than four (4) years after the occurrence of the act or omission constituting the basis of the medical negligence claim. Generally, a medical negligence lawsuit for a parental claim arising from a child’s birth injury must be brought within one year after the cause of action accrued. Except as to persons within the age of minority, no action upon a medical negligence claim can be commenced more than four years after the occurrence of the act or omission constituting the basis of the medical negligence claim.
~Dawna M. Columbus, Ohio
~Joann K. Cleveland, Ohio
~Whitney T. Akron, Ohio