Philadelphia Birth Injury Lawyers
Pennsylvania Birth Injury Attorney Helping Clients in Philadelphia
Expecting a baby should be one of the most exciting experiences in a new parent’s life. However, when a healthcare provider makes a mistake during a pregnancy or childbirth, a serious birth injury can occur.
Birth injuries can occur for many reasons, including medical malpractice. When a child suffers from a birth injury, the child can experience life-long disabilities that affect the physical and emotional life of the child and his or her family.
Parents frequently spend thousands of dollars in medical expenses on birth injury costs each year, and many children never recover fully from birth injuries.
If your child has a birth injury, you may be able to file a claim for compensation. You should discuss your case with an aggressive Philadelphia birth injury lawyer as soon as possible. An advocate at PhillyLaw can discuss your options with you today. Reach out today for a free consultation.
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What Are Birth Injuries?
There are many different types of birth injuries. According to the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University, the term birth injury is used to refer to any physical injury that results from birth.
In some cases, birth injuries do not result from a medical doctor’s mistakes. For example, large babies that weigh 4,000 grams or more can be particularly susceptible to birth injuries, as can babies that are born prematurely before 37 weeks.
However, many birth injuries that are caused by a healthcare provider’s error are preventable. In these cases, it is important for the parents to seek financial compensation and to hold the doctor or nurse accountable.
A birth injury lawyer in Philadelphia can help your family through each stage of your claim.
Common Types of Birth Injury Claims We Handle in Philadelphia
There are numerous kinds of birth injuries, and they affect infants in different ways.
According to Stanford Children’s Health, the following are some of the most common types of birth injuries today:
- Caput succedaneum, or the swelling of the soft tissue of a baby’s scalp;
- Cephalohematoma, which is a medical term for bleeding in the brain that occurs underneath the baby’s cranial bones;
- Forcep marks;
- Hypoxia, or the deprivation of oxygen;
- Subconjunctival hemorrhage, or blood vessel breakage in and around the baby’s eyes;
- Facial paralysis, which can result from extreme pressure on the baby’s face during labor;
- Cerebral palsy, which is a term that refers to a group of medical disorders that affects the baby’s ability to move and control muscles;
- Brachial palsy, which is an injury that results from an injury to the brachial plexus (or the group of nerves in the baby’s arms and hands);
- Erb’s palsy, which is a particular type of brachial plexus palsy;
- Shoulder dystocia, which is the difficulty of delivering the baby’s shoulder and commonly results in brachial plexus;
- Collarbone fractures; and
- Clavicle fractures.
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, anywhere from one to two out of every thousand babies will be born with a brachial plexus injury, and many of these injuries result from medical negligence.
If your child sustained a birth injury and you have concerns about whether your doctor was negligent, you should learn more about your options by speaking with a Philadelphia birth trauma lawyer.
Liability for a Philadelphia Birth Injury
Who is responsible for a birth injury in Philadelphia? As we mentioned, not all birth injuries happen because of a doctor’s negligence.
However, many birth injuries do occur when a healthcare provider is careless or reckless.
There are numerous parties who may be held liable for a birth injury claim resulting from medical malpractice, including but not limited to:
- Hospital where the birth injury occurred;
- Lab technician;
- Medical device designer or manufacturer; and
- Pharmaceutical company.
Depending upon the cause of the birth injury, any of the parties listed above may be responsible. For instance, if a medical error occurred during a C-section, the obstetrician, anesthesiologist, nurse, and even the hospital may be responsible.
Differently, if the birth injury resulted from a defective piece of medical equipment or a defective drug, the device manufacturer or the pharmaceutical company may be at fault. A dedicated Philadelphia birth injury lawyer at PhillyLaw can assess your case and discuss options for moving forward with a claim.
Proving Medical Negligence in a Birth Injury Case
Most birth injury lawsuits are medical malpractice claims. In order to prove that the healthcare provider or healthcare facility was negligent, a plaintiff must be able to prove the following elements:
- Duty of care: Defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care (which is typically easy to show simply by the fact that the plaintiff entered into a doctor-patient relationship);
- Breach of the duty of care: Defendant breached the duty of care by making a mistake or by acting carelessly or recklessly;
- Plaintiff was harmed because of the defendant’s breach of the duty of care; and
- Plaintiff suffered actual damages.
When birth injury lawsuits result from defective drugs or medical devices, the plaintiff typically will file a product liability lawsuit, which is another type of personal injury claim. Unlike medical malpractice claims, product liability claims do not operate according to a theory of negligence.
Instead, these are known as strict liability claims, which means that the plaintiff does not have to prove that the defendant was negligent.
Instead, if the defendant designed, manufactured, or marketed the product and it caused harm, then the defendant can be strictly liable for the plaintiff’s injuries.
Statute of Limitations for a Philadelphia Birth Injury Lawsuit
Under Pennsylvania law (42 Pa. Consol. Stat. § 5524(2)), there is a two-year statute of limitations for most birth injury claims. This means that, in most cases, the plaintiff has two years from the date of the injury to file a claim for compensation.
In other words, the clock for the statute of limitations begins “ticking” when the injury occurs, and it runs out after two years.
Failing to file a lawsuit within the two-year period can result in the plaintiff being barred from filing a claim.
Given the limited statute of limitations, it is extremely important to learn more from a Philadelphia birth injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Philadelphia Pennsylvania Brith Injury Claim Lawyers can secure compensation for birth injury harms.
Birth injuries may be a passing concern of expectant parents, but are unfortunately a reality to many, when something goes wrong during, or shortly after childbirth. Common types of birth injuries may be temporary and resolve quickly with low-to-no residual damage. But more severe birth injuries can be permanent, negatively affecting many aspects of a child’s life, and impacting family finances that are necessary for specialized care and around the clock treatment. Birth injury may not present itself until a child is in their formative years when symptoms begin to appear and guidance from experienced legal counsel may be helpful.
When an injury can be tracked back to the care of professional nurses, or doctors who make mistakes before, during and after the delivery of an infant, it is imperative to speak to a medical malpractice attorney who can have experts review the records, and exam the child to ascertain the extent of the physical damages and any residual effects an injury may have caused. When medical negligence can be proven in accordance with state standards of medical care, compensation may be available to cover compensatory damages that include economic damages for medical expenses and future healthcare costs, special services, lost wages, and non-economic damages for pain and suffering, anxiety, loss of companionship, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Birth injuries are severe injuries that happen during the labor and delivery of a child, or perhaps at some point in the prenatal care, provided by a medical professional that manifests in injury at birth such as gestational diabetes, cervical cerclage, Group B Strep, Pre-eclampsia, and problems with placenta. Medical negligence is predicated on four elements including a professional duty, breach of duty, verifiable injury, and damage valuations and a birth injury attorney in Philadelphia may be instrumental in building a winning case strategy toward damage recovery.
Common birth injuries.
Bell’s Palsy – Bell’s palsy is a common name given to temporary forms of facial paralysis, in which the facial nerve loses the ability to transmit electrical signals from the brain to the face.
Cerebral Palsy – Cerebral palsy comes in different forms to describe neuromuscular disorders equally, but each cerebral palsy disorder is caused by brain damage, or the abnormal development of brain tissue, and each case is marked by some motor impairment and can impact the way a person moves. Cerebral palsy conditions are not progressive, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, but a child’s symptoms can change, getting more, or less pronounced as they age.
Shoulder dystocia – Shoulder dystocia is a rare birth injury that occurs when one, or both shoulders of an infant become stuck in the mother’s pelvis during delivery.
Brachial plexus birth injury, an injury to the brachial plexus nerves occurring in one out of every three of every 1,000 births ,when the nerves of the brachial plexus may be stretched, compressed, or torn in a difficult delivery. Injuries may affect all or only a part of the brachial plexus and affect shoulder and elbow muscles, or muscles in the forearm and hand.
Cephalohematoma – a minor complication of delivery where blood collects underneath the periosteum, not underneath the skull bones.
Hydrocephalus – often known as “water on the brain” which is really too much cerebrospinal fluid in the brain reveal some babies to be born with “congenital” forms of hydrocephalus. Other children develop the condition due to possible physical trauma at birth.
Jaundice and kernicterus – Kernicterus is an extreme form of jaundice that can cause permanent brain damage, along with severe neurological disorders.
Traumatic brain damage and skull fracture – Traumatic birth injuries are most common in difficult and long labors. Uterine contractions can force a child’s head to strike at the mother’s pelvis repeatedly. With the infant’s skull still developing, brain damage, or skull fracture may result.
Premature delivery – In some cases traumatic accidents can come to impact the course of a mother’s pregnancy. The major risk after a car accident, or fall is premature birth.
Birth asphyxia – Birth, or perinatal, asphyxia happens when an infant’s brain and organs fail to receive sufficient amounts of oxygen around birth, according to the doctors at Johns Hopkins University. Oxygen deprivation can be fatal, or lead to permanent muscular and cognitive impairments.
Seek legal counsel.
There are many forms of birth injuries that are not listed above, and it is a prudent decision to hire a Philadelphia birth injury lawyer who can assist in building a strong case against a professional health care provider that caused a birth injury, or wrongful death due to acts of medical negligence. Legal counsel will file a lawsuit within the specified two year statute of limitations, objectively speak for victims against an insurance company’s legal team and take steps toward a fair monetary award.
Contact a Philadelphia Birth Injury Attorney
Do you need assistance with a birth injury claim? An experienced birth injury lawyer Philadelphia can help with your case.