Maryland Birth Injury Lawyer
During the pregnancy and the birth process, both newborn babies and their mothers are particularly vulnerable, and during this time, doctors and nurses should take extra care to monitor the fetus and prevent injury. When they fail to do so, and act without due care and attention, this is medical malpractice.
If you have been injured whilst you were pregnant, or your baby has suffered an injury during the pregnancy or the birth, you are entitled to recover damages and compensation for your child's pain and suffering.
Here at Peter Angelos Law, we deal with birth injury cases on a day-to-day basis, and our team of experienced medical malpractice lawyers is ready to help. We understand that, as parents, it is traumatic and distressing when your newborn child is injured during pregnancy or birth. These injuries may require a lifetime of extensive medical treatment and may affect their lives forever.
Our goal is to offer strong, reliable representation to the victims of medical malpractice, no matter what their financial situation. To do this, our law firm offers a free consultation and initial case evaluation. This means you can ask the questions you need answers to, free of charge, with no strings attached. We can evaluate your case and tell you if we think it is worth pursuing.
If you decide to proceed with representation, we work on a contingency fee basis, meaning we fight your case with no up-front costs. We take a percentage of your settlement if we win your case. If we lose, you don't pay a penny. This means pursuing compensation and recovering your damages is a risk-free situation. You don't need to worry about being left in a worse financial situation than where you began.
Peter Angelos Law - Fierce Advocacy - When You Need It Most
We prioritize the attorney-client relationship, taking the time to listen compassionately and keep you informed throughout all stages of the case. We don't back down and won't rest until we have exhausted every avenue. Our team is just as experienced in settlement negotiation as we are in courtroom litigation, and we have a long history of successful cases to draw upon.
Call us today at 410-705-2405.
Common Birth Injuries Causes
Birth injuries have the potential to cause lifelong consequences that affect the child's appearance, behavior, and development.
A birth injury or defect can have a severely adverse effect on a child’s appearance, development, and behavior.
Most of these injuries fall into two categories:
A prenatal error occurs due to inadequate monitoring during pregnancy. If an unborn baby has problems, and a medical professional fails to diagnose or diagnoses the wrong condition, then this could be due to a lack of care and attention.
Pregnancy is a vulnerable time, and it is essential that medical professionals take due care to do everything possible to promote the health of the mother and baby. Delayed treatment for some conditions can seriously harm an unborn baby, and this is often preventable.
One common example is when the unborn baby has cystic fibrosis or Down Syndrome. It is important that proper tests are performed so that parents can be made aware of these conditions and take proper measures.
Labor and Delivery Error
Labor and delivery errors are also common and happen when medical professionals fail to adhere to proper medical practices or fail to provide the mother and unborn baby with due care and attention during the birthing process.
Some common causes of birth injuries caused by medical negligence include:
Head Trauma During Delivery
When a newborn baby suffers head trauma during the delivery, they risk suffering brain damage or damage to the nervous system. Infants who suffer these kinds of injuries are at a higher risk of developing long-term delays to physical and cognitive development or other conditions such as cerebral palsy.
Neglecting to Perform Specialized Tests
Your medical providers should monitor the fetus throughout the entire pregnancy and should perform all necessary specialized tests to detect any issues. This ensures that any issues with the pregnancy are detected early and prevents complications.
During the delivery, it is essential that complications are identified and immediately addressed and corrected, or the results can be catastrophic. If the delivery team fails to resolve birthing complications, it may cause injury, illness, or, in the worst-case scenario, the death of the infant.
The most common complications are:
- Cephalopelvic disproportion.
- Maternal illness.
Delay in Converting the Mother to Caesarian Section
If a doctor fails to convert a mother to a c-section in a timely manner, the baby may suffer injury as a result. Emergency c-sections should be ordered when it is obvious that the child is suffering from fetal distress, such as a drop in heartbeat.
It is down to the attending medical professionals to monitor the mother and the fetus for signs of distress.
Negligent Vacuum Use
Sometimes, a mother may struggle to deliver the infant from the birth canal during the birth process. In these cases, a vacuum may be used to help guide the child through the birth canal by attaching to their shoulder or skull.
When this is done incorrectly or without due care, it can lead to serious injuries to the newborn baby, and in certain cases, to the mother, too.
A long or difficult delivery places significant stress on the mother and baby. Sometimes the birthing process takes more effort than the mother is physically capable of, and so doctors sometimes intervene with the use of medical equipment such as forceps, forced pressure, or vacuums.
However, forced delivery increases the risk of injury to both mother and baby, who could be left with brachial injuries or Erb's palsy, causing weakness, immobility, or even paralysis.
Oxygen deprivation is one of the most common causes of birth injuries, and it occurs when the baby's brain does not receive enough oxygen. When this happens, the brain's tissue begins to die, which is called Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE).
Infants that begin to suffer from HIE need to be delivered quickly, or there is a risk they will suffer permanent brain damage. Lack of oxygen can arise from several health conditions in the womb too. These need to be diagnosed quickly and immediately treated. If your medical provider fails to do so, they may be held liable for the injuries that result from their negligence.
Types of Birth Injuries
In the United States, healthcare professionals contribute to around 28,000 injuries to newborn babies in childbirth because of their negligence.
Common injuries include:
Brachial Plexus Injury
A brachial plexus injury is when the arm is paralyzed due to the upper group of nerves in the arm being damaged or severed. When this happens, it is usually because the baby's neck has been pulled to the side as the shoulders pass through the birth canal. It can also happen if the healthcare professional stretches their shoulders during head-first delivery or if too much pressure is placed on the baby's arms during feet-first delivery.
Cerebral palsy is a non-progressive neurological disorder caused by an injury or malformation while the child's brain is developing. It ranges in severity from very mild physical ailments to severe cognitive impairment.
The majority of children who have cerebral palsy are born with the condition, but some develop it shortly after birth due to oxygen deprivation, premature birth, trauma during labor, improper use of medical equipment, or failure to diagnose and treat jaundice. Any of these factors qualify as medical negligence.
Symptoms can include:
- Involuntary movements.
- Delays reaching milestones such as motor skill milestones.
- Poor muscle coordination.
- Weakness in one leg or arm.
- 'Scissored' gait.
- Stiff or tight muscles.
This condition is where the tissue that develops into the brain and spinal cord fails to seal properly before birth. It appears as malformations near the lower back and often requires surgery. Unfortunately, the child will not recover function to the part of the spinal cord that has been injured.
Spina bifida can be detected by ultrasound, testing the mother's blood, or examining the fluid around the fetus. If a doctor either fails to notice the condition or fails to properly inform the parents, they can be held liable for medical negligence.
There are varying degrees of spina bifida, depending on where the injury on the spine has occurred or the degree of spinal lesion. Usually, the higher the lesion on the spine, the more physical problems result. Symptoms include:
- Bladder or bowel problems.
- Difficulty with planning, organizing, or solving problems.
- Atypical eye movement.
- Difficulty paying attention.
- Hip injuries.
- Club foot.
- Weakness or paralysis of the legs.
If a baby's face has too much pressure on it during delivery, i.e. through the use of forceps or a vacuum, then it can result in nerve damage that leads to facial paralysis.
In newborn infants, symptoms of facial paralysis usually show as a lack of movement on one side of the face, such as an inability to close one eye. Symptoms often clear up within a few weeks, but serious cases can lead to permanent facial paralysis.
Healthcare professionals are obliged to keep infants safe from harm by using medical equipment safely. If you believe that your childbirth injury could have been avoided, then you should contact an attorney soon as possible.
Statute of Limitations for a Birth Injury Lawsuit in Maryland
If your child's birth injury was caused by medical negligence, then you have a limited amount of time to make a claim before you lose your right to compensation. This is known as the statute of limitations.
You have just three years from the date the medical malpractice occurred to make a claim. Or, in rare cases, if the injury is not discovered until later, you may be granted more time, but it will never exceed five years.
Although this may sound like a good amount of time, medical malpractice claims are complex, and it often takes considerable time to collect sufficient evidence. Therefore, you should contact a Maryland birth injury attorney as soon as possible.
Four Elements to Prove in Maryland Birth Injury Lawsuits
In order to prove medical malpractice, your Maryland birth injury lawyer will provide evidence for the four elements of negligence. They are:
- The medical professional owes you a duty of care - All medical providers owe a duty of care to their patients.
- The medical professional breached their duty of care - They behaved differently from how a reasonable person would in similar circumstances.
- The breach of their duty of care resulted in preventable birth injuries.
- These injuries led to damages, such as medical expenses.
Choosing the right Maryland birth injury lawyers
To secure the best chance of fair and just compensation for your birth injury claim, you need an experienced birth injury lawyer to represent you. One who has a strong reputation and who has navigated medical malpractice cases similar to yours in the past.
Choosing the right attorney for your birth injury case can feel daunting, especially if you have never required legal representation before. A good place to start is a free consultation where you ask some questions and decide whether you feel confident in their abilities and whether you feel comfortable speaking with them.
During your free consultation, here are some things to look out for:
- Experience - Birth injury lawsuits are highly complex and usually involve big medical malpractice insurance companies that have skilled attorneys who will fight to devalue your claim. Therefore, you must seek representation from a law firm that can showcase previous victories in similar cases.
- Legal Expertise - It is essential that your potential attorney is well versed in personal injury and medical malpractice. They should be able to quickly assess your case and let you know whether they believe you have a valid claim and what your next steps should be.
- Medical expertise - Although your attorney will not be a medical professional, they should have a good understanding of the medical field and close relationships with experts who can assist them in complex medical matters.
Filing a Maryland Medical Negligence Claim
You should be able to focus on yourself, your baby, and your family at this special time. When you contact an attorney at Peter Angelos Law, they will guide you from start to finish.
The initial steps to your claim will be:
- Submitting the claim to the Director of Maryland Health Claims.
- Securing your certificate of merit from a medical expert.
- Filing the lawsuit in your Circuit Court.
Maryland Birth Injury FAQs
Not every birth injury results in compensation. The key is that it must have been preventable and caused by a deviation in the standards of care. If the injury was not caused by a medical error, then you may not be able to make a claim. If you are unsure, do not hesitate to contact us. In your free consultation, we can assess your case and determine whether your case stands a good chance of success.
Contact a Maryland Birth Injury Lawyer Today
After a birth injury, you need an attorney who can navigate your case with the care and dedication it deserves. If your child has suffered preventable injuries, then you deserve compensation.
For reliable and knowledgeable representation, contact Peter Angelos Law today. We have won fair settlements for highly complex cases utilizing our 50 years of experience in the state of Maryland.
We represent clients throughout Maryland, so whether you are looking for Essex or Baltimore birth injury lawyers, you have come to the right place.
Call us today and arrange a free consultation at 410-705-2405.