Catonsville MD Birth Injury Lawyer
Preventable birth injuries are on the rise in the United States. With over 28,000 cases of preventable injury caused by negligent care every single year, it makes the U.S one of the few developed countries on an upward trajectory.
While childbirth always carries some risk, and birth injuries do occur naturally, you should not have to worry about whether or not your medical providers are competent and acting in line with the medical practices they have been taught to adhere to.
If either you or your child has been injured during your pregnancy or whilst you were giving birth, and you believe the injury was preventable, you have the right to be angry. You also have the right to hold them liable for the pain and suffering they have caused you and your child. The best way to do so is to get in touch with an experienced birth injury attorney.
As a law firm that dedicates much of its professional time to fighting on behalf of medical malpractice victims, Peter Angelos Law is ready to help. We have a long history of successful cases to draw upon, and our experience in cases just like yours means we can tailor a bespoke strategy for your specific situation so call us today on 410-705-2405.
Our Mission - To Provide all Victims With Skilled Representation
One of our law firm's goals is to make reliable representation obtainable by all. No victim should have to forgo representation because they are concerned that they will be left in a financially worse position if they lose their case.
In line with this, we offer all new clients a free consultation, free case review, and free case evaluation if they believe they have a medical malpractice case. In this meeting, a personal injury lawyer with successful cases under their belt will discuss your case with you. They will answer your questions and ask a few of their own in order to decide if your case is worth pursuing. If it is, they will advise you on the best options on offer to you.
If you do decide to move forward with our representation, we will discuss our fee structure with you. We work on a contingency fee basis, which is non-recourse. Commonly known as no-win-no-fee, we only take payment if we win you a settlement sum. If we lose your case, we don't take a penny. There are no upfront payments and no risk to you, the victim. We take risks to allow our clients to pursue what they may be owed with confidence.
Types of Birth Injuries That Could Be Caused by Medical Malpractice
A nerve cluster known as the brachial plexus is at the top of your baby's arms. When a baby's head is pushed too far to one side during birth, this may cause damage to the brachial plexus.
When these nerves are damaged, it can lead to movement problems in the arms, shoulders, or hands. In more serious cases, the arm may be paralyzed permanently.
When a baby's brain does not get enough oxygen, either during birth or during pregnancy, it may lead to the child suffering cerebral palsy. This is a non-progressive condition, meaning it should not worsen after birth but can leave babies with a number of impairments. This is typically a condition that results in traumatic and lifelong injuries to the baby, requiring extensive care and treatment throughout the child’s lifetime.
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.
Your baby's spine is particularly vulnerable. If it is damaged or does not seal properly while you are pregnant, it can lead to problems with motor function or paralysis, depending on how high up the spine is damaged.
The spine does not repair itself, and this means that the damage is usually permanent. While surgery may have to be carried out to prevent your baby from suffering from further complications, surgery will not fix the damage done initially.
Spina bifida can be detected using blood tests, fluid tests, and by carrying out ultrasound. This means that if your baby is born with spinal bifida, there is a good chance it should have been picked up by fetal monitoring. The fact that it was not, may be down to the negligence of your medical provider.
Damage to the spine may result in:
- 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 the baby has too much pressure applied to the face, it can cause facial paralysis. This occurs when the facial nerves are damaged through pressure. The most common causes for this are forced delivery or incorrect use of the vacuum.
Fortunately, in most cases, facial paralysis will heal by itself in the following days or weeks, but in many cases, the damage is permanent and may lead to an inability to move the face or eyes.
Common Birth Injuries Causes
There are two main categories of birth injury, both of which may leave the child dealing with problems that last a lifetime and that have a serious effect on the way that the child lives their life.
Prenatal errors are those that occur in the 9 months leading up to the birth. Errors in pregnancy are usually due to a lack of attention or the failure to perform the appropriate tests and studies. It can also result from the doctor’s failure to report the results of important tests and examinations, or correlate those results with ultrasound exam findings. It is down to your medical provider to ensure that they carry out the relevant tests and imaging so that they can detect complications or problems with enough time to handle them correctly.
Labor and Delivery Error
Labor and delivery errors happen when bad decisions, a lack of care and attention, or a deviation from standard medical practices occurs. Labor and delivery errors can also occur when the doctor or nurse attending to the delivery are not paying attention to fetal monitoring. Fetal monitoring is required in all deliveries for purposes of ensuring the safety of mother and baby. Fetal monitoring ensures that the mother is contracting appropriately and that the baby is not in fetal distress. If a baby is in fetal distress, it may be necessary to deliver the baby emergently to prevent loss of oxygen and permanent brain damage to the baby.
Some of the more common causes of birth injuries that we see on a regular basis are:
Head Trauma During Delivery
When the mother is giving birth, the medical providers attending need to take due care and attention to ensure the baby's head is not subjected to too much trauma or pressure. This can lead to brain damage, nerve damage, or other injuries that can have serious consequences. Head trauma may result in serious impairment or affect the development of the child.
Neglecting to Perform Specialized Tests During Labor and Delivery
Fetal monitoring during labor and delivery is crucial as it allows the medical providers to detect, diagnose and deal with any conditions in a timely manner. If your child has been born with a condition or injury that should have been detected during the labor and delivery process, you may have grounds for a lawsuit.
Part of the medical care that you should receive during the birth, is the monitoring of the baby for fetal distress or complications. This allows for decisions to be made as soon as complications arise. When complications are handled quickly, there is a reduced chance of harming the baby.
When they are not dealt with in a timely manner, the baby may suffer from life-changing injuries. In the most serious of cases, the wrong decision may lead to the wrongful death of a child.
The most common complications are:
- Cerebral Palsy.
- Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy.
- Cephalopelvic disproportion.
- Maternal illness.
Delay in Converting the Mother to Caesarian Section
The decision to convert to a c-section needs to be made by a skilled and competent medical provider. Failing to convert to a c-section in a timely enough manner may lead to injuries that are preventable.
If the right attention is being paid to monitoring the child, signs of fetal distress can be detected early, and conversion to c-section can be done in a timely manner.
Negligent Vacuum Use
If a mother is struggling with the energy needed to give birth and the stress of labor, the attending medical providers may decide that she needs assistance through the use of a vacuum. This decision needs to be made carefully, as there is an increased risk of injury when using a vacuum to assist the delivery.
Due to the nature of childbirth, there is a risk of oxygen deprivation. Oxygen deprivation is one of the most common birth injuries and occurs when the supply of oxygen to the brain is reduced or cut off. When the brain does not have access to the oxygen that it needs to function, it begins to die, causing irreversible damage.
Brain damage may affect a child's development or leave them with impairments or disabilities for the rest of their life.
When brain tissue begins to die because it does not have enough oxygen, it is called Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE). This can be detected by fetal monitoring and needs to be detected quickly in order to prevent permanent damage.
If your child has been born with brain damage and you had no prior knowledge, you may have a claim as fetal monitoring should have detected it. You should speak to an experienced birth injury attorney immediately.
The Duty of Care
In Maryland state, all medical providers owe their patients a duty of care. This duty of care places a legal obligation on them to act in a way that prevents patients from coming to unnecessary harm. If they act without due care and attention, or they deviate from the medical practices, they are acting negligently, and this means you may have a claim against them.
If you believe the injury your child or yourself has suffered could have been preventable, you should speak to our birth injury attorneys.
Statute of Limitations for a Birth Injury Lawsuit in Catonsville, MD
When it comes to cases involving medical professionals and medical negligence, you are bound by the state's statute of limitations. This legislature places a legal time limit on how long you have to pursue a claim for your incident.
After the time has elapsed, you will no longer be able to raise a claim and seek compensation for your negligent medical treatment or your child's pain and suffering.
Birth injuries, just like all medical malpractice cases, have a time limit of three years. That means you have three years from the date the injury occurred to make a claim. There is one exception. If you discovered your injuries at a later time, you have five years from the date of the incident or three years from the discovery. However, it cannot be longer than five years past the date of the incident.
An infant child has 3 years from the time they reach the age of 18 years to bring a lawsuit for injuries he or she may have sustained as a result of a birth injury. The statute of limitations referred to above will apply to a parent of the minor child.
It might seem like you have a long time to make a claim, but to seek fair compensation, you should always get in touch as soon as possible. The longer you leave it, the harder it will be for your birth injury lawyers to build a case that is robust and hard to dispute.
Four Elements to Prove in Maryland Birth Injury Lawsuits
In all medical malpractice cases, your attorney will be expected to prove four elements of negligence. This will be important as it will be expected for your attorney to prove them in court if your case escalates.
These elements are:
- The medical provider owes you a duty of care - All medical providers owe a duty of care to their patients.
- The medical provider 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.
Which Malpractice Law Firm To Hire For Your Case
Your best chances of holding your negligent providers to account and pursuing the compensation on offer lie with finding the most skilled and experienced birth injury attorney possible. For those with no prior experience in retaining an attorney or choosing a law firm, this may seem like a difficult decision.
We recommend that you check all of your local attorneys out on AVVO, which is an independent review site. The ratings given on AVVO come from third parties, such as previous client reviews and peer reviews, and are also based on accreditations, years of service, and accolades.
Once you have decided upon several potential attorneys, arrange for an initial consultation with them. This meeting is important as it will provide you with the space to ask necessary questions. You will also get a feel for your attorney's personality. You might be spending the next two years in their company, discussing personal issues.
During your free consultation, here are some things to look out for:
- Experience - Begin by asking your attorney if they have won cases similar to yours in the past. If they have, ask what the outcome was. The more experience in similar cases, the better, and the more cases they have won, the better they will be equipped to fight the aggressive legal team who is representing the at-fault party.
- Legal Expertise - A lot of personal injury law firms also deal with medical malpractice, but we recommend choosing a law firm that dedicates most of its professional time to medical malpractice cases.
- Medical Expertise - While you cannot expect your attorney to have medical experience, they should have a firm grasp of medical science and the industry. Where their knowledge is lacking, they should have access to medical experts who will advise them.
Catonsville MD Birth Injury Lawyer FAQs
Contact a Catonsville Birth Injury Lawyer Today
You should never have to witness your child suffering at the hands of a negligent medical provider. If you or your child have suffered a preventable injury and you wish to pursue compensation, you should get in touch with a member of our team immediately.
We have a long history of success to draw upon and experience we have built up through numerous cases similar to yours. This means we will be prepared, no matter what direction your case may take.