Essex MD Birth Injury Lawyer
It is extremely important that your medical providers take every measure to ensure that your pregnancy goes smoothly from start to finish. This includes regular testing, checkups, and help with the birth. During the pregnancy and the birth, both you and your baby are particularly vulnerable, and this can make it an anxious time.
This anxiety is well-founded, as, in the United States, we are one of the few developed countries in the world where birth injuries are actually on the rise. What's worse, 28,000 cases every year were preventable and were caused by the negligent behavior of the medical providers who are meant to be looking after you.
Preventable birth injuries can range in severity but have the potential to cause lifelong impairment, impact the child's development, and may affect their enjoyment of life. If you can prove these injuries were preventable, you are entitled to pursue compensation for the pain and suffering you and your child have been through and may have to go through in the future.
As a dedicated medical malpractice law firm, the personal injury lawyers at Peter Angelos Law know that monetary compensation will not remove the grief and trauma you and your child have suffered. However, monetary compensation can give you some financial security and allow you to seek the very best medical attention and treatment that you or your child may need to move on with your lives.
Peter Angelos Law - Speak To Our Essex Personal Injury Lawyers about your Medical Malpractice Case
Seeking compensation for your damages should not be a privilege; it should be a service accessible to all victims. This goal is important to us here at Peter Angelos Law and is the main reason that we work on a contingency fee basis. This fee structure allows us to work for our clients without them having to fear the consequences of losing the case. You will not be left out of pocket, no matter what direction the case takes.
If we win your case, we take our fees from your settlement, and if we lose, you don't pay a penny. We take the risk so that you can pursue what is rightfully yours.
We also offer a free consultation and case evaluation to any victim that needs advice and a compassionate ear to listen to their case. We will tell you if your case is worth pursuing, advise you on what to do, and will explain the process, leaving the ball in your court. If you want to walk away at this point, you are free to do so, more informed than you were before.
Common Birth Injuries Caused By Negligence
The term prenatal error refers to any error that occurs during the pregnancy. The most common error is a lack of due care and attention when it comes to monitoring the fetus. Regular fetal monitoring is important, as it gives the doctor the best possible chances of diagnosing any conditions in a timely manner.
A failed diagnosis of a condition may lead to serious complications as the child will not receive treatment. Equally dangerous, a misdiagnosis may lead to the wrong treatment being given and the main condition being left untreated.
An example of a lack of due care and attention during pregnancy is when a fetus has a condition like cystic fibrosis. If one of the parents is a carrier of the disease, it should be down to your doctor to carry out the tests and inform the parents.
Labor and Delivery Error
The labor and delivery process is a critical time, one where extra care needs to be taken to prevent the chances of injury to the mother or her baby. When doctors fail to adhere to the medical standards or make decisions without due care or attention, the result may be life-changing injuries or, in the worst-case scenario, the wrongful death of the child or mother.
The most common birth injuries include:
When there is a lack of oxygen supplied to the brain, a number of different problems can arise. One of the more common ones is cerebral palsy. This is a non-progressive condition, which means it does not usually worsen after the birth.
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.
Brachial Plexus Palsy
When a baby is improperly delivered, there can be damage to the brachial plexus, a cluster of nerves in the neck and arms. This usually happened when a baby's head is pulled too hard to one side and can lead to mobility problems in the arms, shoulders, or hands.
Improper use of Vacuums
If the mother is struggling due to the stress and exertion of the labor or the time spent in labor, the decision may be made to assist her. This is called forced delivery and often includes the use of a vacuum.
This decision needs to be made carefully, as using the vacuum during a forced delivery comes with an enhanced level of risk to the baby. Due to the attachment of the vacuum to the scalp of the baby, there can be swelling or bruising in mild cases, and in severe cases, there may be brain damage.
During the birth, blood vessels in the baby's scalp may be ruptured. This is a common occurrence and, in the majority of cases, is harmless. It does need to be checked out and diagnosed quickly, however, as it can lead to further complications that could cause harm to the baby.
When blood is left to pool under the scalp, it may calcify, and this is a serious condition that may require surgical intervention.
Horners syndrome refers to damage to the nerves that connect a newborn baby's eyes to the brain. During the birthing process, if too much trauma is placed on the face, it can lead to permanent damage that may cause blindness or facial nerve damage that never heals.
One of the most common injuries that a newborn baby might sustain during birth is a broken bone. If the baby is in fetal distress, the doctor needs to make a decision quickly. If the doctor had other options and failed to explore them, and your baby has suffered a broken bone, then it may have been preventable.
Spinal Cord Injury
Injuries to the spine are extremely serious. This is because the spine does not repair in the same way that the rest of the body does; injuries to the spine can lead to life-long impairment and even paralysis.
Common Forms Of Child Birth-Related Medical Negligence
- The incorrect use of tools used during birth, such as the use of vacuums and forceps.
- Incorrect or lack of fetal monitoring during pregnancy and labor.
- Delayed or failure to give treatment during fetal distress.
- Failure to convert to a c-section in a timely manner.
- Administering an epidural incorrectly.
The Process of Filing a Claim
If you wish to file medical malpractice, birth injury, or wrongful death claim in the state of Maryland, it begins with speaking to an Essex, MD, birth injury lawyer.
They will help you file your claim by submitting it to the Director of Maryland Health Claims.
The next stage will be building your case and presenting your evidence.
Maryland Statute of Limitation
In the state of Maryland, you have several reasons to file your case as quickly as possible. The first reason is that the sooner you get in touch with your attorney, the stronger your case will be. They will have more time to build your case and will be able to investigate what happened quickly after it happened.
The second reason is a legal one. Maryland's statute of limitations places a strict time limit on how long you have to file a claim relating to an incident. If this time elapses, your case will be thrown out if you try to raise it.
Maryland's statute of limitations states you have:
- Three years from the date the malpractice injury or error occurred.
- If, in rare cases, you do not discover the injury until a later date, you may have a longer period, but your time will never exceed five years from the date the injury occurred or three years from the date the injury was discovered.
Damages You Can Recover in Medical Malpractice Claims
In a medical malpractice claim, your attorney will work with you to recover your damages and pursue compensation for your suffering. To do this, they will work out what your damages are worth and use that in the negotiation phase. This is where they will evidence your claims in a settlement offer that is sent to the other party.
The more experience your attorney has in calculating damages in previous victories, the better they will be suited to this task. When this is done in a fair and reasonable way, with evidence to support your claims, they are hard to dispute and are more likely to be accepted.
In a birth injury case, your personal injury lawyer will consider both your economic and your non-economic damages.
The first damages that will need to be calculated are your economic damages. These are called economic damages, as they refer to the physical costs you have suffered. If you have had to pay out money to deal with a damage, it is an economic one.
Here are the most important economic damages to consider.
Lost Earning Potential/Wages
If the injuries you or your baby have sustained are going to require you to take time off work, then you might suffer from a loss of income. This could leave you in a financially difficult situation.
If your baby has suffered from injuries that are serious enough to mean they will never be able to work in a normal capacity, your attorney may decide you should pursue a lifetime of lost earning potential.
Medical bills can quickly add up, and you should not be responsible for paying for any medical bills that arise from the injuries you or your baby have suffered from negligence. If, as a result of the medical malpractice, your baby is going to require additional treatment or a lifetime of physical therapy, your attorney will work out what this looks like financially.
You should keep a daily diary of all medical treatments you or your baby have received. It is also a good idea to note your thoughts, feelings, mood, and pain levels.
Your non-economic damages are the ones that you or your baby have suffered that are harder to quantify and do not come with prices attached, such as:
Pain and Suffering
Your pain and suffering refer to the physical pain you and your baby have been subjected to and the suffering you have been through, both mentally and emotionally.
One common form of pain and suffering is a loss of enjoyment of life. If your baby has suffered a preventable injury that means they will never be able to ride a bike or throw a ball, they are going to suffer a loss of enjoyment of life in the future, and you deserve to pursue compensation for this.
The very worst outcome of medical malpractice involving childbirth is the wrongful death of the child. When this could have been preventable, this is a terrible thing to deal with indeed.
If you have lost a child due to negligence, you have every right as a parent to be angry, and you deserve to raise a wrongful death case against those responsible.
No amount of monetary compensation is ever going to reduce your grief or bring your child back, but it does hold the party responsible, and it also provides you with financial security that will allow you to grieve properly.
If you have lost a child during birth, you need to speak to a personal injury lawyer who is experienced and knowledgeable about wrongful death cases. These are the most complex to deal with and will need to be handled by a highly skilled attorney.
Four Elements to Prove in Maryland Birth Injury Lawsuits
There are four main elements in a medical malpractice or wrongful death case. Your attorney needs to prove all four as they will be expected to provide evidence they have done so if you want the best chances of a successful claim.
These elements are:
- The medical provider owes you a duty of care - All medical providers automatically assume and owe a duty of care to their patients.
- The medical provider breached their duty of care - They behaved differently from how a reasonable medical provider 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
In order to provide the best chances of pursuing the full and maximum compensation that you deserve, you are going to need to do your research and pick the best possible attorney for your case.
This may seem like a difficult decision to make, and it is, especially if you have never had the need for an attorney before.
Avoid making decisions solely based on advertisements. A billboard or a tv ad may seem like a good place to start, but there is no guarantee that a law firm paying to place the ad is any good.
A good place to start is by checking your potential attorney on an independent review site like AVVO. These sites give a rating to attorneys based upon their client reviews, length of service to the state, awards, accreditation, and peer reviews.
Once you have managed to narrow down your choices, we recommend setting up initial consultations with all of them and preparing a list of questions you want answering. This will give you the chance to test your attorney. You should feel confident in their abilities by the end and comfortable in their presence. A medical malpractice case may take several years to complete, and you will need to work with them throughout this period.
During your free consultation, here are some things to look out for:
- Experience - Birth injuries, wrongful death cases, and medical malpractice cases, in general, are difficult and complex. This is in part, down to the fact that the other party in a medical malpractice case will almost always have an incredibly talented legal team fighting on their behalf. This is why you should always choose an attorney with a proven track record of victories against these skilled legal teams.
- Legal Expertise - During your initial consultation, you should feel that your attorney is highly knowledgeable in the state's rules and regulations surrounding medical malpractice cases. For this reason, we recommend choosing an attorney who dedicates most of their time to working on medical malpractice and birth injury cases.
- Medical expertise - While your lawyer will not have medical training, they should, as medical malpractice lawyers, have a firm grasp of the medical industry and the standard medical practices. Where their knowledge is not sufficient, they should have access to a panel of experts in the field, ready to advise them.
Any medical provider who owes you a duty of care can be sued if it is found they acted negligently. If they are responsible for your injuries and the injuries were preventable, they can be found liable.
Speak to an Essex, MD Birth Injury Lawyer Today
If you or your child have suffered from an injury that was preventable due to the negligent behavior of your medical provider, you have every right to pursue compensation for your pain and suffering.
When fighting against the medical insurance companies, you are going to need a fierce advocate, one that will not back down and that will not settle until every avenue has been exhausted.