There are over 25,000 cases of preventable birth injury in the United States every single year, and what’s worse, America is one of the only developed countries in the entire world, where the number is on the rise.
Unfortunately, childbirth is always going to carry a certain level of risk and not every birth injury that occurs is a preventable one. In order to prevent birth injuries, the medical providers that are charged with looking after you and your child should be competent and trained to a high standard. They should take every step to ensure you and your child make it through the pregnancy, and the birth, with as little risk as possible.
When medical providers are not competent, act without due care and attention or deviate from the standard medical practices they have been taught to adhere to, this is negligence, and this means any injury caused may have been preventable.
If you or your child have suffered a preventable birth injury, you have every right to be furious at your medical providers and you deserve to hold them accountable. The best way to do this is through a medical malpractice lawsuit. Not only does this hold them accountable, but it also means you will be able to recover any of the damages you have suffered and allows you to pursue compensation for the pain and suffering you and your child have been through.
The best way to pursue a claim like this is to speak to a team of Pikesville personal injury lawyers. They will be able to evaluate your case, and if they believe it is worth taking on, they will investigate what happened, securing the evidence necessary to assign liability.
Here at Peter Angelos Law, we have spent over 70 years fighting on behalf of victims of malpractice. Our personal injury attorneys are standing by, ready to help and have a long history of successful cases to draw upon when it comes to crafting a strategy that is tailored to your unique circumstances.
Call us at 410-705-2405.
Our Goal as Pikesville MD Birth Injury Lawyers – To Provide all Malpractice Victims With Skilled Representation
One of the main goals we hope to achieve here at Peter Angelos Law, is to provide reliable representation to any victim that needs us in the state of Maryland. Every year victims of malpractice decide against pursuing a claim, simply because they are misinformed about the cost of doing so.
We work on a contingency fee basis, which means we fight your case without taking upfront costs. It also means that you don’t have to pay us anything at all if we cannot negotiate your settlement or win your case in court. If we do win, we take a percentage of your settlement, meaning there is no risk to you pursuing your case.
We also offer a free initial consultation and case evaluation, which means you can find out if your case is worth pursuing from one of our attorneys without paying a penny. If your case is worth pursuing and you wish to proceed, we will begin right away, investigating on your behalf and building your case.
Types of Birth Injuries That Are Often Caused by Medical Malpractice
Brachial Plexus Injury
At the top of your baby’s arms is a cluster of vulnerable nerves that are called the brachial plexus. These nerves are particularly vulnerable in a newborn baby, and if the head is pushed too hard to either side during the birth, they can be damaged, leading to problems with mobility or in the most serious cases, leading to permanent paralysis.
If a baby does not get enough oxygen to their brain for a prolonged period during either the pregnancy or during the birth, there is a strong chance they will develop a condition known as cerebral palsy. This condition can leave the child with a number of developmental problems or impairments. Cerebral palsy does not generally get worse once the baby has been born.
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
If your baby suffers damage to their spine during the birth, or their spine does not seal properly like it should while you are pregnant, this can lead to serious problems. Spina bifida can leave children with motor impairment or paralysis, with the severity dependent upon how high on the spine the damage is.
Certain parts of the body, like the brain and spine, cannot repair themselves after injuries. This means that these conditions are life-long and will not get better. In some cases, a child may need further surgery to prevent the damage from suffering further.
Spina bifida is often preventable because there are a number of tests, such as fluid tests, ultrasound, and blood tests, that should detect it. If adequate fetal monitoring has not been carried out, this is negligence, and you may be able to pursue a medical malpractice claim as a result.
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 your child is suffering from the above symptoms, you should contact a Pikesville personal injury lawyer that handles medical malpractice immediately.
Care needs to be taken to ensure that the baby does not have too much pressure applied to their face at any point during the birth. If too much pressure is applied to the face, it can lead to damage and facial paralysis. This is often the case when medical providers act without due care and attention in a forced delivery or if they use a vacuum.
Often, babies that suffer from facial paralysis will recover from it in the days following the birth, but in some cases, the damage that has been done will be permanent. In these cases, the baby may not be able to move certain parts of their face or open their eyes.
Common Birth Injuries Causes
When we deal with birth injuries, there are two categories that they can fall under. In both cases, the damage done may leave the child with problems they have to deal with for the rest of their lives, and when this is preventable, you deserve to pursue compensation for their pain and suffering and the effect on their enjoyment of life.
The first type of error is a prenatal error. These occur during pregnancy. The most common cause of prenatal error is when the medical providers who are meant to be looking after you and your child, fail to carry out adequate fetal monitoring. There are numerous tests that should be carried out that allow them to detect conditions in a timely manner that allow for measures to be put in place. When adequate fetal monitoring is not carried out, and the baby suffers from conditions that should have been diagnosed, these conditions could have been preventable.
Labor and Delivery Error
The second category is labor and delivery errors, and these occur in the period between the mother’s labor beginning and the baby being delivered. Medical providers must follow the standard medical practices they have been taught and act with all due care and attention during this crucial stage, and if this is not the case, any injury that the baby suffers, may have been preventable.
Some of the more common causes of birth injuries that we see on a regular basis are:
Head Trauma During Delivery
A newborn baby’s head is extremely vulnerable, and when giving birth, the attending medical providers need to take extreme care to avoid too much pressure from being applied to the head or neck. If this is not the case, the baby could suffer from irreparable brain damage, nerve damage, or facial paralysis that affects them for the rest of their life.
Neglecting to Perform Specialized Tests
One of the most important jobs that your medical providers should carry out during your pregnancy is ensuring that the right specialized tests and fetal monitoring are carried out. This allows them to detect problems early and deal with them. If your child has been born and they have a birth defect, injury, or condition that could have been detected earlier, then you may be entitled to bring a claim against your medical providers under Maryland law.
Monitoring your baby to ensure they are not in fetal distress is important during the birth as it allows for measures to be taken immediately. When complications have been diagnosed quickly, there is a much better chance that they can be dealt with without the child suffering long-term damage.
If your medical providers do not act in a timely enough manner, the baby may suffer injuries that are going to leave them with lifelong damage. In the most serious cases, the delay in action may lead to the wrongful death of the child.
The most common complications are:
- Cephalopelvic disproportion
- Maternal illness
Delay in Converting the Mother to Caesarian Section
If the decision needs to be made to convert the mother to c-section, it must be made in a timely manner, as delays can lead to serious injuries that could have been preventable had the decision been made quicker.
Negligent Vacuum Use
When a mother begins to struggle, and the baby is not moving through the birth canal quickly enough, your medical providers may need to make the decision to use a vacuum to assist. This is not a decision to be made lightly, as the vacuum, when used incorrectly, can cause serious harm to the baby, such as brain damage. Vacuum use must be carried out by a skilled medical provider, one with the training to do so.
There are a number of risks that a baby faces during pregnancy and childbirth, and one of the biggest ones is oxygen deprivation at any stage. When the baby’s brain is not getting enough oxygen, brain damage is a serious risk. Without the right oxygen supply, tissue in the brain begins to die, and it does not repair.
Babies that have suffered brain damage during birth or pregnancy may suffer from life-long impairment and disability.
The medical term for oxygen deprivation is called Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE). HIE can be detected by fetal monitoring, which is one of the reasons monitoring is so important. If it becomes clear the baby is suffering from HIE, it needs to be handled quickly in order to prevent permanent damage.
The Duty of Care
Part of any personal injury, malpractice, or wrongful death case will be working with your Pikesville, MD, lawyers to assign liability. The first step to this will be proving negligence, which requires a duty of care to have been owed to the patient and breached.
All medical providers automatically assume a duty of care to their patients, which makes proving the first element, the duty of care, relatively straightforward.
In order for the medical provider to breach their duty of care, they must have acted unreasonably. This may be through a lack of due care and attention, or it may be by deviating from the standard medical practices they have been taught to adhere to.
If you believe you or your child have suffered preventable injuries, you should speak to our birth injury attorneys.
Statute of Limitations for a Birth Injury Lawsuit in Pikesville, MD
In Maryland, for victims of medical malpractice, you will need to consider the time limits placed upon you by the statute of limitations. This legal time limit is designed to prevent individuals from bringing cases against medical providers many years down the line when evidence will not be obtainable.
After this time limit has elapsed, you will be barred from bringing a case against a medical provider for their negligence. If you try to raise a case, it will be thrown out by the opposition.
Birth injuries are bound by the same limits as medical malpractice cases. This means you will have three years from the date of your birth, or if the injuries have been discovered at a later period, three years from the date they were discovered. In this case, however, the period cannot be five years later than the date of birth.
While it might seem that you have a long time to consider making your claim, the sooner you involve your attorney, the better your chances are going to be. Evidence is always more concrete and easier to unearth the closer to the date of the incident your attorney looks for it.
Four Elements to Prove in Maryland Birth Injury Lawsuits
As medical malpractice and birth injury cases are based upon negligence, there are four elements that your attorney will need to prove for your case to be a valid one. It will be expected that your attorney can provide proof of each element if your case ends up in a courtroom.
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
When it comes to fighting a case that is as complex and difficult as a medical malpractice case, your choice of an attorney is instrumental in your success. These cases require a lot of knowledge and skill and may last several years. Choosing an attorney that has experience in previous cases and who will be dedicated to pushing your case to its completion is important.
You should also ensure they are willing to fight your case in court and will not settle for anything less than what you are truly owed.
Deciding which attorney fits these requirements is a difficult task, but here is what we recommend you look for.
First of all, we recommend that you check any potential attorney out on AVVO, an independent review site that uses a number of trust signals and factors to place a rating on each attorney. These factors include accreditations, peer reviews, previous victories, years of service, and accolades.
Most medical malpractice attorneys will offer free consultation and case evaluation for several reasons.
Firstly, it allows victims to seek some legal advice without the fear of costs, which is also why they work on a contingency fee basis most of the time. Secondly, it gives them a chance to meet you and evaluate your case. They will ask the questions they need to ask and will tell you if your case is a valid one.
We recommend arranging a free consultation with the attorneys you are considering and we also recommend creating a list of your own questions. This can help you judge which of the attorneys you are talking to are the right fit for you.
During your free consultation, here are some things to look out for:
- Experience – The most important thing to ask your attorney is about their track record for winning cases similar to yours. The more cases they have won that are similar to yours, the better they will be equipped to build a bespoke strategy with a good chance of success on your behalf. It will also mean they are more likely to have a reputation for success, and this makes it more likely that the other party and their insurance company will take you seriously.
- Legal Expertise – While most personal injury lawyers will handle malpractice, we recommend choosing a law firm like ours that dedicates most of its professional time to working on medical malpractice cases and birth injury cases.
- Medical Expertise – While medical malpractice attorneys will not have medical training, they should have a solid grasp of the medical industry and standard medical practices. They should also have access to a panel of medical experts they can call upon to advise them.
Pikesville MD Birth Injury Lawyer FAQs
Do all birth injuries qualify me to make a claim?
For a medical malpractice or birth injury claim to be valid, the injury must have been preventable. This means there must have been some form of negligence that has taken place. If your medical providers have acted without due care and attention, and your child has suffered an injury, it was most likely preventable.
However, childbirth comes with inherent risk, and some injuries are unavoidable. If your medical providers followed the standard medical practices and acted with all due care and attention, there is a good chance that the injury was not avoidable, and this means you will not be able to pursue a claim.
You should always have your case evaluated by an experienced birth injury lawyer, as only they will be able to evaluate your case accurately and inform you if it is a valid one.
How long do birth injury cases take?
Medical malpractice cases are always more complex and will always take longer than a traditional personal injury claim.
The true length of time your case will take to settle or to complete will always depend on the complexity of the case. This means that cases where it is difficult to assign liability and prove that the injury was preventable will take longer than cases where liability was clear.
Another important factor is the reputation and skill of your attorney. The other party is much more likely to settle if they know you are represented by a fierce trial attorney with proven results under their belts.
You should always be prepared for the case to take over a year and, in most cases and often, several years to complete.
How are birth injury lawsuits funded?
Here at Peter Angelos Law, we believe all victims should have the opportunity to pursue compensation when they have been the victims of malpractice. To help us achieve this goal, we work on a contingency basis, meaning you pay nothing for our representation up front, or if we lose your case. We simply take our fees as a flat percentage of any settlement we can win for you.
We also offer all new potential clients and existing clients alike a free case evaluation and initial consultation.
Do all birth injury cases go to court?
It is always in the best interests of everyone involved to keep the case out of court to avoid the lengthy process and court costs. This means most cases will settle outside of court if the liability is clear.
However, in serious cases that may result in a large payout, the other party may wish to fight it out in court in the hopes they can avoid payment. This makes it important that all victims find an attorney that is trial-tested and prepared to litigate in court.
Contact a Pikesville Birth Injury Lawyer Today
No parent should have to witness their child suffering from a preventable birth injury sustained by negligent medical providers. If you or your child have been injured during the birth or you have reason to believe your medical providers should have done more to prevent an injury, you should contact a birth injury attorney immediately.
Call us today and arrange a free consultation at 410-705-2405.