Birth injuries are traumatic events for any family, especially when they could have been prevented. So if a medical provider’s negligence, or carelessness, before, during, or after delivery harmed your child, the professionals at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law will work tirelessly to try to ensure that you and your child are fully compensated.
Don’t hesitate to contact a Houston birth injury lawyer at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law to schedule your free consultation. Let us help you explore your legal options.
Birth Injuries vs. Birth Defects: There is a Difference
These terms are commonly confused. Even if they produce similar outcomes, they are substantially different. A birth injury is trauma suffered by an infant during, after, or leading up to childbirth. A birth defect, on the other hand, involves a non-negligent physical or chemical flaw which is discovered at birth; it is usually either genetic or induced by external, non-medical factors.
Generally, there is no legal cause of action for a birth defect unless the defect can be traced to some sort of negligence – for example, a hazardous chemical spill or toxic pollution.
If you’re curious about whether your child’s injuries might warrant legal action, contact the Houston birth injury attorneys at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law. We will offer you a free case evaluation and help you understand the options you have available.
A Litany of Possible Traumatic Birthing Injuries
There are many types of harm a baby can suffer due to medical malpractice of the doctor, a member of the birthing team, or during aftercare.
Our experience has taught us that the following are the most common birth injuries:
- Brachial Plexus Injuries (BPI) – damage to the bundle of nerves that originate from the upper spine and go through the neck, shoulder, arm, and hand
- Bone Fractures – especially a fractured clavicle (collar bone)
- Perinatal Asphyxia – an oxygen deficiency in the blood, often due to insufficient blood flow to the fetus or newborn; the condition can clear up on its own or cause permanent neurologic damage
- Intracranial Hemorrhage – bleeding in the skull, commonly under the two innermost layers of the brain: a potentially serious injury
- Facial Paralysis – temporary or permanent damage to the baby’s facial nerves; often dissipates over time, but not in all cases
- Spinal Cord Injuries – many times this is more severe than most birth injuries; usually due to traumatic nerve/cord damage caused by the use of forceps during delivery
- Cerebral Palsy – caused by interruption of oxygen to the baby’s brain for several minutes or more during birth; occurs in approximately three of every 1,000 births
Mothers and their babies should be under close supervision once they reach the labor room. Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals are trained in the use of heart-rate monitors and ultrasound machines to catch many problems that could result in brain damage to the baby. By this time, the mother’s OB-GYN should have an intimate understanding of the baby’s size and the mother’s general birthing capabilities to avoid last-minute physical trauma during birth which could severely harm her or the baby.
Some commonly cited causes of birth injuries include:
- Improper use of forceps or vacuum extractor during birth, which can cause facial damage and possibly nerve or muscle damage in the baby’s head and neck
- Fetal monitoring failures, such as failure to detect a dangerously low oxygen level which could cause Cerebral Palsy in the baby
- Abnormal birth presentation or position (e.g., breech or shoulder first)
- Large birth weight, which, if improperly diagnosed, could lead to several delivery challenges
- Umbilical cord prolapse or strangulation, which can cause hypoxia or other oxygen-starvation complications
- Failure to progress, or an abnormally prolonged delivery
- Pitocin (labor induction medication) mistakes
- Vaginal delivery in mothers with small pelvis where a C-section is more appropriate
- Maternal infections such as Group B Streptococcus
The above conditions are not a comprehensive list, by any means. But they serve as examples of the many things that can go wrong during the weeks leading up to, and on the day of, your delivery. We haven’t even touched on the negligent issues found during neonatal care after birth. Nor do any of these factors on their own mean a birth injury did indeed occur.
It is the mismanagement of these conditions that can lead to an injury and result in serious medical conditions, permanent disabilities, disfigurement, and, in many cases, a lifetime of medical bills and special care for your child – possibly for their entire life.
THE DUTY OF CARE OF DOCTORS AND NURSES
A lot can go wrong during the birthing process. No one knows this more than the doctors and nurses that care for mothers and infants every day. These medical professionals are tasked with doing everything possible to ensure that a mother and child receive the best care possible. No doctor or nurse is perfect. However, a doctor or nurse can be held liable if they fail to offer patients care that meets the basic standards of their profession.
Healthcare professionals know the signs of a complication during birth. They know when a mother’s condition poses health risks to her and her child. They are obligated to identify these risks, respond to them, and provide the best care possible. When a doctor or nurse gets it wrong because they are simply careless or reckless, they should be held accountable for the consequences of their negligence.
You might not be sure that your doctor or nurse was negligent in the care they provided you and your child. It’s not easy for most patients to determine negligence, and, fortunately, they don’t have to. When you work with an experienced, skilled birth injury attorney, you can leave that task to your lawyer.
At Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, we will find out who was at fault for your child’s injury, and we will hold them accountable for the costs of their actions.
WHY A CHILD’S INJURIES ARE DIFFERENT
When an adult suffers a serious injury, they might deal with the consequences of that injury for the rest of their life. An injured 40-year-old might live with pain, limited work capacity, and ongoing medical care for another three or four decades.
Conversely, an injured newborn will be forced to deal with the consequences of an injury throughout their entire lives. Unlike adults, children are in a crucial developmental stage, and that development will likely be impaired by their injury. A child might struggle with…
- Education and educational opportunities
- The ability to perform routine tasks
- The need for ongoing medical care
- Limited job opportunities
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering.
Not only will a child struggle with these challenges, but their family will also face difficulties paying for adequate medical care. Families might have to facilitate a child’s special needs, which can be costly.
Because a birth injury can affect a child and that child’s family in profound ways, these cases should be approached differently than many other personal injury cases. If you’re considering taking legal action for the harm your child has suffered, make sure you contact an attorney with experience handling birth injury cases.
At Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, we have years of experience handling these claims. Our Houston birth injury attorneys are ready to help you get the compensation you need to offer your child all of life’s opportunities.
Contact us today by giving us a call or filling out our online contact form.
DAMAGES IN BIRTH INJURY CLAIMS
The damages your child has experienced will depend on the type and severity of their injury. There are many factors attorneys consider when calculating how much payment to demand for their client.
A few basic damages that might be factored into your claim include…
- Expenses for a child’s immediate medical treatment and care
- Future medical care and rehabilitation or physical therapy
- Expenses to cover a child’s special needs and education
- Modifications needed to a child’s home
- The amount of income lost over the course of a child’s entire lifetime
- The pain and suffering experienced by the child.
At Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, we know how important it is to demand payment that accurately reflects the costs a child and family will face — not just in the immediate aftermath of an injury, but over the course of their lives.
We will work with you to determine how much you are owed so that we can pursue compensation from healthcare providers and their insurers. These claims are about fairness. No family should bear the costs of a doctor’s negligence, particularly when the costs and damages are so great.
Can You Afford A Birth Injury Lawyer?
Many families might be reluctant to file a birth injury claim because they fear that hiring an attorney will be too costly. Our birth injury attorneys work on a contingency fee. Our NO-FEE GUARANTEE™ ensures that you pay us nothing if your case is unsuccessful. We believe in our team’s ability to get results, and we want to make sure that no client is forced to pay fees if they don’t receive compensation through their birth injury claim.
We also offer free consultations, so we encourage you to contact our firm to learn more about your legal options. Call a birth injury lawyer at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law today or fill out our online contact form to schedule your free case evaluation.
Care For Your Baby While We Protect You and Your Family
Birth injury cases are rarely resolved in a few months. How long it takes depends greatly on several factors, such as the severity of the injury, the number of witnesses to the negligence, available medical records, and the willingness of the medical defendant(s) – and their malpractice insurers – to resolve the case.
Our birth injury attorneys thoroughly investigate your case and build a strong claim on your behalf, so you can focus on your child’s needs. We have more than 30 years of experience fighting for the rights of injured victims and their families. We can – and will – fight for you, too. Call (800) 444-5000 or contact Terry Bryant today to arrange a free evaluation of your case. We want to help.