Florida Birth Injury FAQs
Injuries suffered by newborns are difficult experiences for families, especially when they have reason to believe those injuries – like many birth injuries – are the result of negligent medical care. Because preventable birth injuries could and should be avoided by reasonably skillful and careful medical professionals, families have a right to explore their options for legal action that can hold health care providers accountable for their negligence, and allow them to secure the justice and compensation they deserve.
Comprised of award-winning trial lawyers who serve clients across the state of Florida, Freidin Brown, P.A. has successfully advocated for families who have been forced to deal with the often life-altering consequences of birth injuries. Over the years, we have used our more than 100 years of combined experience to help clients navigate challenging personal injury and medical malpractice cases, and have recovered millions of dollars in compensation on their behalves. While we make ourselves available 24/7 to help families that want to learn more about their rights and our services, we also know how important it is that victims have the facts they need when they are just beginning to explore their options. That’s why we have taken the time to answer some of the most common birth injury questions we receive below.
What is a birth injury?
Birth injuries refer to any injuries sustained by newborns (or mothers) during labor, delivery, and in some cases pregnancy, and they can range in severity from minor injuries that heal over time to lasting impairments, lifelong disabilities, and injuries that result in death. While some birth injuries are not preventable, many can be avoided if not for the negligence of doctors, nurses, or other health care professionals who fail to meet their duty of care.
What are some examples of birth injuries?
There are numerous types of birth injuries, including many that comprise the basis of birth injury lawsuits filed by victims and families. Common examples include:
- Cerebral palsy
- Bone fractures
- Facial lacerations or paralysis
- Brain damage
- Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy
- Preeclampsia and Eclampsia
- Injuries caused by forceps or vacuums
- C-section injuries (including delayed C-section injuries)
- Brachial plexus injuries (Erb’s Palsy)
- Shoulder Dystocia
Many of these injuries can be caused by negligent medical care, including cases of a doctor’s failure to identify or monitor serious complications, negligent use of forceps or vacuum extractors, failure to perform a timely C-section, improper use of labor-inducing drugs (including Pitocin), and other forms of substandard care.
Are birth defects the same as birth injuries?
No, birth defects are distinctly different from birth injuries in that they are present before birth (congenital). Often, birth defects are the result of genetic abnormalities (including those without medical explanation), which means families don’t typically have valid claims for compensation. However, there are some cases where birth defects may have been caused by the negligence of others, particularly in cases involving exposure to harmful substances caused by dangerous drugs or harmful materials. Those cases, unlike birth injury cases, generally focus largely on product liability laws rather than medical malpractice.
What Are The Signs of Birth Injury?
A variety of injuries can occur during the birth of your child. From bruising to broken bones, from severe brain damage to stillbirth, many things can go wrong during labor and delivery and result in lifelong struggles for your newborn and your family.
Not all birth injuries rise to the level of medical malpractice or negligence. If you believe a medical mistake may be to blame for your child’s injuries, our lawyers would be happy to discuss your legal options during a complimentary consultation.
Signs & Symptoms of Birth Injuries in Infants
For every 1,000 births, it is estimated that 6 to 8 newborns will suffer a birth injury. Birth injuries are not the same as birth defects. Injuries typically result when something goes wrong during or shortly after labor and delivery. Often, birth injuries are the result of a negligent birthing team or medical malpractice by your delivery doctor.
Signs your newborn may be suffering from a birth injury:
- Newborn is unresponsive to typical stimuli
- Odd or unexplained bruises
- Poor muscle control or spastic movements
- Immobility in the arm, leg, or any part of the body
- Newborn is delayed in reaching common developmental milestones, such as crawling or sitting up
Some signs of birth injury are very difficult to identify. In some cases, parents may not recognize the signs and symptoms of birth injury until later stages in the child’s development, i.e. during school preparedness testing, etc.
Newborn Brain Injuries
Of the possible injuries that can occur during childbirth, brain injuries tend to be the most severe. After spending months hoping for a healthy child, learning your newborn suffered brain damage because of a medical mistake can be devastating. Knowing the injury and the lifelong consequences could have been prevented only make matters worse.
Understanding the signs and symptoms of brain damage in infants or learning how to recognize symptoms of cerebral palsy in a newborn may be the last thing on your mind going into the delivery room. After you have left the hospital and have questions about whether your baby is developing properly, it may be first and foremost. If your baby was unable to breathe at birth or required resuscitation, experienced seizures, has a shrill cry or was kept in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) well after your stay, a brain injury may have occurred during birth.
If your child was diagnosed with a birth injury such as cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, or a brachial plexus injury, you should consult an lawyer to discuss obtaining the financial assistance you’ll need to provide the lifetime care your child will require. When a medical mistake causes serious, permanent injury, a medical malpractice lawsuit may be your best option to keep the same mistake from causing injury to another innocent newborn.
Do I have a case?
Whether or not you have a case can be difficult to determine on your own. While every case is unique and dependent upon the individual circumstances and set of facts involved, families generally have the right to pursue a birth injury case against the responsible health care providers if it can be shown that birth injuries were caused by substandard care provided by a doctor, nurse, or some other health care professional who treated patients during pregnancy, labor, or delivery. Substandard care usually arises from negligence, which is a medical professional’s failure to provide treatment or care that any other careful medical professional in the same of similar situation would have provided. Understanding negligence and whether the conduct of medical professionals in your case rises to that standard is a matter best evaluated by experienced lawyers who regularly handle medical malpractice cases.
Who Can I Sue for a Birth Injury?
Some injuries to newborns during childbirth are simply the result of the birthing process; others are not. Those caused by a medical mistake or the negligence of your birthing team are preventable. Taking steps to hold the doctor, nurse, midwife, or hospital accountable for your child’s injury can help you secure the financial resources needed to provide for your son or daughter, as well as keep another family from experiencing the same kind of trauma.
Call us at 866-716-7292 to schedule an appointment.
At Freidin Brown, P.A., we have more than 100 years of experience helping people who’ve been harmed secure the compensation they need and deserve after a serious injury. We offer a complimentary consultation and we charge no upfront fees for our services.
Who Should be Held Responsible for Your Newborn’s Birth Injury?
A typical labor and delivery process involves many healthcare professionals. A mistake made by any of them could have lifelong consequences for your child. If your newborn suffered a serious injury during birth that resulted from medical malpractice or negligence, you may have a legal claim against:
- Your doctor, including your obstetrician or the doctor who delivered your baby
- The nurse(s) who assisted with your childbirth
- The anesthesiologist who prepared your epidural
- The hospital or clinic where you delivered
- The midwife who delivered your baby
- The pharmacy or pharmacist who mis-dosed medication
- The manufacturer of a defective fetal heart rate monitor or other device that malfunctioned during childbirth
- The drug company that designed and distributed a defective drug used during childbirth
It’s not uncommon to be unaware of something that went wrong at childbirth that is now causing your child to suffer. In fact, many families don’t make this connection until many years later when their children display signs of brain damage or other trauma.
At Freidin Brown, P.A., our lawyers do not expect you to have all the answers. That is where we come in. Our legal team can request medical records, talk to those involved in your childbirth process, and get to the root cause of your child’s birth injury. We will then advise you about your legal options in pursuing a birth injury lawsuit against the responsible party.
What will a successful birth injury lawsuit provide?
Successful birth injury lawsuits are important for a number of reasons. First and foremost, they hold negligent health care providers accountable for negligent and careless acts that cause harm, and can help ensure those types of mistakes are avoided in the future through the changes hospitals and other providers often enact after lawsuits. They are also critical to providing families with a sense of justice, and to providing financial compensation for their damages – including their economic damages (for things like medical expenses, lost income, and future medical or financial needs) and non-economic damages (which cover intangible losses and emotional injuries such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and more). Because the outcome of a birth injury lawsuit is so important to families and their futures, working with proven lawyers becomes crucially important.
Do I need a lawyer?
There are no laws requiring you to have legal representation when bringing a birth injury lawsuit, but working with a lawyer is one of the most effective ways to protect your rights and put yourself in the best position to maximize the outcome. Birth injury and medical malpractice lawsuits are known for being challenging legal cases, as they involve complex laws and very technical medical information that requires investigation, medical expert collaboration, and extensive experience to effectively build. These cases are also very expensive, since you will be required to have experts testifying in support of your case. By working with lawyers like those at Freidin Brown, P.A., you can benefit from caring and compassionate advocates who truly care about your future and making you whole, and who have the experience, resources, and connections required of these matters. We take care of everything from start to finish, and we put up all the costs and expenses associated with litigating your claim – and we are only reimbursed if we obtain a recovery for our clients. Our lawyers have a proven record in birth injury cases and are prepared to put our insight to work for you.
Request a FREE Consultation With Our Experienced Florida Birth Injury Lawyers
Questions about your unique situation and potential case are best addressed personally with a lawyer, which is why our legal team is available around the clock to take your call. During a free and confidential consultation, we can help you better understand whether your case involves preventable birth injuries and medical negligence, as well as what we can do to protect your rights and help you fight for justice and compensation. To speak with a member of our team, contact us today.