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Understanding birth injuries: Causes, types, and legal recourse

This Article was created in partnership with Fox45 News

Birth injuries can be devastating for both the child and their family. They can result in long-term physical, emotional, and financial challenges. From a legal perspective, understanding the causes, types, and options available for victims is crucial in ensuring justice and compensation for those affected.

Birth injuries can occur due to various factors. Some common causes include:

  1. Medical negligence: This occurs when healthcare providers fail to provide a standard level of care during pregnancy, labor, or delivery. This can happen through improper use of medical instruments, failure to monitor fetal distress, or delayed C-sections.
  2. Complications during labor and delivery: Certain complications during labor and delivery can increase the risk of birth injuries. These include prolonged labor, fetal distress, umbilical cord complications, and breech presentations.
  3. Underlying medical conditions: Some birth injuries may result from underlying medical conditions, such as maternal infections, placental abnormalities, or genetic disorders.

Birth injuries can manifest in many different forms, ranging from mild to severe. Some examples that are often seen are:

  1. Cerebral palsy: This is a group of disorders affecting movement and posture, often caused by brain damage during childbirth. Symptoms may include muscle stiffness, poor coordination, and developmental delays.
  2. Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE): Also called brain cooling, this occurs when the baby’s brain is deprived of oxygen during childbirth, leading to brain damage. HIE can cause cognitive impairments, seizures, and developmental delays.
  3. Erb’s palsy: This is a paralysis of the arm caused by injury to the brachial plexus nerves during delivery. It can result in weakness or loss of function in the affected arm.
  4. Bone fractures: Fractures of the clavicle or other bones may occur during difficult deliveries, particularly when excessive force is applied.

Not all cases of birth injuries will result in compensation. Some injury cases cannot be viably pursued because of the cause and nature of the injury. However, some victims of birth injuries and their families may be able to recover compensation for their damages, with the help of expert birth injury lawyers like the ones at Wais, Vogelstein, Forman, Koch & Norman in Baltimore.

“The sad reality of today, is that healthcare providers have gotten very good at downplaying your own thoughts,” Managing Partner Keith D. Forman said. “If you have questions or think something may be wrong, trust and follow your gut.”

In birth injury cases, victims are legally entitled to recover medical expenses, including hospital bills, rehabilitation costs, and ongoing medical care; damages for emotional distress and diminished quality of life, also known as pain and suffering; compensation for lost wages; and compensation for therapy and assistive devices needed to improve the child’s functioning and quality of life.

The following steps should be taken if someone is in the unfortunate position of having to pursue a claim related to a birth injury.

  1. Consultation with a birth injury lawyer: The first step is to consult with a qualified birth injury lawyer, such as Wais, Vogelstein, Forman, Koch & Norman, who can evaluate the case and determine its viability. A lawyer with experience in medical malpractice and birth injury cases can provide valuable guidance about the chances of a claim’s success.
  2. Investigation and documentation: The lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the birth injury, including reviewing medical records and consulting medical experts. Documentation of the injury, its impact on the child’s life, and associated medical expenses is crucial.
  3. Filing a lawsuit: If there is evidence of medical negligence or wrongdoing, the lawyer may file a lawsuit against the responsible parties, which may include healthcare providers, hospitals, or medical facilities.
  4. Negotiation or trial: In many cases, birth injury lawsuits are resolved through negotiation or mediation, where parties reach a settlement agreement. If a settlement cannot be reached, the case may proceed to trial, where a judge or jury will determine the outcome.

Birth injuries can have profound and long-lasting effects on the lives of those affected. By consulting with a qualified birth injury lawyer and understanding their legal rights, victims can take steps toward securing the support and resources they need to cope with the challenges ahead.

“It’s a marriage between us and our clients. The litigation process is not fun, and we will be spending an incredible amount of time together, but one of the most important factors in choosing a law firm is your comfort level. We want to make sure we fit with your family,” Forman said.

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