Frequently Asked Questions About Baltimore Birth Injuries
What is the difference between a birth injury and a birth defect?
Are birth defects and birth injuries different? Birth injuries and birth defects are very different. DNA or a medical predisposition cause birth defects. A baby born with a birth defect is not born that way because of an injury inflicted during birth. Birth injuries refer to injuries that infants sustain during the birthing process. Injuries that occur just before or just after birth generally also qualify as birth injuries.
I have heard about teratogens and how they cause birth defects. Do teratogens cause birth injuries?
What are teratogens? Teratogens are agents or chemicals that cause birth defects in children. Teratogens do not cause birth injuries. Many different drugs and chemicals are teratogens – some were even initially meant to help aid women in pregnancy.
How can I tell whether my baby’s disability is a natural defect or a birth injury?
Does my baby have a birth defect or a birth injury? The law requires doctors to report any suspected disabilities or abnormalities in a baby to the parents before delivery. Unless a doctor has breached the law, most parents who will have children born with a birth defect know beforehand. If you expect a healthy baby but your baby is born with a disability, a birth injury may have taken place. This is one of the first indications that there may be an issue.
Failure to properly diagnose health problems often leads to preventable birth injuries. A baby’s color and overall health at the time of delivery can also indicate a birth injury.
Not all birth injuries are immediately obvious; this is a good time to recognize some of them, though. If you have any questions about whether your child may have suffered a birth injury, the best thing to do is contact a birth injury attorney. A lawyer could help you understand what qualifies as a birth injury and what legal steps you may take. Contact the team at Spector Law Group today to get started.
Can medical malpractice lead to birth injuries?
What is medical malpractice? Medical malpractice refers to negligence on the part of a professional health care provider. Some examples of parties who can commit medical malpractice include:
- Hospital workers
Medical malpractice can occur when a health care provider’s treatment deviates from standard care practices and harms a patient. If someone does not offer the same level of care you should expect from someone else with similar training, they may commit medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice and negligence can and do lead to birth injuries. When doctors fail to take the appropriate steps to care for a mother and her unborn baby, it can lead to serious consequences. Adequate testing, care, attention and more are all required for safe delivery.
Are birth injuries preventable?
Can you prevent birth injuries? Many of the birth injuries that infants suffer are preventable. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, physicians’ and medical staff’s communication errors cause at least 30% of these injuries. Hospital negligence and failure to diagnose fetal and/or maternal distress cause plenty of other birth injuries.
Can a delayed Cesarean section cause brain damage in a baby?
In some cases, yes. Babies can suffer brain damage because of delayed cesarean sections. This damage can lead to future complications.
Can a child recover from a birth injury in Baltimore?
Not always. Never take a birth injury lightly; many have irreversible effects. Even birth injuries that appear to be mild may be life-changing. There are a wide variety of potential birth injuries. Each one has unique consequences.
What are some examples of errors that occur in Baltimore delivery rooms?
Different errors in a delivery room can cause birth injuries. Some examples include:
- Improper extraction of the infant
- Forced delivery
- Miscalculation of contractions
- Failure to take vital signs
- Improper administration or epidurals
- Giving the wrong medication
What Baltimore birth injuries can occur due to negligence involving vacuum extractors or forceps?
Some births require assistance. If a doctor needs to assist an infant with a delivery, they may use forceps or a vacuum device to help move the child. These devices can cause birth injuries. In some cases, reckless or negligent behavior while using these tools can lead to increased risk of:
- Skull fractures
- Skull malformations
- Brain damage
- Fetal stroke
Will a Baltimore birth injury lawsuit always succeed if a birth injury truly harmed a baby?
No, not always. Some birth injuries are truly unavoidable (although these are rarer). A birth injury lawsuit can only be successful when medical providers and/or a pharmaceutical company fail to offer a mother or her baby adequate medical care (or medication advice) during pregnancy or delivery.
I signed medical consent forms. Do I still have a basis for a Baltimore birth injury lawsuit?
Signing consent forms does not necessarily sign away your right to bring a birth injury or medical malpractice case. Every state has its own unique rules regarding consent laws. If you have questions about consent forms, we always recommend asking a legal professional. Contact our lawyer at 410-671-5605 for more information.
Is there a limited amount of time to file a Baltimore birth injury lawsuit?
Most states have a two-year statute of limitations on bringing a birth injury or other medical malpractice suit. If you do not handle your case within this time frame, you generally cannot bring a suit in the future.
What are some common birth injuries in Baltimore?
Some of the most frequent birth injuries involve bone fractures (especially to the collarbone or arm). Bruising on the head and face is also common. Some babies experience skin irritations or umbilical cord entrapment from birth injuries. More serious birth injuries include Erb’s and cerebral palsy, which occur less frequently than the birth injuries listed above but do harm babies.
What is Erb’s palsy?
Erb’s palsy has to do with the brachial plexus. The brachial plexus is a network of nerves; this network sends signals from the hands, arms and shoulders. Erb’s palsy is one of the most common outcomes of brachial plexus injuries. Some symptoms of Erb’s palsy in newborns include:
- Lack of movement in the upper or lower arms or hands
- Flexed arm, held tight to the body
- No startle response on the affected side of the body
- Poor grip
How does a Baltimore jury determine if a doctor’s actions were within the standards of good medical practice?
During a lawsuit for a birth injury, there are several factors a jury will consider to determine whether doctors’ actions were appropriate. They may use testimony from other medical experts to make their decision.
How can I know whether a doctor is responsible for my child’s birth injury in Baltimore?
This is a very complex and critical process. It is not easy to legally prove that someone is responsible for a birth injury. It takes a thorough investigation by a birth injury attorney to determine what happened (and to try to prove it).
Who receives money after a successful Baltimore birth injury lawsuit?
If a child suffers harm because of an avoidable birth injury and survives, then he or she will generally receive damages awarded as part of a successful lawsuit. This is sometimes structured in the form of a trust. Some scenarios allow parents to receive compensation for emotional distress.
If I prosecute on behalf of my child, how long will it take for our Baltimore birth injury case to resolve?
There is no telling exactly how long a birth injury case will take to resolve. Some finish out relatively quickly (all things considered) and some take years. One thing to consider while you try to plan the timeline of your case is that it is almost impossible to determine an injured child’s long-term needs before at least three years of age. This generally takes place when a full neurological assessment can be completed. You may need to wait until this point for your case to see progress or resolution. Contact an attorney today for information about your specific matter.
Do I have to pay to talk to a Baltimore birth injury lawyer?
Generally, no. Most birth injury lawyers charge on a contingency fee basis. This means that you do not need to pay them for their services until your case wins or settles. Many attorneys also offer free initial consultations. This offers you the opportunity to learn more about your potential case and explain your circumstances to a legal professional. Contact Spector Law Group today for a free consultation.
How do I get legal help after my child experiences a birth injury in Baltimore?
The first step to getting legal help after a birth injury is to contact a birth injury attorney to discuss your circumstances. At Spector Law Group, our birth injury and medical malpractice lawyer works to help our clients pursue justice. If your child was harmed by a birth injury, you do not need to suffer in silence. Reach out to us today to find out more about your legal rights and for help after a birth injury.
What does a Baltimore birth injury case need to prove?
To succeed, a birth injury case must prove:
- A legal duty of care: You cannot sue someone if they did not owe you or your child a duty of care. Any medical professional that is involved in a birth owes the mother and child a duty of care.
- Negligence: You must prove that a health care provider was negligent – they did not offer consistent levels of care or did not offer the level of care you would expect.
- Causation: The breach of the duty of care caused your child’s birth injuries.
- Damages: You must prove and establish damages.
What damages can Baltimore birth injury claims recover?
If a child suffers a birth injury, the child and his or her family may be entitled to collect monetary damages. When this is the case, plaintiffs can seek damages. Compensation can extend to cover monetary losses and nonmonetary losses (like pain and suffering). You may recover the following in a birth injury lawsuit:
Medical expenses: Including previous, current and projected expenses associated with the injury.
- Additional health care costs: in-home care, specialized equipment, etc.
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of society and companionship
- Loss of enjoyment of life
What should I look for in a Baltimore birth injury lawyer?
How do you tell if a Baltimore birth injury lawyer can help you? There are a few key things to look out for when you decide it is time to hire a birth injury attorney. You will likely see the best results with an empathetic lawyer who has handled many birth injury cases. Look for:
- Familiarity with state birth injury and medical malpractice laws: You should choose a lawyer who is familiar with your state’s laws regarding birth injuries and medical malpractice. Because these laws vary from one state to the next, your attorney must know how things work in your state.
- A good track record: The ideal lawyer has had plenty of clients before you, with a record of successful cases. Look for lawyers with good track records concerning cases similar to yours. It is a good way to increase the chances of a successful case.
Contact Spector Law Group today by calling 410-671-5605 for a free consultation and to see what we can do for you. You can also contact us online. From our Baltimore office, we represent people in Maryland and Washington, D.C.