Getting ready to welcome the birth of a child is one of the greatest joys that most parents will ever experience. For that experience to be marred by the wrongful or negligent actions of a healthcare provider is not only devastating, but can also have lifelong implications for a child. If your baby was harmed during the labor and delivery process, the Philadelphia birth injury lawyers from Shrager & Sachs can advocate for your family.
We believe that every child deserves the best possible start in life. When an injury occurs at birth, a child loses that opportunity. Birth trauma can cause a variety of health-related issues that can leave infants with a number of health problems, including brain damage. The medical costs to provide the care your child needs could be high. If you are ready to seek compensation for your child’s injuries, contact our experienced birth injury attorneys. We’ll guide you through the process of filing a birth injury claim.
Why Work With Philadelphia Birth Injury Lawyers?
Hospitals, doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals are covered by medical malpractice insurance. These insurance companies can be ruthless in their attempts to limit liability. Your integrity may be called into question, and any attempts to prove that a doctor’s negligence harmed your child may be undercut by the doctor’s assertion that their actions were in line with their duty of care.
Insurance companies count on you not understanding your rights in a medical malpractice case. An experienced birth injury attorney will not only make sure you understand what your rights are, but will vigorously uphold those rights throughout the entire process. Here is how the lawyers at Shrager & Sachs advocate for our clients during a birth injury case:
We Deal With the Insurance Company for You
Your child is your number one priority. Since you need the time and emotional bandwidth to be there for them, you can leave the medical malpractice lawsuit and insurance company to us. When you choose to work with an experienced birth injury lawyer from Shrager & Sachs, you are aligning yourself with a fierce advocate. Let us deal with the paperwork, deadlines, and insurance adjusters for you.
We Value the Attorney-Client Relationship
A medical malpractice lawsuit can be time-consuming, especially since insurance companies like to drag things out in an attempt to get victims to settle for less than they deserve. For this reason, you should only work with an attorney you feel has a strong interest in your ability to recover compensation and who values your input.
Cultivating and maintaining the attorney-client relationship is important to us. When you work with our law firm, you’ll never have to wonder whether your case is important to your attorney. We strive to make sure you feel valued and understood.
We Offer a Free Consultation
Choosing a Philadelphia birth injury attorney to help you file a medical malpractice claim is a significant undertaking. We understand this is a big decision, and we don’t expect you to go into it blindly. You can schedule a free consultation with our law firm, during which you’ll be able to speak with one of our birth injury lawyers about the facts and potential merits of your case. If you feel confident in our abilities after this meeting, we can move forward working together.
Birth Injuries vs. Birth Defects
Not all health problems that occur or are noticed at the time of a child’s birth are considered birth injuries. Even with the proper care, it is possible for a child to be born with serious health conditions that were not caused by a medical professional’s mistake. Let’s distinguish the difference between birth injuries and birth defects.
What Is a Birth Injury?
A birth injury is damage, physical trauma, or injury that occurs during the birth process, often due to the negligence of an attending doctor or other medical professional. Birth injuries are avoidable physical injuries for which parents may seek fair compensation to cover things like medical bills, disability devices, and more.
What Is a Birth Defect?
A birth defect is a congenital condition, meaning that it is a condition that formed while the baby was still developing in the mother’s body. The majority of these birth defects develop early in pregnancy, often during the first three months. Birth defects are unavoidable and occur regardless of medical intervention. You cannot file a medical malpractice case for a birth defect as there is no negligent party to hold responsible.
Common Types of Birth Injuries
As Philadelphia birth injury attorneys, we have worked with countless families to recover compensation for medical negligence during the prenatal or the labor and delivery process. While every client is unique, we do routinely see the following common birth injuries.
Often the result of loss of oxygen deprivation during birth, cerebral palsy is a brain disorder that prevents the brain from fully developing. Spastic, dyskinesia, and ataxia are the three different types of cerebral palsy, with spastic accounting for about 80% of all cases. Your child’s doctor will tell you which type of cerebral palsy they are suffering from when they receive their diagnosis. If you notice any of the following symptoms of possible brain damage, schedule an appointment with your child’s pediatrician as soon as possible:
- Weak legs or arms
- Muscles that are too floppy or too stiff
- Clumsy or jerky movements
- Muscle spasms
- Shaking hands
- Developmental delays
- Walking on tiptoes
If you believe that your newborn child suffered a serious injury as the result of a doctor’s failure, contact our law firm to discuss your case with a Philadelphia birth injury lawyer.
When oxygen and blood flow to the brain are restricted, it can cause a condition called Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE). HIE is considered a non-specific form of brain damage, and may exist either on its own or as a factor in other types of birth injuries. HIE is a well-known risk factor for both cerebral palsy and epilepsy.
As for a brain injury, it may cause mild, moderate, or severe problems among affected children depending on the severity of the oxygen deprivation. In serious cases, damage to the liver, kidney, bowels, heart, and other organs can occur. Symptoms common among infants and children with HIE include:
- Feeding problems
- Floppy muscles
- Unreactive or overreactive to sounds and sights
- Abnormal movements
- Weak cry
- Organ dysfunction
Brachial Plexus Injuries
Injuries that occur to the network of nerves in a newborn’s shoulder fall under the umbrella of brachial plexus injuries. Your child’s specific diagnosis will depend on where the nerve damage occurs, and may be considered Erb’s palsy, brachial plexus birth palsy, or neonatal brachial plexus palsy. The damage is caused when a baby’s neck is stretched too far to the side during birth, and symptoms include:
- Partial or total lack of movement in the shoulder and elbow
- Weak grip
- Numbness in the affected arm
Like many birth injuries, symptoms of brachial plexus might not be evident until the child is older. Our birth injury attorneys will use evidence from you and your child’s medical records to help construct a successful birth injury case.
Other Birth Injuries
There are a number of different birth injuries that newborns are at risk for during the birthing process. The Philadelphia birth injury lawyers at Shrager & Sachs are ready to fight for those who have been wrongly harmed by a doctor’s negligence, and as a result, have suffered any type of birth injury, including some of the following:
- Facial paralysis
- Perinatal asphyxia
- Caput succedaneum
- Spinal cord injuries
- Fractured collarbones
- Brain damage
Who Is Responsible for My Child’s Birth Injury?
You may already know that you can name the obstetrician whose negligence harmed your baby in a birth injury lawsuit. However, there may be other negligent parties that you can hold responsible for your child’s birth injuries, including:
- The hospital
- Attending nurses
- Other members of your health care team
When you work with a Philadelphia birth injury lawyer at Shrager & Sachs, we’ll work to uncover all negligent parties. We’ll fight to hold those parties responsible for the harm they caused your child.
Responsibilities of Doctors and Nurses
Both doctors and nurses owe their patients a duty of care. The roles that doctors and nurses play in a patient’s medical care differ, though, which means that their duties are also different:
- A doctor must treat a patient with the diligence, skill, and care that would be reasonably expected of another physician placed in similar circumstances.
- A nurse must care for patients without discrimination, showing respect for all those in their care.
Doctors, nurses, and medical professionals often try to argue that victims’ birth injuries were not the result of their own negligence or wrongful actions. Instead, they may assert that they did everything correctly and within their control to prevent harm. While it is true that not all birth injuries are the result of medical negligence, many are, and our law firm believes that negligent doctors should always be held accountable for their actions.
When Birth Injuries Are Caused by Negligence
A child’s birth injury is a life-altering experience, both for the victims themselves and their families. Many birth injuries can be traced directly back to the wrongful actions of an obstetrician. If a child suffered a preventable birth injury, we’ll explore whether any of the following could have been a factor:
Birth injury claims can be complicated, especially if it has been months or even years since your child’s birth. You are not in this alone, though. Your birth injury attorney will know where to look to uncover evidence of any of the above.
Causes of Birth Injuries
A successful birth injury claim relies on your ability to identify the exact way in which the injury occurred. While it can be difficult to revisit the event that caused your child’s physical trauma, it is important to work with your birth injury lawyer and to provide as much information as possible. In addition to providing relevant hospital records, you should also tell your birth injury attorney whether you had any concerns that were dismissed while giving birth.
At our law firm, we also explore all possible evidence for any signs that the following took place:
- Failure to monitor your baby or notice fetal distress
- Unsafe use of forceps or vacuum
- Delayed Cesarean section (C-section)
- Prolonged labor
It is also a doctor’s responsibility to determine whether a mother’s pubic bone or pelvis is the wrong size or shape to make a safe delivery, or if the baby’s head is too large to safely pass through the birth canal. If a newborn suffered a birth injury (including brain related injuries) or your doctor failed to notice fetal distress, failure to progress, or any other problems, your child could be owed compensation.
When Will My Child Be Diagnosed?
Few birth injuries are diagnosed while a newborn is still in the hospital. Instead, birth injury victims often do not receive a correct and accurate diagnosis until they begin displaying symptoms weeks or months later.
You should always bring up any health or medical concerns for your child with their pediatrician. Some of the most common symptoms that initially send parents looking for answers include developmental delays, feeding problems, and unusual arm or elbow positions. After you meet with your child’s pediatrician, your child may be sent to specialists for additional testing. It is usually at this point that your child will be diagnosed, although it can take weeks or months.
Can Birth Injuries Be Treated?
There is nothing that can fully undo the harm caused by a birth injury. However, there are therapies and treatments that can support victims of birth injuries, helping them reach their fullest possible potential, including:
- Newborn cooling therapy
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Speech therapy
Victims of birth injuries also frequently rely on adaptive equipment. Adaptive equipment makes it possible for those with mobility issues to move around in the world. One person alone may rely on a single piece of adaptive equipment, or may require multiple pieces of equipment to live the fullest possible life. Adaptive equipment most commonly used for birth related injuries include:
Signs Your Family May Want To Speak With Birth Injury Attorneys
Families of birth injury victims typically schedule their first meeting with us after receiving their child’s diagnosis. You should contact a lawyer as soon as possible after learning of your child’s birth injury. Although you have up until your child’s twentieth birthday to file a birth injury claim, they need help now.
Do not delay, contact the birth injury lawyers at Shrager & Sachs if you are struggling to meet the physical, psychological, or financial needs of your child. We’ll provide formal legal advice on whether you can seek compensation for any permanent injuries your child has suffered.
What Damages Is My Child Entitled To?
In Pennsylvania, anyone who has suffered a birth injury is entitled to damages. Damages in birth injury lawsuits can be broken down into two categories: economic and non-economic damages.
In birth injury cases, economic damages are intended to cover the financial losses associated with the injury. Few people realize that when birth injuries occur, the consequences are frequently life-long. Economic damages must be sufficient to cover the extent of these damages, including the cost of:
- Doctor’s and specialist appointments
- Physical, occupational, and speech therapy
- The cost of adaptive equipment
- Lost earning capacity
- Moving to a house that is better suited to your child’s condition
Economic damages should not only cover the cost of current medical bills, but also any and all related costs that are expected to occur in the future. Working with an experienced lawyer is essential, as it takes a trained and knowledgeable approach to correctly calculate future costs in birth injury cases.
Non-economic damages can be harder to calculate. These are non-monetary losses that do not have a direct financial cost, but are still harmful to victims. If your child is dealing with any of the following as a result of medical negligence, they might be entitled to non-economic damages:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of pleasure in life
We Take Care of Your Birth Injury Case So You Don’t Have To
As Philadelphia birth injury attorneys, we understand that families are coming to us during one of the most traumatic times of their lives. We’re sensitive to the fact that we are dealing with real people’s lives and problems, and we provide formal legal advice based on their needs.
If a medical professional violated their duty of care and caused harm to your child, we’re here to help. We’ll craft a compelling birth injury lawsuit based on the facts of the case, evidence of medical negligence collected from hospital records, and input from medical experts on what should have happened.
Shrager & Sachs is here for you and your family. If a healthcare provider in Philadelphia, PA or the surrounding area harmed your child, contact us to schedule your free case evaluation.