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:
Contact Spector Law Group today by calling (410) 321-6200 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.
Expecting parents anxiously await the arrival of their bundle of joy and look forward to bringing home their new baby. Unfortunately, labor and delivery don’t always go smoothly for some parents, and the joyous occasion dampens when their newborn suffers preventable birth injuries. Most of those birth injuries result from medical malpractice. Negligence by medical professionals creates dangerous conditions for pregnant mothers or errors during labor and delivery that lead to preventable, sometimes fatal birth injuries.
If your OB-GYN, family practitioner or other medical practitioner provided substandard care during pregnancy or their negligence led to an injury during labor or delivery, Maryland law permits you to take legal action to seek compensation for damages related to your child’s birth injury. Money will never fix the damage your baby had to suffer, but it can help you secure needed treatment and reduce financial stress from taking time away from work to care for your child.
Contact the Baltimore birth injury lawyer at Spector Law Group online or call (410) 321-6200 to discuss the circumstances of your child’s birth injury and learn how we can help you take the next steps to hold those who caused the harm accountable. Also, if you are an attorney who is representing someone with a viable birth injury malpractice case, we have the resources and the experience to take on the case if you cannot handle it. We are here to help; give us a call. You can also visit our birth injury FAQ page to see some answers to commonly asked questions.
Our dedicated legal team has extensive experience negotiating, settling and litigating personal injury claims, including medical malpractice claims arising as a result of birth injuries. The firm’s commitment to professional excellence, case preparation and client service has allowed them to recover millions of dollars in damages from settlements and jury verdicts for their clients.
Recent successful birth injury claims include:
The above results are examples of recent cases and do not guarantee a particular financial outcome for your birth injury case. Each claim has different facts and circumstances that add to or detract from its potential value. The skilled birth injury lawyers at Spector Law Group investigate the circumstances of each case and build the best case possible against those who caused a child’s birth injury, giving clients the best chances to receive the maximum amount of compensation for their damages.
Birth injuries are somewhat rare, with only about seven out of 1,000 newborns sustaining birth injuries each year. Sometimes, medical staff make mistakes and fail to uphold the expected standard of care during labor and delivery, putting the baby at risk for a serious birth injury.
The most common birth injuries include:
Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common childhood motor disability, and 90% of the time, it develops due to brain damage during pregnancy or the birth process. Although some children develop CP for unexplained reasons, those who develop CP during pregnancy or delivery are often victims of medical malpractice.
Sometimes referred to as Erb’s Palsy, brachial plexus palsy refers to a childbirth injury that mostly impacts a newborn’s upper arm. The brachial plexus is the medical name for the collection of nerves that carries messages to the arms and hands from the brain. When obstetricians, family practitioners or midwives improperly deliver a baby, they can injure the brachial plexus, causing the baby to lose function of their shoulder or arm, and sometimes hand, as well.
OB physicians who improperly use an extraction vacuum to deliver a baby risk causing caput succedaneum. This condition refers to swelling on the scalp of a newborn, which typically results in some bruising and creates a ‘cone-head’ appearance. Caput succedaneum typically goes away on its own but sometimes leads to jaundice and other issues that require immediate treatment. Failure to treat these issues can lead to permanent brain damage and other long-term problems.
This common condition refers to a small pool of blood that forms into a mass under a newborn’s scalp. Cephalohematomas occur when blood vessels rupture in the scalp during delivery. These birth injuries are harmless by themselves but can trigger other complications that can seriously harm a baby. First, they typically cause small fractures in a baby’s skull. Serious fractures may not heal on their own. Undiagnosed cephalohematomas are dangerous. The pool of blood can sometimes calcify and severely deform the skull, requiring surgical intervention.
Horner’s syndrome is the name for damage that occurs to the nerves that connect an infant’s brain and eyes. Sometimes newborns suffer trauma to their face during childbirth, which causes facial nerve damage that leads to Horner’s syndrome. Treatment available for Horner’s syndrome resulting from a birth injury is limited. Sometimes Horner’s syndrome will fade on its own if the nerve heals. In other cases, the facial nerve damage is permanent.
Avoidable broken bones, facial fractures and skull fractures are among the most common injuries that occur during childbirth. Broken collarbones are especially common and often occur during a breech delivery. Doctors who choose to deliver a breech baby sometimes have other choices to avoid injury, including a C-section or turning the baby in utero before delivery.
A spinal cord injury during childbirth is potentially one of the most devastating injuries a newborn can suffer. The spinal cord carries messages from the brain down the spinal column to the rest of the baby’s nervous system. An injury interrupts those messages and causes loss of body function. Newborns who suffer spinal cord injuries due to negligent physicians risk lifelong paralysis. Depending on the exact location of the injury, a newborn could be paralyzed from the neck or waist down.
Unfortunately, many birth injuries happen because of medical negligence or errors. A family practitioner or obstetrician is typically liable for damages when birth injuries occur, but nurses and other medical professionals can also share liability. A wide range of negligent acts that fall under the umbrella of medical malpractice can lead to severe birth injuries.
The Maryland Board of Physicians is the state’s licensing authority for medical professionals. They investigate reports of malpractice, including those involving birth injuries. Your attorney will advise you on the right path and walk you through the malpractice claims process, but you can get a head start by filing a claim with the Maryland Board of Physicians if you suspect your baby has suffered a birth injury resulting from a mistake by a negligent medical practitioner.
All states, including Maryland, have laws about how much time someone has to file a civil lawsuit, including medical malpractice claims. These time limits, or statutes of limitations, make it critical for those who suffer injuries to take legal action as soon as possible.
For most claims, you must file within five years of your date of injury or within three years of when you discovered the injury, whichever is shorter. Sometimes parents, or at least the mother as well as the baby, have legal claims against a facility or doctor for malpractice. Adults must adhere to the time limit above but the law makes an exception for minors. Those who suffer birth injuries have until three years after their eighteenth birthday to bring a lawsuit or until they turn 21.
If your newborn sustained a birth injury resulting from medical negligence, you could receive compensation for damages related to the birth injury. Medical malpractice cases are complex because they typically include multiple parties and plaintiffs must follow procedural requirements that are not present in other personal injury cases. For example, you need to have an expert review your case and certify that you have a viable malpractice claim before you can file a lawsuit.
If you reach a settlement agreement or a court rules in your favor, you could receive compensation for the following damages:
Maryland caps the amount of money your child can receive for pain and suffering and other noneconomic damages. In 2009, the state set the cap to increase to $15,000 each year. The limit in 2020 is $830,000, in 2021, $845,000 and in 2022, $860,000 and so on.
If you have tragically lost your infant or child as a result of a fatal birth injury or complications from a birth injury, you also have the right to take legal action if the death was a result of medical negligence. Parents have the right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit and survival action against the hospital, doctor, or other medical professional responsible for the wrongful act or omission that led to their child’s death. Maryland’s statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is three years from the date of death.
Parents can receive compensation for economic losses up until the time of death as well as compensation for funeral services and burial costs. Additionally, wrongful death claims sometimes provide compensation for the emotional distress and loss of companionship that comes from losing a child. Your Baltimore birth injury lawyer can answer any questions you have about a wrongful death claim and advise you on the best path forward during this difficult time.
We understand the challenges you face in the wake of a birth injury, and we are here to help. Please see our FAQ page to learn more. We also take cases from other firms that do not have the resources or experience to pursue complex medical malpractice cases. We are committed to helping parents get the justice they deserve after their baby suffered injuries because of a negligent medical facility or practitioner. Not only do we want to help our clients recover damages, but we also want to help protect future families from falling victim to similar circumstances.
Contact Spector Law Group online or call (410) 321-6200 for a free consultation to discuss the details of your birth injury claim. If you have a viable claim and choose us to represent you, we take new clients on a contingency fee basis. This means you do not pay attorney’s fees unless we help you secure compensation for damages related to your child’s injuries in the form of a settlement or jury award. From our Baltimore office, we represent people in Maryland and Washington, D.C.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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
In some cases, yes. Babies can suffer brain damage because of delayed cesarean sections. This damage can lead to future complications.
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.
Different errors in a delivery room can cause birth injuries. Some examples include:
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:
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.
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 410-321-6200 for more information.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
To succeed, a birth injury case must prove:
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.