Maryland Birth Injury Attorneys
Birth injuries can set your child up for long-term disabilities and difficulties in their life. Sometimes, these injuries are caused by random chance and unavoidable complications – but in many cases, the injuries could have been avoided if your doctor had provided more careful or skilled healthcare.
Talk to an attorney to learn more about holding your doctor responsible for your child’s birth complications and serious birth injuries. Our attorneys represent families of children who suffered avoidable birth injuries and help them hold their doctors and other negligent medical staff accountable for the injuries.
Call our birth injury lawyers today at Rice, Murtha & Psoras to learn more about your potential claim at (443) 233-0485.
Basics of Birth Injury Claims in Maryland
“Birth injuries” might seem like things that happen as a matter of chance or conditions that your child was born with. However, that is not always the case. Many birth injuries are in fact caused by a doctor’s negligent care in the weeks leading up to your child’s birth, in the delivery room itself, or in the minutes and hours after delivery.
Many injuries are caused by a doctor’s failure to notice risks and plan for them ahead of time. Others are caused by a doctor’s mishandling of an emergency situation, even if the underlying symptoms or conditions were not caused by the doctor initially. Lastly, many are caused by a doctor’s affirmative mistakes, such as dropping a child in the delivery room.
Suing for Birth Injuries in Maryland
Maryland has some of the best hospitals in the world for neonatal care and emergency obstetric and pediatric care. However, that does not mean that each physician will always devote the proper attention and skill to your care and your baby’s care.
In many cases of birth injuries, the child’s suffering could have been avoided if the doctor had worked harder to make appropriate decisions. Only because of their negligence the child suffers injuries and disabilities.
Filing a Lawsuit
If a doctor’s negligence contributed to the child’s injuries, you can sue the doctor for medical malpractice. If the other medical staff or hospital employees helped contribute to this harm, you might also be able to file your case against the hospital.
When deciding whether to sue the doctor or the hospital, it is often important to look at the doctor’s employment situation. If they are in private practice, then you would usually sue only the doctor unless the hospital’s staff contributed to the harm as well. If the doctor is a hospital employee, then you might be able to sue the hospital in its role as employer. In most situations where an employee commits negligence as part of their job duties, the employer can be held liable for the employee’s mistakes, and doctors are no different.
Proving Your Claim
To prove your claim against the doctor or the hospital, you must typically use a medical expert to testify as to how exactly your doctor’s care fell below standards. This medical expert will usually be another physician of similar training and experience who can testify as to what the proper techniques and decisions would have been in your case and show how your doctor’s choices were not up to the standards in the medical community.
Birth injury cases, like all malpractice cases, are usually based on a doctor’s mistakes that fail to uphold the duty that the physician owed to their patient. These are some of the core elements of negligence, which is the cause of action you will technically be suing for. But unfortunately, most jurors and even many judges do not have the technical and medical expertise to understand what happened and why what the doctor did was wrong.
As such, many birth injury claims will involve the plaintiff’s experts explaining what the doctor did wrong and the defendant’s experts defending the doctor’s actions. Once the jury has this information explained to them, they can make the final decision for themselves.
You will also need other evidence to prove what happened, such as your own testimony about the experience; the testimony from doctors, nurses, and staff in the room at the time; and your medical records. You will also typically need to get a second opinion or diagnosis from another doctor to explain what health issues or injuries your child suffered.
In many cases, the doctor’s medical malpractice insurance company will handle their defense and work to shut down claims or pay low settlements. If their settlement offer is too low to pay for the damages you and your family incurred, then our attorneys can fight the case in court instead. Never accept a settlement offer from an insurance company without having a lawyer review the case and help you understand if that offer is appropriate.
Many cases can begin with a claim against the insurance policy or through a system that Maryland has in place for claims. However, if this does not result in a fair settlement or compensation that actually covers your needs, you should not accept less than you deserve. If things do not go in your favor during negotiations, then we can fight the case in court.
Our lawyers will not back down from a case, and we can try your case in court in front of a jury if necessary, taking the case to a verdict to help get you fair compensation.
Damages for Birth Injury Cases in Maryland
Many birth injuries can cause long-term injuries or permanent disabilities that will make it harder for your child to care for themselves or potentially make it hard for your child to work to support themselves in their adult life.
For example, brain injuries during childbirth often lead to cerebral palsy and other disorders that may make it hard for your child to get around or care for themselves, leading to long-term and future expenses as well as the immediate costs of medical care and physical therapy.
Many of these damages can be covered in a lawsuit, paying for the full range of costs your child’s injury will place on your family.
Medical expenses for birth injuries can be claimed to cover current costs as well as future projected costs. The immediate care needs your child faces could include additional hospitalization and therapy to try to reverse the effects of injuries.
If these treatments cannot cure the disorder or injury, your child may need ongoing medical care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, medical devices, and occupational therapy throughout their life. These costs should all be claimed in a medical malpractice lawsuit for birth injuries.
If your child’s injuries involve severe permanent effects, your child may grow up to have trouble working to support themselves. The value of lost wages and lost earning capacity can also be claimed now, even though your child is only an infant.
Our attorneys can help project these costs and hire financial experts to testify as to how much these damages should be.
Pain and Suffering
Lastly, you can claim damages for your child’s pain and suffering. Many injuries cause physical pain as well as mental and emotional distress. Injuries that have very physical effects or lead to disabilities that make it hard to perform day-to-day activities are often considered to have higher pain and suffering, and they are typically worth higher damages.
Our attorney can work with you to help gather information on the full cost of the damages you face and your child’s future projected damages because of their birth injuries.
These damages can all be claimed at their full value so long as they stem from the doctor’s negligent care. Call our law offices to discuss your case and go over the damages you may be able to claim.
Common Types of Birth Injury Claims in Maryland
Injuries during birth can range widely depending on what the doctor did wrong and what conditions they failed to deal with. The following are some of the more common causes of injury and emergency situations that are mishandled by doctors during a child’s delivery:
Breach Delivery Injuries
If the child is “breach,” it means they are oriented so that they are facing foot first instead of head first. This can make delivery difficult or impossible since the baby’s limbs would snag on the birth canal. If a breach delivery is forced, it could seriously injure the mother and the child. If the baby is not delivered because of the breach positioning, then they could face hypoxia as they remain in the womb and begin to suffocate.
Often, the proper response is to turn to an emergency C-section if the baby does not turn around before it is time for delivery.
Nuchal Cord Injuries
Another emergency situation that often results without a doctor’s intervention is a nuchal cord – when a baby has their umbilical cord wrapped around their neck. This can cause suffocation by compressing the umbilical cord and preventing oxygen from reaching the baby or from the pressure on the baby’s neck.
Often, this requires an emergency C-section to affect a safe delivery, and failing to make that call in a proper amount of time can result in injuries.
Narrow Birth Canal
Identifying the fact that the mother’s birth canal is too narrow for a safe delivery can often happen well before the date of delivery. Especially if the mother has certain risk factors or has had difficulty with a previous vaginal delivery, the doctor should recognize that the birth canal will be too narrow and determine an alternative, such as a scheduled C-section. Failing to do so can put both patients’ lives at risk.
Improper Use of Forceps
Babies are often injured when doctors fail to use forceps correctly or elect to use forceps when unnecessary. An overreliance on forceps can be incredibly dangerous, as these are essentially giant metal tongs used to grip a baby by the head. They should only be used when necessary and must be used very carefully when they are employed or else the baby could suffer substantial brain injuries.
Cerebral palsy is often the result of brain injuries or lack of oxygen during a delivery. This can leave a baby with developmental issues, motor control issues, and other physical issues that often get worse as they get older. Ultimately, this could be a lifelong disability, all caused by a doctor’s negligence in the delivery room.
Compression of the nerves in the shoulder can often lead a baby to be delivered with Erb’s palsy. This leaves their arm in a tight, curled-up position and might result in permanently reduced range of motion, pain, numbness, and other symptoms.
One of the worst mistakes that a doctor can make in the delivery room is dropping a baby. A nurse or another member of the medical team could also be the one to drop a baby, potentially causing them serious injuries like broken bones, bruising, or even head and brain injuries.
Mishandling a delivery, manipulating the child too harshly, or failing to properly coach the mother through delivery can all result in broken bones and other serious physical injuries to the baby. Often, these are the doctor’s fault, and they should be held accountable for such injuries.
Call Our Maryland Birth Injury Attorneys for a Free Case Review
If your child suffered questionable symptoms or effects after being born, there is a chance that they could have suffered from a birth injury. Even if your doctor tells you that the symptoms will go away or that they are normal, there is a chance that your doctor may have actually committed medical malpractice.
Consider getting a second opinion from another doctor and talking to an attorney today to see if you might have a birth injury case on your hands. Rice, Murtha & Psoras ’s birth injury attorneys offer free legal consultations to help you understand your potential case and what your claim might be worth. For a free case evaluation, call our attorneys today at (443) 233-0485.