Florida Birth Injury Attorney

baby in hospital

Should I accept the hospital’s birth injury settlement?

Never agree to a settlement, or binding financial agreement with the hospital until you speak with a qualified Florida birth injury attorney! The moment you sign a settlement agreement, you waive your rights to any additional financial compensation that you may be entitled to. 

If complications arise as a result of your care providers’ medical negligence, your settlement frequently prevents further action from being taken on your behalf. Just don’t do it! Always talk to us first. Call us today for a free consultation.

What are some common types of Florida birth injuries?

Our team of Florida birth injury attorneys are equipped to handle all types of birth injury claims. This is regardless of whether the birth injuries occur during pregnancy, labor, delivery and/or aftercare. Our first concern is always with the child in these tragic circumstances. Infant birth injury conditions may include, but are not limited to:

Wrongful Birth: This is a tragic event in which a child becomes seriously disabled as a result of a doctor’s negligence or misinformation.

Oxygen Asphyxia. Also known as “birth asphyxia”, “perinatal asphyxia” or simply “fetal distress”, this serious condition can cause severe brain damage. Oxygen asphyxia occurs when a baby’s brain and organs do not receive sufficient oxygen during labor and delivery. Waste products build up in the baby’s body, causing damage. This may include coma and seizure, as well as circulatory, digestive and respiratory organ problems.

Hypoxia: The leading cause of birth injuries, “hypoxia” is another way to describe a lack of oxygen reaching the brain. If the doctor leaves the baby’s head in the birth canal for too long, or misuses a suction device during delivery, it can cause hypoxia in the child. Hypoxia can cause serious and often permanent medical problems, including brain injury, coma, seizures, nerve damage, breathing issues, brain damage and death. Obstetrical malpractice is often the cause.

Cerebral Palsy: Cerebral palsy is a neurological condition caused by abnormal brain development, generally occurring before birth as a result of oxygen deprivation (perinatal asphyxia). Degrees of severity in cerebral palsy can vary widely; according to the Mayo Clinic, common symptoms may include any or all of the following:

  • delays in reaching development milestones – for example, not sitting by 8 months or not walking by 18 months.
  • seeming too stiff or too floppy (hypotonia)
  • weak arms or legs
  • fidgety, jerky or clumsy movements
  • random, uncontrolled movements
  • muscle spasms
  • shaking hands (tremors)

Shoulder Dystocia: When the baby’s shoulder gets stuck above the mother’s pubic bone during a head-first vaginal delivery, this could lead to a brachial plexus injury or a clavicle fracture in the infant. Medical professionals should recognize the warning signs of shoulder dystocia; it is a factor of concern when the baby’s head emerges and then pulls back (the “turtle sign”). If more than one minute has passed since the baby’s head has emerged, medical interventions should be taken immediately.

Brachial Plexus Injury: If the baby’s hand or hands get pinned between their body and the vaginal canal, brachial plexus injury may occur. This painful condition causes sudden damage to the nerves in the arm and hand, which results in a loss of movement, weakness, tingling, or loss of feeling in the affected area. Severe cases of brachial plexus injury will affect the child’s life profoundly. It may limit their movements, their safety, their career options, and their confidence.

Brachial plexus injuries include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Brachial Plexus Neuropraxia: a stretching of the newborn’s nerves during delivery, which may require physical therapy or occupational therapy.
  • Brachial Plexus Neuroma: scar tissue formation around a disrupted nerve that causes movement restriction, numbness, tingling and other issues.
  • Brachial Plexus Avulsion: damage of the brachial plexus when they are stretched, or severed from the spinal cord, resulting in numbness, weakness, pain, paralysis, disfigurement, or permanent disability.
  • Brachial Plexus Rupture: an event when the nerves are torn outside the spinal cord and may require surgical repair, as well as occupational and/or physical therapy. 

Erb’s palsy: Erb’s palsy is a paralysis of the arm, as the result of a brachial plexus injury. It is caused when a medical professional stretches an infant’s neck to the side during delivery. Approximately one or two of every 1,000 babies has this condition. Most infants with Erb’s palsy will regain movement and feeling, but it may require physical therapy and ongoing monitoring during the first few years of the child’s life.

Facial Nerve Palsy: When prolonged pressure is applied on the cranial nerve, this can result in facial nerve paralysis. Symptoms may be temporary, recurrent or much longer-lasting.

Klumpke Paralysis: This rare birth injury occurs when the newborn’s shoulder nerves become damaged during delivery, limiting the movement of their lower arm and hand.

Meconium Aspiration Syndrome (MAS): When amniotic fluid enters the lungs during the time of delivery, a newborn may ingest meconium —their first bowel movement—which can clog their airways, irritate and injure their lung tissue, and block surfactant (a fatty substance that helps to open the lungs after birth), leading to breathing difficulty.

Kernicterus: this is a rare but potentially serious complication of untreated jaundice in infants, which can damage the child’s brain or central nervous system. If left untreated, kernicherus can be life-threatening.

Additionally, there are several medical conditions that the mother can develop as the result of medical negligence during pregnancy, labor and delivery, and aftercare. Those include, but are not limited to:

Femoral Nerve Dysfunction: this condition occurs when the mother’s femoral nerve is damaged during labor and delivery, resulting in movement loss and/or numbness in the legs.

Lumbosacral Plexus Injury: Many hospital deliveries involve the use of an epidural: a needle injection in the mother’s back that blocks pain signals in her body. When a doctor fails to place an epidural appropriately, or at the appropriate depth, the mother may develop numbness, tingling and/or loss of motor function.

Perineal Tears: During vaginal birth, some women may tear at the opening of their vagina, at the skin that separates the vagina from the anus. While this is a relatively common birth injury to the mother, untreated and/or excessive perineal tears can result in pain, disability, incontinence, sexual dysfunction, and a variety of other issues.

Uterine Prolapse: This is a birth injury condition that can affect a mother’s pelvic floor health considerably. When the pelvic floor cannot support the uterus, it may descend towards or even into the vagina, resulting in pain. This can lead to incontinence, bowel movement issues, pressure or discomfort in the pelvis or low back, as well as sexual issues.

What are common birth injury symptoms?

During the excitement of childbirth—and without proper care or diagnosis—it can be challenging to know if you or your baby has sustained a birth injury. Some injuries become evident immediately after delivery, while others may not present for months, or even years.

Talk to a trusted medical professional if you suspect you have sustained a birth injury through medical negligence. Here are some common symptoms to bear in mind: 

Common birth injury symptoms immediately after birth:

  • Arched back when crying
  • Motor control related to suckling, eating, or swallowing
  • Excessive drooling
  • Facial inexpression 
  • A claw-like shape in the hands
  • High-pitched crying or grunting
  • Low oxygen levels or heart rate
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Muscle looseness
  • Seizures
  • Photosensitivity (Sensitivity to light)
  • Weak, delayed or absent reflexes

Common birth injury symptoms at 12-24 months old:

  • Speech delays
  • Difficulty eating, drinking, or grasping
  • Difficulty walking, crawling, or balancing
  • Poor memory retention or other intellectual disabilities
  • Involuntary neck pulling
  • Muscle spasms (spasticity)
  • Lack of bodily movements or poor muscle control (ataxia)
  • An inability to bring objects to mouth
  • Unresponsiveness to loud noises
  • Poor coordination
  • Poor bilateral coordination (For example, child is unable to pass small objects from one hand to the other)
  • Vision and/or hearing issues

Common birth injury symptoms after 2 years old:

  • Blindness
  • Deafness
  • Speech delay or muteness
  • Difficulties dressing, eating, or drinking without assistance
  • Difficulties navigating stairs or running
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Muscle looseness
  • Evidence of developmental disabilities like autism or epilepsy
  • Poor fine motor skills
  • Tremors, shakiness or “jerky” reflexes
  • An inability to draw straight lines or circles
  • An inability to speak or comprehend full sentences

PLEASE NOTE: This is not an exhaustive list of possible symptoms for birth injury. Talk to a trusted medical professional if you suspect you have been injured. This list is intended for informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition.

My child has sustained a birth injury. What are my rights as a parent?

If your child suffered a birth injury, you may be overcome with grief, anger or confusion. You may also have a number of questions, as well:

How could this have happened? 

Why didn’t the doctor take appropriate care? 

How will we pay for our child’s ongoing medical care? 

What are my legal options for recovery?

How can we prevent this from happening to another family?

The attorneys at MattLaw® are here to provide the answers you need. While we may not know what happened, or who is to blame, medical documents reveal the full story. Hospitals and birthing centers are required to document everything. Our birth injury lawyers are highly skilled at document discovery in medical malpractice cases; not only do we know what to ask for, but we know who to ask. 

As a parent whose life has been affected by a birth injury, you have the right to ask questions. You have the right to learn more about your medical experience and whether or not your medical providers showed a reasonable standard of care. Finally, you are entitled to retain legal counsel to advocate on your behalf, and navigate this complicated process. 

Have you experienced a Florida birth injury? Our team of compassionate birth injury attorneys are here to help. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical care, pain and suffering and more. Call us today for a free consultation.

Did my obstetrician fail to reach a reasonable standard of care?

“How could this have happened?” It is normal to wonder this after your child has sustained a birth injury. 

Medical science offers several reasons why such tragedies occur, and they generally involve one or more medical doctors failing to reach a “reasonable standard of care”: the expected degree of caution and concern that a rational person would use in the same circumstances. This is also called “breach of duty”.

Such instances may include:

  • Failing to detect fetal distress and/or oxygen asphyxia
  • Failing to diagnose or monitor issues like diabetes, preeclampsia or low blood pressure in the mother
  • Failing to weight the risks of a vaginal delivery
  • Failing to perform a C-section in time
  • Failing to disclose complete and accurate information with respect to potential birth defects
  • Failing to test or detect for serious medical conditions 
  • Failing to test or detect birth defects
  • Failing to perform an episiotomy to prevent or mitigate vaginal or perineal tearing.
  • Inducing labor when it is not needed
  • Not inserting an epidural correctly
  • Prescribing medications that are contraindicated to an unborn child
  • Using excessive force in negotiating your baby’s shoulder out of the birth canal during delivery (a common cause of Erb’s palsy)

How do I know if I have a birth injury case?

Just because your baby was injured during delivery does not necessarily mean you have an actionable birth injury claim. A claim is based on two things: cause and causation.

If the doctor did nothing wrong—if the resulting injuries would have happened under any circumstances—there is no cause; because the doctor is not at fault, we could not name them as a defendant. If your doctor made a mistake, but you suffered no real harm—no increased medical bills, no psychological damage—then there is no causation for a claim. Proving your case requires demonstrating both proving who is at fault and also proving the damages they caused.

How do I begin a birth injury case?

If you don’t know what to do, pick up the phone and call MattLaw® today for a free confidential consultation about your child’s birth injury. We believe that your child should have all the support they need to live a full and healthy life. If we accept your case, we will not charge you any upfront fees or costs. We only get paid if we recover damages for your baby’s injuries. Please don’t delay, call MattLaw® right now.