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Steps to Take After a Birth Injury Occurs

Offered by The Lancione Law Firm, LLC

An attorney can advocate for your child and get justice for your family

For many parents, bringing a child into the world is a moment filled with hope and joy. However, for some families, this hope and joy can be disrupted when a newborn has suffered a birth injury. 

Birth injuries often have profound and long-lasting effects on both children and their families. Knowing what steps to take after a birth injury can make all the difference in ensuring the best possible outcome for your child. 

An experienced birth injury lawyer can advise you on your rights and which course of action to take. They can also handle every aspect of your claim from the initial consultation to the final settlement or court award. To take the next step towards justice, contact a lawyer in your area and schedule a free consultation. 

What medical conditions are caused by birth injuries?

Specific medical conditions that may result from birth injuries include:

  • Cerebral palsy: This is a group of neurological disorders that affect movement, muscle tone, and coordination. It can result from brain damage or abnormal brain development, often due to oxygen deprivation or trauma during childbirth.
  • Brachial plexus injuries: These injuries occur when the nerves that control movement and sensation in the arm are damaged, typically during a difficult or prolonged childbirth. This can lead to weakness or paralysis in the affected arm.
  • Erb’s palsy: This is a type of brachial plexus injury that specifically affects the upper nerves of the brachial plexus. It can cause weakness or paralysis in the shoulder, arm, and hand on one side of the body.
  • Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE): HIE occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygen and blood flow, which can lead to brain damage. It can result from placental abruption, umbilical cord prolapse, fetal distress, or other childbirth complications.
  • Spinal cord injuries: Spinal cord injuries can occur during childbirth if there is excessive force applied to the baby’s spine. These injuries can cause partial or complete paralysis and may require lifelong medical care and rehabilitation.
  • Skull fractures and intracranial hemorrhage: Trauma during childbirth can lead to skull fractures or bleeding within the skull (intracranial hemorrhage). This can cause brain damage and neurological complications.
  • Perinatal asphyxia: Perinatal asphyxia occurs when a baby’s oxygen supply is compromised before, during, or immediately after birth. This can result in brain damage and may lead to long-term neurological issues.
  • Facial nerve injuries: Facial nerve injuries can occur during childbirth, which can lead to weakness or paralysis of the facial muscles on one side of the face.

How do I recognize the signs of a birth injury? 

Recognizing the signs of a birth injury is the first step for parents who suspect their child may have been affected. While some birth injuries may be immediately apparent, others may manifest more subtly over time. 

Here are the physical signs and symptoms to watch for:

  • Abnormal bruising or swelling on the baby’s head, face, or body.
  • Difficulty breathing or irregular breathing patterns.
  • Poor muscle tone or weakness in limbs.
  • Abnormalities in reflexes or movements.

Behavioral signs of birth injuries include:

  • Excessive crying or irritability, which may indicate pain or discomfort.
  • Difficulty feeding or swallowing.
  • Unusual sleeping patterns, such as excessive drowsiness or difficulty waking the baby.

Developmental milestones may include:

  • Delays in reaching developmental milestones, such as rolling over, sitting up, or crawling.
  • Cognitive or intellectual delays, including difficulties with learning or communication.

Immediate actions for parents after a birth injury

If you suspect that your child has suffered a birth injury, it’s important to take swift and decisive action. Below, you’ll find the key steps to take to secure the safety of your child and take legal action. 

Seek medical attention

Immediately after noticing any signs or symptoms of a birth injury, seek medical attention for your newborn. Your doctor can provide guidance over the phone and may recommend bringing your baby in for an assessment.

In cases where the baby’s condition appears urgent or life-threatening, don’t hesitate to go directly to the nearest emergency room or pediatric hospital. 

Upon arrival at a medical facility, communicate any concerns or observations regarding your baby’s symptoms or behavior. Provide detailed information about when the symptoms started, how they have progressed, and any other relevant details.

After the initial evaluation and treatment, parents should follow any instructions provided by a doctor for ongoing care and monitoring of the baby’s condition. This may include scheduling follow-up appointments, adhering to medication regimens, and making necessary lifestyle adjustments to support the baby’s recovery.

Document everything

From the moment you suspect a birth injury, start keeping records. This includes noting dates, times, and details of all medical visits, examinations, and treatments your child receives.

During discussions with a doctor, jot down their observations, recommendations, and any diagnostic tests ordered. This can help you keep track of the progression of your child’s condition and any changes in medical advice.

It’s important to have access to your child’s complete medical history. Request copies of medical records, including test results and imaging scans, for your personal reference. These records serve as valuable evidence when pursuing a birth injury claim.

Ask questions

Parents should actively participate in discussions with healthcare providers by asking questions about their baby’s health. Questions might include inquiries about the specific injury, potential long-term effects, treatment options, and what to expect during the recovery process. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for second opinions if necessary to ensure you have a comprehensive understanding of your baby’s situation. Here are some questions you might consider asking:

  • What is the specific nature of my baby’s injury?
  • What caused the injury, and could it have been prevented?
  • What are the short-term and long-term effects of this injury on my baby’s health and development?
  • Are there any treatment options available for my baby’s condition?
  • What are the potential risks and benefits associated with each treatment option?
  • How will this injury affect my baby’s day-to-day life, now and in the future?
  • What can we expect during the recovery process, and how can we support our baby during this time?
  • Are there any specific precautions or care instructions we need to follow to prevent further complications?

Contact a birth injury attorney

A birth injury attorney can provide valuable guidance on your legal rights and options. They can explain the legal standards for medical malpractice and help you understand whether you have grounds for a legal claim. 

Additionally, an attorney can launch a thorough investigation into the medical facility where your child’s birth occurred, as well as into the staff involved. They can gather medical records, consult with experts, and review evidence to determine if negligence or malpractice occurred.

Insurance companies representing healthcare providers or facilities may try to settle for less than you deserve. An attorney can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to secure fair compensation for medical expenses, ongoing care, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Follow medical recommendations

When treating your child’s birth injury, a doctor will outline a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to their condition. It’s important to stick to this plan diligently, whether it involves regular doctor visits, therapy sessions, or home care routines. 

You should also schedule and attend all follow-up appointments as directed. This is important for monitoring your baby’s progress, adjusting treatment strategies, and addressing any emerging issues promptly.

Depending on the nature and severity of the birth injury, specialized care or therapy services may be necessary. This may include occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, or consultations with specialists in relevant fields.

Get a birth injury lawyer on your side and secure justice for your child

Pursuing a birth injury presents legal challenges due to the high stakes involved. At-fault parties in these cases often deny wrongdoing. Rather than acknowledging fault, medical professionals and institutions frequently resort to legal measures to defend their actions.

However, a skilled birth injury attorney can help level the playing field and hold negligent parties accountable. They can fight to secure compensation for you and your child through a settlement agreement. If insurance companies refuse to budge, they can file a lawsuit on your behalf and fight for a maximum court award. 

Plus, getting an attorney is affordable. They work on a contingency fee basis, so you don’t have to pay unless they successfully win your case. If an attorney can’t secure compensation, then you owe nothing. To get started, set up a free consultation with a lawyer in your area.

Birth Injuries
The Lancione Law Firm, LLC
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The Lancione Law Firm is an award-winning medical malpractice law firm in Ohio that serves clients nationally. Attorney John Lancione has over 33 years of experience and is commit...