How to Proceed When Your Child Sustains a Birth Injury
The birth of a child is one of the most significant events in one’s life, which every parent can attest to. Thanks to modern medicine, advanced technology, and arduous educational standards, most births go relatively smoothly these days. Unfortunately, every once in awhile complications may arise during pregnancy, birth, or both, resulting in injury to the baby. If the baby’s injuries were avoidable, the parents have every right to pursue a medical malpractice claim against the doctor and/or health care staff responsible.
Birth injuries can have costly, lasting consequences. Furthermore, some birth injuries result in the need for extensive, lifelong care. If your son or daughter was injured at birth, and if those injuries resulted in a drastic change of life than what they could have, contact the Jacksonville medical malpractice lawyers at The Pendas Law Firm to learn more about what you need to do to pursue a medical malpractice claim against the negligent health care parties.
Medical Malpractice or Birth Defect?
Before you gear up to pursue a medical malpractice claim against your Jacksonville practitioner, it is important to determine whether or not your baby’s birth condition was avoidable. In order to do that, it is helpful to understand the difference between a birth injury and a birth defect:
- Birth Injury: A birth injury results from a complication during the labor and delivery process, such as the obstetrician’s improper use of a medical technique or device that unwittingly harms the baby. Typically, a birth injury is the result of something that went wrong with the labor and delivery directly.
- Birth Defect: A birth defect is usually the result of something that went wrong during or before the pregnancy. A birth defect can be the result of an environmental factor, a chemical agent, or a drug prescribed during pregnancy. Birth defects also arise as a result of a mother’s own negligent actions during pregnancy, such as drinking and smoking.
It is important to keep in mind that just because your baby was either injured during labor and delivery or born with a birth defect does not mean you are automatically entitled to a medical malpractice claim. Some birth injuries may occur despite an obstetrician’s use of reasonable care and skill throughout the labor and delivery process, making injury unavoidable. If your baby suffers from a birth defect, it can be extremely difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of the defect.
Proving Medical Malpractice
In order to file a successful medical malpractice claim against your obstetrician, medical care provider, or other medical entity, you must be able to prove that one of the aforementioned professionals failed to provide you with adequate care and/or advice during your pregnancy and/or labor and delivery. Our Jacksonville medical malpractice lawyers will help you do this by obtaining another medical expert to attest to the level of care typically delivered in your circumstances. We will then have them explain to the jury how your health care provider failed to deliver the reasonably expected standard of care, and how their failure to do so resulted in your baby’s birth injury or defect.
All successful medical malpractice claims must prove that the following elements exist:
- That the defendant (the medical care provider in question) owed your baby a legal duty of care;
- That the defendant breached that duty by acting or failing to act in a manner in which any other reasonably competent professional in their position would have; and
- That the defendant’s breach of duty resulted in harm to your baby.
If it is proven that a medical care provider’s or other medical entity’s negligent actions resulted in your baby’s birth injury or defect, your baby is entitled to damages, typically in the form of a trust. According to Florida Statutes 766.118, your baby may be entitled to up to $500,000 for a personal injury sustained as the result of a medical practitioner’s negligence (Section (2)a), or up to $1 million for negligence that resulted in a permanent vegetative state or death (in which case, you – the parents – would receive the damages) (Section (2)b).
Should your child’s injuries arise as the result of the negligence of a medical non-practitioner (i.e. pharmaceutical company), your child may be entitled to up to $750,000 (Section (3)a), or up to $1.5 million for negligence that resulted in a vegetative state or death (Section (3)b).
Consult a Jacksonville Medical Malpractice Lawyer
At The Pendas Law Firm, we advocate for the victims of medical malpractice that do not have a voice. A fetus relies on the care and diligence of everyone around them to bring them into this world in a safe and careful manner—especially medical care providers. Should an obstetrician or any other health care entity fail to act with reasonable care where your baby is concerned, it could result in lifelong injury. If your baby should sustain injuries as a result of a medical entity’s negligent actions, you – as the parent – have every right to file a medical malpractice claim against said entity. Let our Jacksonville medical malpractice lawyers assist you with the claim. Give our personal injury law firm a call today at 1-888-LPENDAS to schedule a private consultation.
We also serve clients in the West Palm Beach, Orlando, Tampa, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Fort Myers areas.