Birth Injury Lawyer
Our Florida Birth Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton know how exciting it is to have a baby, which is why birth injuries are one of the most tragic forms of medical malpractice. A birth injury can be a heartbreaking loss for parents, and we want you to know that we are here for you with considerable knowledge and resources at our disposal to help with your birth injury negligence claim. Injured mothers and the families of injured children deserve justice and we want to help make sure that happens. You can speak with us today to learn more about how we can help you recover for your injuries or injuries on behalf of your injured child.Florida Birth Negligence Cases We Handle
Our Florida Birth Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton handle all birth injury claims that affect mother and baby during pregnancy and delivery, including the following:
- Wrongful birth: This occurs when a mother gives birth to a seriously disabled child due to a doctor providing inaccurate information or negligence.
- Lack of oxygen: This is also referred to as oxygen asphyxia, and it can result in very severe brain damage.
- Cerebral palsy: This is caused by abnormal brain development, which usually occurs before birth and can result from oxygen asphyxia.
- Shoulder dystocia: This occurs when the baby's shoulder gets stuck above the mother's pubic bone after their head is delivered vaginally. This could lead to a brachial plexus injury or a clavicle fracture.
- Brachial plexus injury: This is when there are sudden damages to nerves in the arm and hand, which can cause loss of movement, weakness, or loss of feeling in the arms, hand, or shoulder.
- Erb’s palsy: Paralysis of the arm, which is the result of a brachial plexus injury.
When your child is born with an injury, you have so many questions. Was the injury preventable? Who is to blame? What do you do now? How will you pay for your child’s medical needs?
Our Florida Birth Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are here to help provide you with all of the answers you need. We will make sure you understand all of your legal options for recovery.
To start, it is important to understand the elements of a Florida birth injury claim. In order to recover financial compensation, you will need to prove every element of a medical malpractice civil claim set forth by Florida statute.
Your healthcare provider is held to a reasonable standard of care based upon similarly situated professionals in their field of practice. Your obstetrician is held to a different standard than a primary care doctor due to the fact that an obstetrician has specialized knowledge to make specific determinations for your pregnancy and delivery. Your primary care doctor would not be recommended to determine if a C-section or vaginal delivery is appropriate for you, but they would be expected to have knowledge on what is necessary for a healthy pregnancy.
In order to prove the appropriate standard of care, our Florida Birth Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton consult with medical experts in all appropriate fields. Should your case go to trial, we may use expert testimony of other obstetricians to explain to the judge and jury the steps they would have taken for patients in similar situations and how your doctor deviated from those standards, which resulted in injury to you or your child.Did Your Obstetrician Breach Their Duty?
If your doctor failed to act in a way that detoured from the normal acceptable standard of care, then they breached their duty. Deviations from acceptable care may include:
- Not detecting fetal distress or oxygen asphyxia
- Not diagnosing pregnancy issues such as diabetes, preeclampsia or low blood pressure
- Not weighing the risks associated with a vaginal delivery and recommending a C-section
- Not providing enough or accurate information in regards to possible birth defects
- Not testing for serious medical conditions or failing to test for birth defects
Not performing an episiotomy correctly to prevent or mitigate tearing to the perineal
- Any of the below actions could indicate a breach of duty: Inducing labor when it is not needed
- Not inserting an epidural correctly
- Prescribing medications that could be harmful to an unborn child
- Tugging excessively on your baby’s shoulder during the course of delivery
To be specific, just because your baby was injured during delivery does not mean you automatically have a birth injury claim. If the doctor did nothing wrong, then there is no cause. On the same note, if your doctor made an error, but you suffered no real harm, then there is no causation for a claim. Causation is the link between the doctor’s breach of duty and the injury. In order to prove your case, it must be shown that the doctor caused or contributed to your injuries or the injuries of your child.
It is very common for the defense to claim that the patient is the one to blame for any injuries, and not the doctor. They may also try and say that the injuries were beyond anyone’s control. Our Florida Birth Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can counter the other side’s tactics by collecting strong evidence and researching every angle to develop powerful arguments on your behalf. We will also utilize expert witness testimony to further prove your case.When Should I Hire a Florida Birth Injury Attorney?
The answer to this question depends on the cause and extent of the injury or injuries. Our Florida Birth Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can provide you with legal representation if you believe that the injuries that you or your baby suffered were caused by a doctor or hospital’s mistake. We will help you pursue adequate financial compensation for a birth injury claim, and recommend a free consultation first to get more information that can help us secure a successful award.
During our initial meeting we will ask questions like:
- What is you or your child’s injury?
- What are the expenses related to the injury?
- Do you or your child require surgery or long-term care?
- What was your prenatal routine care like?
- Did your doctor discuss injury risks with you or offer any other birthing options?
- Did anything happen during delivery that suggests doctor negligence or error?
- Did the doctor or hospital blame you for the injuries or encourage you to not contact a lawyer?
Once we collect more information from you we can then suggest how to proceed with a birth injury claim. You have the right to hire the best attorney that suits your specific needs.What Types of Injuries Should I Call a Florida Birth Injury Attorney About?
Our Florida Birth Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton regularly handle complicated birth injury claims for mothers and babies. If you or your child has suffered any of the following complications, we can help.
- Brachial Plexus Neuropraxia: This is when a newborn’s nerves are overly stretched during a difficult delivery, and may require physical or occupational therapy to treat.
- Brachial Plexus Neuroma: This is a condition that happens when scar tissue grows around a disrupted nerve.
- Brachial Plexus Avulsion: This happens when the nerves of the brachial plexus are damaged, stretched, or completely torn from the spinal cord, which could lead to numbness, weakness, pain, disfigurement, paralysis, or even permanent disabilities.
- Brachial Plexus Rupture: This happens when the nerves are torn outside the spinal cord and could require surgical repair.
- Cerebral Palsy: This is a condition that is caused by a brain injury or issue that happens during pregnancy or birth, or within the first 2-3 years of a child’s life. This is usually caused by premature birth, not getting enough oxygen, blood, or other nutrients before or during birth.
- Erb’s Palsy: This is a brachial plexus injury that results in paralysis of the arm caused by excessive pulling or stretching of a baby’s head and shoulders during a vaginal delivery.
- Facial Nerve Palsy: This can happen after prolonged pressure is placed on the cranial nerve, which can result in facial nerve paralysis.
- Klumpke Paralysis: This is a rare birth brachial plexus injury where the nerves around a newborn's shoulder are damaged, affecting the movement of the lower arm and hand.
- Femoral Nerve Dysfunction: This is when the mother’s femoral nerve is damaged during labor and delivery and results in a loss of movement or sensation to the legs.
- Fetal Distress: This is pregnancy, labor, and delivery complication where the baby endures oxygen deprivation otherwise known as birth asphyxia.
- Shoulder Dystocia: This occurs when the baby’s arm gets stuck during delivery and often results in a brachial plexus injury.
- Oxygen Asphyxia: This happens when a baby's brain and other organs fail to receive enough oxygen and nutrients before, during or immediately after birth.
- Meconium Aspiration Syndrome (MAS): This occurs in about 5-10% of births and happens when a newborn breathes meconium - your baby’s first bowel movement - and amniotic fluid into the lungs during the time of delivery.
- Lumbosacral Plexus Injury: When an epidural is not placed properly, a mother’s leg nerves can suffer damage in the form of a lumbosacral plexus injury.
- Perineal Tears: This is a laceration of the skin that separates the vagina from the anus, affecting women during a vaginal delivery. This is a common birth injury to the mother and can result in numerous issues including, pain, disability, incontinence, and sexual dysfunction.
- Uterine Prolapse: This is a condition that affects a mother’s pelvic floor during pregnancy or delivery. When the pelvic floor is too weak to support the uterus, it can descend towards or into the vagina, resulting in a plethora of problems and pain.
Our Florida Birth Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton handle all of our birth injury claims on a contingency fee basis, which means you do not pay us a penny until we recover a financial settlement or award on your behalf. If we are unable to recover damages for you, then you owe us zero attorney’s fees or costs. In our initial free consultation, we will go over our billing process in depth so that you fully understand how we operate before you retain our services.What is My Florida Birth Injury Case Worth?
We cannot stress this enough: every case is unique, and has its own set of facts and possible damages. We will thoroughly review every aspect of your case to determine what we think it is worth. Some cases may not have sufficient grounds for legal action, while others could be valued at millions of dollars.Who Can I Sue for My Child’s Birth Injuries?
Any medical professional or facility that breached their duty of care to your or your child can be sued for their involvement. Nurses, doctors, specialists, hospitals, labs, etc. can all be at fault for your suffering.What Should I Do if the Hospital Has Offered Me a Settlement?
We do not recommend that you agree to a settlement or sign any type of agreement with the hospital until you speak with a qualified medical malpractice lawyer. If you sign a settlement agreement, then you waive your rights to any further financial compensation that you may very well be entitled to.How Long Do I Have to File a Birth Injury Lawsuit?
Florida has strict deadlines in place for how long you have to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. Florida’s statute of limitations give you two years from the date you were injured or two years from the date you discovered the injury to proceed with filing a legal claim. There are exceptions for certain cases, but you generally have no more than four years from the date of you or your child’s injury to file a claim.How Can I Contact a Florida Birth Injury Attorney at Whittel & Melton?
We are available 24/7 to discuss your medical malpractice claim. You can contact us online or call us at 866-608-5529 to discuss setting up a completely free and confidential consultation.