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Birth Injuries

Our Tallahassee Birth Injury Attorneys are Committed to Helping Families Recover Just Compensation. 

With today’s medical knowledge and technology, most birth injuries are avoidable. From providing treatment during pregnancy to monitoring the mother and fetus during labor and making proper use of extraction tools during delivery, there are ways to prevent injuries that have the potential to impact children for the rest of their lives. Sadly, mistakes remain common, and our Tallahassee birth injury attorneys routinely represent new parents in birth injury claims against medical facilities throughout Florida and Georgia.

If your child has been diagnosed with a birth injury, it is important that you speak with an attorney. The financial costs of treating birth injuries can be substantial, and the non-financial effects can take an enormous toll on both parents and children. If you will be forced to stay home to care for your child, or if your child’s opportunities will be limited as he or she ages, the financial consequences can become even more severe. At Searcy Denney, our medical malpractice attorneys rely on decades of experience to help families who are struggling to cope with the effects of birth injuries; and, if your health care provider is to blame for your child’s condition, we can make sure you receive the compensation to which your family is legally entitled.

Claims Our Tallahassee Birth Injury Attorneys Handle 

Medical errors can cause a multitude of different types of birth injuries. At Searcy Denney, our Tallahassee birth injury attorneys represent families in cases involving injuries including:

  •       Anoxia
  •       Bone fractures
  •       Brain injuries
  •       Cerebral palsy
  •       Erb’s palsy
  •       Hypoxia
  •       Infections
  •       Shoulder dystocia
  •       Spasticity
  •       Spinal cord trauma

The Statute of Limitations for Birth Injury Cases in Tallahassee

No matter how severe an injury may be and how gross the negligence on the part of the person responsible, Florida law still requires a claim for damages to be filed within a specific time limit. This deadline is often referred to as the statute of limitations. Florida lawmakers reduced the statute of limitations for injuries from four years to two years.

In many injury cases, the application of the limit is straightforward. For instance, for injuries caused by a car accident, a claim for damages must be filed within two years of the date of the accident. However, for medical injuries, the situation is more complex. The two-year limit still usually applies, but the countdown may not begin right away if the injury was not immediately apparent. Often, with medical malpractice claims, the effects of a doctor’s mistake may not show up for months or even years. So, someone harmed by medical malpractice may have two years from the time they discovered or should have discovered the medical error to file a claim. The delay in starting the countdown toward the two-year limit is itself limited. Generally, a claim for medical malpractice must be filed no later than four years after the medical error, regardless of how long it took to discover the error.

But there is still another exception that applies when a child suffers an injury caused by medical malpractice, including birth injuries. Because birth injuries often take so long to show definitive symptoms, in these cases, the statute specifically allows parents to file a claim for the child up until the time a child turns eight years old.

Common Medical Errors Resulting in Birth Injuries

These and other injuries can result from errors during all phases of pre-pregnancy planning, pregnancy, labor and delivery. When you engage our attorneys to represent you, your birth injury lawyer will work closely with our trusted medical experts to identify the specific cause of your child’s condition. Some of the most-common medical errors resulting in birth injuries include:

  •       Errors during c-section deliveries
  •       Failure to diagnose conditions and health risks during pregnancy
  •       Failure to limit blood loss during delivery
  •       Failure to maintain an adequate supply of oxygen
  •       Failure to monitor the mother or fetus
  •       Failure to perform a timely c-section
  •       Improper use of forceps and other extraction tools
  •       Medication errors[JF1] 
  •       Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) malpractice
  •       Premature or delayed inducement of delivery

When most families contact us, they don’t know what went wrong. That is what we expect. Birth injury cases are highly complex; and, unfortunately, many medical providers will try to obscure the truth rather than helping families recover. Our Tallahassee birth injury attorneys can determine if your family is entitled to financial compensation, and we encourage you to contact us promptly to discuss your case.

Compensation Available to Families in Florida Birth Injury Cases

Birth injuries can impact children’s and their parents’ lives for decades to come. Throughout the child’s lifetime, the financial costs can be substantial—and they can become insurmountable for many families. At Searcy Denney, our Tallahassee birth injury attorneys rely on decades of experience to help our clients recover just compensation for:

  • Current and Future Medical Expenses – Including all diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, and therapy costs for as long as necessary.
  • Prescription and Medical Device Costs – Including all prescriptions, medical devices and medical equipment necessary to adequately care for your child’s injury and to address its long-term effects.
  • Lost Wages and Earning Capacity – Including your and your child’s loss of earnings due to your child’s care needs and the disabling effects of his or her injury.
  • Home Modifications and Other Expenses – Including installation of wheelchair ramps, elevators, and other accessibility needs.
  • The Need to Hire Service Providers – Including in-home nurses and other care providers, cleaning services, landscapers, and other service providers you need to hire to devote the necessary time to care for your child.

In addition to these financial costs, Florida families can recover just compensation for the non-financial effects of their children’s birth injuries as well. This includes recovering just compensation for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Loss of companionship, services, society and support
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Every family’s situation is different, and, to calculate your family’s losses, we will need to review the circumstances of your case in detail. To find out how much your family may be entitled to recover, schedule a free consultation with one of our Tallahassee birth injury attorneys today. 

Symptoms of Birth Injuries

In some cases, parents know right away when something did not go as it should have during the birth process. However, much of the time, Tallahassee birth injury attorneys see situations where it is only much later that parents realize something is wrong and that a medical error could have caused the problem. 

Parents and caregivers need to be aware of the early signs indicating a birth injury, as well as symptoms that may show up months or even years later. If you believe a child may have suffered a birth injury, it is a good idea to follow your instincts and seek medical help sooner rather than later. Some injuries can be treated much more successfully if they are caught early and attended to quickly.

Early Warning Signs

The first moments and even days after childbirth can be filled with wonder and uncertainty. It can be challenging to focus on watching for symptoms of birth injuries, but prompt treatment can make a tremendous difference, so be on the lookout for signs such as:

  • Bruises, abrasions, or swelling on an infant’s head or upper body
  • A “stiff” feeling while the infant is being held (hypertonic)
  • Seizures (these can develop up to 48 hours later and may appear as odd movements in an infant’s face or limbs)
  • Lack of muscle tone or a floppy appearance (hypotonic)
  • No interest in feeding 
  • Lack of typical neonatal reflexes

Of course, if a child requires assistance breathing, such as a breathing tube or performance of CPR, that is a readily apparent sign of possible birth injury that should be noted carefully. Even if a child has not been diagnosed with a medical condition, it may be helpful to speak with Tallahassee birth injury attorneys who can help you understand what is going on and how you can secure help for your child’s future. 

Later-Developing Symptoms of Birth Injuries

It can take a year or more for many symptoms of birth injuries to appear. Paying attention to typical developmental milestones is one way to detect whether negligence at birth could have caused a problem. Parents and caregivers should take note of the time a child begins to take actions such as:

  • Clapping
  • Grasping objects
  • Sitting up without help
  • Creeping/pulling forward
  • Speaking or understanding speech
  • Crawling
  • Walking

If a child has stiff joints or seems unable to control movements of the arms and legs, that could be a sign of birth injuries. Does the child seem to struggle to complete basic tasks? Or does the child seem uninterested or unaware of basic needs or desires? It is wise to take notes of your observations and confer regularly with your pediatrician if you notice problems. Keeping detailed notes and records could help Tallahassee birth injury attorneys build a case for substantial recovery if medical negligence can be proven.

Brain Injuries at Birth

Some of the most common injuries caused by negligence at birth involve the brain. The improper use of vacuum extractors during delivery, for example, can cause bleeding in the brain. Likewise, negligent use of forceps during delivery can cause skull fractures. Trauma while the baby travels through the birth canal can also lead to severe injuries that could have been prevented if doctors had paid attention to symptoms and ordered a C-section. 

Brain injuries often result from the types of trauma described above or from oxygen deprivation. Infants may suffer “birth asphyxia,” which can lead to brain damage known as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). The oxygen deprivation at birth also often affects other organs besides the brain. 

Tallahassee birth injury lawyers see many cases where it was evident from the fetal heart monitor that an infant was in distress, but the doctors failed to take appropriate action to prevent oxygen deprivation and HIE. Birth asphyxia can also be caused by problems with the umbilical cord, rupture of the uterus, or separation of the placenta from the uterine wall. When a child suffers HIE, the brain damage can lead to cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and many intellectual and developmental disabilities.

A doctor may note other types of brain injuries, such as periventricular leukomalacia, which is damage to the brain’s white matter, or damage to basal ganglia or the cerebral cortex.

FAQs That People Typically Ask Tallahassee Birth Injury Lawyers 

Is cerebral palsy a birth injury?

Cerebral palsy is not a single disorder but a group of disorders that impact a child’s ability to maintain posture and balance, as well as their ability to move. Cerebral palsy is caused when a child suffers damage to the motor control centers of the brain. This frequently occurs during or before childbirth and could then be considered a birth injury. The damage that leads to cerebral palsy can also occur after birth at any age while that portion of a child’s brain is still developing, up to about age five.

What is brachial palsy?

When an infant experiences difficulty with a shoulder during delivery, known as shoulder dystocia, the nerves that supply the hands and arms can be injured. Because this group of nerves at the shoulder is the brachial plexus, the resulting condition is referred to as brachial palsy. If a nerve is torn during delivery, the damage may be permanent. However, in some cases, the ability to flex and rotate the arm can be recovered with the help of special exercises. Tallahassee birth injury lawyers can assist in obtaining resources for treatment and therapy if brachial palsy is caused by medical errors.

Are torn nerves and broken bones common in childbirth?

Sometimes, when a baby cries, only one side of the face moves. That could indicate that nerves in the face were damaged due to negligence during delivery. If a nerve is torn, it will probably require surgery to correct. 

Fractured bones are also common birth injuries that could be prevented in many cases. For example, while the clavicle (collarbone) may be the most frequently broken, it is also usually relatively quick to heal if it is possible to limit the infant’s movement. 

How do I know if a birth injury was caused by medical errors or negligence?

It can be challenging for parents to learn on their own whether medical errors or negligence led to their child’s birth injuries. Hospitals and doctors are not likely to admit mistakes. 

Determining the cause of birth injuries and collecting evidence to build a legal case for recovery requires substantial investigation. Often Tallahassee birth injury lawyers will consult various experts to determine what the standard of care should have been and how medical staff may have violated that standard.

Filing a Claim Under the Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Act (NICA)

If you have been reading about your family’s legal rights online, you may have come across references to the Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Act (NICA). This statute gives families the opportunity to recover financial compensation in cases involving oxygen deprivation and mechanical injuries that occur during labor or delivery.

While filing a claim under NICA allows for the recovery of financial compensation without the need to prove fault, NICA provides access to compensation for medical costs only. It does not cover lost wages or earning capacity, and it does not cover the non-financial effects of a child’s birth injury. As a result, before filing a claim under NICA, it is essential to consult with a birth injury attorney to make an informed decision about what option is best for your family.

At Searcy Denney, we are passionate about helping families in cases involving birth injuries. We are committed to ensuring that our clients receive the full compensation they deserve under Florida law. If your child has been diagnosed with a birth injury, contact us today to learn more about what we can do for your family.

Discuss Your Case with the Tallahassee Birth Injury Attorneys at Searcy Denney

If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys in Tallahassee – James Gustafson, Jr., Cameron Kennedy, and Carter Scott – about your family’s legal rights, please contact us to schedule a free initial consultation. You can request an appointment 24/7 by calling us at 800-780-8607 or tell us how to reach you and we will be in touch shortly.

Hear What Our Clients Have To Say

"The attorneys and staff at Searcy Denney are some of the most compassionate and caring individuals I have met in the legal field. They work tirelessly on behalf of their clients to ensure the best possible outcome. I would highly recommend them for anyone who is seeking excellent legal representation."
Posted By: Lauren Schumacher