Tampa Birth Injury Lawyers: Palmer Lopez
Helping families in Tampa Bay and South Florida recover justice and compensation through a birth injury lawsuit
Welcoming a new life into the world should be a time of joy and celebration, but when childbirth is marred by a preventable injury, it can turn a moment of happiness into one of uncertainty and distress.
At Palmer Lopez, we understand the profound impact that a birth injury can have, not just on a newborn but also on their entire family. That’s why we advocate tirelessly to hold responsible parties accountable, meticulously investigating the circumstances of the birth injury and collaborating with medical experts to establish a clear link between the medical treatment and the injury.
Our goal is not just to win your case but to secure a future for your child that includes the best possible care and opportunities for growth and development.
We also recognize the emotional and financial strain that a birth injury can place on a family. The compensation we fight for goes beyond just covering medical bills; it’s about ensuring your family’s stability and peace of mind. This includes compensation for lost wages, future earning potential, pain and suffering, and many other unseen costs that come with caring for a child with special needs.
If you’re facing the aftermath of a birth injury in Florida and need legal assistance, turn to the knowledgeable Tampa birth injury attorneys at Palmer Lopez. We’re here to listen to your story, help you understand your legal options, and fight for the justice and compensation your child deserves.
An all-too-common cause of birth injuries
Healthcare providers have a duty to monitor a baby’s and mother’s health meticulously throughout pregnancy, labor and delivery, responding quickly and effectively to any signs of distress or complications.
While not all birth injuries are preventable or the result of medical mistakes, those that occur because of a healthcare provider’s failure to identify or respond to issues with the mother or baby before, during or after labor and delivery may be considered medical negligence.
So, what is the most common cause of a birth injury?
Types of medical negligence that commonly lead to birth injuries include:
- Inadequate prenatal care. Failing to detect and manage conditions during pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes, high blood pressure or infections, can lead to complications during labor and delivery.
- Poor monitoring of fetal health. Neglecting to adequately monitor the baby’s heart rate and other vital signs during pregnancy and labor can lead to missed signs of fetal distress.
- Failure to diagnose complications. Not diagnosing or misdiagnosing maternal and fetal conditions, such as placental issues, umbilical cord problems or premature labor, which require prompt intervention, can result in serious birth injuries and even death.
- Inadequate response to emergency situations. Delaying or failing to perform necessary emergency procedures, such as a cesarean section (C-section), when complications arise that threaten the health of the mother or baby can lead to oxygen deprivation and birth injuries.
- Misuse of birth-assisting tools. Improper use of forceps or vacuum extractors can cause physical injuries like skull fractures or nerve damage in the baby.
- Medication errors. Administering incorrect medications or dosages during labor can adversely affect the mother and the baby, leading to birth injuries.
- Neglecting infection control and management. Failing to identify, prevent or adequately treat infections in the mother during pregnancy or labor can lead to serious complications for both the mother and baby. This includes not properly monitoring for signs of infection, delayed response to infection indicators, or inadequate administration of antibiotics.
- Inadequate management of prolonged labor. Failing to take appropriate actions during prolonged labor can increase the risk of oxygen deprivation and other complications for the baby.
- Failure to manage maternal health during labor. Neglecting the health of the mother during labor and delivery, such as not addressing excessive blood loss or high blood pressure, can impact both maternal and fetal well-being.
- Ineffective communication among medical staff. Poor communication can lead to critical information being missed or misunderstood, resulting in inappropriate medical decisions and birth injuries.
- Inadequate training or staffing. Insufficiently trained staff or inadequate staffing levels can lead to errors in patient care due to fatigue or inexperience that result in birth injuries.
- Ignoring or misinterpreting lab results. Overlooking or misinterpreting laboratory test results can lead to missed or delayed diagnoses and treatments, increasing the likelihood of a birth injury.
Each of these instances represents a failure to provide the standard of care expected in the medical profession and can result in significant legal liability if they lead to injury or harm to the mother or child.
What are the signs of a birth injury?
Parents are often the first to notice that something isn’t quite right with their newborn, even before an official diagnosis of a birth injury is made. Common signs that may indicate a birth injury include:
- Physical signs. Unusual or asymmetrical movements, weakness or paralysis in limbs, or stiffness in the baby’s neck muscles can indicate nerve damage or other physical injuries.
- Developmental delays. Slower developmental milestones, such as delayed crawling, walking or speech, can be a sign of neurological issues stemming from a birth injury.
- Feeding difficulties. Problems with sucking, swallowing or gagging during feeding can suggest nerve damage or other issues related to a birth injury.
- Abnormal muscle tone. Either too floppy or too stiff muscle tone in a newborn can signal an underlying problem, possibly due to a neurological injury sustained during birth.
- Seizures. Seizures occurring in the first few days of life can be a sign of brain injury, often related to oxygen deprivation during birth.
- Respiratory problems. Difficulty breathing, especially if it requires medical intervention like ventilation, can be the result of a birth injury affecting the baby’s respiratory system.
- Unusual crying. High-pitched, intense or constant crying can be a sign of discomfort or pain, possibly due to an underlying injury.
- Lack of movement or responsiveness. If a newborn shows little movement or doesn’t respond to stimulation, it might indicate a serious issue like brain damage or a spinal injury.
- Facial injuries or deformities. Facial asymmetry or signs of paralysis might be due to nerve damage during birth.
- Skin discoloration. Bruising or marks on the skin can indicate trauma from delivery, particularly if forceps or vacuum extraction were used.
Recognizing these signs early and consulting with medical professionals promptly can lead to quicker diagnosis and treatment, potentially mitigating the long-term effects of birth injuries.
Concerned that your child’s birth injury may be the result of a doctor’s mistake?
Palmer Lopez can help you get the answers and compensation your child deserves. Schedule your risk-free consultation with one of our Tampa birth injury lawyers today. You never pay a fee unless we win your case.
Is your baby suffering from one of these common birth injuries?
Birth injuries come in many forms, each with varying degrees of severity and potential outcomes for the affected child. Some of the most common birth injuries that result from negligence on the part of a doctor, nurse or other healthcare provider include:
- Cerebral palsy. This neurological disorder affects muscle coordination and body movement and is often caused by brain damage before, during or shortly after birth. Symptoms of a cerebral palsy birth injury include exaggerated reflexes, floppy or rigid limbs, and involuntary motions, often due to a lack of oxygen to the brain or trauma during delivery.
- Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). Hypoxic brain injury at birth is caused by oxygen deprivation and limited blood flow and often occurs due to complications in the birthing process. It can lead to developmental delays, cognitive issues, and other long-term neurological problems.
- Brachial plexus injuries (Erb’s palsy). These occur when the brachial plexus nerves in the neck and upper arm are damaged, often during difficult deliveries involving shoulder dystocia. Symptoms of brachial plexus birth injuries include weakness or loss of motion and an inability to move the affected shoulder or arm.
- Fractures. The most common fracture during birth is the clavicle or collarbone, typically occurring during difficult deliveries or breech births. Symptoms include pain and limited movement in the affected area.
- Perinatal asphyxia. This condition happens when the baby doesn’t receive enough oxygen before, during, or just after birth, often due to prolonged labor or cord complications. Symptoms include poor color, slow heart rate and weak reflexes.
- Intracranial hemorrhage. This refers to bleeding inside the skull, which can occur as a result of birth trauma, especially during a difficult delivery that requires tools like forceps or vacuum extractors. Symptoms include seizures, swelling of the head and lethargy.
- Facial paralysis. If the facial nerve is damaged during birth, often by the use of forceps, the baby may experience facial paralysis. Symptoms include the inability to close the eye on the affected side or a lack of movement on one side of the face.
- Spinal cord injuries. These rare but severe injuries can occur during traumatic births and may lead to paralysis or neurological impairment. Symptoms include weakness or immobility in the baby’s limbs.
- Kernicterus. This is a rare but severe form of brain damage that occurs in newborns with untreated jaundice, where high levels of bilirubin cause permanent damage to the brain. Symptoms include extreme lethargy, poor feeding, high-pitched crying, and muscle rigidity, particularly in the neck and back. It can lead to hearing loss and cerebral palsy if not treated promptly.
- Caput succedaneum. This is the swelling of the soft tissues of the baby’s scalp, often developing as the baby travels through the birth canal. It appears as a soft, puffy swelling on the baby’s scalp.
- Cephalohematoma. This is a collection of blood under the scalp, usually resulting from birth trauma or the use of delivery instruments. It presents as a raised bump on the baby’s head and may take weeks to disappear.
Understanding the root cause of these injuries often requires a thorough investigation into the medical care received. This may involve reviewing medical records, consulting with medical experts, and examining the actions of healthcare providers against the standard of care expected in similar situations.
Time limits for filing a birth injury claim in Florida
In Florida, the time limits for filing a birth injury claim, also known as the statute of limitations, generally require that legal action be taken within 2 years from the date the injury is discovered or should have been discovered. This rule is particularly relevant in cases where the injury isn’t immediately apparent after birth.
Florida law also has a statute of repose that typically limits the period to file a claim to 4 years from the date of the incident causing the injury, regardless of when it was discovered.
However, for birth injury claims involving minors, Florida law allows for an extension of this time frame, sometimes up until a child’s 8th birthday, meaning a birth injury claim can potentially be filed at any time before the child turns 8 years old.
It’s important to note that these time limits can be complex, and exceptions may apply based on the specifics of the case. Therefore, consulting with a knowledgeable attorney specializing in birth injury law is crucial to ensuring you don’t miss your chance at compensation.
The skilled Tampa birth injury attorneys at Palmer Lopez will fight for the compensation your child deserves
At Palmer Lopez, our experienced Tampa birth injury attorneys are here to offer your family compassionate and comprehensive legal support during this challenging time. We understand the emotional and financial toll that a birth injury can have on your family, and we’re committed to helping you navigate the complex legal process with sensitivity and expertise.
Contact us today for a free consultation, and let our knowledgeable team guide you in taking the necessary steps to protect your child’s future.