Are you or someone you love dealing with the aftermath of a birth injury? If so, you may be eligible for compensation to help cover medical expenses and other related costs.
Why Choose an Austin Birth Injury Lawyer from Shaw Cowart?
At the firm of Shaw Cowart LLP, we know what it takes to get justice for victims of birth injury and cerebral palsy cases. With millions in settlements and successful trial verdicts, our birth injury attorneys from Austin will ensure third parties will not get away with negligence or medical malpractice.
Understanding Birth Injuries in Austin
A birth injury is any type of injury a baby suffers before, during, or directly after childbirth. Birth injuries differ from birth defects, in that birth injuries are a result of the actions or inaction of medical professionals.
Birth defects, in contrast, are formed in utero within the first three months of the mother’s pregnancy and are the result of genetic history or potential addiction.
Birth injuries have the potential to affect a mother and her baby for a lifetime. When a child is seriously harmed during or after the delivery process, parents are entitled to know the precise details and circumstances which caused their newborn’s injury or wrongful death.
Globally, 47% of all deaths of children under age 5 happen within the newborn stage, with one-third of all infants dying on the day of their birth. Newborn trauma causes the most neonatal deaths.
Despite the fact that the United States is one of the most wealthy nations in the world, childbirth in the United States has somehow become more complicated and traumatic for both the parent and baby. Based on a rate of 10,000 deliveries, the number of serious medical complications has doubled in the past few years.
Common Birth Injuries In Austin
The trip down the birth canal is an arduous journey for fragile infants. If a medical provider isn’t vigilant in monitoring both mother and infant during the labor and childbirth process then injuries can result. Some common birth injuries in the United States include:
- Brachial palsy: caused by damage to the nerves in the shoulder, arm, and hand, due to incorrect delivery of the baby’s shoulder
- Forcep marks and bruising: caused by manual extraction of the baby from the mother’s birth canal
- Caput Succedaneum: swelling of the scalp caused by forceful vacuum delivery
- Facial paralysis: caused by incorrect forceps delivery
- Fractures of the clavicle
- Head trauma: sometimes causing bleeding in the brain
- Birth asphyxia: lack of oxygen to the brain causing damage
Any problem that occurs to a vulnerable infant during birth is traumatic for parents as well as for the baby, but when parents learn that their baby suffered a preventable birth injury it’s emotionally and financially devastating. The Austin birth injury lawyers at Shaw Cowart LLP have deep compassion for victims of preventable birth injuries and their families. While financial compensation cannot undo the injury to a child, it can open doors to the best medical care and relieve financial burdens.
What is the Most Common Birth Injury?
According to The Merck Manual, head injury is the most common birth-related injury; however, Merck is addressing birth injuries in general, and not only those caused by medical malpractice. It’s a little more difficult to identify the most common malpractice birth injury. In the event that your child was injured due to malpractice, reach out to our Austin medical malpractice attorneys.
Head and brain injuries tend to be quite common, and many cases involve an injury that leads to cerebral palsy. Having said that, it doesn’t really matter whether your baby’s injury is common or not: If it was caused by medical negligence or error, then you deserve justice and accountability.
In the unfortunate event that there is a loss of life involved during the birth, our Austin wrongful death lawyers are here to help with your case.
Signs and Symptoms of Austin Birth Injuries
Some symptoms of birth injuries are immediately noticeable after delivery, such as bruising or lacerations from forceps, but others may take anywhere from several hours after birth to years later to identify. Some common signs and symptoms that an infant may have been injured during the labor and delivery process include several that parents may notice in the hours after birth:
- Stiffness or floppiness
- Arching the back and crying
- Difficulty with the suck, swallow, breathe pattern
- Excessive drooling due to facial nerve damage
- Hands tightly curled into a claw-shape
- Grunting and/or high-pitched crying
- Light and noise sensitivity
- Absent or weak reflexes
- Low heart rate and oxygen levels
Other, more subtle signs of birth injuries may not become evident until much later when children experience delays in their milestones, intellectual disabilities, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, or learning disorders.
What Is Obstetric Malpractice?
Obstetric malpractice may refer to labor and delivery errors such as negligent fetal heart monitoring, mismanagement of Group B strep, fetal distress, and oxygen deprivation.
Birth injuries caused by obstetric malpractice include respiratory distress, perinatal asphyxia, perinatal hypoxia, anoxic brain injury, cerebral palsy, shoulder dystocia, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, birth-related seizure disorder, fetal bradycardia, fetal acidosis, brachial plexus, cord compression, and forceps injuries.
Unfortunately, doctors and hospital staff do not always provide satisfactory explanations when concerned parents request more information about their baby’s injury.
Long-Term Effects of Birth Injuries
While most birth injuries are minor and resolve themselves over time, some cause serious long-term consequences to the child’s development. Some long-term impacts from birth injuries include:
- Cerebral Palsy
- Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE), which is a brain injury caused by a lack of oxygen in the brain
- Erb’s Palsy, which impacts the arm
- Kernicterus: brain damage caused by bilirubin buildup in the brain
- Feeding problems
- Developmental delays
- Learning disorders
- Behavioral and emotional problems
- Respiratory conditions
Long-term effects of birth injuries can become very costly for parents to address with therapies, special education, and long-term medical care. A successful birth injury claim can help counteract some of the financial damages associated with treating children with birth injury-related health problems.
What Kind of Damages Can Be Sought in a Birth Injury Lawsuit in Austin?
Our Austin birth injury attorneys tirelessly pursue justice and monetary compensation on your behalf. You may be wondering what birth injury issues are compensated for in the event of successful financial recovery. In a typical birth injury case, compensatory damages are usually divided into two typical damage types: economic and non-economic.
These are damages with a real financial cost. Economic damages may be based on:
- Medical expenses
- Costs of special education
- Ongoing medical care
- In-home medical services
- Specialized daily care
- Assistive or adaptive medical equipment
- Occupational therapy
- Speech therapy
- Behavioral therapy
- Loss of wages (typically on behalf of a parent who stays home with the child)
Essentially, economic damages are based on the idea that there is a one-to-one financial cost that the monetary compensation assists with.
Non-economic damages are more subjective losses without a clear dollar amount associated with them. Examples of non-economic damages include
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished quality of life
- Emotional Distress
It’s also important to note that there really isn’t a “typical” birth injury case. Each family’s situation is unique. Our team wants to get to know how your life and your baby’s life have been affected, and we want to help you identify your baby’s needs as they grow into childhood and then adulthood. These aspects of the injury will inform the case for pursuing compensation.
How Long Does a Birth Injury Case in Austin Take to Settle?
Most birth injury cases take a year or longer to reach a resolution. These cases can be complex, involving multiple parties like hospitals and medical clinics. There may be a fair amount of investigation involved. Cases that go before a jury may take the longest amount of time.
As attorneys who have been working for families affected by medical malpractice for many years, we know how strongly you want to resolve this matter and move on with your life. Working with experienced attorneys ensures your claim is handled as efficiently as possible. While we cannot promise a certain duration, we do pledge to resolve your case thoroughly. We put all of our resources and network to work to this end.
Who is Liable in an Austin Birth Injury Case?
When determining who is liable in a birth injury case, there are several factors to consider. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the birth injury, the doctor, hospital, or another healthcare professional is held responsible and liable for the birth injury.
While this list is not exhaustive, commonly responsible parties include:
- OB/GYN personnel
- Hospital administrations
We will know more after meeting with you in a consultation. If our attorneys and your family decide to move forward with a claim, we will begin working immediately to identify the source of malpractice that led to your child’s injury.
How Long Do You Have to Sue for a Birth Injury Lawsuit in Austin?
Each state has its own statute of limitations, which sets the amount of time from the injury in which a claim must be filed.
In Texas, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is approximately two years from the day of the injury or the injury’s discovery. Additionally, if there’s ongoing treatment given in a healthcare capacity, and it turns out that treatment caused the problems, the two years do not begin until the treatment has been completed.
However, a statute of repose is present in Texas medical malpractice cases. This states that after 10 years have passed, individuals seeking to bring a medical malpractice case regarding a birth injury will no longer have the right to do so.
After this deadline passes, it is difficult or impossible to file a claim. Call us to ensure you still have time after learning of your child’s birth injury.
Cerebral Palsy Litigation Attorney in Texas
The psychological, emotional, and financial costs of a lifetime of special needs and medical care can be devastating. If your child’s injuries were caused by the negligence of healthcare professionals, we can help you recover damages to sustain your financial security and stability.
What Is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral Palsy refers to an array of congenital disorders seen in children that affects movement, balance, and coordination. Cerebral palsy is associated with a variety of effects, the most common of which involve impaired muscle coordination and motor skills. Symptoms may include seizures, involuntary movement, hearing disabilities, speech impediments, and difficulty concentrating.
According to research reports from the Centers for Disease Control, it’s estimated that the rate of cerebral palsy in the United States is 1 in 345.
How Can Medical Malpractice Cause Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy disorder can be caused by a multitude of factors, including medical errors during or right after a baby’s delivery. A paper published by both the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics explains that, before cerebral palsy can be attributed to a medical error during the labor and delivery process, four criteria must be met.
The criteria incorporate lab values, clinical photos, MRI results, and the specific type of cerebral palsy which the child has developed. Once all four criteria are present, it is then necessary to pinpoint a precise event during labor and delivery which caused the cerebral palsy, and, finally, identify care providers who may have deviated from the standard of care and could be held accountable for damages.
Don’t Settle for Less: Choose an Austin Birth Injury Attorney from Shaw Cowart
When medical errors made during the labor and delivery process inflict permanent injury upon an infant, our birth injury attorneys in Austin understand the emotional hardships a family must face to support a lifetime of special needs and manage the accompanying medical expenses. While the harm your child has suffered cannot be undone, our Austin cerebral palsy lawyers will help you obtain the financial compensation to improve the quality of life for your child and your family.
If you suspect that circumstances surrounding your child or a loved one’s birth injury are applicable to you, we encourage you to get in touch with us as soon as possible. There are important deadlines in all medical malpractice cases and you should contact an attorney as soon as you suspect medical errors may have caused your child’s cerebral palsy during the labor and delivery process. We have the resources to analyze medical records, interview witnesses and investigate whether mistakes were made in the delivery of your baby.