If your baby’s birth injury was caused by the negligence of the doctor or the hospital, you can file a medical malpractice lawsuit. Florida has specific standards for proving medical malpractice, as do most states. Note that a birth injury results from an action or inaction of the doctor or medical professional and results from the birthing process. By contrast, a birth defect is the result of your baby’s DNA or other environmental issues and was not preventable by the mother or medical professional. Types of birth defects caused genetically or by environmental factors include Down’s Syndrome, club feet, cleft palates, and similar problems. While a doctor may fail to detect a birth defect, the defect is caused by the child’s DNA or environmental exposure and not by the medical professional’s action or inaction.
How to Prove Your Birth Injury Claim
To prove your claim for a birth injury, you must show that the doctor, hospital, or other medical professional was negligent in order to successfully claim damages in a lawsuit. The elements of negligence are as follows:
- The doctor or medical professional had a duty to either act or not act in a specific way.
- The doctor or medical professional breached their duty.
- Breach of that duty was the cause of the plaintiff’s injury. Note that violating a standard of care alone is not malpractice. There must be an actual injury that was caused by the negligence of the medical professional. Also note that you cannot make a claim for medical malpractice if there’s negligence but no injury or if there’s an injury but no negligence. Both elements of negligence and injury must be proven.
- The injury resulted in actual damages, such as the cost of medical treatment, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc. In addition, you must prove significant damages.
Proving a birth injury case typically requires the expertise of medical and legal professionals, with years of experience analyzing medical records, consulting with experts, and presenting a compelling case in court. Important steps in proving a birth injury case in Florida include:
Gathering Evidence – The first step is to collect all relevant medical records, including prenatal care, labor, delivery, and postnatal care records. These records will be crucial in evaluating the medical decisions made and identifying any potential instances of negligence.https://www.hpslegal.com/news/hps-legal-alert-why-are-multiple-experts-needed-in-birth-injury-cases/
Consulting Medical Experts – Medical experts, including specialists such as obstetricians, neonatologists, and others, are often essential in birth injury cases. They will review the medical records and provide expert opinions on whether the standard of care was breached and if it directly caused the birth injury.
Documenting Damages – Birth injuries can have a significant impact on the child’s life and the family’s emotional and financial well-being. Documenting the child’s current and anticipated future medical needs, therapy costs, and other related expenses is crucial in establishing the extent of damages suffered.
Establishing the Standard of Care – Determining the appropriate standard of care based on the specific circumstances of the case is critical. This standard is not static and may vary depending on factors such as the mother’s health, the baby’s condition, and any known risks or complications.
Negotiating or Litigating – Once the evidence has been gathered and a reasonable case has been established, the next step is to seek a resolution. Depending upon the case and the desires of the plaintiff, this can involve negotiating a settlement with the healthcare provider’s insurance company or, if necessary, pursuing litigation in court.
If you think you have a birth injury case, time is of the essence. Do not hesitate to contact a Haliczer Pettis & Schwamm Fort Lauderdale birth injury lawyer right away.