Orlando Birth Injury Lawyer
Obstetrical negligence can have very serious implications – even life-threatening implications – for a mother and/or her baby. Obstetrical negligence occurs when the medical practitioner – a doctor, midwife, nurse or other health care practitioner – fails to follow the accepted standard of care. If your child has suffered due to negligence, contact an Orlando birth injury lawyer at Haliczer Pettis & Schwamm, P.A. today to discuss your options.
Understanding Obstetrical Negligence and Your Rights Under the Law
Some all-too-common conditions associated with negligence in this area include:
- Fetal hypoxia
- Fetal brain injury
- Fetal cerebral palsy
- Fetal brachial plexus
These are serious conditions, and this is not an exhaustive list – there are many other conditions resulting from obstetrical negligence. Negligence can be the result of failure to diagnose a dangerous condition during pregnancy, Improper pain management, failure to timely perform a C-section, and many other actions or inactions.
Though people often think of obstetrical negligence as occurring during a woman’s pregnancy and childbirth, it can begin even prior to late stages of pregnancy – for example, if a medical professional fails to provide proper prenatal counseling, fails to properly screen egg or sperm donors for genetic defects, or improperly stores eggs and sperm. And obstetrical negligence can continue after childbirth if, for example, the doctor fails to provide proper monitoring and follow-up care. This period may continue for six weeks or more after the delivery.
Elements of Obstetrical Negligence
As with all medical malpractice cases, the plaintiff must prove:
- A doctor-patient relationship existed
- The doctor or medical professional acted outside of the standard of care
- The negligent care resulted in an injury to the mother or the baby
- The negligence resulted in compensable damages
Statute of Limitations for Birth Injuries
It’s important not to wait if you think that you may have a medical malpractice lawsuit against your healthcare provider. Currently, Florida has a two-year statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases, including birth injuries. This means that you have two years to sue your healthcare practitioner from the date of the injury.
However, Florida’s “Discovery Rule” may suspend the statute of limitations until an injury is or should have been discovered. For example, if after performing a C-section, a doctor leaves a gauze or small surgical instrument inside the abdomen or pelvis, and you don’t discover it for 2 years, the statute of limitation may begin at this point, not when the malpractice occurred. Also note, however, that Florida has a strict Statute of Repose law, which prohibits litigation against a healthcare professional more than four years from the date of the incident unless there is evidence that the healthcare provider engaged in fraud or misrepresentation to conceal the malpractice.
An initial hurdle that must be met by a potential litigant in a medical malpractice suit relating to obstetrical care or a birth injury is to provide written notice through a Notice of Intent to Sue. The Notice of Intent (NOI) must also include a certification from a medical practitioner in the OB/GYN specialty that the claim has merit and is not frivolous. Contact an experienced Orlando birth injury lawyer at Haliczer Pettis & Schwamm, P.A. today to discuss your options.
What Damages Can You Obtain for Medical Malpractice in an Obstetrical and Birth Injury Case?
Assuming that you can prove that the healthcare practitioner was your provider and owed you a duty of care, the standard of care was not met, you suffered injuries, and your injuries are compensable, you or your loved one will be entitled to compensation.
When a child suffers a severe birth injury as a result of medical negligence, the family may be entitled to damages. Damages provide compensation for losses suffered as a result of the medical provider’s malpractice and negligence. Compensation can cover both monetary losses and intangible losses such as a diminished quality of life.
Damages may include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Additional healthcare costs such as counseling, occupational therapy, medical care, hospital care, in-home nursing, attendant care and other care
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of life enjoyment
If a death is involved, you may also be able to file a wrongful death suit against the health care provider. If you do so, you may also seek compensation for the following:
- Burial or cremation expenses
- Loss of consortium for the parents
- Economic losses to the Estate
How Long Does an Obstetrical or Birth Injury Lawsuit Take?
It may take several years – two, three or even up to five – for an obstetrical or birth injury lawsuit to reach a settlement verdict. Medical malpractice cases are highly factual, and there is typically a great deal of investigation and discovery that must occur.
Seek Legal Counsel from a Skilled Orlando Birth Injury Lawyer
Because of the length and emotional intensity of a trial involving a gynecological or birth injury, many cases settle before trial. However, our team of attorneys stands ready to take your case to trial should that prove to be necessary. Contact our office today to speak with an Haliczer Pettis & Schwamm Orlando birth injury lawyer to discuss your options.