Has your child suffered a serious injury before or during birth in Mobile, AL?
Lattof & Lattof, P.C. has more than 65 years of experience representing injured children and their families.
Contact a Mobile birth injury lawyer at our trusted law firm today to schedule your free consultation.
How Lattof & Lattof, P.C. Can Help with a Birth Injury Claim
Medical malpractice claims are notoriously complex in Alabama. This is due, in part, to the state’s medical malpractice laws that favor medical professionals. When your child is facing a serious injury due to a negligent physician’s mistake, you deserve an advocate by your side.
Lattof & Lattof, P.C. is a family-owned law firm that has represented children and their families in birth injury cases for more than 65 years. Our Mobile personal injury lawyers will put our century of combined experience to work to help you through every step of your claim.
Understand Your Legal Options
It can be difficult to know where to turn when your child is injured by a doctor’s negligence. During your initial consultation with Lattof & Lattof, P.C., a personal injury lawyer will help you understand your legal options. We will review the potential value of your case and help you understand the challenges you may face. We will also go over what you can expect during the claims process.
Gather Evidence for Your Case
We will fight for the fair compensation your child deserves. To do this, we gather crucial evidence that supports your claim by showing how the physician was negligent and the extent of your child’s injuries. We use everything from medical records to expert medical testimony to build your claim.
Negotiate on Your Behalf
Your focus should be on your child, not fighting with an insurance company that wants to minimize your child’s suffering. We will negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company to reach a fair settlement that fully compensates your child. If necessary, we will take your case to court.
What Is a Birth Injury?
A birth injury is an injury that occurs during pregnancy or labor and delivery. Some birth injuries are unavoidable and simply the result of the pressure of childbirth. These injuries may happen when the baby is too large, is not in the correct position in the birth canal, or labor is very difficult, for example.
However, doctors and other medical providers have a duty to recognize and treat conditions that may cause a birth injury. For example, if labor is too long or difficult, or the baby will not fit through the birth canal, the doctor should order a Cesarean section when appropriate.
There are two broad types of birth injuries:
- Birth injuries that occur in utero
- Birth injuries that occur during labor and delivery
In utero birth injuries are less common but they can be more severe. A physician’s negligence may cause an in utero birth defect or injury by failing to warn parents of genetic risks or failing to see if a woman is pregnant before prescribing certain drugs. Most birth injuries occur during labor and delivery.
Common Birth Injuries in Mobile
The birth of your child should be a joyous occasion, but what happens when your child suffers a preventable injury that may leave them affected for the rest of their life? Your fear and uncertainty can quickly cloud what should be a day to celebrate.
While some birth injuries are unavoidable, many happen because of preventable mistakes made by doctors, hospitals, and healthcare providers. In fact, it’s estimated that 30% of all birth injuries can be prevented.
There are hundreds of birth injuries that may result from negligence. The following are the most common birth injuries in Alabama that our Mobile birth injury law firm sees on a regular basis.
- Cerebral palsy (CP) affects about 3 out of every 1,000 live births in the U.S. While 58% of children with CP can walk independently, 31% had limited or no ability to walk. Around 10% of CP cases are caused by disruption to oxygen supply during birth, or birth hypoxia.
- Brachial plexus palsy which happens when the nerves supplying the hands and arms are injured
- Injuries from forceps or vacuum assist including skull fractures
- Erb’s palsy which also involves the same nerves as brachial plexus palsy but affects the upper and lower arm
- Spinal cord injuries
- Shoulder dystocia which can happen after a difficult delivery when the head and shoulders do not pass through the birth canal
- Facial paralysis which may occur due to pressure on the face which damages a nerve.
- Fractures, especially to the clavicle
- Caput succedaneum, a complication of a vacuum delivery in which the soft tissue of the baby’s scalp swells
Has your child suffered one of these birth injuries or another type of injury before or during birth? An experienced birth injuries lawyer at Lattof & Lattof, P.C. is here to help. We will help you investigate your child’s injury, build evidence, and fight for fair compensation to ensure your child receives the care they need.
How Do Birth Injuries Happen in Alabama?
Many birth injuries happen due to medical malpractice or negligence during pregnancy, labor, or delivery. There are many medical errors a physician may make that can cause a birth injury. The following are some of the most common types of medical malpractice during pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
Failing to Properly Monitor the Fetus During Pregnancy
A physician has a duty to carefully monitor a fetus during pregnancy and childbirth. During labor and delivery, a fetal heart monitor should be used to detect signs of distress. If the fetus does show signs of distress, immediate and appropriate action must be taken.
A physician may be responsible for a birth injury caused by failing to monitor and detect signs of fetal distress such as decreased movement, changes in heart rate, and unusual amniotic fluid volume.
Misdiagnosis or Failing to Act Quickly
Childbirth may be routine in most cases, but certain events can quickly turn it into a life or death emergency. If the baby is deprived of oxygen, they may suffer wrongful death or lifelong injury if fast action isn’t taken to restore oxygen supply. A physician must monitor the health of the mother and baby during labor to determine when an immediate C-section is called for.
A physician has a duty to check if a woman is pregnant before prescribing certain drugs that can cause birth defects in utero. Likewise, the physician must also use drugs properly during labor and delivery.
Some drugs like Pitocin are used to induce labor but they may reduce oxygen supply to the baby or cause the uterus to rupture. Spinal epidurals, while common, also come with risks and may interfere with labor. This can prompt a doctor to use a delivery instrument like forceps which may cause injury to the child.
Failing to Monitor, Diagnose, and Treat High-Risk Pregnancy
The health of the mother or fetus can make a pregnancy high-risk. It’s crucial for a physician to consider a mother’s risk factors and take this into consideration during and after birth. Common risk factors for a high-risk pregnancy include obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes or gestational diabetes, and a mother who is over 35.
Maternal Birth Injuries
Mothers may also suffer birth injuries during delivery due to negligence. A mother may suffer injury for many reasons such as:
- Failing to diagnose and correctly treat gestational diabetes
- Failing to diagnose and treat preeclampsia which can be fatal
- Failing to control bleeding
- Failing to diagnose pregnancy-related infections
If not treated correctly, these injuries can be life-threatening.
Proving Medical Malpractice Based on a Birth Injury
Medical providers are held to a high standard of care in Alabama. A physician is expected to perform with reasonable competence based on their experience, training, and specialty. If a physician’s inattention, poor judgment, or negligence contributes to injuries to the mother or child, they may be held liable.
Not all birth injuries are considered medical malpractice, however. To determine if a doctor was negligent, the legal system usually compares their actions to those of a reasonably competent doctor in a similar situation and with a similar specialty.
If the doctor’s actions are considered in line with the standard of care, they may not be liable.
A hospital may also be liable for a birth injury because they can be held responsible for the actions of an employee acting within the scope of their employment. A hospital can also be negligent if they did not make reasonable inquiries into a physician’s past.
Depending on the nature and cause of your child’s injuries, medical providers who may be found liable for include the:
- Nurse anesthesiologist
To prove your case, your Alabama birth injury attorneys at Lattof & Lattof, P.C. will review your medical records and test results, interview physicians and nurses, and evaluate your child’s long-term medical care requirements. These cases almost always require expert testimony to show how a reasonable physician would have behaved in a similar situation and the extent of your child’s injuries.
Compensation for a Birth Injury Claim in Mobile, Alabama
When your child’s birth injury is the result of medical malpractice, you may recover damages from the negligent physician, hospital, or other medical providers. While the types of damages available in a birth injury claim are similar to those in other medical malpractice cases, they are different in an important way. Legal damages will be very focused on the costs of your child’s injury well into the future.
Birth injury claims may involve damages for:
- Lost earning capacity over the child’s life
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish the child will experience as they get older
- Anticipated medical expenses associated with the birth injury over the child’s life
The lifelong cost of a birth injury can be very high. For example, cerebral palsy has an average lifetime cost of $921,000 which includes $742,000 in indirect costs, $94,000 in direct medical costs, and $85,000 in non-medical costs.
Alabama does not limit the damages an injured child and their family can recover in a medical malpractice case. The value of your case and what you can recover will depend on factors like the severity and nature of the injury and the direct financial cost.
Contact a Mobile Birth Injury Lawyer For a Free Case Evaluation
Birth injuries can be traumatic, not only to children but also their families. You may face financial uncertainty, fear, and worry as your child grows. A birth injury may improve over time or it can affect your child for the rest of their life.
At Lattof & Lattof, P.C., our Mobile personal injury attorneys believe in holding negligent doctors accountable for their mistakes. Contact our Mobile, Alabama law firm today to schedule your free consultation with a compassionate medical malpractice attorney. We will help you explore your legal rights and pursue maximum compensation to safeguard your child’s future.