St. Louis Birth Injury Lawyer
The birth of a child should be a joyous occasion for new parents and the rest of the family. However, this happy moment can turn tragic if you discover that your child has suffered a birth injury before, during, or after delivery. Your feelings may turn to anger when you learn that your child’s birth injury was caused by the negligence or recklessness of the medical providers who helped with the delivery.
The St. Louis birth injury attorneys of Sumner Law Group, LLC, work tirelessly to advocate for the rights of families like yours. With more than 50 years of combined experience, our legal team will help you demand the answers, compensation, and justice you deserve.
Contact our firm today for a free case evaluation with one of our knowledgeable St. Louis birth injury lawyers. When you choose our firm to help with your case, you owe no fees unless and until we win compensation for your family.
Common Causes of Birth Injuries
Birth injuries may naturally occur during a child’s delivery. However, many birth injury cases result from negligent or reckless actions by members of the delivery team. The common causes of birth injuries include:
- Failing to recognize and address fetal distress
- Incorrect use of forceps
- Application of excessive force on the baby during delivery
- Lack of oxygen
- Failure to follow up with mother and baby after delivery
- Administration of dangerous medications
- Incorrect dosage of medication
- Failing to perform a cesarean section when necessary
Common Types of Birth Injuries
Negligent or reckless actions by a delivery team during childbirth can lead to many types of birth injuries, including:
- Cerebral palsy, a group of disorders that affect a person’s balance, coordination, posture, and motor skills. While cerebral palsy always involves muscle and motor skills problems, the condition can also be accompanied by intellectual disabilities, vision or hearing problems, and skeletal issues.
- Caput succedaneum, swelling of the soft tissues of a baby’s scalp, caused as the baby travels through the birth canal, or due to improper or excessive use of vacuum extraction during delivery.
- Cephalohematoma, bleeding between the skull and its tissue covering. While the blood will be reabsorbed by the baby’s body over time, a large bleed may cause jaundice when blood cells break down.
- Bruising and lacerations.
- Facial paralysis, caused by pressure on the baby’s face during delivery, especially due to the use of forceps. The condition can be temporary if nerves are just bruised, or permanent if tearing of nerves is involved.
- Brain injuries.
- Brachial plexus injury, or brachial palsy, which involves damage to the nerves that run into the arms and hands, most commonly caused by an issue with delivering the child’s shoulders (a condition known as shoulder dystocia). This injury can cause strength, sensory, and a range of motion issues for a child. While a bruising injury will heal over time, tearing of the nerves will usually result in permanent damage and disability.
- Stillbirth and neonatal death.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Birth Injury?
Not every birth injury will give rise to a medical malpractice claim. A medical provider can only be held liable for a birth injury when the provider’s treatment fell below the accepted standard of care in your child’s delivery. If other medical professionals would have acted the same way as the provider involved in your child’s delivery, then there likely has been no medical malpractice.
However, when a medical professional fails to meet that standard of care, resulting in injury to your child, you might be eligible to pursue a medical malpractice claim. Examples of parties that may be held liable in a birth injury lawsuit include:
- The obstetrician leading the delivery
- Nurses attending the delivery or who take care of mother and baby in the labor and delivery recovery unit
- Midwives, if your child’s delivery takes place outside a hospital setting
- EMTs and ambulance services that respond to a 911 call when the mother goes into labor
- The manufacturers of equipment used during delivery, such as vacuum extractors or forceps, when that equipment has been defectively designed or manufactured
- The hospital or medical facility, if there was negligent conduct of medical professionals employed by the facility or if the facility was negligent in hiring, training, supervising, and retaining providers who rendered negligent treatment
Compensation in a Birth Injury Claim
A birth injury can leave your child with devastating, lifelong disabilities that may require extensive personal care and rehabilitation. The birth injury can also severely curtail the family’s enjoyment and quality of life.
While no amount of money can undo the harm your child has endured, the family should not be stuck with the overwhelming financial burdens. In a birth injury claim, your child and your family may be entitled to these types of damages:
- Costs of medical treatment, including hospital stays, surgeries, and other medical procedures, doctor’s appointments, scans, and tests, or prescription medication
- Rehabilitation costs, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, or behavioral therapy
- Long-term care expenses, including home health services or costs of home renovations (such as wheelchair ramps or stairlifts) to accommodate disabilities
- Other out-of-pocket expenses such as special education services
- Lost earning potential
- Lost enjoyment or quality of life due to physical disabilities or disfigurement, or due to a reduced life expectancy
- Pain and suffering, or the physical and emotional anguish and distress your child endures due to his or her injury
In rare cases where a medical provider’s negligence or recklessness “shocks the conscience” of an average reasonable person, your family may also be entitled to an award of punitive damages. Punitive damages do not compensate your child or your family for any loss. Rather, punitive damages are intended to punish negligent or reckless parties for their conduct and to deter others from committing similar conduct in the future.
Missouri Statute of Limitations on Birth Injury Claims
Missouri’s statute of limitations on medical malpractice claims generally requires a person injured by a healthcare provider’s negligence to file suit within two years of the date of injury or within two years of the date when the patient learns an injury was caused by a provider’s negligent conduct. In no event can a lawsuit be filed later than 10 years after the treatment was rendered. This 10-year limit is known as a “statute of repose.”
However, children who are harmed by medical malpractice have until their 20th birthday to file a lawsuit for their birth injury. In addition to the statute of limitations, though, if your child’s birth injury occurred at a public hospital or medical facility, you may be subject to strict notice requirements for your birth injury claim against a state or local government agency.
Our St. Louis birth injury lawyers can help you understand the time limits and deadlines that apply to your case. Contact us now to discuss your case for free.
Talk to a St. Louis Birth Injury Lawyer Now
If your child has suffered a birth injury due to the negligent or reckless care of medical professionals, you deserve financial compensation to help with your child’s recovery. A birth injury lawsuit can also provide your family with some sense of justice.
The St. Louis birth injury attorneys at Sumner Law Group, LLC, are ready to discuss your case during a free and confidential consultation. When we take your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis. That means we will not charge you anything until we win compensation for you.