The birth of a child should be a joyous occasion. Sadly, hundreds of thousands of births result in injury to mother and baby every year. If your child has experienced a birth injury in St. Louis, MO, the responsible party should be held accountable.
Bradley Law has represented injured children and their families in medical malpractice cases for more than 20 years. Contact our law firm or call us at (314) 400-0000 for a free consultation with an experienced St. Louis birth injury lawyer ready to help you.
How Bradley Law Can Help You After a Birth Injury in St. Louis, MO
A birth injury is one of the most devastating types of medical malpractice. In an instant, your otherwise healthy child can be left with life-long impairments, chronic pain, or reduced function. However, medical malpractice cases are one of the hardest types of personal injury cases to prove. You deserve an experienced St. Louis personal injury lawyer ready to take on your case and fight for the compensation your child will need.
E. Ryan Bradley founded Bradley Law to give injured patients and their families the robust legal representation they deserve. Attorney Bradley began his legal career working for insurance companies and uses this insight to level the playing field for medical malpractice victims. Attorney Bradley has earned the highest Martindale-Hubbell AV rating possible.
Our law office in St. Louis, Missouri, is prepared to fight for you; we will:
- Investigate your child’s injury to determine how and why it happened
- Give your case the personal attention and resources it deserves
- Handle all paperwork, court filings, and negotiations on your behalf
- Work with top experts in many fields to establish causation and your damages
- Negotiate on your behalf to seek a fair settlement offer that fully compensates for your current and future losses
- Take your case before a jury if we can’t reach a settlement agreement
Contact our law office today to discuss your case with a compassionate St. Louis birth injury attorney.
Overview of Birth Injuries
A birth injury or birth trauma is an injury a child suffers during labor and delivery. It’s very common for newborns to suffer minor birth trauma, usually as a result of pressure during the birth while moving through the birth canal. Birth trauma can include nerve damage, broken bones, and oxygen deprivation, among other things. These injuries may be unavoidable, but they can also be the result of medical negligence.
The Different Types of Birth Injuries
Birth injuries can range from minor to severe. The following are the most common types of birth injuries in St. Louis.
Cerebral Palsy (CP)
Cerebral palsy affects about 3 out of every 1,000 live births. About 31% of children with CP have limited or no ability to walk, but 58% can walk independently. Cerebral palsy happens when something affects brain development or brain damage during labor and delivery. Failing to get enough blood or oxygen before or during birth is a common cause of CP.
Trauma during childbirth can cause brain damage that results in a birth injury.
There are four main types of brain damage that may occur:
- Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). This condition is caused by reduced oxygen and blood to the brain. It can cause cerebral palsy and periventricular leukomalacia. It’s the most common form of brain damage during delivery.
- Intracranial hemorrhage. This condition results from bleeding in the brain due to blocked blood vessels. The blocked vessels can cause a fetal stroke. Maternal infection, complications with the placenta, and high blood pressure can all cause intracranial hemorrhage.
- Periventricular leukomalacia (PVL). This condition happens when the brain’s white matter dies, affecting motor function and the ability to learn.
- Cerebral dysgenesis. This condition refers to abnormal fetal brain development. It usually happens during pregnancy or due to injury to the head during delivery.
The severity of these brain injuries may be moderate to severe.
Brachial Plexus Injury
This is a common injury to the nerves controlling the hand and arm which causes loss of motion or weakness. It’s also known as Erb’s palsy. It’s usually the result of shoulder dystocia when the baby’s shoulders and head can’t pass through the birth canal during a vaginal delivery.
Other Nerve Injuries
Nerves are frequently damaged during delivery when they are overstretched or even torn. Facial nerves can be compressed due to pressure passing through the birth canal or the use of forceps. The laryngeal nerve can also be damaged which can paralyze the vocal cords and affect the baby’s ability to breathe. This usually happens when the head is turned to the side during birth.
What Causes Birth Injuries in St. Louis, Missouri?
Birth injuries may be due to certain risk factors that make birth difficult. Common factors that increase the risk of birth trauma include:
- Abnormal presentation such as a breech delivery
- A large baby
- Cephalopelvic disproportion or a pelvis that is not a sufficient shape and size for vaginal birth
- Prolonged labor
- Dystocia or difficult labor
- Maternal obesity
- The use of forceps or vacuum during delivery
Sometimes birth injuries are unavoidable. However, they may also happen when medical professionals do not provide the standard of care. An error in treatment during pregnancy, labor, or delivery can lead to serious injury to the mother or child. Obstetricians, anesthesiologists, nurses, technicians, and primary care physicians may all make mistakes that cause injury.
Common ways in which a medical provider may cause a birth injury include:
- Improper use of forceps or vacuum devices
- Failure to act quickly to signs of distress
- Medical errors
- Failure to monitor the mother and fetus
- Failure to diagnose or treat a high-risk pregnancy and underlying conditions like high blood pressure or gestational diabetes
Medical malpractice cases are complex and require extensive documentation to prove causation. St. Louis birth injury lawyers may present medical records, expert testimony, and records of interactions with medical providers.
What is My Birth Injury Case Worth?
Estimating how much your case may be worth requires an in-depth analysis of the individual factors in your case.
All birth injury cases are unique; the value will depend on:
- How and why the injury occurred
- Available insurance coverage
- Type and severity of birth trauma
- Medical prognosis and whether it will cause long-term disability
- How your child’s injury will affect their future
- The strength of your negligence claim
The best way to estimate the value of your birth injury case is through a free consultation with an experienced birth injury lawyer. Contact Bradley Law today for a free consultation to discuss how we can help you.
What Compensation is Available After a Birth Injury in St. Louis, MO?
A birth injury can result in significant physical, emotional, and psychological harm that may affect your child for the rest of their life. The financial cost alone can be significant. The average lifetime cost of cerebral palsy is $921,000.
A successful medical malpractice case allows you to seek compensatory damages in the form of economic and non-economic damages. These damages compensate for the financial damages you suffered as well as the personal losses without intrinsic financial value.
You may seek the following damages:
- Current medical bills
- Future medical expenses related to the injury
- Reduced or lost earning capacity over the course of your child’s life
- Other financial costs such as home modifications, physical therapy, counseling, medical devices, home health care, and transportation to/from medical appointments
- Personal losses such as disfigurement, pain and suffering, anguish, distress, and reduced quality of life
A 2015 Missouri law caps the damages you can recover in a medical malpractice case. The non-economic damages you may recover is capped at $400,000 or $700,000 for a catastrophic injury. Note that these limits increase 1.7% per year. For 2021, the cap is $442,574 for non-catastrophic injuries and $774,504 for catastrophic injuries or wrongful death.
How Long Do I Have to File a Birth Injury Lawsuit in Missouri?
The Missouri statute of limitations gives you just two years to file a medical malpractice suit. This period begins on the date of your child’s injury, but there are exceptions. A child who was the victim of a birth injury can file a personal injury lawsuit on their own behalf once they are an adult. They have this right up to the age of 20.
There is an additional hurdle to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Missouri. When a claim is brought against a medical provider, you must file an affidavit stating that you have received the written opinion of a qualified medical provider. This written opinion must state that the defendant failed to provide the care a “reasonably prudent and careful health care provider” would have given, and this caused or contributed to the injury. The affidavit must be filed within 90 days of your lawsuit.
Contact a St. Louis Birth Injury Lawyer for a Free Consultation
A serious birth injury can affect your child for the rest of their life. The negligent party should be held accountable. Bradley Law can help your family recover compensation to give your child the best quality of life, education, and medical care possible.
Contact our law office for a free initial consultation with a St. Louis birth injury lawyer. We will help you explore your legal options with no out-of-pocket legal expenses.