Current Date:April 11, 2024

Birth Injury Lawyer in Philadelphia: Revealing Key Evidence in Lawsuits

When your child has been injured before, during, or immediately following their birth, their injuries could be serious and, in many cases, permanent. In other words, your child may suffer from those injuries for the rest of their life. A birth injury lawyer in Philadelphia could help you sue the defendants.

Suing medical providers in a birth injury case is not simple or straightforward or intuitive. It involves complex systems that only an experienced birth injury attorney in Philadelphia can handle. The complicated legal system contains various statutes, discovery schedules, motions practice, brief-writing, and depositions. Your birth injury lawyer can also help navigate other complex systems that may arise. Whether it’s a large hospital system that refuses to give you medical records, for example, or the need to find a lifecare planner to help you figure out the costs of caring for your child over their lifetime, you need the right attorney to help navigate these complicated systems.

In addition to the navigation of complex systems, your experienced birth trauma lawyer will need to uncover the key evidence that will determine whether you win your birth injury lawsuit. And once they reveal the key evidence, they need to examine it. They need to understand exactly what happened before, during, and after the childbirth event that led to your child’s injuries. They employ the help of birth injury medical experts who can analyze oxygenation levels, bloodwork, head size and shape, and other details that are essential building blocks to your birth injury claim.

Read on to learn more about the various types of evidence that are essential for your successful birth injury case.

MEDICAL RECORDS

The medical records in a birth injury lawsuit are voluminous and often very hard to understand. Medical records in birth injury cases include: fetal heart monitoring strips, medical records for both the mother and the baby, hospital intake forms, lab slips, etc. – all of these are essential pieces of evidence. This evidence is essential because it supports the argument that the healthcare professionals’ actions or omissions caused your baby’s injuries. This evidence will also help establish the extent of your baby’s injuries, detailing every related issue whether it’s physical or emotional.

While your attorney is collecting the above essential medical evidence, it is necessary that you document your conversations with healthcare providers. With time, your memory may fade a little so try to write down with healthcare and rehabilitation providers soon after they occur.

CARE AND INJURY RECORDS

An error that people often make is failing to get follow-up care for their injured baby. Whether it’s out of a distrust of doctors, inconvenience, or just feeling overwhelmed at the unexpected injury, some people just discontinue seeking medical treatment for their baby after the baby’s medical injury. This is a huge mistake. You may seek a second opinion, you may change doctors, but you should not skip your baby’s critical follow-up care. Further, make sure to document and keep track of all out-of-pocket medical expenses. Extensive follow-up care helps establish your baby’s future care needs for the birth injury case and, hopefully and most importantly, it also helps your baby recover.

Your birth injury lawyer in Philadelphia can help by connecting you with the proper healthcare professionals who can provide thorough medical evaluations, early intervention, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other critical care. These care records help build the damages portion of your case.

The damages portion of your case is where you describe to the court how your child’s injuries at birth affect them today. Birth injuries vary. Here is a small sampling

BONE FRACTURES

Several circumstances could lead a baby to suffer from fractured bones during birth. If the baby is in breech position, the doctor may use unreasonable force to try to extract the baby from the birth canal. Sometimes the doctor will use forceps or other instruments that can break the baby’s bones. Finally, the improper administration of Pitocin (a medicine used to induce labor) could also cause bone fractures because it can overstimulate the uterus and cause contractions that are too long or too powerful. These contractions can harm the baby and cause bone fractures as the baby travels through the birth canal.

Common parts of the baby’s body that experience fractures include clavicle (collarbone), femur (thigh bone), humerus (long bone in the arm), neck, spine, and skull.

Sometimes a baby’s broken bones can heal easily with no negative long-term consequences. But some bone fractures, particularly those to the neck and back, can have lifelong complications. These kinds of serious injuries could lead to permanent disfigurement, lifelong pain, and, in some cases, death.

BRACHIAL PLEXUS/ERB’S PALSY

The brachial plexus is a series of nerves near the neck that provide movement and feeling to the shoulder, arm, and hand. Erb’s palsy describes the weakness and loss of motion in these body parts, which is caused by injury to the brachial plexus. When this group of nerves gets injured, the baby’s shoulder, arm, and hand can become completely paralyzed. Erb’s palsy is the most common type of brachial plexus palsy. This physical injury can result from difficult deliveries, such as with a large baby or where the baby was in breech position. The injury can also result from a prolonged or delayed labor — or when the person assisting the delivery used excessive force in pulling the baby from the birth canal.

In many cases, the group of nerves never heals and thus the child will have reduced or non-existent control and movement of the arm, shoulder, and hand. This injury could lead to decreased strength and stamina, abnormal movement, poor functioning of the joints, muscular atrophy, impaired growth of bones, osteoarthritis, limb length discrepancy, and impaired balance and coordination

-OXYGEN DEPRIVATION/CEREBRAL PALSY

The brain is one of the most delicate organs during childbirth. It is also the most important organ in a person’s body because it controls the bodily functions as well as the cognitive processing. Thus, birth injuries resulting in brain damage can be the most devastating of any birth injury. There are a variety of brain injuries including hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE or, also, perinatal asphyxia), brain bleeds (hemorrhages or hematomas), periventricular leukomalacia (PVL), kernicterus, cerebral palsy, caput succedaneum, and hydrocephalus. Many of these are caused by hypoxia or a lack of oxygen in the blood.

That brain damage from lack of oxygen can result in cerebral palsy, which impedes a person’s ability to perform cognitively, control bodily functions, control voluntary movements, maintain balance and to move. The nomenclature derives from cerebral (having to do with the brain) and palsy (weakness or problems with muscles). Some of the lasting effects of cerebral palsy include: impaired motor function (fine and gross motor skills), misaligned posture, muscle spasticity and rigidity, imbalance, poor coordination, impaired speech, difficulty communicating, cognitive impairments, chronic pain, psychosocial challenges, and emotional challenges including anxiety and depression.

The above injuries can be documented in both records from the hospital as well as care records. These are examples of key evidence your birth injury lawyer in Philadelphia will need to review and understand.

NON-MEDICAL EVIDENCE

Not every piece of key evidence will come from the hospital where your child was born or from post-birth care providers. For instance, in order to establish the huge economic impact of your child’s injuries, you should produce bills or payment receipts from costs you’ve incurred due to the birth injury. These might be for, e.g., physical therapy bills, school aides, and assistive medical devices, such as crutches, wheelchairs, and hearing aids. You also might have lost time from work, due to your need to care for your child – you could be compensated for any lost wages or other economic consequences of taking time off from work due to your child’s injuries.

In order to maximize compensation, it will be important to establish that the effects of the birth injury are continually burdensome. Make sure to take photos and videos throughout your baby’s infancy and childhood to give a visual picture of the impairments your baby is suffering, as well as to document your child’s journey through rehabilitation. Journaling is another way to keep track of your baby’s injuries and progress.

Gathering evidence properly is crucial to the successful outcome of your birth injury case. To discuss the possibility of a birth injury lawsuit, contact the lawyers at VSCP Law.

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