Giving birth to a child should be a beautiful event. Bringing a new member into the family is a cause for celebration for loved ones and close friends. But what if there are complications during childbirth, and this joyful occasion brings trauma, stress, and questions?
Unfortunately, some children are born with birth defects. This sad reality stings exponentially more when the neglect of your obstetrician or other birthing professionals causes them. For those who feel that their child’s birth defects were caused by the negligence of those trusted to bring your child into the world, contact a Florida birth injury lawyer. They can explain to you what your legal rights are and what actions you should take.
Can I File a Birth Defects Lawsuit in Florida?
If your child suffered injuries of any kind that resulted from a medical error or medical negligence you can file a lawsuit. The Florida Malpractice Act states that to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, you must prove that a medical professional caused injury due to negligence. This could be a medical error or using poor judgment.
You’ll first need to hire a lawyer to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. Florida’s Malpractice Act is complex, and malpractice cases should only be taken on by a firm with the know-how and experience to fight for your right to compensation. Here’s what you can expect:
- Investigation phase – Your lawyer will gather all of the evidence which will be used to prove that medical negligence occurred.
- Notification of Intention – Once your lawyer has all of the necessary evidence, they will notify the defendant of your intention to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
- Discovery phase – Both sets of legal teams (plaintiff’s and defendant’s) will meet to exchange evidence. The defendant may offer a settlement amount during this phase. If a suitable agreement cannot be reached, the process moves forward.
- Trial – Medical malpractice trials are heard by either a judge or by a judge and a jury. Compensation will be rewarded, or the case will be dismissed.
Most medical malpractice cases in Florida are resolved during the discovery phase. If initial discussions don’t result in a mutual agreement, the lawyers could decide to use other dispute resolution methods. This could include mediation or arbitration. Reaching an agreement before going to trial is in everyone’s best interest.
What Are the Differences Between a Birth Defect and One Caused By a Doctor?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that approximately 120,000 babies a year are born in the United States with a birth defect. Some of them are preventable and could have been caused by the mother’s unhealthy lifestyle during her pregnancy. Improper diet, smoking, alcohol consumption, and illicit drug use are some common causes of birth defects. Other times birth defects are a result of genetics.
However, there could be instances where the mother’s doctor was negligent during her pregnancy, resulting in the child being born with a birth defect. An example of this could be if an error were made concerning her medication during the pregnancy. Some medications that are known to cause birth defects are:
- Lithium – A mood-stabilizing medication used to treat certain mental health conditions.
- Chloramphenicol – An antibiotic that can cause Gray Baby Syndrome.
- Trimethadione – This anticonvulsant can cause birth defects such as cleft palate and heart problems
- Streptomycin – An antibiotic that can cause ear damage or deafness.
- Bulsulfan – This chemotherapy medication is known to cause abnormal skull and lower jaw development in unborn children.
It’s not uncommon for distraught parents to confuse a birth defect with a birth injury. Although both are tragic events, legally, they have different definitions. Birth defects could result from a healthcare professional’s negligence, but more than likely, your child has been the victim of a birth injury.
Final Thoughts on Birth Defects and Medical Negligence
Regardless of whether your child’s medical team caused birth defects or birth injuries, it’s something that no parent should have to face. Medical mishaps and errors occur, and you should be compensated when they do.
Working with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer for your personal injury case is the best way to navigate through Florida’s complex malpractice law. Although they can’t correct your child’s medical issues, they can fight for you to hold neglectful doctors responsible.
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