Austin Birth Injury Lawyers
Providing Compassionate, Attentive & Aggressive Representation
Estimates vary, but somewhere in the area of seven or eight out of every thousand births involve injury to the child. Birth injuries are devastating to both parents and child. For the child, a significant injury like lack of oxygen (hypoxia) produces lifelong disabilities. For parents, the expected joy of a new baby rapidly changes to grief and indescribable worry.
Unfortunately, childbirth is a complex process that subjects the fetus to a combination of forces, including torque (twisting), compression, and traction. Conditions in the womb can compress the cord and deprive the baby of oxygen. The fetus may experience distress that, if not quickly identified and rapidly relieved, can cause death or enormous neurological injury. Direct physical trauma can occur to the fetus from the natural forces as well as from physical efforts to maneuver the fetus down the birth canal.
Not every birth injury is indicative of medical malpractice, but many are. If it can be shown that the doctor, hospital, or staff did not deliver a level of care consistent with that which is expected in the medical community, you may have grounds to recover money for your child in compensation for the injury.
Contact Briggle & Polan, PLLC to discuss your case with our experienced Austin birth injury lawyers. Call (512) 400-3278 for a free consultation.
Understanding Birth Injury Terms
To understand medical records and discussions about birth injuries, it helps to have a firm grasp on the various terms that the medical community uses to describe what most people think of simply as “the baby”:
- Fetus is the term used before birth, while gestating in the uterus
- Neonate is the term used for the period immediately after birth, generally for the first four weeks
- Infant is the term used from birth to roughly one year old
Conditions That Increase Risk of Shoulder Dystocia
The term “shoulder dystocia” refers to the relatively common event of the child’s shoulder getting wedged behind the pelvis of the mother during delivery. All kinds of injuries can occur to the child (and the mother), including loss of oxygen to the brain and shoulder injuries.
The risk of injury is elevated by various conditions, for example:
- A particularly large fetus
- A particularly small birth canal
- Difficult fetal position (such as feet first, called a footling breech presentation)
- Premature birth before the fetus has reached maturity
But these are all conditions that obstetricians are trained to expect, identify, and deal with. Failure to do so may constitute medical malpractice.
Types of Birth Injuries: Brain Injury & Cerebral Palsy
One of the most significant birth injuries is cerebral palsy (CP), which affects overall brain function and, specifically, movement. It’s a lifelong condition that significantly diminishes the victim’s quality of life, but doesn’t progress over time. The cause is lack of oxygen to the fetal brain, which can occur while in the womb, during delivery, or even after delivery.
Whether malpractice by the doctor or other medical professional caused a specific case of CP is often the subject of extensive legal wrangling because, while malpractice certainly can cause CP, so can several other conditions. The best evidence of malpractice is verifiable fetal distress during labor and delivery which the doctor fails to address, either by correcting the cause of distress or promptly performing a C-section delivery.
Other Common Birth Injuries
The types of birth injuries are as numerous as the things that can go wrong during childbirth.
Among the typical injuries are:
- Injuries to the brachial plexus affect the group of nerves that supply the upper limb. Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy are forms of this injury. The injury affects sensation and/or muscle strength and may be temporary or, less often, permanent. The injury occurs during difficult deliveries that stretch the child’s neck.
- Bone fractures (especially the collarbone), bruising, and lacerations, often from use of forceps during delivery but may be from other causes, like shoulder dystocia.
- Lung inflammation from breathing in the child’s own feces (meconium) during difficult labor; “meconium aspiration” needs to be addressed immediately to prevent serious injury and/or death.
Why You Need an Attorney after a Birth Injury
Experience in handling birth injury cases is invaluable in pursuing a legal settlement, as the cases are inevitably complex. Is the infant’s condition the result of a birth injury or a result of a genetic birth defect? Did the doctor and/or hospital notify you immediately about the infant’s condition? What have they said about the condition’s cause, and is that claim backed up by the extensive records that accompany all births? What do the people present during the birth say about the events? What are the costs likely to be for a serious and lifelong injury?
Distraught parents of an injured infant need reliable and experienced legal help in dealing with these situations. Parents are at a distinct disadvantage given that almost all the records that document the birth are in the hands of the medical people who may have been responsible for the injury. It’s not uncommon for some of those records, often crucial records, to be missing. An experienced birth injury lawyer knows where other evidence showing the same thing might be located or, at the very least, how to use the absence of a record that should be there to help build the case.
The medical people involved also understand a lot more about the nature of the injury than your average parent. Even if the doctor and/or hospital admits that something went wrong and has offered some kind of settlement, you need to make sure that you know as much as they do before signing anything.
Contact Our Experienced Team Today
The experienced Austin birth injury lawyers at Briggle & Polan, PLLC understand the immense impact a birth injury can have—not only on the child but on the parents and other family members. We can work to take the legal problems off your plate while keeping you fully informed about the progress of your case. Our legal team has handled nearly 200 jury trials and we have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. When you trust your case to our team, there are no fees unless we secure compensation on your behalf. Give us a call, tell us what happened, and we’ll tell you what should happen next. It could make an enormous difference in the quality of your child’s future.
Reach us online or by phone at (512) 400-3278. Se habla español.
If you are looking for excellent and honest attorneys, call them.- Paige
It feels good to have a team on your side that knows what they’re doing and is willing to help you against big faceless insurance companies that don’t want to pay up what they owe.- Matt
I very much appreciate all their hard work and will be happy to refer to them should the need come up for friends.- Sandi
They got me the help I? needed within a few days of hiring them.- Karina
These guys really helped me when no one else would.- Lauren
$1.8 Million Delivery Truck Accident
Our client was t-boned by a large package delivery truck that was traveling in excess of 70 mph. He sustained a severe neck injury that required spinal surgery. *Net to client was $759,182.96.
$350 Thousand Company Truck Collision
Our client was struck by a company truck that ran a red light at a busy intersection. *Net to client was $166,651.36.
$400 Thousand Company Truck Wreck
Our client was traveling down a residential street when a company truck backed out of a driveway into the side of her vehicle. *Net to client was $110,000.
$100 Thousand DWI Wreck Resolved
Our client was struck by a drunk driver in Round Rock, Texas. *Net to client was $51,113.04.
$115 Thousand Distracted Driver Caused Collision
A distracted driver failed to yield the right of way to our client, causing a collision. *Net to client was $25,035.44.
$132 Thousand Distracted Driver
Our client was the passenger in a vehicle struck by a distracted motorist who failed to yield the right of way at an intersection. *Net to client was $33,250.59.
$112.5 Thousand Truck Crash Into Building
A company driver lost control of his vehicle and smashed into a convenience store, injuring our client in the process. *Net to client was $30,259.56.
$82 Thousand T-Bone Collision
Our client had to be airlifted to the hospital as a result of a t-bone collision. *Net proceeds to client were $23,914.57.
$85 Thousand T-Bone Collision Resolved
Our client was t-boned by a distracted driver who ran a stop sign and required surgery for injuries sustained. *Attorney fees and expenses totaled $30,267.51.
$225 Thousand Collision With A Distracted Driver Operating An 18-Wheeler
Our client severely injured her back in the wreck and the driver did not have the required commercial driver's license needed to operate the truck. *Net proceeds to client were $89,737.54.