As personal injury attorneys at Galligan Law, we have seen many types of cases where people have suffered wrongly due to the negligence of another. We most often deal with medical malpractice cases. Medical malpractice and Iowa birth injuries cases can be hard to prove and win despite the pain and suffering caused to their victims.
In our Des Moines, Iowa practice we have helped victims of many types of medical malpractice injuries. You may even be familiar with some of these types of injuries, such as nursing home abuse, dangerous pharmaceutical drugs, and faulty medical devices. However, birth injuries are some of the most devastating injuries a family can suffer. Medical negligence during pregnancy, birth, or after the baby is born can cause expensive and extensive problems for the entire family.
If your child has suffered a birth injury, you deserve legal compensation. Call Galligan Law to set up a consultation for a birth injury case.
Keep reading to learn more about what you need to know about starting a birth injury case in Iowa.
Types of Iowa Birth Injuries
While birth is not as dangerous as it was one hundred years ago, giving birth is still an intense process that presents risks for the mother and child. The circumstances of each birth also vary greatly. Meaning, there are several types of conditions that are caused by birth injuries. Below are some of the most common and recognizable conditions caused by birth injuries.
Cerebral Palsy (CP)
Both before and after birth, an infant’s brain is still developing all of its functions. Additionally, the brain is also most vulnerable to damage. When injuries occur to the child before, during, or up to a month after their birth, the essential parts of the brain may begin to develop in irregular ways and lead to CP.
There are different types of brain damage that can lead to CP, which are classified by when the damage occurs. First, congenital CP develops when brain injury occurrs before or during birth. As for what causes congenital CP, there are many possible reasons and risk factors that are still being studied.
However, one such cause is medical negligence from the providers responsible for identifying, diagnosing, and mitigating risk factors for traumatic birth injuries. If you believe that your child’s injury occurred because of medical negligence, then give us a call. You deserve the chance to fight for legal compensation, and an experienced Iowa birth injuries attorney to fight by your side.
Brachial Plexus Injuries
By way of definition, the brachial plexus is an important group of nerves that lies between the neck and the shoulders. When an infant experiences a brachial plexus injury at birth, it compresses, stretches and can even tear those nerves. As a result, these injuries can cause the child to lose feeling, lose muscle function and even cause paralysis in their upper arm.
Depending on the severity of the injury, the nerve damage may not be permanent. Stretched nerves are the most common brachial plexus injury and generally heal in about three months. However, ruptured or torn, it may require surgical repair.
If your child has experienced a brachial plexus injury, it is possible to win compensation. However, it must be proved that the obstetrics team provided services below established standards of care. Therefore, these cases require investigation and careful evaluation. But, if won, you and your family may recover significant financial damages.
Difficult deliveries may also cause bone fractures for the baby. The most common fracture seen in infants is a broken clavicle. Broken bones in newborns can cause permanent damage and pain. In the case that a provider was responsible for the bone fracture due to medical negligence or malpractice, you can pursue legal action for compensation.
Meconium Aspiration Syndrome (MAS)
Before birth, the unborn child’s intestines are filled with a dark green, sterile, fecal matter called meconium. Occasionally, the fetus may pass this material while still in the womb. While still in the womb, the child may try to breathe reflexively and meconium may enter their lungs.
When a child is born with meconium aspiration syndrome, they develop inflammation and have difficulty breathing. Causes of MAS include overdue pregnancies and long or difficult labor. Health issues in the mother such as high blood pressure and obesity also raise the risk of MAS.
Proper medical care can decrease and mitigate these risks. However, if your child develops MAS and no precautions were taken, chances are that medical negligence occurred. If you suspect you have a case, contact an attorney at Galligan Law skilled in handling birth injury cases.
Similar to brachial plexus injuries, Erb’s palsy is a weakness in the arm due to nerve damage. Thankfully, Erb’s palsy is caused only by stretched nerves and usually does not require surgery. However, treating Erb’s palsy requires physical therapy, medication and routine checkups.
Costs add up. So, if you suspect medical malpractice occurred during your child’s birth, you should talk to an attorney about seeking financial compensation.
Wrongful Death During Birth
Tragically, even though health care and technology have significantly decreased the risk of death during birth, these deaths still occur today. There are many reasons that a baby or a mother may die during childbirth. Birth trauma from a difficult delivery or other birth complications like excessive bleeding or infections may lead to wrongful death.
Medical professionals are trained and committed to give the best care possible and preserve the health of their patients. However, some negligent mistakes may still occur. If you’re considering whether you should file a medical malpractice claim, be advised that these cases are hard to prove and hard to win. And even though compensation cannot make up for the loss of a loved one, filing a lawsuit can help change negligent practices and prevent tragedy for other families.
What Kind of Damages Can I Win from an Iowa Birth Injury Lawsuit?
No matter what type of birth injury your child experienced, there are costs associated with getting treatment. More serious injuries and the wrongful death of a loved one bring emotional pain and suffering that cannot totally be repaid financially. However, if you are seeking legal compensation and win a birth injury case you may be awarded one of three types of damages.
First, economic damages will compensate you for medical expenses. Secondly, you can win non-economic damages to make up for or lessen your emotional pain and suffering. And finally, if your case shows signs of gross negligence on the part of the defendant, you may be awarded punitive damages.
In Iowa, punitive damages are rarely awarded because they are meant to punish the defendant for egregious behavior. The amount of punitive damages is typically much higher than compensatory damages in order to prevent further cases of negligence.
Help for Birth Injuries in Des Moines, Iowa
Don’t wait to investigate a birth injury case in Iowa. Cases must be filed within at least two years from when the injury occurred due to the Iowa statute of limitation. If you would like to pursue a birth injury medical malpractice claim, contact Galligan Law. Enlist the help of a proven personal injury attorney in Des Moines.