Florida Birth Injury Lawyer

Our birth injury attorneys have secured millions in birth injury settlements for our clients. Call us today to receive your free case evaluation.

Written and edited by our team of expert legal content writers and reviewed and approved by Daniel Harwin

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A birth injury is defined as any injury to a child or fetus immediately before, during, or just after the birthing process. Serious birth injuries often come with effects that last a lifetime and can even be fatal. There are many causes and types of injury, but many serious injuries directly result from negligence on behalf of doctors, hospitals, or other care providers. Through commonly used fetal heart monitoring devices, doctors, nurses, and midwives can and should be able to recognize when a baby is in distress and take immediate action. 

If you or your child was injured during or immediately after labor and delivery, you may be eligible for compensation from the responsible medical providers. When you work with a Florida birth injury attorney from Freedland Harwin Valori Gander, PL, we can help you navigate your birth injury case. Our legal team has more than 20 years of experience fighting to protect the rights of victims of medical malpractice in Florida. 

We are dedicated to going up against large health care companies, major insurance providers, multiple defendants, and prominent doctors to get you the compensation you deserve after a birth injury impacts your family. Call or contact our birth injury lawyers in Florida today to learn more about your legal options and how we can help.

Common Types of Birth Injury

The two most common types of birth injury are hypoxic (lack of oxygen) brain injury and brachial plexus injury.

Hypoxic brain injury is also known as Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE). The stresses of labor can often result in a baby not getting enough oxygen during labor and delivery. This can happen when labor is too long, contractions are too strong, contractions are too frequent, or when there is inadequate resting time between contractions. Using Pitocin or Oxytocin to induce or augment labor can cause this situation or worsen it. 

The results can be devastating if doctors and nurses don’t take immediate action when the baby is distressed. If the baby’s brain does not get enough oxygen, permanent brain damage can result. Babies with HIE are often transferred for cooling therapy if available in the area. Still, babies with HIE often have severe deficits, including cerebral palsy. Children with cerebral palsy may need a lifetime of full-time care.

Brachial plexus injury is another common birth injury. It results when a baby’s shoulder gets stuck in the birth canal, a condition known as shoulder dystocia. If properly handled, the doctor can usually deliver the baby without injury. If the doctor, nurse, or midwife applies too much force during the delivery, it can cause the nerves to stretch and be permanently injured. A medical mistake can lead to a brachial plexus injury resulting in numbness, weakness, or partial or total loss of use of the arm. Brachial plexus injury is also known as Erb’s Palsy.

Birth injuries can be caused by a medical provider’s action or inaction during the birth. A failure to recognize the signs of fetal distress, or a delay in taking the appropriate actions, is one of the most common ways birth injuries occur. Also, failing to recognize the signs of complications during the pregnancy that warrant delivering the baby via C-section often causes needless brain damage to babies before they are born.
Pediatric malpractice can further contribute to birth injuries, causing long-term health effects for the child.

Other Sources and Causes of Birth Injury

Doctors or nurses may also cause injuries due to the improper use of delivery tools during labor. Using forceps too aggressively or improperly using extraction devices can injure vulnerable babies during delivery. In addition, using an obstetrical device such as a vacuum too many times can cause a traumatic injury to the baby’s head. In some tragic cases, birth injuries might be linked to stillbirth or miscarriage, adding to the emotional and legal complexities families face during childbirth.

Related: Georgia couple seeking justice after baby’s death due to hospital’s negligence

Signs and Symptoms Your Child is Dealing With Birth Injuries

Some signs that your baby may have suffered an injury during birth may not be immediately obvious.

Delayed development, cerebral palsy, shoulder dystocia, a lack of muscle coordination, muscle spasms, and diminished depth perception may take time to become apparent, but such injuries may be the result of birth trauma. These injuries are often severe and may cause your child difficulties throughout life.

Cerebral palsy support aid assisting a child holding a pen. The boy has cerebral palsy and is sitting in a wheelchair

Florida’s Laws Surrounding Birth Injury Lawsuits

Florida law provides that an action for medical malpractice resulting in birth injury must be brought within 2 years from the time the incident occurred or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence.

In no case may an action be brought more than the later of 4 years or the child’s eighth birthday, even if the incident was not reasonably discovered before that time.

What to Know About NICA and Birth Injury Compensation in Florida

Florida’s NICA (The Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association) was created by a law in Florida that could potentially prevent you from suing doctors, hospitals, and nurses. In our experience, the amounts paid by the NICA program are a small fraction of what you might recover from a successful birth injury lawsuit and also a fraction of the real cost of properly caring for a disabled child. Even if you signed a NICA waiver, it may be possible for you to bring a lawsuit. We have experience bypassing NICA if the doctor or hospital did not give the appropriate notice under Florida law. Our experienced lawyers at Freedland Harwin Valori Gander, PL can advise you competently on that issue and help you protect your child’s rights.

The attorneys of Freedland Harwin Valori Gander, PL have the knowledge to help you determine whether you have a case and navigate the NICA process. In almost every case, the best advice is to seek professional consultation on a birth injury claim as soon as you suspect a birth injury.

Compensation and Damages Available in Florida Birth Injury Lawsuits

In the aftermath of a birth injury, families often face emotional, physical, and financial challenges that can be overwhelming. Pursuing a birth injury lawsuit in Florida allows families to seek compensation for the damages incurred due to medical negligence during the birthing process. Understanding the types of compensation and damages available is crucial for families navigating this complex legal journey.

Medical Expenses 

Birth injuries can lead to extensive medical treatments, surgeries, therapy sessions, and ongoing medical care. Compensation sought in a birth injury lawsuit can cover past, current, and future medical expenses related to the injury, ensuring that the child receives the necessary medical attention and treatments required for their well-being.

Pain and Suffering

The pain and suffering endured by the child and their family due to the birth injury is a significant consideration in these lawsuits. This category of damages seeks to compensate for physical pain, emotional distress, and the overall reduction in the quality of life experienced due to the injury.

Loss of Future Earnings

If a birth injury results in long-term or permanent disabilities, the child may face limitations that impact their ability to pursue certain career paths. Compensation may be sought for the potential loss of future earnings and career opportunities that the child would have otherwise enjoyed if not for the injury.

Emotional Distress

Birth injuries can lead to emotional trauma for both the child and their family. Emotional distress damages aim to compensate for the injury’s psychological toll,  including anxiety, depression, and the strain placed on familial relationships.

Additional Expenses

Families often incur various additional expenses due to a birth injury, such as modifications to their home to accommodate the child’s needs, specialized equipment, and ongoing caregiving expenses. Compensation can help offset these costs and ensure the child receives the necessary support and accommodations.

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Process of Filing a Birth Injury Lawsuit in Florida

Step 1: Contact an Experienced Birth Injury Attorney

Graphic cartoon of a mother of a child with birth injuries calling an attorney

When considering filing a birth injury lawsuit in Florida, the first crucial step is to contact an experienced birth injury attorney. These legal professionals specialize in navigating the complexities of medical malpractice cases, ensuring your rights are protected. During your initial consultation, the attorney will listen to your case details, evaluate the circumstances, and determine the viability of your claim. This initial discussion sets the foundation for the legal process ahead.

graphic cartoon of two medical records folder for a birth injury client

Once you’ve engaged a birth injury attorney, the legal team will initiate a comprehensive review of the medical background and records pertaining to the birth. This step involves obtaining all relevant medical records, including prenatal care, labor and delivery notes, and postnatal assessments. These records are meticulously analyzed to identify any potential negligence, deviations from standard medical practices, or failures to provide adequate care.

graphic cartoon of a doctor sitting at his desk, hired as an expert witness to review medical records

Expert witnesses are pivotal in strengthening a birth injury lawsuit in Florida. These individuals are typically medical professionals with specialized knowledge in obstetrics, neonatology, or relevant medical fields. Expert witnesses provide unbiased assessments of the care provided during the birth process, offering insights into whether the health care providers adhered to acceptable medical standards. Their testimony helps establish a link between medical negligence and the resulting birth injury, bolstering the credibility of your case.

Graphic of two professionals shaking hands while four others stand in the background

After thorough review and preparation, your birth injury attorney will guide you through the decision of either pursuing a trial or negotiating a settlement offer. If a settlement offer is presented by the defendant—often health care providers or their insurers—the attorney will assess whether the offer adequately compensates you for the damages incurred. If the defendant refuses to offer a fair settlement, your attorney will be prepared to proceed to trial. During the trial, evidence will be presented, including expert witnesses’ testimony, medical records, and other pertinent documentation. Ultimately, the court will render a decision based on the presented evidence.

Filing a birth injury lawsuit in Florida is a multifaceted process that demands the expertise of skilled legal professionals. Through meticulous medical record analysis, expert witness engagement, and sound legal strategy, a birth injury attorney will advocate for your rights and pursue the compensation you deserve for the harm caused by medical negligence. Whether reaching a settlement or going to trial, your birth injury attorney’s dedication ensures your voice is heard and your child’s future well-being is protected.

Resources for Families Dealing with Birth Injuries in Florida

Among numerous online support forums and Facebook (Meta) groups, there are organizations that seek to assist families who are dealing with birth injuries. Visit the sites below for more information. 

  • March of Dimes – The March of Dimes website offers support, information, and resources for mothers and families, particularly focusing on issues like premature birth, birth defects, and infant mortality. Their platform provides locational-based resources to assist individuals in finding the help they need in their area.
  • Postpartum Support International (PSI) Postpartum Support International (PSI) offers a range of assistance resources for postpartum depression and anxiety, special situations, birth defects and loss/grief. The resources include online support meetings, helplines, access to experts, and resources for specific communities.
  • Birth Defect Research for Children – Birthdefects.org is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention of birth defects and disorders of developmental and genetic origin. It provides support resources, education, and research information to families affected by these conditions and professionals in the field.

Contact FHVG Legal for a Free Birth Injury Case Evaluation

Our experienced lawyers at Freedland Harwin Valori Gander, PL, can explain your legal options, provide skilled representation, and help you protect your child’s rights. Our Florida birth injury lawyers have the knowledge to help you determine whether you have a case and navigate the NICA process. In almost every case, the best advice is to seek a professional consult on a birth injury claim as soon as you suspect a birth injury. Contact Freedland Harwin Valori Gander today. All of our consultations are free, anytime – anywhere.