The birth of a child is a joyous experience that the parents and family members look forward to with great anticipation. Every parent hopes that the doctor will deliver a happy, healthy baby. Doctors, nurses, and hospitals must adhere to a high standard of care to protect babies before, during, and after birth.
The joy of welcoming a new baby can turn into shock and dismay if the infant is injured during the delivery process or just after birth. Sometimes these unfortunate birth injuries are unavoidable. Other times they are caused by an error or oversight on the part of the doctor, nurses, or other medical professionals attending the birth.
If your child suffered severe injuries during birth, it is natural to be stressed and concerned about how the injury might impact their future. You also might be concerned about how you’ll pay for the treatment and care that they might need moving forward.
If your child was born with cerebral palsy or another preventable birth injury, turn to an experienced injury lawyer at Valent Legal in Halifax. We understand that no amount of money can undo the harm your child suffered during birth, but it is our goal to help you get the compensation that will help you provide them with the best care possible.
Contact us today to discuss the specifics of your case with one of our knowledgeable and compassionate Halifax birth injury lawyers. We are easy to talk to and we are ready to offer your family the care you deserve.
How Our Halifax Birth Injury Lawyers Can Help You
Valent Legal takes pride in providing exceptional client service, being easy to deal with, and delivering quality legal representation every step of the way. We accomplish these goals by:
- Being easy to get in touch with. When you call our Halifax office, a medical malpractice lawyer will likely be able to speak with you right away. In the rare instances where this is not possible, you will get a call back from us within a day.
- Offering a free case evaluation. We are happy to evaluate your case, over the phone or in person, during a free, no-obligation consultation.
- Building the most favorable case possible. If you choose to retain our services, we will build a comprehensive case on your behalf by gathering all available evidence and articulating your claim based on the letter of the law.
- Interacting with insurance providers so you don’t have to. Dealing with big insurance companies can be stressful, and negotiating with them can be intimidating. We handle this for our clients, drawing on years of experience tackling medical malpractice cases to negotiate from a place of strength. You can rest easy and focus on your family knowing a professional is on the case.
- Securing the best possible outcome. Whether your claim can be settled out of court or not, we will continue advocating on your behalf until the best possible resolution to your claim has been obtained.
We Pursue Maximum Compensation for Families
Money can rarely compensate a family fully for the losses that they’ve suffered from a birth injury. In a successful medical malpractice case, however, the financial aim is to return the victim to the position they would have been in had the injury not occurred. Because the court has a great deal of discretion when determining how much compensation should be awarded, we advocate for every dollar our clients are legally entitled to, always pursuing the maximum compensation possible.
In medical malpractice cases, the court has the authority to award cost of care damages, lost income damages, and pain and suffering damages, as appropriate. Essentially, all losses that you suffered as a result of the malpractice can be claimed in a resulting lawsuit.
There are some caps, or limits, on how much compensation can be awarded in a medical malpractice case in Nova Scotia. For example, the maximum amount of compensation for general non-pecuniary losses for which a plaintiff can sue is generally $360,000. But keep in mind that “non-pecuniary losses” are only those losses that don’t come with a clear and specific dollar amount – for example, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, etc. Pecuniary losses, such as medical bills, lifelong loss of earnings, lifetime cost of care for the injured child, are not capped. These damages and awards typically amount in the millions if the birth injury is severe.
Common Types of Birth Injuries in Nova Scotia
Birth injuries come in a variety of different forms. Some examples include:
- Cerebral palsy – If a doctor fails to detect fetal distress, uses birth-assisting tools improperly, has problems with the umbilical cord, or delays in performing a necessary C-section, the baby could suffer cerebral palsy, a debilitating disability distinguished by a lack of muscle control.
- Erb’s palsy – This condition often occurs when a baby is forcefully pulled by the arms, shoulders, or feet (in the case of a breech birth), and the nerves in the arm become damaged as a result. Erb’s palsy symptoms can range from mild to severe, and the child may experience difficulty moving their upper arm, or the entire trunk in some cases.
- Klumpke’s palsy – If the baby is forced into an unnatural position in the birth canal, the two lowest of the brachial plexus nerves could become damaged, resulting in paralysis of the hand and forearm.
- Caput succedaneum – The swelling of a newborn’s scalp, also called caput succedaneum, is a very dangerous condition that can be caused by undue uterine or vaginal pressure. This type of birth injury is more likely to occur during difficult or long deliveries, or when a vacuum extraction is performed.
- Cephalohematoma – An accumulation of blood under the scalp, cephalohematoma can occur in newborns if, during the birthing process, the baby experiences trauma that causes small blood vessels in their head to be broken. Cephalohematoma is more likely to occur if birth-assisting tools are used during the delivery process.
- Fractures – Broken bones can occur during birth for a variety of reasons. Fractures are most commonly caused by shoulder dystocia, improper use of forceps (or other instruments), or excessive pulling or twisting of the baby.
- Bruising and lacerations – Bruises and cuts can happen during the birthing process, which is a potentially traumatic experience for an infant’s fragile body. The use of forceps or a vacuum can leave bruises (also called contusions) and lacerations, as can C-section deliveries that are poorly performed.
- Facial paralysis – This condition happens when an infant experiences facial nerve damage during labor or birth due to pressure on their face. If the facial nerve is merely bruised, facial paralysis may be temporary. If the nerve is torn, however, surgery may be needed to prevent permanent paralysis.
- Brain injuries – Damage to the brain suffered at birth can be extremely serious, is often permanent, and can manifest in both physical and mental symptoms. Brain injuries can be caused by a variety of different events, but are most frequently result from anoxia (complete lack of oxygen), hypoxia (low oxygen), or head trauma.
- Brachial plexus injuries – These injuries occur when the network of nerves around a baby’s neck are damaged during delivery by being compressed, stretched, or separated from the spinal cord. This damage can cause loss of sensation and movement in the arms, sometimes permanently.
- Stillbirth and neonatal death – Death soon before or soon after birth occurs when an injury sustained during the birthing process is so severe that the baby passes away, either prior to being born (stillbirth), or shortly after birth (neonatal death).
- Maternal injuries – Instances when a mother suffers injuries during labor and delivery come in many different forms. Some of the most common are vaginal tearing, postpartum hemorrhages, ruptured uterus, and prolapsed uterus.
Time Limit for Filing Birth Injury Claims in Nova Scotia
Did you know that you have a limited amount of time to file a medical malpractice claim? How much time you have is province-specific. In Nova Scotia, you generally have two years from the date of injury to file your claim. The Limitation of Actions Act sets this time limit and also provides some narrow exceptions to it.
One important exception to the two-year time limit applies if the injury or medical malpractice was not (and should not reasonably have been) discovered straight away. When this occurs, the injured patient has two years from the date on which they first knew or ought to have known of their injuries, or the date on which their doctor’s service to them was terminated, to file their claim.
For birth injuries to a newborn child, another important exception applies when the injured person is under 19 years of age at the time of the injury. This exception stops the two-year clock from ticking until the injured party turns 19. If an infant suffers a birth injury, they may be permitted to file a medical malpractice claim up until their 21st birthday. After that point, the claim will most likely be barred from being heard by the court.
It is important to contact a birth injury lawyer at Valent Legal as soon as possible if you believe your child was injured by medical negligence during the birth process. Even though you may have what seems like a long time to file a claim, evidence can evaporate with time. The sooner your lawyer can start investigating your case, the better it will be for your potential recovery.
Talk to a Nova Scotia Birth Injury Lawyer Now
At Valent Legal, we have a proven track record of success representing the youngest victims of medical malpractice. If your child suffered a birth injury that you suspect was the result of medical malpractice, the experienced injury lawyers of Valent Legal are here to provide the compassionate, understanding legal counsel that you and your family deserve during this difficult time.
To find out what our firm can do for you, call our office in Halifax or contact us online now. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means there are no fees until you receive a settlement or win a judgment in court. What do you have to lose? Contact us today.