Congenital disabilities can be debilitating. Of course, parents expect their children to be born healthy and safe, but this isn’t always the case. Birth defects are common in the United States, with the CDC estimating that 120,000 children are born with some type of defect yearly.
While some of these defects are preventable, others are not. In some cases, the healthcare professional may have been negligent in their actions, which harms the mother or child.
In such a case, a Pompano Beach injury lawyer can help the congenital disability victim seek financial compensation for damages. We’ll explore all you need to know about birth defect claims in this article and the available legal remedies.
Common Types of Birth Defects in Pompano Beach, Florida
There are cases when a parent doesn’t realize their child has a congenital disability until later. However, birth defects are identifiable before and after birth. In addition, these congenital disabilities are usually visible to physicians and, in some cases, a parent, depending on the type.
A healthcare professional might need to carry out tests and other diagnostic procedures to determine the presence and severity of the congenital disability. Below, we’ll explore the common types of birth defects reported by the CDC.
- Neural Tube Defects (NTD): The neural tube defect affects an infant’s brain, spine, or spinal cord. This type of defect can be debilitating and sometimes life-threatening. According to a report, NTD occurs in about 3,000 pregnancies yearly.
- Cleft Palate or Cleft Lip: This defect occurs when the baby’s mouth doesn’t form properly during pregnancy. According to the CDC, it occurs in 1 of every 1,600 babies born in the US.
- Congenital Heart Defect: This birth defect affects the structure and function of an infant’s heart. It is a common type of congenital disability, with over 40,000 babies born yearly with it.
- Down Syndrome: Down syndrome occurs when a baby has an extra chromosome. This could affect how their brain and body develop while they grow.
Most times, children with down syndrome experience mental and physical difficulties. According to a CDC report, 1 of every 700 infants is born yearly with this condition.
It’s still unclear what the leading cause of most congenital disabilities is. However, medical professionals insist mothers-to-be should be careful around certain environmental elements such as lead, mercury, PCBs, solvents, etc. They also need to be cautious about the type of medication they use.
Can a Doctor’s Error Lead to Birth Defects?
The connection between birth defects and medical malpractice remains puzzling. It can be quite challenging to prove that a medical occurrence resulted in a congenital disability. However, it can be possible if you have a valid claim. A Pompano Beach injury lawyer can help you determine if you have a potentially valid claim.
Knowing the different congenital disabilities and their causes is crucial in a birth defect claim. Most congenital disabilities are caused by genetics. Therefore, they are usually not preventable and have no connection with the doctor’s actions during pregnancy.
On the other hand, environmental factors are preventable. A physician can bear liability for congenital disabilities when the physician was responsible. For example, a doctor prescribes a medication for a pregnant woman knowing the dangers of the drug to the fetus. The mother can sue for medical malpractice if the child is born with birth defects.
Birth Defects vs. Birth Injuries
It’s easy to confuse birth defects with birth injuries, but the two have differences. For example, a baby born with brain damage could have sustained the damage before birth due to genetic or chemical exposure. This kind of case can qualify as a congenital disability. However, if the child was injured during childbirth, resulting in brain damage, this is considered a birth injury.
Although both have the same result and could be caused by a physician’s error, they occur at different times and should be approached differently when pursuing a claim for medical malpractice. For example, it’s easier for a doctor to defend a claim seeking compensation for a congenital disability by claiming genetic factors caused it. Therefore, a Pompano Beach injury lawyer must be able to use the available evidence to distinguish the two and file the proper claim.
Should Victims Pursue a Birth Defect Claim in Pompano Beach, Florida?
A mother who believes the delivery team or doctor caused their child’s congenital disability has the right to explore legal options. Birth defects usually require extensive medical care and impact the baby’s quality of life. Once there’s evidence that the defect was preventable and resulted from medical negligence, it’s possible to seek compensation.
With the help of a Pompano Beach injury lawyer, a mother could file a lawsuit against the negligent doctor or healthcare facility. Some of the compensation that can be available include:
- Medical Expenses: This usually covers hospitalization, surgery, extended treatment for the child, medication, physical therapy, and every other procedure necessary for the recovery of the child. Future medical expenses can also be compensated for.
- Lost Wages: Parents might take time off work to care for their children due to congenital disabilities. Therefore, compensation in a birth defect claim can include past and future missed work.
- Pain and Suffering: This covers emotional damages such as fear, anxiety, psychological harm, PTSD, mental scarring, and emotional trauma.
A Pompano Beach injury lawyer can help birth defect victims and their families seek a fair outcome for their incurred damages.
Statute of Limitation for Birth Defect Claims in Pompano Beach, Florida
When a mother receives the news that their baby has a birth defect, the conversation revolves around treatments and ongoing care. However, not taking immediate action could result in a loss of opportunity to file a claim.
According to Florida Law, claimants must file a medical malpractice case within two years of the injury. The clock starts ticking from the moment the child is born. However, some birth defects are not apparent immediately after birth and take longer to detect. This could prevent some victims from seeking justice for injuries they didn’t recognize at birth.
Therefore, the law allows claimants to file a lawsuit two years after discovering the injury or should have learned about it. However, you cannot file a claim after four years of the alleged malpractice.
In some cases, fraud or concealment of birth injuries could prevent a mother from discovering the defect. In these cases, the Statute of Limitations is extended for another two years. However, regardless of the discovery and fraud rules, you cannot take legal action once seven years pass.
How a Pompano Beach Injury Lawyer Can Help
Congenital disabilities are traumatizing for both parents and the child. Therefore, seeking compensation is crucial to dealing with emotional damage and medical expenses. Our birth defect attorneys at Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers can help you seek the compensation you deserve.
Our team will pursue your claim while you focus on your family. We’ve been serving birth defect victims and their families in Pompano Beach, Florida, for many years and can help determine if you should pursue a medical malpractice claim for compensation (by appointment only). Call us at (561) 800-8000 to speak with a skilled Pompano Beach injury lawyer today.