The birth of your child should be one of your happiest moments. If your baby suffered newborn brain damage during childbirth at a Washington, D.C. hospital, your happiest day can quickly become devastating. Unfortunately, according to the Centers for Disease Control, over 20,000 infants die each year as a result of a birth injury, and about 3 brain damaged newborn babies are born for every 1,000 live births in the U.S. If your child was injured during birth in D.C., or if your newborn suffered brain damage, you may be able to receive compensation for your baby’s injuries and losses. Call the experienced Washington D.C. birth injury attorneys of Regan Zambri Long at (202) 960-4596 to discuss your options. We are here to help you.
What causes newborn brain damage?
Newborn brain damage can be the result of many different kinds of negligence or carelessness by medical professionals, including:
1. Medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice happens when a doctor or nurse does not take care of the mother or baby during labor and delivery, and afterwards. Something as “simple” as misreading the medical chart could be medical malpractice because it can have catastrophic effects that cause newborn brain damage. Other types of medical malpractice include more serious actions or failures, such as not monitoring mother and baby or failing to recognize problems during the delivery that cause brain damage to the newborn.
2. Delayed birth or delayed C-section.
If labor continues for too long, a baby can suffer from lack of oxygen that causes brain damage. Lack of oxygen can cause serious and permanent brain damage, and can even result in death. If a doctor or other medical professional does not take steps necessary to speed up the birth process, this can cause newborn brain damage. Also, if a doctor waits too long to move a mother to C-section rather than a vaginal delivery, a brain damaged newborn baby might be born.
3. Forceps and vacuum extraction injuries.
When a doctor uses forceps or vacuum extraction to try to lower a baby into the correct position for a vaginal birth, he must be careful not to put too much pressure on the baby’s head. If he applies too much pressure, or pulls too forcefully, he can cause a skull fracture that causes permanent brain damage to your child.
4. Dropping the baby.
Newborn babies have very delicate skulls. If a nurse drops a newborn immediately after delivery, or anytime while at the hospital, it can cause a skull fracture and newborn brain damage.
What Medical Conditions Result from Newborn Brain Damage?
A baby who suffers brain damage may have any number of medical problems and conditions, including cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and autism. In addition, brain damaged newborns may have serious cognitive limitations. Many of these conditions are caused because the baby does not have enough oxygen during the labor and delivery process. Cerebral palsy and these other conditions last a lifetime and can make a child physically or mentally dependent upon their caregivers forever. They also often expensive medical equipment and care. Some other conditions caused by newborn brain damage are less severe and a child can recover.
If your newborn suffered brain damage at Sibley Memorial Hospital, Howard University Hospital, or any of the birthing hospitals in D.C., contact the skilled birth injury lawyers of Regan Zambri Long at (202) 960-4596 for your FREE initial consultation, or contact us online.
How Do I Know if My Baby Has Brain Damage?
Symptoms of brain damage in a newborn that you may be able to see immediately include:
- Abnormal eye movements
- Swelling of the head
- Bruising on the head
- Excessive crying
- Constant irritability or fussiness
- Restlessness or never being still
- Blood or other bodily fluids leaking from ears, eyes, or nose
In addition to the above signs of newborn brain damage, there are additional signs of traumatic brain injuries that may show up later. You should look for these symptoms:
- Sensitivity to light
- Sensitivity to sound
- Excessive exhaustion
- Refusing to eat, either by nursing or with a bottle
- Not sleeping
- Tremors or shaking
- Muscle spasms
- Delayed physical development, such as not rolling over, pushing up, or sitting when expected
When you see a doctor, he can diagnose brain damage by using a CT scan, an MRI scan, or other imaging scans. These scans will show if there is damage to the brain. But just because no damage is seen on a scan does not mean there is no newborn brain damage. If something seems “off” with your baby, continue to monitor for symptoms, looking for any of the above as signs of possible traumatic brain injury.
What to Do if You Think Your Newborn Has Brain Damage.
Because your baby cannot tell you what is wrong, or if anything is wrong, you must be on the lookout for potential signs of brain damage. When you see any of the symptoms listed above, it is reasonable to suspect brain damage. If you suspect or know your baby suffered newborn brain damage, seek medical attention right away. The first step in treating your baby is understanding and diagnosing the problem.
You next step should be to contact a birth injury lawyer with experience representing families of brain damaged newborn babies. When you know, or even suspect, newborn brain damage, an experienced birth injury attorney can guide you to ensure you obtain the information and documents you will need to pursue a claim and receive the compensation your family deserves to cover medical expenses and special equipment. You may also be able to receive compensation for your family’s pain and suffering.
How to Receive Compensation for My Newborn’s Brain Injury.
A skilled birth injury lawyer will review your case, interview you, investigate what happened, review medical records, speak with insurance companies, and pursue the at-fault parties. Hospitals, doctors, nurses, birthing centers, and other medical professionals may have caused your baby’s brain injury by their negligence or recklessness. The at-fault parties can be wholly or partially liable, meaning they will be required to provide compensation to you.
If we take your case, we will file a lawsuit on your behalf against the medical professionals who caused your baby’s injury. This is called a medical malpractice case. A lawsuit begins by filing a document called a complaint that explains what happened to during the labor and delivery process and during your hospital stay. The complaint describes how the at-fault medical professionals’ negligence or recklessness caused newborn brain damage. The complaint refers to the at-fault parties as the defendants and refers to your baby, and possibly you, as the plaintiff. In response to the complaint, the defendant provides a document called an answer. Then the “discovery” process begins, where both plaintiff and defendant – called the parties – exchange documents and information that will become evidence at trial. The plaintiff and defendant, as well as witnesses, will be interviewed by the lawyers. In addition, an medical expert may provide information based upon his or specialized medical knowledge about what he believes caused the brain damage. Many cases result in a settlement agreement rather than a decision at trial, which is called a “verdict.” Settlement is possible at any point before, during, or even after trial. If settlement is not reached, both sides prepare for and participate in a trial.
How the Lawyers of Regan Zambri Long Can Help.
Regan Zambri Long are experienced in handling cases for brain damaged newborn babies and their parents. We will investigate what happened during the birthing process and review medical records to determine whether your baby’s injuries were caused by negligence or recklessness. We will work with medical experts to prove that at-fault medical professionals caused newborn brain damage by their actions or by failing to take some action they should have taken.
We have deep compassion for our clients who are devastated by the injuries their baby has suffered. We understand how hard it is to handle. We recognize that newborn brain damage can lead to a lifetime of expensive medical care. This is why we fight for your rights. For one of our clients, we won a settlement of $4.2 million for a child who suffered severe brain injuries at the time of his birth due to the negligence of a hospital and its physicians. The settlement included periodic payments which are expected to provide over $10 million in benefits to the child over his lifetime.
Regan Zambri Long Are Different from Other Birth Injury Lawyers.
The lawyers of Regan Zambri Long are passionate about helping the families of brain damaged newborn babies. We want to help you move forward in the best way possible. We want to help you take care of your baby’s needs.
We have received many awards and much recognition for our extensive experience in medical malpractice cases. Based upon decades of handling cases our attorneys have been named as some of the best lawyers in the country. For example, Regan Zambri Long attorneys have received the following accolades, just to name a few:
- Listed in Best Lawyers for Baltimore for over 10 years
- 2020 Trial Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers
- “Best Lawyers in America” by Best Lawyers and the National Law Journal
- 2021 Best Lawyer by Best Lawyers
- Top 10% Super Lawyers (out of 80,000 lawyers)
- AV Preeminent® Rating by Martindale-Hubbell®
- Board certified in Civil Trial Advocacy by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, a certification that less than 1% of lawyers have obtained
- Board-certified as a “Senior Specialist” in Civil Pretrial Advocacy by the National Board of Trial Advocacy
Infant Brain Injury FAQs
1. What is medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice happens when a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional provides treatment in a careless or negligent way. Medical malpractice can cause serious injury or death. It is a leading cause of death nationwide. When a person is harmed or dies because of negligence or carelessness, victims and their families may be able to sue the medical provider in court and obtain money to cover legal expenses and to compensate them for pain and suffering and other losses.
2. What is the difference between a birth injury and a birth defect?
A birth injury occurs during the birthing process and is usually the result of some careless action on the part of a medical professional. Birth injuries can also be caused if a doctor or nurse fails to properly care for the baby during the birthing process.
A birth defect usually occurs during development of the baby in the mother’s womb. It is not often caused by the negligence or carelessness of a medical professional.
3. How long do I have to file a claim for my brain damaged newborn baby?
Under the law of Washington, D.C., you have three years from the date your child was injured to file your birth injury claim. There are exceptions to this time limit, so you should talk with an attorney experienced in handling cases involving newborn brain damage as soon as you can.
4. What can I expect if I pursue my case in a lawsuit in court?
A lawsuit in Washington, D.C. begins by filing a document called a complaint that explains what happened to your baby and how the at-fault medical professionals caused your baby’s brain damage. The complaint refers to the at-fault party as the defendant and refers to your baby, and possibly you, as the plaintiff. In response to the complaint, the defendant provides a document called an answer. Then the “discovery” process begins, where both plaintiff and defendant – called the parties – exchange documents and information that will become evidence at trial. The plaintiff and defendant, as well as witnesses, will be interviewed by the lawyers. In addition, a medical expert witness will provide information based upon her specialized knowledge about what she believes caused newborn brain damage. Many medical malpractice cases result in a settlement agreement rather than a verdict at trial. Settlement is possible at any point before, during, or even after trial. If settlement is not reached, both sides prepare for and participate in a trial.
Contact a DC Medical Malpractice Lawyer Experienced with Birth Injuries Today
While nothing can make you feel whole again if your newborn suffered brain damage, compensation can ensure your baby has everything they need to grow and improve as much as possible. Medical expenses and costs add up quickly, especially if special care will be needed throughout your child’s life. Caring for a brain damaged newborn baby can turn into a lifelong journey, and compensation paid by the at-fault doctor, nurse, or hospital can help you provide the best care possible. Call the experienced medical malpractice attorneys of Regan Zambri Long at (202) 960-4596 for your FREE initial, no-obligation consultation. We will assess your case and talk to you about your options.