A fractured skull is a potentially serious injury, especially when it is the skull of an infant or newborn. Although it is possible that the injury will be minor with few or no consequences, a skull fracture has the potential to cause brain damage, seizure disorder, and different kinds of disability, even death. Skull fractures can happen naturally and accidentally, but most often during childbirth or shortly after, a fracture is the result of an error made by a doctor or nurse.
If your child was born with a skull fracture or suffered one in the hospital soon after birth, an infant skull fracture lawyer can be your biggest ally. This experienced professional can help you determine if medical malpractice played a role in the injury and can represent you as you fight the hospital or doctor’s insurer to get the justice and the compensation you need for your child.
How Fractures Happen During and after Delivery
An infant has a very fragile skull, which is at the same time flexible. Unlike adult skulls, skulls in newborns are made up of plates held together by sutures that have not hardened yet. This allows the skull to expand as the brain grows and the child gets older. This incomplete skull also helps it squeeze through the birth canal with minimal damage caused. Unfortunately this does not completely protect the infant skull and brain, and in fact, it is in many ways much more vulnerable to injury than the skull of an older child or adult.
During natural childbirth a baby has immense physical pressure placed on its body, including the head. Most babies will emerge unscathed, but some will experience fractures due to the pressure of the pelvic bones and others. In a lot of cases this natural kind of fracture will be small and will not cause lasting damage. In too many cases, though, an infant skull fracture is not natural, should have been prevented, and will cause lasting harm over many years or a lifetime.
The leading cause of skull fractures during childbirth is the use of instruments. A doctor may choose to use forceps or a vacuum extractor to assist in getting the child out of the birth canal. This may be done because there are complications, such as asphyxiation, and it is important to deliver the baby as quickly as possible. Unfortunately this maneuver can result in excess force on the skull of the baby and a fracture.
Fractures may also occur for various other reasons. The natural pressure in the womb may be intensified and lead to a greater risk of skull fracture if the baby is abnormally large, if it presents in breech position, bottom first, or if the delivery is long and complicated. A baby may even suffer a skull fracture after birth by being mishandled or dropped on a hard floor.
Medical Malpractice and Infant Skull Fractures
How does this all relate to medical malpractice? There is a good chance that if your baby suffered a devastating skull fracture during labor, delivery, or shortly after birth, that it could have been prevented. An error in judgement on the part of your doctor, a nurse, a midwife, or any other medical professional given the care of you and your child may have caused your baby’s skull fracture.
There are three criteria that must be met to prove medical malpractice. The first is that the medical professional in question was given responsibility for your care. This is usually straightforward in the case of childbirth, as you assign a doctor or midwife to deliver your baby. The second factor is that the person entrusted with your care made a mistake and the third is that the mistake directly caused your baby’s skull fracture.
It is these last two that are most often argued between a lawyer representing the parents and those representing the doctor or insurance company. Errors can be things like using forceps with too much force, failing to begin a Cesarean section as labor became difficult and complicated, or failing to notice complications before birth that put a baby at risk for birth trauma and injury.
Why You Need an Infant Skull Fracture Lawyer
If you believe your baby’s fracture was the result of medical malpractice, you need an infant skull fracture lawyer to help you make your case. You need the expertise of someone trained and practiced in birth injury and medical malpractice cases because you will be going up against hospitals and insurance companies with thousands to spend on lawyers.
An infant skull fracture lawyer will file a lawsuit on your behalf, will investigate the incident and collect evidence, will make a case for medical malpractice and will represent you and your child in negotiations for a settlement. If settlement discussions fail and the case goes to trial, your lawyer will litigate for you and take the case and your best interests in front of a judge and jury.
Consequences of a Skull Fracture and the Importance of Compensation
What an infant skull fracture lawyer can do for you is win compensation and justice on behalf of your child. The consequences of a skull fracture in your baby may not be evident immediately, but they have the potential to be severe and could even last for the duration of your child’s life. An infant skull fracture can cause brain damage, seizure disorders, cerebral palsy, developmental disabilities, physical disabilities, and cognitive impairments. In extreme cases a baby could die from a skull fracture or be unable to ever be independent as an adult.
Winning compensation in a lawsuit with the best lawyer at your side means getting the money you need to give your child the best. You may be facing extensive medical bills, payments for treatments and medication, the costs of assistive equipment and home caregivers, the costs of rehabilitation, therapy, and educational interventions, and even the costs of supporting your child through adulthood.
What to Look for in a Lawyer
It is not only important to get a lawyer for your child’s skull fracture; it is important to find the best lawyer possible. This is too important to trust to just anyone. Make sure you look for a lawyer or law firm that specializes in medical malpractice, and more specifically in birth injuries. Look for a lawyer that has negotiated settlements for similar clients or who has taken these cases to court and won.
You need the best, most knowledgeable, and most experienced infant skull fracture lawyer because your child’s future depends on it. You can’t give your child the best care possible if you are always struggling to pay for that care. The hospital or a doctor made a mistake and now your baby is paying the price. With the right lawyer, though, you can ensure that they have to pay the financial part of this tragedy.