Understanding Florida’s Birth Trauma Liability Laws

Baby in hospital

For expectant parents, childbirth is often the joyful culmination of months of waiting–but sometimes, the negligence of medical professionals changes this wonderful moment into one filled with tragedy. Medical malpractice is almost always devastating, but birth injuries and traumas that result in a healthy infant becoming a disabled child can be shattering. Birth trauma is shockingly common in the United States, and the South accounts for over a quarter of all birth injuries.

Birth Trauma by the Statistics

Unfortunately, as catastrophic as birth injury can be, it is also surprisingly widespread. About six to eight out of every 1,000 babies born in this country have a birth injury–that equals over 75 infants per day! While some birth injuries are sadly unavoidable, the National Healthcare Quality Report estimates that over 150,000 injuries to mothers and babies annually–about 50 percent of all birth traumas–could have been avoided with proper medical planning and care.

Potential Causes of Birth Trauma and Possible Birth Injuries

Childbirth can be inherently risky, but the medical professionals in the delivery room are expected to know how to deal with these risks. Many birth injuries in Florida occur when these medical professionals fail to correctly follow rules and procedures, improperly monitor the patient (both mother and baby) or fail to use appropriate medical procedures (such as by delaying a C-section).

Unfortunately, the birth injuries that can result from such malpractice can be life-altering, including spinal cord damage, cerebral palsy, paralysis, brain damage, hypoxia and even wrongful death.

The Basics of Florida’s Birth Trauma Liability Laws

In general, compensation for birth trauma falls under the category of medical malpractice. However, there are a few differences in filing a claim for birth injury as compared to other medical malpractice injuries, with the difference in the statute of limitations being the most significant.

Generally, parents have two years from the discovery of the birth injury to file a lawsuit against the responsible medical professionals or hospital. For most medical malpractice claims, victims or their families are barred from filing a lawsuit more than four years after the injury, even if the victim is unaware of the injury and the medical malpractice that caused it. Senate Bill 454 (also known as Tony’s Bill), however, changes this in cases of birth injury; in those cases, parents have until their child’s eighth birthday to file a claim (as long as the action occurs within two years of the injury’s discovery).

What types of damages can children and their parents recover for a successful birth injury case? Like all medical malpractice case, there are certain caps on damages. However, a 2014 Florida Supreme Court ruling deemed non-economic damages caps unconstitutional. That means that victims of birth injuries can often recover $500,000 or more for pain, suffering and other non-economic losses.

At Armando Personal Injury Law, our medical malpractice lawyers are here to help you after a devastating medical error that has caused harm.  Please contact Armando Personal Injury Law at  (813) 538 – 1589 or you may fill out our confidential contact form.