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Articles Posted in Children’s Injuries

Last week, the family of a child who was severely injured at birth was awarded a $42 million verdict for future medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost earning capacity, among other damages. A Pennsylvania judge awarded the multi-million dollar verdict due to the extent of the child’s injuries and the likelihood that he will require life-long care.

The child, who is now five years old, was injured during the delivery process when the doctor allegedly used forceps prematurely to pull the infant from the birth canal. According to the lawsuit, the pressure from the forceps caused internal bleeding, which resulted in permanent injuries, including cognitive problems, physical impairments, and an inability to express himself. As a result, he has suffered multiple brain and spine surgeries, and will require many more in the future. In fact, doctors do not expect that the child will ever read or write, and he may spend the rest of his life in an electric wheelchair.

The birth of a baby is supposed to be a joyous occasion, when a doctor’s negligence or medical malpractice results in painful or debilitating injuries to mother or child, this special day can forever be marred by trauma, sadness, and anger. In some cases, traumatic birth injuries lead to a lifetime of medical problems, and even death. Malpractice claims can be brought against doctors, other medical personnel, and hospitals. However, these types of claims are highly complicated and require the help of a skilled MA birth injury lawyer.

Types of Traumatic Birth Injuries

Any kind of birth-related injury can be classified as a traumatic birth injury, but some of the most common serious birth injuries include:

  • Broken bones and bruising: In many cases, these injuries will heal over a period of time, without the need for medical intervention. Broken bones and bruises are often caused by the use of forceps, vacuums, or natural physical stresses of the birth process. When an infant is tugged with too much force or medical personnel improperly use birth-assisting tools, these injuries can become more severe.
  • Bell’s Palsy: This injury is characterized by facial paralysis, and occurs when the infant’s facial nerves are damaged during the birth process. The damage is often caused by extreme pressure on the infant’s face, either from natural causes or from improper use of forceps during delivery. In most cases, Bell’s Palsy improves without treatment. A Boston injury lawyer can help you obtain the compensation you deserve if you were harmed due to medical negligence.
  • Brachial Plexus injury: The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves that connects the spine to the arms and hands. When the brachial plexus is injured during the birth process, the baby may temporarily lose the ability to move the arms. In most cases, this injury will heal over time, but brachial plexus injuries can be permanent if the nerves are actually torn. These injuries are most common in difficult births, especially when a doctor pulls too hard to extract an infant whose shoulder is stuck in the birth canal.
  • Anoxia: A form of oxygen deprivation, anoxia can cause serious medical complications in a newborn. If the placenta separates prematurely or the umbilical cord is wrapped around the infant’s neck, oxygen flow to the brain may be reduced to dangerous levels. If a baby is deprived of oxygen for too long, serious brain damage can result. In some cases, this oxygen deprivation causes a medical disorder called cerebral palsy (CP). Children with CP have difficulty controlling body movements and developing / maintaining muscle tone. CP is a serious, life-long and life-altering condition. In some situations, oxygen deprivation leads to death.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1.4 million people suffer a brain injury in the United States annually. This type of injury is often the result of a motor vehicle accident, sports injury, or fall. Any kind of trauma to the head can cause a brain injury, which can range from a minor concussion to permanent brain damage.

If you are considering legal action after a brain injury, it is important to understand the complex legal and medical issues surrounding this type of injury claim. A Boston injury lawyer with extensive experience in this specific area can make all the difference in the world. Whether you’re filing for workers’ compensation benefits, negotiating with an insurance company, or determining if you have a successful product liability lawsuit, skilled legal representation is crucial to a positive outcome.

Proving Negligence

In order to prove that another party is legally responsible for your injury, you will need to show all of the following:

  • The defendant had a duty of care to the plaintiff: For example, an airbag manufacturer has to exercise reasonable care that its airbags are safe for the general public.
  • The defendant failed to exercise that duty of care: If a driver is injured when his airbag explodes for no reason, sending metal debris into the air, the airbag manufacturer may be liable.
  • The plaintiff’s injuries were caused by the defendant’s failure to exercise that duty of care: If the court finds that the airbag manufacturer knew about the risk of sudden explosion but failed to recall the airbags, the manufacturer will likely be found negligent.
  • The plaintiff suffered measurable injuries or losses: If the victim suffered a brain injury due to the exploding airbag, he will likely be awarded compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other associated costs.

In a scenario like the one above, proving negligence should be a fairly straightforward task. But brain injury lawsuits are rarely this cut-and-dried. In many cases, simply proving that a brain injury occurred can be difficult. Broken bones and burns are easy to see, but brain injuries – unless severe – are not always apparent. As the victim, you may experience pain and cognitive difficulties on a daily basis, but proving this to the court may be an uphill battle.

Further, even when a brain injury is obvious, proving that the defendant’s negligence caused your injury can be a challenge. For example, if your brain injury occurred in a car accident involving another vehicle, proving that the defendant’s bad driving was the cause may be difficult. For this reason, gathering as much evidence as possible following a brain injury can have an immensely positive impact on the outcome of your case. A MA injury lawyer can help you determine whether you have a valid legal claim.

Symptoms of a Brain Injury

Brain injuries can be mild or severe, and so can the related symptoms. If you have suffered trauma to the head, or were involved in a high-impact accident, such as a motor vehicle accident, the following symptoms may indicate a brain injury.

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Confusion
  • Severe headache
  • Chronic headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep problems
  • Dizziness
  • Balance problems
  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensitivity to sound
  • Memory loss
  • Problems concentrating
  • Mood changes
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

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The birth of a newborn baby is as natural of a miracle that we can observe in our world. A newborn baby represents hope, potential, and a clean start. Hundreds of thousands of births occur every single day, and unfortunately many of them have complications that result in various difficulties for the newborn baby and its family.

One form of complication, Erb’s Palsy, occurs in infants who sustain nerve damage in their brachial plexus, a cluster of nerves that root in the shoulder, near the neck, and flow down into the arms. These nerves can be injured in various ways, such as during a difficult or abnormally stressful breach birth or when the baby is excessively large.

Sadly, one of the ways Erb’s Palsy can also happen is as a result of a doctor pulling on a baby too forcefully during a challenging birth. It most commonly manifests when a newborn’s head is twisted too sharply in one direction, tearing or cutting off circulation to the nerve cluster. The condition can cause long-lasting or permanent physical disabilities in the child, from temporarily being unable to move its arms or fingers to having full limb paralysis throughout its life.

Dog attacks actually happen quite frequently, and most involve children. Minor nips and bites are rarely reported, but the CDC reveals that approximately 4.5 million people report being bitten by dogs annually. The vast majority of these cases can be avoided, especially when they involve children. Read the tips below to avoid dog attacks and keep your kids safe. If your child has been bitten or attacked by a dog, contact a Boston injury lawyer today.

Tips to Prevent Dog Attacks

  • Children should never approach an unknown dog. It doesn’t matter if the dog is a teacup chihuahua wearing a pink, crocheted hat. Any dog can bite, and even small dogs can cause serious damage. If you see a loose dog wandering around, leave the area immediately.

A New Jersey family is filing suit against Simon Property Group and an escalator manufacturer after a terrifying escalator incident in a Pennsylvania mall resulted in the amputation of a 7-year-old’s toes on his right foot in 2014.

According to NJ.com, the boy and his family were shopping at the Oxford Valley Mall (owned by Simon Property Group) in Langhorne, Penn. on Dec. 14, 2014 when the boy’s foot became trapped in the escalator while he was riding it down.

The boy’s foot became trapped off the side of one of the steps, and then kept moving downward, but luckily somebody was vigilant and responded quick enough to hit the emergency stop button on the escalator, preventing more tragic damage.

In some situations, birth injuries and birth defects are unavoidable. However, when the negligence of your doctor, the medical staff, or a pharmaceutical company results in harm to you or your baby, the responsible party should be held accountable for their actions. If you think your baby’s birth injuries may be a result of medical negligence, contact a Boston birth injury lawyer today.

Is a birth defect considered a birth injury?

A: No. A birth defect is a condition that occurs before birth. Birth defects can be related to something that happened before or during the pregnancy, or they can be a result of genetic defects. Birth injuries, on the other hand, occur during the actual delivery process.
When should I sue for a birth injury?

A: If you believe that your doctor’s negligence caused birth injuries to you and/or your baby, you may want to file a birth injury claim. Consider the following example: For days, you couldn’t feel your near-term baby moving. You called your doctor multiple times to explain the sudden lack of movement, but she dismissed these complaints, saying it was “just nerves.” A few days later, your baby was born with Cerebral Palsy due to lack of oxygen to the brain. The cord was wrapped around his neck. In this situation, your doctor may be found liable for negligence.

What is my chance of success with a birth injury lawsuit?

A: Well, it depends on several factors. For starters, some birth injuries and defects are unavoidable. For example, a baby’s collarbone may need to be broken if the birth canal is too narrow to allow the baby’s shoulders to pass through. In a birth injury case, it all boils down to whether the doctor was negligent. Did he or she do what a competent doctor would have done in a similar situation? If the doctor, medical staff, or a pharmaceutical company failed to provide adequate and appropriate care during pregnancy or delivery, you will likely have a successful injury lawsuit.

Are birth injuries common?

A: Currently, in the United States, about five out of every 1,000 babies will be injured during the birth process. Birth defects are present in about seven percent of U.S. births.

If I bring a birth injury lawsuit, what evidence does a jury use to determine if my doctor is liable?

A: Evidence in birth injury lawsuits often focuses on expert testimony and medical records / reports. Typically, expert testimony will come from other doctors who explain why your doctor’s actions did, or did not, fall below acceptable standards of care. If your doctor is a specialist, such as an obstetrician, he or she will be held to a higher standard of care than would a non-specialist.

What are teratogens” and do they cause birth defects?

A: Over the years, many drugs that were intended to help a woman deal with pregnancy-related issues, were found to cause birth defects. These drugs, known as teratogens, include Delalutin – used to prevent miscarriages, and Bendectin – an antinausea medication.

What is Cerebral Palsy?

A: Cerebral palsy is actually a general term for multiple disorders that affect brain function. It is often a result of lack of oxygen to the baby during delivery, and can be caused by any type of injury to the baby’s brain while still in the womb. Cerebral palsy can cause lifetime mobility and body movement issues, as well as cognitive impairments.

Who receives money in a successful birth injury lawsuit?

A: In almost all cases, any compensation awarded will go to the child. If the child is still a minor, the funds will typically go into a trust. However, parents can also receive compensation for pain and suffering due to emotional distress. Continue reading

Well, the short answer is, it depends. The fact that an injury occurred on your property does not automatically make you responsible. However, if negligence played a role, that’s an entirely different story. In addition, the rules of negligence are a bit different when children are involved. Read on to find out how to protect yourself from a lawsuit, and others from harm, due to premises liability and negligent supervision.

What is negligence?

Consider the following scenarios. In scenario A, an older gentleman with mobility issues injures himself when he falls on your dry, level, well-maintained driveway. In scenario B, that same gentleman steps into a large pothole in your driveway, falling and injuring himself. In scenario A, the fall wasn’t due to negligence. In scenario B, it was. When you fail to maintain your property by keeping it safe, you may find yourself at the center of a premises liability lawsuit. Contact a Boston personal injury lawyer today.

 

The issue becomes more complex when children are involved. Let’s consider scenario C. Your kids have friends over. One of the children is running on your dry, level, well-maintained driveway, when he falls and breaks his arm. A neighbor runs over to help the crying child. You are nowhere in sight. Ten minutes later, you return from a different neighbor’s house where you were having coffee. Even though the accident wasn’t caused by a poorly maintained property, you may be liable for negligent supervision because the child wasn’t properly supervised. In the scenario with the older gentleman, supervision wasn’t a factor. With the child, it is.

Attractive Nuisance

Another factor that is special to injury lawsuits involving children is something called an “attractive nuisance”. If your property contains an attractive nuisance, you don’t even need to invite a child onto your property, or be aware that he or she is there, to be found liable for an injury suffered on your property.

A swimming pool is the most obvious example of an attractive nuisance. If you have a swimming pool on your property, it must be properly secured at all times, even if you are not using it. As an attractive nuisance, a swimming pool increases your liability exposure. If you adhere to all rules and regulations, your risk of liability is much lower. For example, if a child sneaks in and drowns, but your pool had proper fencing, locks, a pool cover, alarms, and met all state requirements, you are much less likely to be found liable than if the locks were broken, the fencing wasn’t high enough, or a gate was open. In addition to swimming pools, trampolines and construction sites can also be classified as attractive nuisances. Contact a Boston injury lawyer today. Continue reading

A California woman claims that injuries she suffered as an infant resulted in long-term damage that will affect her for the rest of her life. Caron L. Stapleton, the guardian ad litem for Catherine Emily Phillips, filed a complaint earlier this month, alleging that Phillips suffered serious injuries in 1996 due to a defective BabyBjorn carrier, and that the victim will require care for the rest of her life.

The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against Regal Lager Inc. and BabyBjorn AB, alleged negligence and various other counts. According to the complaint, as an infant, Phillips fell through a leg opening in a BabyBjorn carrier. The incident resulted in permanently debilitating injuries to the brain. The plaintiffs allege that the injuries were due to a defective carrier. They are suing Regal Lager Inc. and BabyBjorn AB for reckless design and the manufacturing of an unsafe product. If you have been injured by a defective product, contact a Boston injury lawyer today.

Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Claims

In Massachusetts, the statute of limitations on personal injury claims is three years. However, the type of injury claim can affect the time limit. Some defamation cases, for example, and claims involving minors are sometimes given longer time limits. In the above case, a number of unique circumstances and the fact that Phillips was an infant at the time of her injuries, will be taken into consideration. If you are considering filing a personal injury claim, contact a Boston injury lawyer today.

Defective Products

The vast majority of products we buy in this country are safe, but marketing pressures and competition have put consumers at an increased risk over the years. If you are injured due to a product that went to market before proper testing had been completed, or without adequate warning labels, you may be eligible for compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Consumers have a right to expect a safe product, or to be adequately warned of associated risks. If a product you purchased caused you unexpected harm, you may want to consider a defective product lawsuit. There are three types of product defect:

  • Design: These types of defects are part of the actual design – they were defective from the start. In most cases, the product must be redesigned to be safe.
  • Manufacturing: Manufacturing defects occur during the manufacturing process. Although the design may have been sound, a glitch in the assembly or manufacturing process has created a dangerous defect.
  • Labeling: Some products have inherent risks and require adequate warning labels. For example, fireworks and prescription drugs are both useful products that people purchase every day. But both carry a serious risk of injury. If labels don’t adequately warn of associated dangers, you may have a defective product lawsuit on your hands.

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Driving is difficult to do in and around Boston without any distractions, narrow roads, bicyclists, and rush hour traffic all lead to tough driving conditions.  Now add in the fact the the driver may be a teenager and may be on his or her phone – now you have a recipe for disaster.

Smartphones are addictive for all of us, not just teens.  But teens have an inherent sense of invincibility that can be especially dangerous when it comes to smartphone use and driving. For starters, many young people simply haven’t been around long enough to see the consequences of risky behavior. They are living in the moment, and can’t fully appreciate how quickly an accident can turn a life upside down. In addition to feeling invincible, kids just don’t have the instincts and experience to handle a potential accident as well as a more experienced driver. Combine all of those factors with the distraction of a smartphone, and it’s no wonder more than 200,000 teens are injured in car accidents annually.

According to studies, smartphone users check their phones an average of 85 times per day. And that includes many of us who grew up without these devices. Today’s teens are attached to their cell phones from a very early age; in many ways, the smartphone has become an extension of the person using it. A report issued by State Farm earlier this year revealed that teens involved in a crash report internet usage while driving, including watching videos, at more than three times the rate of those who are not involved in crashes. In addition to watching videos while driving, the same group reported texting, taking pictures, using social media, and playing games, at twice the rate of others. If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact a Boston injury lawyer today.

One-Third of Teen Drivers Report Talking and Texting While Driving

This isn’t a small group of teens who happen to be engaged in dangerous behavior. Research has shown that more than one-third of teen drivers talk and text while driving. Interestingly, the older the teen driver is, the more likely he or she is to engage in such behaviors. Studies also show that teens who engage in texting and driving are also more likely to engage in other risky behaviors, such as not wearing a seat-belt, speeding, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

As parents, we often feel that much of our children’s behavior when not at home is out of our control. But research doesn’t back this up. Children whose parents model safe driving practices, including not texting or using a cell phone in any way while driving, are significantly more likely to do the same. In addition, it is important to educate your children on the dangers of cell phones and driving. They may roll their eyes and seem to not be paying attention, but if you remind them to buckle up and put their cell phone in the glove box every time they get in the car, they are far more likely to heed your advice. Talk to your kids about driving safety all the time, and practice what you preach! Continue reading

It’s almost time to don the witch, ninja, and princess costumes and go trick-or-treating in neighborhoods across America. It’s easy to make Halloween a safe and enjoyable holiday, but injuries can occur. Hundreds of children running around in the dark, dressed in costumes and amped up on sugar can present some hazards. With proper supervision, however, the risk of serious injury is dramatically reduced. Continue reading for tips to keep your child safe this Halloween.

Trick-or-Treat Safety Tips

  • Costume safety: Brightly colored costumes are best. Of course, if your daughter wants to be a witch or vampire, bright colors probably won’t work. But you can remedy this problem with a bit of reflective tape on the dress or cape, or by having your child carry glow sticks or a flashlight. In addition, costumes should be flame resistant and not so oversized or long that they create a tripping hazard. Non-toxic face paint is preferable to full-face masks, which can easily obstruct a child’s vision.