At Villari, Brandes & Giannone, we have recovered more than $100 million in birth injury claims for the children and families we have had the privilege to represent. Many brain injuries such as Cerebral Palsy, Erb’s Palsy and more can be caused by substandard treatment from hospitals and healthcare providers. Call our Philadelphia personal injury lawyers today for a free consultation. There are no fees unless we are successful for you.
Welcome to our birth injury community. It is a supportive community where mothers, fathers, siblings and family members who care for a loved one suffering from cerebral palsy or other birth injury can share their experiences, daily challenges and provide much needed help and hope to one another. Become a member of our community and connect with others who are caring for a child suffering from cerebral palsy. Talk to other mothers, fathers and care takers facing similar challenges and find out how they cope. Ask questions, answer others’ questions, provide valuable information, make recommendations, and develop friendships along the way. Our community is a place where members can provide and experience the power of support, collectively fostering hope for a better future for children suffering from cerebral palsy. Chat live via webcam, audio or text with a Mom or Dad who’s found a way to provide the care they knows their child needs; moms and dads who have had similar experiences and can provide much needed cerebral palsy support. Hear the true stories of Moms and Dads coping with permanent birth injuries, and what they have done to provide the ongoing care their child needs. Find great articles, participate in discussions, or start a discussion of your own. Our forums are a great place to keep up with the latest developments in cerebral palsy and read inspiring stories. Unleash your hidden writer! Our community blog is a place to share your challenges, experiences, hope and any other thoughts you’d like to share.
We are advocates for children with birth injuries.
For almost four (4) decades, our nationally based birth injury lawyers have successfully represented families with children that have suffered birth injuries caused by hospitals, doctors, midwives, nurses, and others involved in negligent prenatal care, the birthing processes, or post-birth care. View a listing of common mistakes caused by health care providers that resulted in birth injuries.
We have helped hundreds of families of diverse backgrounds, income levels, and geographic locations – all with the same objective: to help their child fight for their legal rights now and in the future. Our cerebral palsy attorneys focus on helping those who have suffered serious, lasting, and catastrophic birth injuries caused by their doctor or other medical providers.
Villari, Brandes & Giannone is dedicated to representing injured children and those who love them. We are advocates for the injured child, from birth to adolescence, guiding families toward resources that can help them financially, physically, and emotionally. Our main focus is to provide counsel in order to ensure that negligent medical providers who injure children are justly held responsible financially to see that those children, their parents and their families are properly cared for.
How did this happen?
Two of the most common causes of birth injury include untimely and improperly treated fetal distress during labor and failing to properly resuscitate a struggling infant after birth. While some birth injuries can also be caused by genetic conditions, many birth injuries are caused by negligence.
Was it my fault?
Birth injuries such as cerebral palsy can take on many forms and vary in severity. Many mothers are wrongly made to believe that they had something to do with their child’s condition, when nothing is further from the truth.
How will I care for my child if they have Cerebral Palsy?
There are several options for you to consider in caring for a child with cerebral palsy. If you would like to learn more about these options, one of which is the legal process, or if you want to speak with a legal representative, please contact us today.
What can I do now?
While this website was created by advocates for children injured before, at or after birth, this site is also dedicated to providing valuable information and resources on how to deal with birth injuries such as cerebral palsy.
What Causes a Birth Injury?
It is possible that your child’s birth injury was caused by a genetic condition, by an acceptable complication, or by a medical mistake or negligence by your doctor, a nurse, or the hospital.
Birth injuries are any type of abnormal condition sustained by an infant as a result of a mother’s prenatal care, the childbirth process or the care of the infant after birth. There are many things that can cause a birth injury.
Some of the most common causes of birth injury include improper prenatal care, improperly or untimely treated fetal distress, waiting too long to deliver the child during labor, a condition called shoulder dystocia (shoulder dystocia occurs when a baby’s shoulder gets stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone during delivery) or improper care of a struggling infant after birth.
There are many other pregnancy and birth complications that can cause a birth injury as well. For instance, some things that occur during delivery would include oxygen deprivation or compression of the baby’s head due to excessive contractions during labor that are not properly treated and stopped. These things which can be caused by negligent medical care can cause a brain injury that leads to cerebral palsy or other complications.
Birth Injury Resources
You may be confused and scared about what condition your child has and why. Support from your doctor or hospital may have been limited.
This website is dedicated to providing answers to all of your questions, along with information about proceeding with a legal claim for medical malpractice. Prior to learning more about your child’s birth injury, we want you to know you are not alone. It is estimated that as many as seven babies out of 1,000 in the United States suffer harm before, during or after labor and delivery.
Birth injuries can take on many forms and vary in severity. Please understand that a birth injury is different than a birth defect. While a birth defect is generally caused by a genetic condition, birth injuries are generally caused by deficient or negligent prenatal care, avoidable problems during the birth process, or deficient post-birth care. If that is the case with your child, we can help you.
Description of Birth Injuries
Our law firm serves families with children who have suffered injuries during pregnancy, labor or delivery, and/or after birth as a result of poor or negligent medical care. For example:
Cerebral Palsy (CP)
The words cerebral palsy are used to describe a medical condition that affects control of the muscles. Cerebral refers to anything in the head, and palsy refers to anything wrong with control of the muscles or joints in the body. If a child has cerebral palsy, it means that because of an injury to the brain (that’s the cerebral part) he or she is not able to use some of the muscles in the body in the normal way (that’s the palsy part). Depending on where the brain injury is and how big it is, the muscle tone may be too tight, too loose, or a combination of too tight and loose. Muscle tone is what lets us keep our bodies in a certain position, like sitting with our heads up to look at the teacher in class. Changes in muscle tone let us move. Children who have cerebral palsy, or CP, may not be able to walk, talk, eat, or play in the same ways as other children. For example, in order to touch your nose, the tone in the muscles used to make that movement must change in a way that is just right. Muscles must make an even change to tighten one while loosening the other. Children with CP are not able to change their muscle tone in a smooth and even way, so their movements may be jerky or wobbly, or not occur at all.
Spastic Cerebral Palsy
If muscle tone is too high or too tight, the term spastic is used to describe the type of cerebral palsy. Children with spastic CP have stiff and jerky movements because their muscles are too tight. They often have a hard time moving from one position to another or letting go of something in their hand. This is the most common type of CP. About half of all children with CP from a birth injury have spastic CP.
Ataxic Cerebral Palsy
A low muscle tone and poor coordination of movements is described as ataxic CP. This rare form affects the sense of balance and depth perception. Children who have ataxic CP look very unsteady and shaky, with a tremor like that you might see in a very old person. It is difficult for them to write, turn a page, or cut with scissors. They also often have very poor balance and may be very unsteady when they walk. Because of the shaky movements and problems coordinating their muscles, children with ataxic CP may take longer to write or to complete art projects.
Athetoid (Dyskinetic) Cerebral Palsy
The term athetoid is used to describe the type of cerebral palsy when muscle tone is mixed, sometimes too high and sometimes too low. Children with athetoid CP have trouble holding themselves in an upright, steady position for sitting or walking. They often show many movements of their face, arms, and upper body that they don’t mean to. Their movements are random and involuntary. These movements are usually big. These abnormal movements usually affect the hands, feet, arms or legs, and, in some cases, the muscles of the face and tongue, causing grimacing or drooling. For some children with athetoid CP, it takes a lot of work and concentration to get their hands to a certain spot. It is difficult for them to reach for a cup or to scratch their noses. Because of their mixed tone and trouble keeping a position, they may not be able to hold on to things like a toothbrush or pencil. About 20 percent of all children with CP have athetoid CP. The movements often increase during periods of emotional stress and disappear during sleep. Children with this type of CP may also have problems coordinating the muscle movements needed for speech, a condition known as dysarthria. Athetoid cerebral palsy affects about 10 to 20 percent of patients.
Mixed Cerebral Palsy
When muscle tone is too low in some muscles and too high in other muscles, the type of cerebral palsy is called mixed. About one-fourth of all children with CP have mixed CP.
When a child shows CP in all four limbs, both arms and both legs, it is called quadriplegia. Usually, children with quadriplegia have trouble moving all parts of their bodies: the face, trunk, arms, and legs. They usually need a wheelchair to get around. Because they have problems controlling the muscles in their face and upper body, they also have trouble talking and eating.
Hemiplegia means that the CP affects one side of the child’s body. Hemi means half, so the right arm and leg or the left arm and leg are affected. The other side of the child’s body functions normally. Many children with hemiplegia are able to walk and run, although they may look a little awkward or have a limp.
Some children only have CP in their legs, or more severely in their legs than in their arms. This is called diplegia. Di means two, so in diplegia only the two lower limbs are affected. Children with diplegia have difficulty using their legs. Walking and running are very challenging for them. Because their upper bodies are usually not affected, they have good ability to hold themselves upright and have good use of their arms and hands. Sometimes, children only have CP in their arms, but not their legs. However, this is very, very rare.
Brachial Plexus Palsy
The nerves of the baby’s arm run from the neck, under the shoulder, through the armpit, and into the arm. These nerves can be torn or stretched during delivery. As a result, the child is left with a permanent disability in movement and growth of his or her arm, hand, or shoulder. This is a brachial plexus injury (also known as Erb’s Palsy) and is often, but not always, caused by a doctor’s mistake during the delivery process.
Other Birth Related Injuries
During childbirth, instruments which are used to assist the delivery of the baby can cause skull fractures, bleeding in your baby’s brain, spinal cord or brain injuries, or facial scarring. Additionally, certain drugs administered by the doctor or nurse during prenatal care or labor can cause injuries to the mother, and her baby, if not properly monitored and controlled (for example, heart defects, rupture of the uterus, and abruption or tearing of the placenta).
If a baby is born prematurely and the prematurity could have been prevented or delayed, it could cause the baby to suffer bleeding in the brain, known as IVH. This can result in CP with associated deficits in cognitive function.
If you feel that any of your medical providers may have been negligent in caring for you or your child and would like to speak with one of our legal counselors, please contact us today.
Detecting a Birth Injury In Your Child
Often, symptoms of a birth injury may not appear until months or even years after your child is born. Some initial signs of birth injuries may include:
- Abrasions, bruises, discoloration (bluish or mottled) or swelling on the infants face, head, or shoulder at or shortly after delivery
- Seizures that develop within 48 hours
- A floppy appearance, indicating lack of muscle tone
- One arm that is limp in appearance or not functioning properly
- The infants failure to begin breathing immediately following delivery
- Lack of muscle coordination, drooling, uneven gait, or difficulty with speech
This site is not meant to diagnose your child. Only a doctor can do that. It is offered as a guideline only. To learn more about the different types of birth injuries, feel free to call us.
Of course, if you feel your medical providers may not have given proper medical care to you or your child, contact us today to see if we can help you.
What Can You Do?
While we are legal advocates who can review the medical care you have questions about and provide counsel, this site is also dedicated to offering you information about all types of birth injuries such as cerebral palsy, and to providing resources that may help you and your child.
Learn more about how we can help you:
- Seek Legal Action
- The Legal Process
- Legal Process FAQs
For more information:
- Legal Questions and Answers
- Free Legal Consultation
- Types of Birth Injuries and Symptoms
The Legal Process
We strongly believe that it is important for our clients to understand what is expected if you take legal action, as not all individuals are comfortable with, or fully understand, that process. Indeed, many people have misconceptions about how the legal process of bringing a claim to seek help for an injuried child works and how beneficial it can be in providing lifetime benefits for the child and their family. Read on if you would like to know more.
- The First Phone Call
After you contact our law firm, you will speak with one of our case managers or attorneys, who will discuss the medical care and treatment that you and your child received. The case manager will also gather the information necessary for our legal team to conduct a preliminary review of your potential claim. An official lawsuit does not begin with this phone call; rather, an evaluation process will begin to determine whether your child’s injury was potentially caused by substandard or negligent medical care.
- What kind of information will be asked for?
We will ask you for information about a mother’s pregnancy, her labor, the delivery, the condition of the child at the time of delivery and shortly thereafter, and the care the child received after birth. Some examples of questions that may be asked during this preliminary consultation are:
- When did you begin your prenatal care?
- Were any medications taken during the pregnancy?
- Did the baby deliver at term? Or prematurely?
- Was the baby breathing on its own upon delivery?
- Was the baby’s color abnormal (blue or mottled) at birth?
- When was the baby’s birth injury diagnosed?
- What surgeries and therapies, if any, has the baby had thus far?
- Has the baby had any radiology films (ultrasounds, MRI or CT scans) of its brain thus far?
- The First Meeting
If our legal team decides that there are signs of negligent medical care after you speak with one of our case managers or attorneys, we will proceed to the next stage of evaluation. This will consist of meeting with you and having you sign a fee agreement and HIPAA form in order to request all medical records necessary to continue to evaluate any issues that have been identified. Review of the medical records is necessary in order to determine whether we can take your case and make a claim on behalf of you and your child. Our fee agreement is totally contingent on there being a financial recovery obtained. In other words, if we do not obtain monetary benefits, there is not charge whatsoever for the services we provide.
- The Role of Medical Experts
In birth injury claims, expert medical opinions sought by our law firm are necessary and can include those of obstetricians, neonatologists, neuroradiologists, life health care planners and pediatric neurologists. We will request expert physicians to review all medical records to determine whether substandard care was delivered to you and/or your child, and whether this substandard care resulted in your child’s injury.
- The Discovery Phase
If your claim proceeds to a lawsuit, you (on behalf of your child) will be the plaintiff in the lawsuit, and the health care provider(s) who rendered the substandard care will be the defendant(s) in the lawsuit. Once the lawsuit has been filed with the court, the case moves into a period of time called discovery. During the discovery phase, the plaintiff and defendants exchange information to learn more about the facts at issue in the lawsuit. Two of the primary ways in which information is exchanged are by written questions called interrogatories and by depositions. The length of time that the discovery period lasts varies from state to state depending upon the state’s laws. However, the average time ranges from approximately one to two years.
At any point from the time that the claim is started until a jury verdict, the defense can make a settlement offer to you. We will discuss any and all settlement offers with you, and advise you accordingly. However, the final decision on whether or not you accept the settlement offer is up to you. Over ninety-five percent (95%) of the birth injury claims we have handled settled before or during trial for significant compensation.
- The Trial
Should a settlement not be reached, the lawsuit will move towards trial. Once the discovery phase has ended, a trial date will be confirmed. The time between confirming the trial date and the start of the trial can vary from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the schedule of the court, the availability of witnesses, and a variety of other factors. A jury will be selected to hear the case and decide the case. The length of a birth injury trial varies. A number of factors go into determining the length of a trial. However, the average length is two to three weeks. During the trial you will likely be called to testify. You will be asked questions under oath by one of our lawyers and by the defense attorney. You will need to be present in court for every day of the trial. Medical experts and other experts such as life health care planners, vocational and economic experts will also be called to testify on your behalf. We will also prepare and show the jury a video of what your child’s average day is like.
- The Verdict
At the conclusion of the testimony or evidence presentation part of the trial, closing arguments will be made by the attorneys. Once these are completed, the case will be handed over to the jury for them to deliberate. The amount of time that a jury deliberates varies greatly. Once the jury has a reached a verdict, it will be announced in court. If the jury finds in your favor, then they will also decide upon the amount of financial compensation to be awarded to you and your child, which will be announced in court as well. The defendant(s) may or may not appeal the verdict or any compensation awarded.
Legal Process FAQs
- Who talks to me when I contact the call center?
You will be connected to a dedicated team of case managers and legal advocates, who will learn of your situation and take you through our interview process to learn about your claim.
- How long after I learn that my child has a birth injury can I take legal action?
While the time period for filing a lawsuit varies from state to state, the medical practitioner or others that may have been responsible for your child’s birth injury are not liable forever. For example, a claim for a child injured at birth can be brought until a child is twenty (20) years old in Pennsylvania. However, many states have much shorter limitation periods, so do not wait to find out if you or your child has a valid claim.
- How long will the lawsuit last?
If you feel you have a case on behalf of your child, please contact us today. We will first determine the date of the injury and whether or not you are within the appropriate period to file a lawsuit. Usually, if a claim has merit, it will take two (2) to three (3) years to complete from the time you first contact our firm.
- Who is the claim against?
The claim can be against any medical provider who provided substandard care to you or your child that caused injury or damage. This could include for example, obstetricians, midwives, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, family doctors, radiologists, neonatologists, pediatricians or the involved hospital.
- How often with I have to meet with my attorney? Will my child need to be involved?
Your involvement in the legal process will depend on the particulars of your own case, but at a minimum, you can expect to meet with counsel once when you agree to sign the fee agreement and HIPAA forms, once when you decide to file a lawsuit, once to be prepared if you need to go for a deposition, and as often as required if we go to trial. Your child will likely not be required to go to any meetings. However, we may request to meet your child and to videotape him or her in order to depict an accurate portrayal of his or her condition. We try to avoid getting children involved in the legal process. However, in some cases, it is necessary to provide the jury with an accurate portrayal of your child’s injuries and how it affects his or her everyday life, as some involvement is prudent to successfully bring a birth injury claim. Of course, the final decision on this will be up to you.
Dedicated. Respected. Winning.
If you have sustained an injury due to the fault of another, you need personal injury lawyers who are experienced, aggressive, and dedicated to your cause. The right lawyer makes all the difference in obtaining the outcome you deserve.Request Free Consultation