Birth Defect Attorneys
Birth Defect Lawyers in South Carolina
Childbirth continues to carry inherent risks, and despite advances in modern technology and medicine, some birth defects and injuries caused by uncontrollable or natural factors occur. In other cases, when birth defects and injuries are discovered, they are found to be caused by the negligence of a healthcare professional or defective product.
Families rely on their healthcare professionals to follow protocols and meet basic standards of care. Unfortunately, healthcare professionals sometimes fail to use adequate levels of care and skill, leading to life-altering birth defects and injuries.
When birth defects and injuries are caused by medical negligence, the family of the injured may have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. The injured baby and their family may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and various other damages.
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Common Types of Birth Defects
A parent may not even know their child has suffered a defect in many cases until sometime during the first year of their life, but birth defects can be identified before birth or several years after they are born. The defect can be visible to a physician or parent, depending on what type of defect the baby has. Tests or other diagnostic procedures may be required to determine the severity and presence of the defect.
The following are common types of birth defects as reported by the CDC:
Neural Tube Defects (NTD):
An infant’s neural tube affects their brain, spinal cord, or spine. These conditions can be debilitating, and in some cases, life-threatening. Some common examples include spina bifida and anencephaly. Spina bifida affects the bones surrounding an infant’s spinal cord, while anencephaly occurs when an infant is born without parts of the brain or skull. About 3,000 NTD pregnancies occur each year in the United States.
Cleft Palate or Cleft Lip:
These defects occur when an infant’s lip or mouth doesn’t form properly during pregnancy and are known as orofacial clefts. In the United States, it is estimated that 1 in every 1,600 babies is born with cleft lip with cleft palate.
Congenital Heart Defects:
CHDs, or congenital heart defects, affect the function and structure of a baby’s heart and are one of the most common types of birth defects. The CDC estimates that around 40,000 babies are born with this defect each year. These defects are present when the child is born. A quarter of all infants born with congenital heart defects require surgery. There are several different types of CHDs, including ventricular septal defect, transposition of the great arteries, pulmonary atresia, hypoplastic left heart syndrome, atrioventricular septal defect, and atrial septal defect.
Down syndrome results from an infant having an extra chromosome, which can affect how their body or brain develops as they grow older. Children often experience physical and mental difficulties. The CDC reports that 2 out of every 700 infants, or over 6,000 babies, are born with this condition every year.
While the exact cause of most birth defects is still unknown, medical professionals stress that mothers-to-be should be extremely careful about being exposed to certain environmental elements or taking particular medications.
The following environmental toxins have been linked to adverse health effects for babies, including:
- PCBs (banned substance)
- Bisphenol-A (BPA)
Some medications linked to more severe birth defects include:
- ACE inhibitors
- Bismuth subsalicylate (such as Pepto-Bismol)
- Certain nasal decongestants and cold medicines (phenylephrine and pseudoephedrine)
- Drugs used to treat depression, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Isotretinoin (such as Amnesteem and Claravis)
In addition to over-the-counter medications and prescriptions, tobacco and alcohol have also caused birth defects in infants. If you are thinking about becoming pregnant or are already expecting, you need to discuss any medications you are taking with your physician.
Birth Defect Lawsuits in South Carolina
If a child was born with a birth defect due to chemical and toxic exposures at home or work, a lawsuit may be brought on behalf of the infant. Birth defect attorneys are specially trained to investigate the causes of an infant’s birth defect and file a lawsuit against the companies that caused the mother to be exposed to teratogens and various other dangerous chemicals.
Finding the Right Birth Defect Lawyer
When selecting a law firm, you need to look for attorneys who have experience dealing with birth defect cases. They must also have the resources to hold powerful industries accountable for exposing a woman to harmful chemicals that caused their child to develop a birth defect. Our experienced birth defect lawyers at The Eichholz Law Firm are here to help families seek the answers and justice they deserve. We have been representing families in many types of lawsuits for over four decades. Our birth defect lawyers have represented families in a variety of birth defects and birth injury cases.
Our attorneys will review your case at no charge. Once you retain our legal services, we will consult medical and scientific experts, such as occupational medicine physicians, embryologists, geneticists, epidemiologists, and toxicologists.
Working with an Attorney
Some parents may be hesitant to file a birth defect lawsuit because they often feel that a lawsuit would take away valuable time caring for their child. Parents juggle numerous appointments for their child’s daily care, as well as therapy and regular doctor visits. A qualified birth defect attorney will ensure that your lawsuit is stress-free so you can focus more of your time on your infant’s care.
Many birth defect lawyers are willing to accept payment out of the settlement or verdict you are awarded, otherwise known as a contingency fee. What this means is that they will accept payment once you have received your settlement. Families may be entitled to receive substantial compensation for their infant’s birth defect, which could help them with the necessary expenses they will need to care for their child.
Birth defect cases can help families and mothers recover damages for the following:
- Emotional distress, suffering, and pain
- Current, future, or past medical expenses
- Lost wages as a result of caring for a disabled infant/child
- Lost enjoyment or companionship
- Healthcare costs related to counseling, specialized medical equipment, and rehabilitation
The facts of your case and the severity of your infant’s injuries will determine the type of damages you expect to receive in a birth defect lawsuit. A birth defect lawyer can discuss damages with you in greater detail.
How Birth Defect Lawyers Help
Birth defect cases require a dedicated lawyer who is willing to put in the time to resolve your case. They can solve most of the complexities involved in your lawsuit so you can spend more time with your child.
You can expect the following to happen after your lawsuit has been filed:
- Your attorney will ask the defendant to negotiate a settlement to avoid a trial.
- The defendant’s attorney, along with your lawyer, will exchange information related to the case and your infant’s defect.
- You and other witnesses or loved ones may be required to provide testimony or give statements regarding the situation as it pertains to the defect.
- If both sides are unable to negotiate a settlement, the case will head to trial. The dates of the trial will depend on several factors, such as the court’s schedule.
- The judge and jury will review the evidence and hear testimony from both sides during the trial. The jury will then deliberate on whether to charge the defendant with negligence.
Statute of Limitations for Birth Defect Lawsuits
A statute of limitations, by definition, is the time frame associated with making valid legal claims. The statutes of limitation are different based on the cause of action. These include cases that involve debt, crime, and personal injury. If a birth defect claim involves a defective medication or product, there is a two-year statute of limitations in most states. Some states allow only one year to file a claim, while you may have up to ten years to file a claim in other states. If the lawsuit relates to medical malpractice instead of product liability, the statute of limitations may vary (longer or shorter) from state to state. Injury or accident victims will no longer be able to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for any loss or damage after this time period expires.
The statute of limitations for the state of South Carolina is three years for a product liability case or a medical malpractice lawsuit. Some exceptions could extend or shorten a plaintiff’s time limit for filing a case, depending on the circumstances.
Contact a Birth Defect Lawyer
The experienced birth injury lawyers at the Eichholz Law Firm have the experience and resources necessary to investigate your case and determine if medical malpractice or defective products caused your child’s birth defect.
Please seek the advice of a medical professional before making health care decisions.
At the Eichholz Law Firm We Are Lawyers That Care About You
Our clients are at the center of everything we do and our team is focused on delivering results. We are committed to fighting for justice and increased social responsibility in our community.
Our objective is to provide expert legal services in an effort to maximize results for clients who have been injured through the negligence of others.