Distinguishing the facts from the myths surrounding birth injuries can be an overwhelming and stressful endeavor for current and future parents alike. No parent enjoys thinking about the thought of something happening to their child—or remembering that something has happened to them—but understanding the facts (and your legal options) can be an immense aid for parents with children affected by birth injuries stemming from medical malpractice.
What causes Cerebral Palsy? Is it too late to file a birth injury claim? Can I prove medical negligence in my claim? Most importantly, how can I seek justice for my child if I cannot afford a lawyer?
We’ve created our Birth Injury Law: Myth & Fact infographic to help answer these questions—and more—as a resource for BILA members’ clients across all of Canada.
Birth Injury Infographic
Birth Injury Law Myth & Fact
Myth: No one knows what causes cerebral palsy.
Fact: A significant number of children are diagnosed with CP each year that were caused by medical negligence and injuries during labour and delivery.
Myth: The only injury a baby can suffer during labour/delivery is cerebral palsy.
Fact: There are a number of injuries babies can suffer that may be caused by medical negligence.
Myth: Shoulder dystocia isn’t something that can be predicted.
Fact: There are a number of risk factors for shoulder dystocia. If you have these risk factors, your doctor should prepare.
Myth: Cerebral palsy cannot be prevented.
Fact: CP can be caused by injuries during labour that can be predicted, anticipated and prevented.
Myth: There isn’t anything I can do if my baby has been injured during labour and delivery.
Fact: An experienced birth injury lawyer can review your medical records and determine if you and your baby may be entitled to compensation.
Myth: If my baby was injured during labour/delivery the effects can be identified immediately.
Fact: Some brain injuries are subtle and the effects may not be diagnosed for days, months, even years after your baby is born.
Myth: My baby was born several years ago. It’s too late to file a claim.
Fact: In most provinces, the time limit for filing a claim for a child doesn’t start to run until the child reaches the age of maturity (18-19 years).
Myth: My baby was just born this way.
Fact: One of the most challenging aspects of birth injury law is to recognize there are many forms of birth injuries with many different causes which can occur at various times.
Myth: It doesn’t seem like there was anything my doctor could have done differently.
Fact: It’s important not to discount the possibility that negligence may be the cause of your child’s injuries. An experienced birth injury lawyer can help you determine, with the assistance of leading medical experts, the cause of your child’s injuries.
Myth: The damage is done, and there’s nothing anyone can do now to make my situation better, so let’s just move on.
Fact: Parents who don’t pursue their child’s rights through the legal system lose the opportunity to receive financial resources and lifetime benefits to pay for, among other things, their child’s past and future medical costs.
Myth: My doctor told me that he did not cause my child’s injuries. I should just believe him because he has many years of experience.
Fact: Just because a doctor has been practicing a long time or refuses to accept responsibility or blames others for what happened to your child doesn’t mean they didn’t make a mistake that may have injured your child.
Myth: Even if my child was injured due to medical negligence, it is probably impossible to prove.
Fact: Birth injury cases can be challenging to prove. Experienced birth injury lawyers have access to medical databases and numerous birth injury medical experts who are capable of providing the testimony to prove a child’s claim.
Myth: Birth injuries are always the result of genetic issues. Birth injuries are the same as birth defects.
Fact: Birth injuries are commonly mistaken for birth defects, but it’s important to know the difference. Birth defects are usually genetic abnormalities that develop before birth. On the other hand, birth injuries are preventable in many cases.
Myth: Birth injuries aren’t very common.
Fact: Although birth injuries are relatively uncommon compared to other types of injuries in Canada, they occur more often than many would think.
Myth: Lawyers are expensive. I cannot afford to hire a lawyer to help my child.
Fact: Most lawyers will not charge you an upfront fee to handle your case.
Myth: “There’s nothing we could do.”
Fact: Some adverse events in hospitals are the result of medical error.
Legal Assistance for Cerebral Palsy and Other Birth Injuries across Canada
With lawyers across Canada specializing in birth injury law, BILA’s access to top legal and medical resources allows our members to provide the highest quality representation and most current information to their clients. After a brief consultation with one of our lawyers, they will help you determine the facts of your birth injury claim, and how to best address your claim with the personnel and facilities responsible for the injuries sustained.
If you or a loved one has suffered from a birth injury caused by medical malpractice, you are fully entitled to receive compensation from the doctors and facilities responsible. Contact us today to speak to a BILA lawyer in your province and discuss the circumstances of your case.
John McKiggan, QC has represented clients in pediatric and adult injury claims that have resulted in multi-million dollar awards. In recognition of his accomplishments, John has been honoured by his peers, who elected him president of the Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyers Association. He has also been named Queen’s Counsel, a designation recognizing exceptional professional merit. John has been selected for inclusion in the Best Lawyers in Canada in the field of personal injury law, he is listed in the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory and has been named a local litigation star by Benchmark Litigation Canada.