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Virginia Birth Injury Lawyer

 


Unfortunately, complications during birth are common. Even with the help of modern medicine, many deliveries don’t go as planned and the most skilled professionals can make mistakes or become careless. What might seem like a small error can have life-changing consequences.

If you suspect your baby has incurred a brain injury by a medical professional’s negligence, we are truly sorry. We understand how difficult this time can be for your family and want to be sure you know your rights. 

Birth injuries in Virginia are one of the leading causes of medical malpractice lawsuits against hospitals and other medical providers. The birth of a child is a very stressful time. Although childbirth in the United States is a much safer process than a century ago things can and do go wrong.

There are many types of birth injury. While birth injuries can be temporary, they may also be permanent and last a lifetime.

Birth injuries are not always apparent from the outset. The severity of the symptoms will vary from child to child. On occasions, a birth injury may not become apparent until a child is enrolled in a school and starts to demonstrate developmental difficulties.

When a child suffers from a birth injury, the parents may have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against a hospital. It is often a challenge finding out what really happened in the delivery room. An experienced Virginia birth injury lawyer can investigate the circumstances and hold medical professionals to account.

Types of Birth Injury Associated with Medical Negligence

 

Brachial Plexus Injuries (BPI)

 

Infants who suffer brachial plexus injuries suffer from damage to a bundle of nerves that start in the upper spine and are connected to the shoulder, neck, arm, and hand. 

 

Damage to these nerves ranges from mild and temporary to severe and permanent. One in 10 cases leaves the child with a permanent disability. 

 

This injury ranges from neuropraxia – stretching of the nerve – in its mildest form to neuroma a condition entailing a tear to the nerve that does not heal.

 

At its most serious, brachial plexus causes an avulsion in which the nerve roots are totally dislodged from the spine, creating complete paralysis in the child.

 

Erb’s Palsy

 

Erb’s palsy is a common type of brachial plexus which affects the nerves of the baby’s upper arm usually after a birth injury. Infants who suffer from Erb’s palsy may experience a loss of feeling and weakness in the affected areas. In severe cases, infants may be afflicted with total paralysis of the affected arm.

 

Klumpke’s Palsy

 

Klumpke’s palsy is another form of brachial plexus. A birth injury can damage the lower nerves in the infant’s arm, affecting the wrists, arms, and fingers. Often an infant diagnosed with Klumpke’s palsy suffers total paralysis of the affected area. The hand usually takes on a permanent, claw-like shape.

 

Shoulder Dystocia

 

Shoulder dystocia is rare, occurring in about 1 percent of pregnancies. Complications can be extremely severe. Shoulder dystocia occurs when the infant’s head and shoulders become trapped behind the mother’s pelvic bone during delivery. This is an extremely dangerous birth injury. The mother may face hemorrhaging and uterine rupture. The baby can suffer breathing difficulties, a collarbone fracture, cerebral palsy, a brachial plexus fracture, and death in some circumstances.

 

Brain-Related Birth Injuries

 

Birth injuries related to a child’s brain can be very serious and fatal. They are often caused by oxygen deprivation and include anoxia, hypoxia, birth asphyxia, and perinatal asphyxia.

A reduction of the oxygen supply to the infant’s brain may cause Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE), a brain dysfunction caused by the deprivation of oxygen to the brain and other organs.

When a brain is deprived of oxygen, it can react in many different ways. Brain ischemia occurs when the brain suffers oxygen depletion. It reacts by draining the blood from the brain. Excessive blood to the brain can cause a brain hemorrhage.

Other infections such as jaundice, Group B strep infection, or meningitis can cause a brain injury by disrupting the electrical communications between the spine and the brain.

Cerebral palsy is the most common birth injury that affects the brain of the infant.

 Cerebral palsy can be caused by a brain malfunction in the fetus. Medical malpractice during the delivery is another significant cause.

Serious medical errors at birth include leaving a baby in the birth canal for too long, the failure to recognize or treat seizures, a doctor or midwife’s failure to detect a prolapsed cord, and improper use of forceps or vacuum extraction during the delivery. A failure to treat a maternal infection can also lead to cerebral palsy.

Pregnancy-Related Infections

 

Group B strep infections or meningitis can be carried in the woman’s vagina without her realizing it. As many as a quarter of all women harbor these infections.

 

Children can catch these infections in their passage through the birth canal where these infections are stored. Anemia, folic acid deficiencies, and spina bifida can develop during pregnancy. Although these birth injuries are not caused by medical malpractice, doctors are responsible for testing for them and taking action if they are diagnosed.

 

Medical professionals should also be looking out for symptoms of meconium aspiration syndrome, a condition in which the infant breathes meconium from his or her defecation in the uterus, causing breathing problems.

 

Injuries Associated with Delivery

 

Often birth injuries are directly linked to mistakes and missteps in the delivery room. Tools invented to make a delivery easier like forceps or a vacuum extractor can lead to fractures in an infant’s soft skull, lacerations or broken bones.

 

An infant may also suffer stress or hypertension from a clumsy or protracted birth.

 

Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn

 

Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) is often linked to drugs given to the mother during childbirth. This condition is defined as the failure of the normal circulatory transition after birth. The syndrome is characterized by marked pulmonary hypertension. PPHN is often the result of medical negligence.

 

Certain drugs such as Zoloft, Celexa, and Paxil cause a spike in blood pressure during childbirth and can place stress on the infant.

 

Medical Malpractice Claims Arising from Birth Injuries

 

Doctors and hospitals can be sued over birth injuries for a number of reasons including:

 

  • Improper use of birth-assisting tools like forceps
  • Failing to treat fetal distress in a timely manner
  • Delaying or failing to perform an emergency cesarean section (C-section)
  • Failure to prevent preeclampsia
  • Failing to monitor and control oxygen intake causing brain injuries
  • Improper administration of medication
  • Failure to treat and diagnose maternal diabetes
  • Failure to diagnose maternal infections like Group B strep

 

Virginia Birth Injuries Law Firm

 

The Smith Law Center has been helping the injured since 1949 and has secured more than $1 billion in verdicts and settlements. We file medical malpractice suits against doctors and hospitals that have harmed mothers and caused birth defects in babies. Please call us at (757) 244-7000.

 

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If you or a relative had a severe reaction to military housing mold, it might be time to talk with a toxic mold lawyer. Mold is everywhere, and can be dangerous. Researchers have linked mold to serious respiratory illnesses in some individuals.

Smith Law Center may be able to help if a property owner failed to keep you safe from mold in your military housing. We are one of Virginia’s oldest and most successful firms. We know how to hold negligent property owners responsible, especially when the military is involved.

Call us at (757) 244-700 or contact us online to set up a free consultation. There’s no fee for learning more about Virginia mold laws, your rights, and your legal options.

Mold in Military Housing

Black mold in military housing became widely known when Reuters published an investigation in 2018. Since then, the Department of Defense and the housing providers were supposed to take steps to improve the situation.

Unfortunately, a 2020 audit by the DoD Office of Inspector General found many issues, including the need for mold remediation, still persist.

Monetary Awards in Military Housing Toxic Mold Cases

If the property owner lets toxic mold run wild and continue to cause you harm, talk with our toxic mold attorneys about filing a lawsuit.

You may receive financial compensation for:

Service members and their families do not receive different types of damages than civilians. These are civil lawsuits in traditional courts of law.

Military Housing Mold Toxicity Symptoms

The Institute of Medicine discovered there was evidence connecting exposure to indoor mold with:

  • Upper respiratory tract symptoms;
  • Coughing;
  • Wheezing;
  • Asthma symptoms in individuals with asthma; and
  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals with weak immune systems.

There is also limited evidence that mold causes respiratory illnesses in healthy children or causes people to develop asthma.

Understanding Exposure to Toxic Mold in Military Housing

The topic of toxic mold is complicated. This Is in part because the term “toxic mold” isn’t accurate. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains mold isn’t toxic or poisonous. However, some molds are toxigenic, which means they produce toxins called mycotoxins.

Mold is common in military housing because it’ll grow anywhere there’s moisture. That includes on and inside walls, carpet, upholstery, wallpaper, and heating and air conditioning systems. This is especially pronounced in humid conditions such as those present in Virginia.

Some people have no difficulties around mold, even large infestations in their homes. Other individuals are sensitive to molds, including those that produce mycotoxins. Someone can have a severe reaction when exposed to a large amount of mold indoors.

People may be more likely to experience mold toxicity symptoms if they have:

  • Allergies,
  • An underlying lung disease,
  • Immune suppression,
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder,
  • Asthma, or
  • Another chronic respiratory disease.

Common Types of Military Housing Mold

When you’re trying to learn more from the CDC and other resources, you’ll see the word “fungus” a lot. Mold is a type of fungus, which is something that exists all around us. Fungi are living organisms different from animals, plants, and bacteria. There are over 200,000 types of fungi and over 100,000 types of molds.

If you discovered mold in your military housing, it could be Cladosporium, Penicillium, Stachybotrys chartarum, Aspergillus, or many other types. Stachybotrys is what everyone knows as black mold. Aspergillus is a common indoor fungus, which releases mycotoxins and can cause illness. Your symptoms may resemble common allergy or asthma symptoms.

Who is Liable for Military Housing Mold?

Since 1996, most military housing has come under the management of private companies:

  • Belfour Beatty Communities: Fort Eustis and Fort Story/li>
  • Lincoln Military Housing: Dahlgren, Little Creek, Naval Station Norfolk, Northwest Annex, Oceana, Portsmouth, Quantico, and Yorktown/li>
  • Hunt Military Communities: Fort Lee and Langley AFB

Outside of Virginia, Lendlease and Corvias Military Living are two more housing providers. Together, these five companies formed the Military Housing Association.

Military families living in on-base housing must take their complaints to their private management company — not the military. The company is responsible for providing habitable conditions and making repairs, including mold remediation.

If you’re unsure about your rights, review your state law and local ordinances about mold. In general, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to provide a habitable unit, which means it has to be safe to live in. A unit isn’t safe if it’s causing a tenant health issues due to mold.

The Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act requires landlords to disclose if there’s mold in the written report of the move-in inspection. If a tenant discovers visible mold in the unit, then the Act requires the landlord to remove the mold and relocate the tenant until it’s gone at no additional cost to the tenant.

Unfortunately, many families find their housing providers aren’t receptive to complaints. Attorney Stephen M. Smith has handled many mold lawsuits against military housing providers who fail to abide by their lease terms and the law when it comes to mold remediation and other hazards.

Other Hazards in Military Housing

Many service members and their families deal with uncomfortable, if not hazardous, conditions in privatized military housing, including:

Lead Paint: Lead-based paint can cause headaches, nausea, fatigue, irritability, behavioral problems, learning disabilities, seizures, organ damage, and in extreme cases, death.

Asbestos: Exposure to asbestos harms a person’s lungs, and can lead to lung fibrosis (scarring), lung cancer, and mesothelioma.

Radon: Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. It naturally forms underground, however cracks and gaps in buildings lead to over-exposure indoors.

Poor Water Quality: Dozens of military sites have water with detectable levels of harmful chemicals.

Other issues involve rodent or insect infestations, pesticides, and faulty electrical wiring.

What Happens When a Lot of People Get Sick?

Sometimes mold exposure impacts a single individual or family. However, when the mold spreads throughout military housing, it can impact hundreds or thousands of people.

Occasionally, a large enough group of people are injured to allow for a class action or mass tort lawsuit. A class action lawsuit is one where a class representative acts as the plaintiff on behalf of the group of hurt individuals. Not every victim participates in the lawsuit. There are rules about when a group is big and similar enough to create a class action.

Mass tort lawsuits are different. When there are fewer plaintiffs who have their own set of circumstances, each person files a lawsuit. For efficiency’s sake, one or a couple of law firms may represent most plaintiffs, and the lawsuits are consolidated in a federal court.

Call the Military Housing Mold Lawyers at Smith Law Center for Help Right Away

Mold cases come about in a few ways. You or a loved one may start getting sick, and after weeks or months of struggling to find answers, you finally realize your military housing has a mold infestation. In other cases, you struggle with visible mold and then become ill.

Once you connect the illness with the mold, it’s time to talk with a toxic mold lawyer. Reaching out to an attorney early helps you build a strong compensation claim. We know how to collect evidence, identify who is liable, and craft a successful argument for a settlement or court award.

Attorney Stephen M. Smith has decades of experience handling injury claims and has been internationally recognized for his work. He has litigated cases involving catastrophic injuries and complex legal and scientific issues. In 2019, he was inducted into the Virginia Lawyers Hall of Fame.

You’re in good hands when you come to Smith Law Center for help. Reach out online or call (757) 244-7000 to schedule your 100% free consultation.

Military Housing Mold Lawsuits: FAQs

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DELIVERING RESULTS SINCE 1949

We are one of Virginia’s largest and most successful law firms.

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU - Tablet View

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU


Use the simple form below to send a message directly to our lawyers. We will respond within 1 hour or less during business hours.
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