Intellectual disabilities can occur because of birth injuries in a number of ways. If you believe your child’s intellectual disability stems from a birth injury, you may be eligible to hold the doctor or hospital liable in a medical malpractice lawsuit. A birth injury attorney who regularly handles intellectual disabilities can help you pursue damages.
Intellectual Disabilities in Babies and Children Lawsuits & Injury Cases
To hold the doctor or hospital liable for the lifelong disabilities your child lives with because of medical negligence, you need to show how the doctor’s actions led to your child’s injuries. This requires collecting evidence that includes medical records and evaluations of your child’s abilities. In addition, your birth injury attorney can help you enlist the help of a medical expert who will testify to:
- The acceptable standard of care based on the facts of your case
- Whether your doctor upheld this standard of care
- How your doctor’s actions or inaction could have caused your child’s injuries
- Your child’s prognosis
- Ongoing and future care your child may need, including therapy and educational intervention
Many states require you to have a medical expert witness sign an affidavit saying you have a valid medical malpractice case before you can take legal action against the doctor or hospital. There are also deadlines you must meet based on your state’s laws.
If you can prove the doctor or hospital is liable for medical malpractice, you may be able to recover damages for many expenses and losses. This could include:
- Medical care costs
- Therapy costs
- Additional educational expenses
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Pain and suffering damages
- Emotional distress
Intellectual Disabilities in Babies and Children Overview
Children living with intellectual disabilities are affected in a wide range of ways. This type of disability can be mild or severe or anywhere in between. Some can go on to live independently while others need lifelong support with everyday skills—hygiene, routines, communication, and safety.
Intellectual disabilities can cause children to need additional support in school, including early intervention and an individualized education program (IEP). Some children with intellectual disabilities caused by birth injuries also have other impairments that require special attention and care. This could include:
- Cerebral palsy
- Vision loss
- Hearing loss
- Speech and language concerns
Intellectual Disabilities in Babies and Children Causes
While many types of birth injuries and congenital conditions can cause intellectual disabilities, some of the most common include:
- Insufficient oxygen during labor and delivery
- Skull fracture and brain injury during birth
- Extreme prematurity
- Spina bifida
- Neonatal stroke
When it comes to medical malpractice, an intellectual disability may occur because of a head injury, a failure to monitor the mother and baby adequately, or failure to perform an emergency cesarean section (C-section).
Intellectual Disabilities in Babies and Children Symptoms
There are a number of signs of intellectual disability, but many of them do not appear until your child is older. When your child is an infant and toddler, you may notice:
- Sitting up, crawling or walking later than their peers
- Talking later than their peers
As they reach preschool age and begin school, you may notice they fall behind their peers in other ways. This may include:
- Having trouble speaking
- Struggling with social rules
- Problems understanding the consequences of their actions
- Difficulties with solving age-appropriate problems
- Learning delays when compared to their peers
Intellectual Disabilities in Babies and Children Diagnosis and Treatment
While doctors may use IQ tests in older children, they often look at developmental milestones and adaptive behavior in younger children. They can compare these abilities to other children of the same age to determine if your child may have an intellectual disability. Examples include:
- Personal care skills such as toileting, getting dressed, and using utensils to eat
- Age-appropriate communication and social skills
- Following routines and directions
If the doctors believe your child has an intellectual disability, they can prescribe occupational and speech therapy, early intervention, and other options to help your child have the most favorable outcome possible. Many children with intellectual disabilities go to college, have careers, live independently, and have fulfilling lives.
Intellectual Disabilities in Babies and Children Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if my baby or child has intellectual disabilities?
If you notice that your infant, toddler, or preschooler fails to meet milestones and is not able to keep up with the educational and social growth of their peers, you should talk to a trusted doctor about your concerns. Early intervention can make a difference for children with an intellectual disability, so your doctor should request a further evaluation if they agree with your assessment.
Can intellectual disabilities in babies and children be fatal?
Intellectual disabilities are not fatal, but they can cause life-long difficulties for children living with them. Those with severe disabilities may require ongoing care, including assistance for activities of daily living and supervision. Others may live independently, work, marry, and have children.
Who is liable for intellectual disabilities in babies and children?
If your child has an intellectual disability as a result of a birth injury, you may be able to hold the doctor who delivered them or the hospital where they were born liable for their injuries.
What is the statute of limitations for intellectual disabilities in babies and children?
You have a limited time to take legal action against a negligent doctor or hospital who caused your child to suffer an intellectual disability. However, how long you have depends on where your child was born. The statute of limitations, tolling for minors, and the statute of repose in your state will dictate when the deadline is for your case. Your birth injury attorney can explain when you need to act to ensure you do not miss this deadline.
Intellectual Disabilities in Babies and Children Glossary Terms
- What is Developmental Aphasia? Development aphasia is a language impairment that affects speaking, understanding, reading, and writing.
- What is Dyspraxia? Dyspraxia is a condition that affects a child’s physical coordination, making them clumsy and causing them to struggle with daily activities when compared to other children their age.
- What is Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)? Auditory Processing Disorder causes children with this condition to struggle to identify subtle differences between sounds, making talking and understanding speech difficult.
Talk to a Birth Injury Attorney About Intellectual Disabilities in Babies and Children
If your child lives with an intellectual disability following a birth injury, you may be eligible to pursue damages and hold the doctor or hospital liable. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today by dialing 1-800-222-9529. You can connect with a birth injury attorney who handles cases in your state.