Every parent hopes that the doctor they choose to care for them during labor and delivery has the skill, experience, and compassion necessary to ensure a successful birth. Unfortunately, mistakes can occur throughout the labor and delivery process. These mistakes can cause tremendous health consequences for the child, including developmental delays.
A developmental delay occurs when a child fails to reach a specific milestone regarding language, speech, or motor skills. When a pediatrician takes a comprehensive look at these skills and determines that a child falls below the standard benchmarks, it is a sign that they are experiencing developmental delays.
Often, medical mistakes during labor or birth can result in developmental delays for a child in the future. While you can address many of these delays with timely intervention, others can result in lifelong challenges. If your child is facing developmental delays due to medical malpractice, the Birth Injury Lawyers Group can help. Call (800) 222-9529 to schedule your free consultation with a developmental delays lawyer today.
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Warning Signs of Developmental Delays
Developmental delays are fairly common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly one out of every six children, ages 3 through 17, will experience developmental delays. That works out to roughly 17 percent of all children that fall into that age range.
Given how common these delays are, it is important to understand the signs right away. While children develop at different paces, there are a number of signs that could indicate intervention is necessary. When children fail to reach a series of milestones, it may be time to seek additional help.
In general, signs of developmental delays can occur in any important growth areas for a child, including:
- Gross motor skills, like walking, running, throwing, standing, or sitting
- Fine motor skills, like using a spoon, coloring, or dressing themselves
- Cognitive skills, like understanding, reasoning, remembering, or solving problems
- Language skills, like talking or understanding body language
- Social skills, such as cooperating, relating with others, or making new friends
Some of these signs are easier to spot than others. For example, challenges with walking or standing are more obvious than issues with relating to people or building friendships. It is important not to conflate a shy or quiet personality with delays in social development.
Thankfully, you do not have to determine whether your child is experiencing developmental delays on your own. Most children undergo screening for delays by their pediatrician multiple times in their early years. However, any concerns about specific delays are worth mentioning right away.
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Common Causes of Developmental Delays
There are many factors that could come into play in causing a developmental delay. In many cases, these delays are entirely unpreventable. Certain conditions are genetic, meaning there is no course of action that a parent could take to avoid passing them on to their children.
Unfortunately, other causes of developmental delays are completely preventable. Often, these delays result from a medical error during pregnancy, labor, or delivery. Some examples of avoidable causes of developmental delays include:
- Brain injuries during delivery
- Premature delivery
- Maternal drug abuse
- Mercury poisoning
- Birth trauma, including oxygen deprivation
- Infections during pregnancy
- Exposure to toxins during pregnancy
If any of these factors occurred through no fault of your own, you could have a claim for compensation based on your child’s developmental delays. If you are unsure about holding the at-fault medical professional accountable, you can seek the help of a developmental delays lawyer. Reach out to the Birth Injury Lawyers Group as soon as possible to get the guidance you need by calling (800) 222-9529.
Potential Compensation from a Successful Malpractice Claim
Every case involving a developmental delay is unique. The compensation that could be available to your child will depend on both the cause and severity of the developmental delay. Conditions that will persist for the lifetime of your child are likely to require more compensation than those that could be treated with timely intervention. Examples of damages you may seek include:
- Medical costs. Even when medical intervention could address your child’s developmental delays, this treatment is often costly. A successful negligence claim could recoup the cost of this treatment.
- Ongoing care. When developmental delays are a sign of permanent challenges for your child, any day-to-day care could be costly. This could include any form of caretaking that is necessary throughout the child’s life.
- Academic support. Children that ultimately recover from their developmental delays often need additional academic support to keep up with their peers. Your legal claim could recover damages for the cost of this academic support.
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When to File a Medical Malpractice Suit
As the parent of a child suffering from medical negligence, you have the right to pursue legal action on their behalf. Although you likely have a much longer window of time to pursue this legal action compared to other negligence claims, there is a deadline that applies to filing a lawsuit in these cases.
The statute of limitations varies from state to state. Your attorney can advise you on the amount of time you have to pursue legal action. In some jurisdictions, your child could retain the right to file until they reach adulthood. In other states, your window for proceeding with a lawsuit could be much shorter. Never assume you have ample time to move forward with a lawsuit. Discuss your options with an attorney as soon as possible.
Your Child Could Recover Compensation When Negligence Causes Developmental Delays
If your child is suffering from developmental delays, they could have a long road ahead of them. Even if addressing these delays is possible through timely medical intervention, that process is rarely easy.
The good news is that a successful negligence claim could help you recover the compensation you need to address your child’s developmental delays. To learn more about your legal options, speak with a developmental delays lawyer right away. Call (800) 222-9529 to schedule your free consultation with the Birth Injury Lawyers Group.