Tennessee Birth Injury Lawyers | Nashville Obstetric Malpractice Attorneys | Cerebral Palsy | Shoulder Dystocia
David Randolph Smith
David Randolph Smith Edmund J. Schmidt III
Phone:(615) 742-1775
Toll-Free:(800) 394-2119
Fax: (615) 742-1223

Nashville Birth Injury Lawyer

Tennessee Birth Injury Attorneys

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Medical malpractice can cause serious birth injuries (e.g. cerebral palsy and brain damage, shoulder dystocia) from trauma and deprivation of oxygen during labor. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has published a position paper that attempts to set forth criteria for brain injury caused by birth trauma. The report acknowledges that certain intrapartum events can cause cerebral palsy.

Families facing a lifetime of care for a profoundly challenged infant need legal counsel on whether there is a case and, if so, how to successfully bring the suit and provide a life care plan for the future.

Our firm has tried (and settled) a significant number of birth trauma and cerebral palsy cases that have resulted in million and multi-million dollar settlements -- often with structured settlements and special needs trusts to ensure that Medicaid and Social Security benefits remain in place.

To evaluate birth trauma cases we have prepared a questionnaire for download: Birth Trauma Client Questionnaire:

David Randolph Smith of Nashville, Tennessee is one of only ten attorneys in the State of Tennessee certified as a Medical Malpractice Specialist by the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization. There are over 13,000 attorneys in Tennessee.

The firm has handled a number of landmark Tennessee Supreme Court medical malpractice cases cases for the plaintiff including:

Jordan v. Baptist Three Rivers Hospital, 984 S.W.2d 593 (Tenn. 1999) which changed 100 years of Tennessee wrongful death law by recognizing the right to recover damages for the loss of the deceased's love, affection, companionship and consortium;
Ashe v. Radiation Oncology Associates, 9 S.W. 3d 119 (Tenn. 1999) establishing causation standard in medical malpractice informed consent cases;
Foley v. St. Thomas Hosp., 906 SW2d 448, 453 (Tenn. 1995) establishing rights of next of kin in autopsy cases;
Recently the firm successfuly clarified the law on qualification of medical experts under Tennessee's medical malpractice locality rule in Travis v. Ferraraccio (Tenn. Ct. App., Sept. 19, 2005).
The firm has obtained millions of dollars in settlements and judgments in medical malpractice cases in Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri and Louisiana.

Cerebral Palsy Information

Cerebral palsy is a permanent, non-progressive condition caused by damage to the cerebrum, the largest area of the brain, where movement is controlled. The most common symptoms of cerebral palsy include difficulty moving and controlling various muscles. This may result in problems walking, using the arms or hands, speaking, swallowing, breathing, hearing, seeing, and learning. Seizures may also occur in some cases. There are four types of cerebral palsy: spastic cerebral palsy (the most common, it involves stiff, contracted muscles in one to four limbs), ataxic cerebral palsy (creates problems with balance, depth perception, and fine motor skills), athetoid cerebral palsy (includes uncontrolled movements in arms, hands, legs, feet, face, mouth, or tongue), and mixed cerebral palsy (means two or more types are found in the same individual).

Causes of cerebral palsy may occur during pregnancy, during the birth process, or after a child is born. Lack of oxygen to the brain, trauma to the baby's head, and certain infections are possible causes of cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is sometimes a result of a medical mistake or miscalculation. For example, the baby may move into an improper position that makes a caesarian-section necessary during the birthing process. If the doctor does not recognize or respond to the situation early enough, the baby's oxygen supply may be inadequate and cerebral palsy may result. Unfortunately, medical errors are sometimes due to medical negligence or medical malpractice. If you are a victim of medical malpractice or medical negligence and need the assistance of a leading medical malpractice lawyer, contact us today

Medical Malpractice Information

Medical malpractice can result from an action taken by the medical practitioner, or by the failure to take a medically appropriate action. Examples of medical malpractice include: misdiagnosis of, or failure to diagnose, a disease or medical condition;failure to provide appropriate treatment for a medical condition;unreasonable delay in treating a diagnosed medical condition.

Medical malpractice actions can be brought by the injured patient against any responsible licensed health care provider, including doctors, counselors, psychologists and psychotherapists.

Limits on Malpractice Damages
Tennessee does not limit damages in medical malpractice cases.

Collateral Source Rule
Under a traditional collateral source rule, a defendant may not seek to reduce its liability by introducing evidence that the plaintiff has received compensation from other sources, such as the plaintiff's own insurance coverage. In Tennessee there is a mandatory offset, except for private insurance or for assets purchased by the plaintiff.

Rules for Expert Witnesses
Expert witnesses must be licensed in Tennessee or in a contiguous state, and must have been in practice for at least one year prior to the date of the plaintiff's injury.

Statute of Limitations
Under Tennessee law, medical malpractice actions must be commenced within one year of the date of the injury or discovery of injury but in no event more than three years from the date of the accident or occurrence (except in the case of foreign objects or fraudulent concealment).

Limits on Attorney Fees
Contingent attorney fees are limited to 1/3 of the recovery.

Additional Rules
Tennessee law provides for voluntary arbitration.

Why Use A Malpractice Lawyer
Medical malpractice law is a highly technical field of law, and malpractice lawsuits tend to be fiercely defended by well-funded defense firms. Medical malpractice lawsuits can be exceptionally expensive to pursue, with costs often exceeding $50,000.00. Due to the technical skills involved in prosecuting a malpractice claim, the possibility that an inexperienced lawyer may not be sufficiently conversant with the medical issues, or might make a technical error which causes a case to be lost or dismissed, and the very high costs the malpractice law firm typically must advance, an injured patient is very well served by going with a specialist firm.

Where Can I Obtain More Information?

Breaking News

January 1, 2011. Two years of litigation achieved a $7.5 million settlement in a birth injury lawsuit initiated by the grandparents of a child born with cerebral palsy. Advocate Health and Hospitals Corp. will pay $7.5 million to the grandparents of a 9-year-old girl who was disabled as the result of alleged medical malpractice during her August 2002 birth at Christ Medical Center. (Link).

As with many birth injury lawsuits, the allegations of medical malpractice centered around the delay of hospital staff and treating physicians had with respect to taking action upon learning of the potential dangers facing the baby. The delay in responding to signs of fetal distress was blamed for oxygen deprivation and ensuing complications including brain damage and cerebral palsy.

Now, 9-years-old, and with significant care-related needs, the funds from the settlement can be used to provide for the extensive skilled-care needs that this child will need for the remainder of her life. In addition to the care, some of the funds will likely be used to modify the child's home to make it more accommodating for specialized physical needs such a wheelchair access.

Significant Settlements For Birth Injury Cases:

While settlements such as this are indeed eye-popping for their significance, it is important to remember that the funds from the settlement of birth injury lawsuit are intended to provide for the needs of these children for the remainder of their lives. In the case of a child with cerebral palsy, many physicians will opine that these children will have a normal life expectancy --- similar other children their age.

Additionally, in situations involving funds awarded to children in cerebral palsy or other types of birth injury cases, the funds are customarily put into a trust or other type of restrictive account where a only a parent or guardian can access the funds for the direct needs of the child.

Many times, a judge oversees the administration of the funds to further protect the child from improper acts of a third-party--- and to assure that the funds last protect the needs of the child in the future. Usually, an annual accounting is ordered to be filed with the court where all expenditures and trust income is accounted for in order to detect any issues as quickly as feasible.

Further distinguishing funds set-aside for a child's birth injury, is how the funds are to be invested. Unlike accounts used for investment and growth, accounts established for special needs children are intended to utilize extremely conservative--- and inherently safer--- types of investment vehicles to further assure the needs of the child can be provided for in the future regardless of the overall economic volatility.

Copyright 2005 Law Offices of David Randolph Smith & Associates.
All rights reserved.
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Last updated: 1/1/12