The big day arrived, but your child’s birth wasn’t the completely happy occasion you’d hoped for.
Something went wrong, either right before, during or after the birth.
A birth injury can result in a lifelong disability. You may need legal counsel to sort through the details of what happened, and who may be at fault.
Before the legal issues have been decided, you’ll also need to start considering how to care for your child.
Let us help guide you through what can be an overwhelming time for you and your family.
What exactly is wrong?
Understanding the extent of the injury or condition is the first piece of this complicated puzzle. There is more than one condition that can result from a birth injury, such as Erb’s palsy, types of brain damage and possibly Cerebral Palsy.
Some birth injuries result in no long-lasting side effects. Others can leave your child in a wheelchair for life.
And some conditions won’t become apparent until your child has started to grow, and fails to reach predictable milestones.
Getting an accurate and complete diagnosis is important to create a long-term care plan for your child.
Birth Injury Medical treatments
Depending on your child’s diagnosis, there is a range of medical treatments that may be suggested.
With mild injuries, time and medication may be enough to heal things normally.
With more traumatic injuries, anything from physical therapy through surgery may be indicated to repair at least some of the damage.
You’ll need to work with a medical professional to determine the right course for your child’s condition.
Life Care Plan
Once you’ve gotten the diagnosis of your child’s condition and it’s one of moderate to severe disability, the next area to focus on is planning for your child’s care.
But you’re no expert.
And you’ve likely had no preparation for the situation you’ve found yourself in.
Fortunately, there are experts who are trained and skilled in predicting likely outcomes based on your child’s disability, and can work with you to create a Life Care Plan (LCP).
Everything from short-term needs through adulthood can be assessed and included in the plan, which will help you get a better understanding of what you’ll need over your child’s lifetime.
Parts of a Life Care Plan
While each plan is different, just as every child’s condition is different, they may contain similar sections:
- Day-to-day needs – covering the necessities and activities your child’s care requires on a daily basis.
- Medical team – what medical professionals will your child need, now and in the future?
- Education – will your child be able to attend a public school? Or will he or she require more specialized tutoring?
- Medical equipment – things like wheelchairs, retrofitting your house or vehicle, or other specialty equipment.
- Transportation – will your child require special transit?
- Therapy – will your child need therapy for cognitive or emotional development?
- Vocational – can your child be reasonably expected to hold a job as he or she reaches adulthood? If so, what specialty training may be needed to prepare?
- Respite care – as a parent, you’ll likely be your child’s primary caregiver. Caretakers need to be taken care of, too (as the motto goes). Get trained help that can help you when you need it.
- Lost wages – while you’re at home caring for your child, you may be losing income opportunities.
A Life Care Plan is not just a plan, but also a legal document, one your attorney can use if your case involves medical malpractice or negligence.
Paying for long-term care
Another area of concern (as if you don’t have enough already) is how to pay for the treatment and care your child needs.
And not just the care they need, but the kind that they deserve.
In the case of malpractice, your legal team should be able to secure financial compensation for you. There are also other resources that are available:
- Federal – the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) requires that all states in the US provide special education services to children with qualifying disabilities
- Other local and state authorities – there may be grants or scholarships available
- Specialty associations – groups like United Cerebral Palsy offer resources and assistance for your family
- Support groups – not all the help you may need is monetary
Your child’s quality of life
Looking at the more practical concerns, such as medical equipment, is an early requirement of caring for your child if they’ve suffered a moderate to severe birth injury.
You’ll need to make sure you’re also considering the emotional health of your child.
Kids need social interaction to learn soft skills, and to feel that they’re a part of the world, even if their interaction is limited.
Taking your child to church activities, or even to the local library for story time are ways you can keep your child engaged. While they may not be able to participate in group activities as easily, they may make one friend who could make all the difference.
The little things
The big things are taken care of. You’ve gotten crutches, or a wheelchair, or home modifications.
But don’t forget about the little things that could have a big impact:
- A comfy neck pillow or extra soft cushioned grips for the crutches
- Specially-adapted toys that are fun and not purely educational
- Orthotic shoes can’t really be turned into a trendy pair of sneakers, but with some creativity, they can still be fun
- Planned adventures for the whole family to enjoy, even if they’re only short trips
We’re here to help
Your child is likely never far from your thoughts, which can make it difficult to work your way through the myriad of issues you’re facing.
We are effective and thorough at finding ways to help you and your child. Read about our history-making case involving the “maternal forces of labor,” a defense that stood for nearly twenty years.
Call us at (888) 392-3104 or use the online form to contact us today.
Let the Law Offices of Joseph Lichtenstein focus on your case, so you can focus on your child.