People who are the victim of someone else’s negligence often have many questions about the legal process. The attorneys at Fodera & Long are available to our clients and will answer any and all questions. We understand that we work for you and will do everything in our power to make you happy.
Some of the questions we hear a lot appear below. Obviously, these are just a few examples, so all of your questions many not be answered. And even if your specific answer is below, you still need to contact us immediately to make sure your rights are protected.
Q: What Is A Personal Injury?
A personal injury is any physical, emotional, or mental injury to a victim due to the carelessness, or negligence, of another. Personal injuries can be caused by a variety of factors, but listed below are the most common sources of personal injuries that lead to litigation:
- Car Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- ATV Accidents
- SEPTA Accidents
- Slip and Fall Accidents
- Medical Mistakes
- Dangerous Products
- Harmful Drugs
- Workers’ Compensation
- Wrongful Death
- Toxic Exposure
Q: Do I Need A Lawyer?
A: If you have suffered a personal injury and are not sure if your injury is serious or if you will recover, then you should contact one of the experienced attorneys at Fodera & Long immediately. Remember, our initial consultation is always free. It is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney before giving any statements to insurance companies or signing any paperwork. Otherwise, you risk severely limiting or completely giving up your rights to adequate compensation.
Q: What Can I Be Compensated For If I Bring A Personal Injury Lawsuit?
If you bring a personal injury lawsuit, and it is deemed that another person was at fault for your injuries, you may recover:
- Pain and Suffering
- Past Medical Expenses and Bills
- Future Medical Expenses and Bills
- Lost Wages
- Lost Future Earning Capacity
- Property Damage
- Partial or Total Disability
- Permanent Injuries or Disfigurements
- Emotional and Mental Trauma
- Loss of Consortium (Loss of Care, Companionship and Affection), and
- Any Other Out-of-Pocket Expenses.
Q: How Much Will It Cost Me To Bring A Personal Injury Lawsuit?
A: At Fodera & Long, we charge a contingency fee for personal injury claims. That means we only get paid when we win for our clients, and our fee is based on a percentage of the total award. Our initial consultation is always free and we will fully explain all of the fees and costs during that consultation. If we do not recover for you, you do not pay us anything.
Q: How Much Time To I Have To File A Personal Injury Lawsuit?
A: Each state has specific laws, called statutes of limitations, when set a time limit on your ability to file a personal injury lawsuit. Generally, the time limit begins to run on the date of your accident, but each state is different and there may be some complex variables that may make your case different. For example, in Pennsylvania, you generally have two years from the date of your accident within which to file a lawsuit. If you wait too long to contact an experienced attorney, like the ones at Fodera & Long, you may be forever barred from bringing a claim to be compensated for your injuries. That is why you should always call as soon as you possibly can.
Q: How Long Will It Take For My Personal Injury Case To Resolve?
A: Clients are always interested in knowing when their case will resolve. Although “the wheels of justice turn slowly,” you can be sure that the attorneys at Fodera & Long will work hard to make sure your case is resolved as soon as possible. Each case is different, so there is no hard-and-fast time to expect your claim to resolve. Some cases resolve quickly, while others do not resolve and go to trial. Whether your claim resolves, and when, is determined by the defendants and their willingness to settle your claim for an adequate amount.
Q: What Is Celebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a brain injury that that causes physical and cognitive disabilities. There are many different types of injuries that can cause cerebral palsy. Some of these injuries may occur during pregnancy or birth. For example, a prolonged labor and delivery can cause a decreased supply of oxygen to the brain (hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy or birth asphyxia) or brain hemorrhages (bleeds). Untreated maternal infection can also cause irreparable brain damage to the child.
A child’s cerebral palsy diagnosis is one of the most devastating diagnoses that a parent can receive. A child who has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy will have lifelong needs.
If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, you should seek the counsel of skilled birth injury lawyers at Fodera & Long as quickly as possible. Cerebral palsy is often the result of birth injuries caused by negligent medical care in the hospital. An experienced attorney and qualified medical experts can determine if your child’s cerebral palsy was the result of medical malpractice and can help you obtain the compensation your child will need for a secure future.
Q: What Is Shoulder Dystocia?
A: Shoulder Dystocia is a well known and documented emergency that can occur during the delivery of a baby. Shoulder Dystocia occurs after delivery of the infant’s head, when the baby’s shoulder gets stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone. If this happens, the remainder of the baby does not follow the head easily out of the vagina and the obstetrician must perform certain maneuvers to deliver the shoulders and body of the infant. Most often Shoulder Dystocia is easily resolved by the skilled and calm obstetrician, without leaving the infant or mother with any resultant injuries. However, there are occasions where injuries are sustained. The most common injury related to Shoulder Dystocia is a Brachial Plexus Injury, such as Cerebral Palsy. Cerebral Palsy caused by Shoulder Dystocia occurs when there is an injury to the Brachial Plexus ( a bundle of nerves running from the spine, through the neck, the armpit region and into the arm) during the delivery. The nerves in the shoulder get stretched, compressed, or torn when the doctor pulls too hard on the baby. As a result of this excessive force, nerve damage may occur, leaving the child with diminished or no muscle control or feeling in the affected arm and hand.
Q: Cerebral Palsy Information
Cerebral Palsy is a condition that can be caused by shoulder dystocia.
Initial symptoms of Cerebral Palsy will likely be a limp or paralyzed arm or lack of muscle control in the arm or hand. Children with Cerebral Palsy generally cannot lift their arm above their head and will have difficulty gripping with the affected hand.
Q: Can Shoulder Dystocia & Cerebral Palsy Be Prevented?
There are some instances of Shoulder Dystocia that cannot be anticipated. However, more often than not, Shoulder Dystocia can be anticipated, prevented or handled without resulting injury. Shoulder Dystocia and resulting Cerebral Palsy can be prevented before the actual delivery by recognizing common risk factors. They are: gestational diabetes, maternal obesity, excessive weight gain during pregnancy, macrosomia (a baby weighing approximately 9 lbs. or more), a previous large baby, a post-term pregnancy and/or having a small pelvis. If there is a high risk of Shoulder Dystocia, a C-section should be recommended. Injury to the baby can be prevented in the presence of Shoulder Dystocia if it is promptly recognized and appropriate steps are promptly and appropriately carried out.
Cerebral Palsy results in a head first vaginal delivery when excessive lateral traction is placed to the baby’s head. In other words, when the baby’s head is pulled sideways by the obstetrician in an attempt to dislodge the trapped shoulder. Once the dystocia occurs, no lateral traction should be applied to the baby’s head. The child can be successfully delivered without applying lateral traction to the head by performing a variety of maneuvers. The foremost recommended maneuver is the McRobert’s maneuver. During this procedure, the mother’s legs are held back in a flexed position. At the same time, pressure is applied to the mother’s lower abdomen, which is called suprapubic pressure. Under no circumstances should pressure be applied to the upper abdomen (i.e. fundal pressure) in the presence of Shoulder Dystocia, as it may cause serious injury to both the mother and the baby. If the McRobert’s maneuver is not successful then there are a number of methods that the doctor can perform to safely rotate the baby and free its shoulders. Almost all deliveries can be successfully resolved without injury to the baby with the proper use of these proven methods where shoulder dystocia occurs.
Q: How Is Cerebral Palsy Treated?
A: The goals for a child with Cerebral Palsy are for them to have at least partial use of the affected arm or hand. There are treatments that can greatly assist the child in improving from Cerebral Palsy. Mild cases of Brachial Plexus injuries can recover in as little as a few months with physical therapy. An occupational or physical therapist may work with your child. The therapist will also help you (the parent) learn to do the exercises. For optimal results parents will need to do the range of motion exercises at home with their children two to three times a day. The more severe cases at a much slower rate, sometimes over years. More severe cases may require invasive treatment. Surgery may help children who do not recover with therapy alone. Electrical stimulation of muscles may also prevent atrophy. Early treatment for these injuries is crucial for optimal recovery. Botox injections and surgery on the affected nerves are also options for children who do not improve from the above less invasive treatments.
Q: What Are Our Legal Rights?
The process of childbirth is extremely complicated and requires a high level of care on the part of doctors and other Labor & Delivery healthcare providers. Childbirth can unpredictable and often times complications can arise. Obstetricians are trained recognize these complications and make quick but prudent decisions to react to problems during childbirth. Unfortunately, the doctors or nurses may make the wrong decision under pressure in the presence of Shoulder Dystocia and that error could cause Cerebral Palsy (Brachial Plexus injury).
However, not all Cerebral Palsy cases are the result of negligence. Sometimes there is little or nothing a doctor can do to prevent a Brachial Plexus injury. Nevertheless, parents should consider the possibility that a doctor may not have done all that is possible to prevent Cerebral Palsy and at least request some form of inquiry.
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