Minneapolis Hyperbilirubinemia & Kernicterus Lawyers
Bilirubin Encephalopathy, or Kernicterus, is a very rare disease almost exclusively found in newborn infants. Bilirubin is a yellowish pigment that is essential to liver functions. If the level is too high (hyperbilirubinemia), the effects are often catastrophic. These effects often include muscle weakness (e.g. the Moro reflex), severe muscle spasms, unusual body position in which the head and heels are bent backward and the body bows forward (opisthotonus), and uncontrollable involuntary muscle movements (spasticity). Frequently, infants with kernicterus develop life-threatening complications.
The tenacious Minneapolis hyperbilirubinemia & kernicterus lawyers at Wais, Vogelstein, Forman, Koch & Norman are committed to maximum compensation in birth injury cases. This commitment begins with a thorough review of your claim. After we identify your legal options, we collect evidence that supports your claim and refutes insurance company defenses. As a result, we are usually able to obtain results that exceed our clients’ expectations.
What Causes Hyperbilirubinemia & Kernicterus?
Frequently, the symptoms of hyperbilirubinemia & kernicterus appear between two and five days after birth. Generally, babies are home with their families by this time. Hospital discharge instructions usually include information about bilirubin encephalopathy.
But, this information is usually buried somewhere in a very long list of instructions. Furthermore, the medical team often does not explain the severity of this condition to parents and caregivers.
Additionally, kernicterus symptoms might not appear for several months. These late onset kernicterus symptoms include hearing loss, developmental delays, impaired muscle coordination (ataxia), abnormal muscle rigidity and muscle spasms (dystonia), and slow, continuous, involuntary, writhing movements in the arms and legs (athetosis).
Usually, both kinds of hyperbilirubinemia occur randomly and without warning. There are almost no known medical or genetic markers. The ransom nature of this disease contributes to the negligence of the medical staff in informing parents and caregivers of the risk.
Evidence in Birth Injury Claims
In court, medical malpractice victims must prove negligence, or a lack of care, by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not.
Direct and indirect medical evidence is absolutely critical in these claims. Direct evidence usually includes the baby’s medical records and associated documents. During the lawsuit process, a Minneapolis hyperbilirubinemia & kernicterus lawyer may arrange for additional medical examinations. Indirect medical evidence usually includes expert testimony about the standard of care and the medical team’s breach of the standard of care.
Eyewitness testimony is usually significant in these cases as well. Something almost mystical happens when disinterested witnesses take the stand and simply tell jurors what they saw.
A different standard of proof sometimes applies in some situations. For example, to obtain additional punitive damages, the victim/plaintiff must prove, by clear and convincing evidence, that the tortfeasor (negligent actor) intentionally disregarded a known risk.
Establishing a claim for damages is not enough. The evidence must be strong enough to refute some common insurance company defenses, such as comparative fault. Insurance company lawyers are not above blaming caregivers and family members for injuries that were the medical team’s responsibility.
Connect with a Diligent Hennepin County Lawyer
Injury victims are usually entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced hyperbilirubinemia & kernicterus lawyer in Minneapolis, contact Wais, Vogelstein, Forman, Koch & Norman LLC by going online or calling 410-567-0800. Virtual, home, and hospital visits are available.