The causes of encephalomalacia are different types of trauma to the brain, a cerebral hemorrhage, or a cerebral ischemia. Most times when we encounter encephalomalacia, it was caused by some type of birth injury, either during the labor and delivery of a child, or the treatment shortly thereafter. The usual direct cause of the encephalomalacia is a hypoxic event experienced by the infant, either in utero or shortly thereafter. Hypoxia is when oxygen is not getting to the brain.
The long-term effects can be devastating. Any type of brain injury can result in significant motor and cognitive delays. It can result in different types of infections, and these injuries can have long lasting, permanent effects on children. It’s not uncommon for an infant that experiences encephalomalacia to require 24-hour, seven day a week care for the rest of their life.
What is the Statute of Limitations on a Case involving Encephalomalacia?
Assuming that the injury was caused during labor and delivery or shortly thereafter, an infant has the right, in New York, to bring that case within 10 years. There is a toll to the statute of limitations due to the infant’s age. If it’s an adult that experiences encephalomalacia, as a result of medical malpractice or some other type of traumatic event, then the statute of limitations is going to be shorter. In medical malpractice cases it’s two-and-a-half years from the malpractice, and in negligence cases it is three years from the date of the incident or accident.
What Types of Damages are Recoverable in a Case Like This?
Damages are recoverable in these types of cases, so we make claims for the pain and suffering of the individual, both past and future. We can also file claims for the costs for medical care, past and future, which in these cases can be exorbitant. If you think about all the types of therapies and possibly daily care needed, for the rest of an infant’s life, those damages can be very significant. In certain instances, we can also pursue a claim for the loss of any potential earnings of the infant.
What Components Determine the Viability of a Case like This?
The viability of a claim will depend case to case on what caused the encephalomalacia. In the cases where we usually see it in birth injury medical malpractice, we need to prove that there was a departure by the doctors or the nursing staff from accepted standards of care, and that that departure directly caused the injuries that we are alleging. If the encephalomalacia is caused by a different event, for example the negligence of a construction company to properly give their employee safety equipment, and the worker suffers a brain injury that includes encephalomalacia, we would need to prove that the company had a duty to provide safety equipment, and that their failure to do so caused the injury to the construction worker.