Select Page

Infant Brain Damage & Hypoxic Brain Injury

If your child has infant brain damage or hypoxic brain injury, we can arrange for a highly experienced birth injury lawyer in Halifax


Some of very significant complications can happen during childbirth and, as a result, some children incur traumatic brain injuries. These brain injuries can lead to conditions including cerebral palsy and hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), which cause significant complications and difficulties in the child’s life. The symptoms of cerebral palsy include difficulty walking, seizure, learning disabilities, a lack of muscle control, and vision issues. The symptoms/effects of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy similarly include developmental delays, epilepsy, cognitive difficulties, delays in developing motor skills, and delay in neurological development.

There are several reasons why infants may be deprived of oxygen or incur trauma to their brain during the process of childbirth. These include:

  • issues relating to the position of the umbilical cord;
  • problems with the mother’s blood pressure;
  • the placenta prematurely detaching from the uterus;
  • the infant becoming stuck in the birth canal;
  • c-section delayed or improperly carried out; and
  • use of medical tools and devices during childbirth.

While many of these can be naturally-occurring problems, and are not necessarily caused by medical malpractice, the treating physician must monitor for indications of these problems. The treating physician must also take proper care to remedy the problems in accordance with their knowledge, training, and standard medical practice.

If cerebral palsy or HIE is properly screened and diagnosed right away, referrals for developmental and medical evaluations and early intervention or early childhood services can be impactful. Certain therapies (e.g., hypothermia therapy within the first 6 hours of age for moderate-to-severe diagnosed HIE in newborns who are ≥  36 weeks gestation) have been shown to improve neurodevelopmental outcomes and lessened the severity and extent of cerebral injury on magnetic resonance imaging.

Newborns are the most vulnerable patients in our medical system, and require the attention of skilled medical professionals to monitor their health and to intervene when issues arise.

Infant brain damage arising from medical negligence can happen from:

  • Improper use of delivery instruments causing trauma to the infant’s head (possible with forceps extraction injury).
  • Prolonged labor where the brain is compressed in the birth canal.
  • Difficult labor in which the infant’s oxygen supply has been compromised.
  • Not detecting infections during pregnancy.
  • Drugs or surgery causing adverse effects.
  • Neglecting proper fetal heart rate monitoring.
  • Not performing a medically advisable cesarean section.
  • Not detecting issues with the umbilical cord.
  • Ignoring or not treating severe jaundice in the newborn.

Infant brain damage is typically diagnosed by observing the telltale symptoms along with either an MRI or a CT head scan. Wile in some cases, the damage may be immediately apparent, in others assessing the extent of brain damage caused by infection, trauma at birth, or other conditions may not be possible until the child ages and either does not meet certain developmental milestones, or is compared at school age with his or her peers.

Medical malpractice cases, particularly involving neurological damage, are complex and require legal expertise. The Medical Malpractice team at Wagners is experienced and provides compassionate and quality representation to patients who have been harmed by medical negligence throughout Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.

If you or a loved one has experienced inadequate or substandard medical care that has led to serious harm, contact Wagners to discuss your legal options.

Are there Grounds for a Malpractice Lawsuit?

Succeeding in a claim for malpractice requires the plaintiff to prove, on a balance of probabilities (in other words, more than 50 percent likely), that the treating physician was negligent in his or her care and decision-making. This requires showing that the doctor breached the standard of care. The standard of care is defined by the opinion of experts in the field as to what should have been done in the circumstances, or the “industry standard.” The plaintiff must also show that the specific alleged breach of the standard of care was causal of the infant’s brain injury.

What is considered proper medical treatment in accordance with industry standard can often be a very difficult question, as can navigating the facts surrounding which of the doctor’s actions, if any, actually caused the infant’s brain injury.

How a Lawyer Can Help

Lawyers specializing in birth injuries are well-suited to recognize where a case can be made that a doctor used bad judgment, and show how his or her behaviour departed from the industry standard. While doctors are often well-represented, and there may be disagreement between experts as to the propriety of a doctor’s conduct, a settlement may be reached in appropriate cases, short of taking the matter through a lengthy, expensive trial.

In cases of serious disagreement regarding liability or the appropriate amount of compensation, a trial may be necessary. Even if a trial is scheduled, a settlement may be reached at any point in the time period ahead.

Settlements in Infant Brain Trauma Malpractice Lawsuits

It should be noted that where a child is the plaintiff in a lawsuit, and his or her wellbeing is therefore at stake, there are laws in place to ensure that a settlement is fair and just. The child and his or her family’s lawyer must submit information about the facts of the case and the proposed settlement to the court for approval. A judge will read the written submissions and hear the lawyers’ submissions to ensure that the settlement is fair and non-prejudicial to the child, and that the amount allocated to the parents, if any, is also fair and just. Below are a couple examples of court-approved settlements in infant brain injury cases:

An example of a court-approved settlement in an infant brain injury case is that of  Saulnier v. Tynski, 2009 NSSC 262 (CanLII). In this case the plaintiff, represented by Raymond F. Wagner, claimed cerebral palsy was caused by malpractice at birth. The medical experts disagreed as to whether the doctor’s conduct amounted to a professional error. However, a settlement was reached that at least to some extent accounted not only for the child’s suffering, but also for practical expenses incurred by the parents in the course of raising a child with cerebral palsy. The court approved the settlement that the plaintiff and defence agreed to.

In Wade v. Burrell, 2011 NSSC 60 (CanLII), the court approved of a settlement exceeding $1.4 million in a case of malpractice causing cerebral palsy at birth. In that case, the lawyer’s fees were at issue, and were reduced by the court in accordance with the principles of fairness. The court recognizes that while lawyers must be fairly compensated for their diligent work in prosecuting a case, larger settlements may require a second look at a lawyer’s contingency fee arrangement.

The public can rest assured knowing that in these sensitive cases involving infants and children, the court has the ability to ensure that both the settlement and the lawyer’s fees are reasonable and that the infant or child is fairly compensated in the circumstances.

Contact Wagners for a Birth Injury Lawyer in Halifax, Nova Scotia

At Wagners, medical malpractice claims are taken very seriously. If your child has infant brain damage or hypoxic brain injury, we can arrange for a highly experienced birth injury lawyer in Halifax or a brain injury lawyer in Halifax to assist you. Call us to arrange your free consultation at 1-800-465-8794.


I can’t Thank Wagners Law firm enough for all they did for me there kindness and devotion is above more then I could have ever imagined they got me what I deserved I would recommend Wagners to anyone Thanks so much Lisa and associatesread more
Steven Smith
08:27 25 May 19
An online search led me to Wagners Law Firm at a point in my life where I needed help. Best decision of my life.  The staff here are second to none. My medical malpractice was made so much easier with the Knowledge and professionalism of Ray Wagner and Kate Boyle. I highly recommend this firm for their dedication and especially for making you feel at ease with the entire more
A. Belliveau
02:23 04 Mar 19
I had originally made an error in judgement re my enquiry.. Mr. Wagner took his valuable time to explain a complex issue to me, as did the office manager. Of all the lawyers I dealt with, these people have been the most honest and upfront. I would truly recommend Ray Wagner for his knowledge and more
Maxine Snow
15:09 27 Feb 19
On the recommendation of a friend I hired Wagners law firm to work on a three and a half year,vehicle settlement claim. We were informed that the medical claim section was closed!Wagners team of legal experts had my case reopened within a short period of time.I was amazed at the high degree of excellence this task was carried out.I have no doubt that the justice system of Nova Scotia is being served through the merit and endeavours of the Wagner law more
Kathleen Carter Steeves
20:20 26 Feb 19
Wagner's is the best Law Firm I have dealt with, Lisa Wagner and her Assistant, Kelly Wasson, could not have treated me better. Their professionalism was impeccable. I was treated with the most kindness and respect. Whenever I had a question I was given an answer within that day. I was always kept up to date on my file and felt very comfortable in the way they took care of me. I wish to extend my utmost appreciation for all they have done and would recommend them to everyone. Thank you again, Lisa and Kellyread more
Bert Rose
19:16 22 Feb 19
I am very grateful to Wagners Law Firm. Wagners lawyers treat me with respect. I’m so very thankful to Wagners. They are kind and respectable people. I could not find a better law firm than Wagners. I highly recommend them to anyone who needs a personal injury lawyer. Knowing Wagners is there to defend me has given me hope and security. Wagners is the best.-A. Christine Littleread more
A. Christine Little
02:09 18 Feb 19
I could not have made a better choice for representation in my personal injury case.The team at Wagners are very thorough, experienced and experts in their field of practice.Throughout the process, I was always kept up to date and they always took the time to explain what was entailed in the process and the timeline for such cases.In particular I would like to thank Loreatha Boehner for her expert counsel and negotiating skills and bringing my case to a successful more
L. Michalik
15:29 05 Feb 19
5 years ago Ray was recommended to me. I contacted him and he took my medical malpractice case on. Although I was in Cape Breton, Ray met with me on several occasions. He was very professional and the staff took care of me in an excellent way throughout the entire process.When you get hurt in a catastrophic way like I did, taking on legal action is very scary. The process of medical malpractice litigation can be very draining and disturbing to a person. The legal process was very unknown to me. I believe there should be more people like Ray, Kate and Krizia. They went above and beyond. Ray has a great sense of responsibility to his clients.I only saw parts of the legal process but I know they make it a lot easier for people. I am overwhelmed by the kindness and patience of Ray and his entire more
Wayne Rennie
01:10 30 Jan 19
I can give your firm a 5 for satisfaction. I was very pleased in all communication and your professionalism getting to a settlementread more
Victor Blackwood
07:58 15 Jan 19
After my accident I was getting nothing but a run around from my insurance company, that is if I could actually get them to answer an email or return a phone call.  I was getting so frustrated that I would just break down and cry.  My father in-law told me it was time for a lawyer. I don't know why I didn't think of it.  Oh wait I do, my insurance company told me that they would take care of me.  Lie number one, they also told me they wanted to take care of everything as quickly as possible so that my life wouldn't be that disrupted. Lie number 2. I did my homework to find someone who would best represent me.  I contacted Wagner law threw their live chat, thank god for live chat because I was in bed in a lot of pain and found it hard to sit and even talk on a phone. they paired me with a member of their firm right away.  I think my lawyer Lisa Wagner was sent from god himself.  I had a lot of questions and she answered every one of them for me and also advised me on a lot of things I didn't know of.  Its because of her i got into see all the right medical professionals and finally started on the road to recovery.  It was a long hard battle but Lisa helped me threw it all.  She was amazing, caring and I truly felt her compassion for me and what I was going threw.  We only met face to face a few times, due to living in different province's, every time we did it was like sitting with an old friend. I would and do recommend Wagner Law to everyone I hear may need a Lawyer and tell all my friends and family if they ever need a lawyer to contact Wagner's. The most stars I'm able to give them is 5 but i think they deserve a 10. Thank you all for everything you have done to help me and my family.  We truly couldn't have got threw this without more
Joanne R
05:57 15 Jan 19
Wagners walked me through every step and took the time to explain all the legal information to where I could understand. I would have and will recommend again in the future! Thank you for all that you have done and I am finally able to move forward from that chapter of my life!!!read more
Bobby Campbell
02:03 15 Jan 19
Dyana was so kind to help me and respond to my query within 24h even though they do not pursue the specific class action I was looking for. She sent me few links by email. Thank you more
Sam M
16:11 19 Jan 18
I have dealt with Wagner and Associates over the years and have received great advice,support and results . Their team is very respectful and show they care. You can trust them to take care of you and they always have your best interest in hand. I would definetly recommend them .read more
linda frausell
01:21 16 May 17
Ray Wagner and his legal team have been representing my niece and I for many years. They have been honest and quick to respond to all our needs in a professional manner. I highly recommend Wagners Law Firm and appreciate their caring approach.Thanksread more
frank slaunwhite
16:29 03 May 17
I can't speak highly enough about the lawyers at Wagners who represented me for injuries from not one but two motor vehicle accidents. They were very professional and approachable. I was kept informed of all steps in the process and all of my inquiries were responded to and dealt with very quickly. The lawyers are knowledgeable and showed great empathy for what I was going through. I would recommend this firm to anyone!read more
Missy Day
12:03 06 Oct 16
I contacted Wagners about a motor vehicle accident.I was able to speak with someone right away. The staff were very pleasant and helpful.I received a response about pursuing a case the next day.I would highly recommend this more
Nicholas Gordon
11:30 06 Oct 16

Do You Have a Claim?

I have read and understand the disclaimer.

Widget not in any sidebars