Birth Injury Lawyers

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 What Are Birth Injuries?

Birth injuries are injuries a mother or baby sustains during pregnancy and delivery. They may result from medical issues that arise during pregnancy or delivery. Birth injuries may permanently harm the baby, the mother, or both. If the negligence of a medical professional caused these injuries, a lawsuit to recover damages might be the result.

Sometimes birth injuries are caused by a doctor’s failure to assess or respond to complications or disorders during the pregnancy or delivery. A doctor prescribing a medication for a woman that ultimately harms the fetus or otherwise harms the pregnancy can be another cause of a birth injury.

It is important to note that a birth injury differs from a congenital disability, not caused by anything medical professionals may or may not do. For example, Down syndrome is caused by a random error in cell division during the natural formation of an egg or sperm.

What Are Some Examples of Birth Injuries?

There are many possible birth injuries. Some of the more common birth injuries include:

  • Brachial Palsy: Brachial palsy develops when nerves connected to the hands and arms become injured. This is common when problems arise as the baby’s shoulders are delivered. As a result, the baby may lose its ability to rotate and flex one or both arms. Movement may return within several months, but it is also possible that the nerve damage would be permanent. The range of motion can be maintained with special exercises;
  • Erb’s Palsy: Erb’s palsy is a kind of brachial plexus injury that leads to a loss of arm motion and arm weakness;
  • Forceps Marks or Bruising: Bruising might appear because the baby’s head and face come into contact with pelvic bones when passing through the birth canal. Also, the obstetrician’s forceps can leave temporary bruises or marks. When vacuum extraction is used, scalp bruising, lacerations, and other injuries can occur;
  • Cephalohematoma: This is an area of bleeding between the skull and the skin of the scalp. It appears as a simple lump, which may disappear naturally within a few weeks. When the bleeding area is large, the baby can develop anemia, jaundice, or infection;
  • Caput Succedaneum: This is a swelling of the soft tissue on the scalp that develops during delivery. It usually resolves itself naturally within a few days, although it can lead to jaundice;
  • Facial Paralysis: During labor, a baby’s face is under pressure. This can injure a facial nerve. Usually, this injury becomes visible when the baby first cries and no facial movement is present on the side that has been affected. If nerves were only bruised, the paralysis improves, and facial movement returns to normal. If the nerves have been damaged more severely, e.g., torn, surgery might be needed to correct the condition.
  • Bone Fracture: The most common type of fracture to occur during delivery is a fracture of the collarbone, which is part of the shoulder. Collarbones can break when there are problems with delivery. Fortunately, they usually heal quite quickly when new bone forms;
  • Cerebral Palsy (CP): Cerebral palsy is a disability that results on occasion when an infant suffers brain injury at birth. It is a group of disorders that affect movement and muscle tone or posture.

Medical errors can cause a rupture of the uterus or umbilical cord complications, such as when the cord becomes wrapped around the baby’s neck. These can cut off the supply of oxygen to the infant’s brain. Oxygen deprivation can result in brain damage that leads to cerebral palsy.

How Is a Birth Injury Claim Proven?

Birth injuries are not always caused by the obstetrician and other health professionals caring for a pregnant woman or attending a birth. To recover damages or a birth injury, the injured party must show that the obstetrician or other health care providers are liable for medical malpractice as follows:

  • Duty of Care The medical professional owed a duty of care to the mother and child in a birthing situation. Specifically, the doctor and other providers attending the birth must provide the same level of treatment that a reasonably competent provider with the same level of training would provide under the circumstances. Medical specialists are held to a higher standard than the average doctor. So, for example, an obstetrician who fails to perform certain procedures if required may be negligent when a doctor who is not an obstetrician is not;
  • Breach of Duty: The care provided by the medical professionals failed to meet the standard of care required, so the duty of care was breached, in legal terminology;
  • Causation: This failure to provide care that met the standard was the direct cause of the injury to the child or mother;
  • Damage: The injury resulted in economic loss to the mother and child.

The existence of the duty of care, the breach by the healthcare professionals involved, causation, and damage would have to be proven with various kinds of evidence, including the testimony of expert medical witnesses and possibly expert economists.

What Kind of Compensation Can I Recover for Birth Injuries?

If an infant child suffers a birth injury because of the malpractice of a healthcare provider, the family may be required to deal with complications caused by the trauma for the rest of their lives. If pediatric or obstetric malpractice caused permanent harm to a person’s child, they could recover compensation for their economic losses through a civil lawsuit for medical or possibly pediatric malpractice.

“Damages” is the legal term for the compensation for economic and non-economic losses that an infant and their family suffer as a result of medical negligence. In medical malpractice cases involving children, damages should compensate the injured infant and their family for all the costs of their necessary medical treatment and rehabilitation, as well as the costs of future medical care, lost wages and lost earning capacity, necessary future accommodations, and pain and suffering.

An award of damages for a birth injury may potentially be a large sum. This is because some victims must deal with the costs of lifelong medical care. The infant may be incapable of working for a living for their entire life span and may be completely dependent on the care provided by others.

In the case of infant or child wrongful death, damages also include loss of consortium or companionship, meaning that close family members lost the opportunity to have a relationship with their child or the mother, as the case may be. No true dollar value can be placed on a child’s life or suffering. However, monetary compensation can be necessary for the family when shouldering the burden of a child with a serious medical condition or the child’s tragic death.

How Can a Lawyer Help?

If your child has been seriously injured during pregnancy or delivery and you think a healthcare provider may be at fault, you should consult an experienced birth injury attorney who can help you recover an award of damages—winning an award of damages in a case such as this is a challenging prospect, partly because it involves working with medical experts to make the case.

It can become complicated, and you need a seasoned professional lawyer to represent you. Remember that there are deadlines for bringing personal injury claims, so do not wait until it is too late. Consult a lawyer today.

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