What Defines a Birth Injury?

A birth injury is defined as an impairment that happened during labor, delivery or after delivery of a baby, and range from minor bruising to death. Birth injuries can occur to the mother or child and can be a result of the process, or due to medical negligence.

When a birth injury is the result of medical malpractice and/or results in permanent impairment or wrongful death, it is important to speak to a birth injury lawyer to determine what corrective action can be taken on your behalf.

What are natural birth injuries?

Natural, normal and expected birth injuries can happen for a variety of reasons and are not caused by medical malpractice. Several risk factors such as mom or baby’s size, baby’s positioning, and mom’s health can all play a factor in whether or not a birth injury is expected.

Injuries are most often associated with the trauma of the birthing process and include shoulder, hand and arm injuries; fractures of the collarbone; and bruising or broken blood vessels, swelling, or partial paralysis on the head and face.

There is also a difference between a birth defect and a birth injury. A birth defect is a genetic predisposition to a disorder or disability, whereas a birth injury happens as a result of the birthing process, including before and after.

What birth injuries are a sign of medical malpractice?

When a medical professional fails to provide the standard of care expected of them, and that results in injury, that may fall under medical malpractice.

When a baby is in a breech position, vaginal delivery can be difficult or even impossible. A cesarean delivery reduces the risk of infant death in abnormal fetal presentations and therefore birth injuries as a result may be considered malpractice.

The use of forceps or birthing vacuum device which assist delivery can cause damage. If they are improperly used or aren’t in proper condition and a permanent injury results, a lawsuit can be opened.

Some birth injury symptoms may not present themselves until later in the child’s life, such as those that effect normal development which may not be discovered until pre-school or even later. These are typically brain injuries due to lack of oxygen during delivery.

Other forms of medical malpractice

Additional forms of medical malpractice include:

Not performing a procedure correctly

Failing to perform an expected and needed procedure

Failing to administer anesthesia or proper medications

Causing damage to other organs during a surgery

Improper use of equipment

Failure to properly diagnose

Product Malfunction/ Failure

What can you do if you feel you have suffered as a result of medical malpractice?

Birth injury and medical malpractice lawsuits are designed to help those who have been injured due to someone else’s negligent acts.

Even simple cases that involve permanent impairment can range in settlements from $100,000 to millions, based on medical bills, life care costs, and pain and suffering. It is important to speak to a birth injury lawyer to help sort through your specific situation to determine what the best course of action should be. If an insurance adjuster is offering a settlement amount to you, it is a good idea to have that reviewed by a lawyer as well. An experienced medical malpractice attorney understands the complexity and long-term effects of these types of cases and can advise you of the rights you may not know you have.