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The truth about birth injuries: When and why to talk to an attorney

13th April 2022 Print

No feeling is more satisfying to a previously expectant mom or couple than finally holding their new bundle of joy after nine long months of terror, panic, mood swings, and everything in between. At that point, nothing else matters more than that cute little thing in your arms as you expect their first cry!

But unless the obstetrician and the team conducting childbirth are extremely careful, the said feeling can easily turn into an overly devastating experience at some point in your life and the baby’s life as well.

Physically, emotionally, and mentally, birth injuries can be extremely painful. They can be financially draining as well, and no child or parent has to suffer because of the negligence of another person.

Birth Injuries and What Statistics Say 

As you might have guessed, a birth injury is an injury sustained by a newborn during delivery or childbirth. If statistical data is anything to go by, close to 7 out of every 1000 babies born in the US suffer some form of birth injury.

These injuries may occur due to various factors, including pregnancy/delivery complications, prolonged labor, procedural flaws, prematurity, oxygen deprivation, maternal obesity, and fetal macrosomia – a term commonly used to describe exceptionally large babies at birth.

The types and causes of these injuries also vary widely from one birth to the other, making it sometimes hard to tell if medical negligence was to blame for your child’s injuries.

Common Types of Birth Injuries 

There are many types of birth injuries depending on where the injury occurs and what caused it. The severity and resulting damages also vary widely from one case to the other. Most of them tend to affect the head.

As vividly outlined at, some conditions commonly classified as birth injuries include the following:

- Brain damage
- Skull fractures
- Brachial/cerebral palsy
- Bruises from forceps
- Nerve injuries
- Including vaginal numbness, the mother may also sustain injuries at birth (maternal injuries)

Sadly, it should also be noted that birth injuries can lead to lifelong disability, not to mention developmental challenges to the baby.

Who Can Be Held Responsible For Birth Injuries? 

While the majority of birth injuries stem from complications during labor and delivery, a significant number of them are caused by medical mistakes from the attending practitioners. If you took the effort to stay healthy while pregnant, and birth injuries occur, the medical professional or provider can be held liable.

The law allows you to seek compensation for the pain, emotional suffering, and financial harms resulting from the negligent conduct of the said medical professional.

Why You Should Talk To an Attorney 

Not everyone who is injured at birth may have grounds for a lawsuit. Moreover, most healthcare providers and their staff are heavily protected by various forms of liability insurance, including errors & omission and professional indemnity insurance.

You can bet that the insurance companies involved will have a great team of attorneys representing them. Moreover, insurance underwriters will try as much as possible to minimize or deny your claim, making it crucial to have competent legal representation by your side from the word go.

When Should You Talk to an Attorney?

While the effects of a birth injury may take years to manifest, several signs could suggest your child suffered an injury during birth. Some of these may include the following:

- Abrasions, bruising or swelling on the child’s face, head, or shoulders
- Infant seizures within 48 hours of birth
- Limp or loose arms
- Excessive or abnormal bleeding after birth
- Breathing failure in the child after birth

In many cases, parents don’t discover the signs of injury at birth until the child achieves one month to one year old. These late symptoms may range anything from slow feeding/suckling to slow coordination, muscle stiffness, slow speech, and movement problems.

The best time to seek legal advice is as soon as you notice an unusual problem with the child, especially one that you can tie back to childbirth.

To sum it up, birth injuries can have devastating effects on both the child and the parent’s lives. Some can be difficult to spot, whereas others are pretty obvious. Hopefully, this piece will inspire you to take the right action when it matters most, now that you know what to look for.

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