Suing for Injuries During a Birth

Suing for Injuries During a Birth

Injuries that occur during the birth of a child can be traumatic for both the child and its parents. Suing for injuries that occurred during birth is one way to attempt to collect compensation for the physical, emotional and financial damage that birth injuries can cause.

Here’s a look at some background information related suing for injuries during a birth. If you are interested in learning information specific to your circumstances, you may want to consult with a personal injury lawyer practicing in your state.

What Causes Injuries During Birth?

Injuries that occur during birth may be the result of something a doctor, nurse, midwife or other medical professional did or failed to do during the labor or delivery of a child. Personal injury cases that address birth injuries often assert medical malpractice on the part of a medical professional.

Birth injuries:

  • May heal themselves after a few days, weeks, or months, depending on the type and severity of injury.
  • May affect a child for its entire life by causing permanent or long-term disability or damage.
  • May affect a child’s brain or spine.
  • May cause emotional stress to the family of the child.
  • May be the result of mechanical damage caused by medical instruments used during birth.

Because of the variation in types and severity of birth injuries, families dealing with this type of injury may want to communicate their questions and concerns with medical and legal professionals.

Whom Do Birth Injuries Affect?

Birth injuries may affect an infant or the mother. In the case of injury to an infant:

  • Parents must sue (if they so choose) on behalf of the child. In this situation, parents act as the child’s guardian. Obviously, an infant is not able to make decisions about legal action by itself.
  • Parents may be able to request both general and special damages from the court. General damages include compensation for the abstract effects of a birth injury, such as emotional stress or loss of enjoyment. Special damages include compensation for specific procedures or medication that was required because of the birth injury.

If a birth injury affects the mother, the mother must take legal action on her own behalf. Some mothers may suffer physical injuries (such as excessive blood loss) and others may suffer psychologically. Cases of post-traumatic stress disorder have even been reported from traumatic births.

Who Is Susceptible to Birth Injuries?

The good news about birth injuries is that their numbers have been declining in recent years. In the United States, the number of birth injuries has declined for decades and currently stands at about one in 7,000 births, according to an article on Medscape.com.

While some birth injuries are caused by medical mistakes, certain risk factors increase the odds that a baby will experience birth injuries. At-risk populations include:

  • Large babies;
  • Premature babies;
  • Babies who are positioned incorrectly at the time of birth (e.g. breached babies);
  • Mothers with small or narrow pelvic bones; and
  • Mothers with unusually shaped pelvic bones.

What Are Wrongful Birth and Wrongful Pregnancy?

Birth injuries refer specifically to problems that arise during labor and delivery, but other types of personal injury cases related to pregnancy and delivery include wrongful birth and wrongful pregnancy cases.

  • Wrongful birth cases may be brought against a doctor who negligently failed to perform genetic testing or detect genetic defects early enough in pregnancy to allow parents the choice of terminating the pregnancy. In theory, the parents may be able to sue if they would have aborted the fetus had they had knowledge of genetic defects.
  • Wrongful pregnancy cases may be brought against a doctor if his or her actions were meant to prevent pregnancy but did not. For example, if one parent underwent a sterilization procedure or abortion but the pregnancy continued, a wrongful pregnancy case may be possible.

Wrongful birth and pregnancy cases may be related to birth injury cases, depending on the circumstances of an individual case.

How Can I Proceed with a Birth Injury Lawsuit?

If you are considering suing for injuries that occurred during a birth, you may want to connect with a personal injury lawyer for information on laws in your state and potential courses of action you can take.

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