What does Birth Injury mean?
A birth injury is any injury which occurs while the baby is in delivery or results from complications of the labor and delivery process. Birth injuries can be serious for both the baby and the mother, ranging from mild to severe. Common birth injuries can include depressed skull fractures, due to improper use of forceps; Caput Succedaneum, which is severe swelling of the baby's scalp, generally caused by vacuum extraction; facial paralysis, due to improper use of the forceps; and a variety of Brachial Palsy Injuries (Erb's Palsy and Klumpke's Palsy), which can be caused if the baby's shoulder is injured in the birth canal during delivery. Finally, one of the most serious injuries is brain injury. This can be caused by lack of oxygen or twisting or compression of the umbilical cord. Babies who suffer severe oxygen deprivation may have seizures, brain damage, cerebral palsy or permanent mental impairment.
Not all birth injuries are caused by a doctor's negligence. Delivering a baby can be dangerous, and there are risks that are not associated with a doctor's error or poor decision making. There are, however, certain actions that could be considered a breach of duty. For instance, doctors who do not respond to umbilical cord entrapment, who do not anticipate certain complications, who do not respond to fetal distress, who do not administer medication appropriately, or who improperly use forceps could be held liable for their actions if their negligence causes injury to the mother or the baby.
All states have laws and regulations governing medical malpractice cases such as birth injury cases. All cases must be filed within a specific statute of limitations from the date of the injury. Claimants who fail to file their birth injury claim within the specified time will forfeit their right to compensation.
If your child has been injured due to the negligence of a doctor or medical professional it's important to talk to a personal injury lawyer. Personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis which means they are not paid unless you win your birth injury case.