How Do I Know If I Should Sue For Medical Malpractice or Birth Injury…& Does It Matter?

Posted on 02-16-2016 by
Tags: Trending News & Topics

Few things are more frightening for new parents than having a child sustain an injury during the delivery process. A variety of different types of injuries can happen during childbirth, many of which can cause serious problems for both the child and mother. Sadly, a large number of birth injuries and the related complications could be prevented had a doctor not acted in a negligent manner. According to one study, every year an estimated 157,700 avoidable injuries to newborns and mothers occur in the United States.

Examples of birth injuries include:

  • Fractured bones;
  • Injuries to the brachial plexus or Erb’s palsy;
  • Perinatal asphyxia;
  • Intracranial hemorrhage;
  • Spinal injuries; and
  • Cerebral palsy.

While some birth injuries clear up on their own or with relatively little treatment, others can cause permanent challenges and impairments for the victim.

Legal Claims For Birth Injuries

Parents of injured babies can be confused about their legal rights. If your child was the only one injured, you have the right to bring a claim on his or her behalf against the negligent doctor who caused the injury. However, it is common to wonder whether you should bring a birth injury claim, a medical malpractice claim, or whether it matters what type of claim you bring.

Medical malpractice encompasses many different types of injuries caused by negligent doctors.  Birth injuries can be a type of medical malpractice. Therefore, while your specific complaint may involve a birth injury, the overall legal claim will be for medical malpractice. This is similar to an “auto accident claim” or a “personal injury claim,” as an auto accident injury is only one part of the overarching personal injury umbrella. This correlation can be confusing.  That is why it is crucial to discuss the specifics of your claim with an experienced lawyer if you believe medical malpractice caused your child’s injury.

At the heart of any medical malpractice claim is the negligence of a doctor. Many types of negligent acts can lead to birth injuries, including:

  • Failure to identify high-risk factors for pregnancy or birth;
  • Failure to monitor both the mother and child’s vital signs during labor and delivery;
  • Not recognizing distress of the child;
  • Wrong dose of medication or anesthesia;
  • Improperly using forceps, a vacuum, or other birth tools;
  • Using excessive force on the child; and
  • Not ordering a cesarean section when necessary.

Concerned Parents Should Speak with an Attorney as Soon as Possible

Birth injuries can occur in a variety of ways and, in many cases, the signs that a birth injury has occurred may not appear for months or even years after the initial injury. In other instances, the injury may be obvious and severe from birth and may cause serious impairments and disability for the rest of the child’s life or may even be life-threatening. You only have a limited amount of time to bring your claim, so you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney during a free consultation regarding your rights and the rights of your injured child.

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