What Is a Birth Injury Lawyer?
Birth injury lawyers help to pursue legal justice for families affected by preventable birth injuries.
Birth injuries fall under a very specific area of personal injury law. Unlike other injuries (such as car accidents), birth injuries may not be apparent until months or years after the fact. In addition, many traumatic birth injuries could have been prevented with proper medical care.
Parents never expect childbirth to harm their baby. And while some birth injuries are mild, others can leave children disabled for the rest of their lives.
In light of these facts, birth injury lawyers can help families in a number of different ways.
Birth injury lawyers can:
- Build a case against the doctors or nurses who delivered the child
- File the case within the appropriate court of law
- Gather supporting evidence, including witness testimonies and medical records
- Help families receive financial compensation
Financial compensation can cover lifelong medical costs for a child's birth injury treatment. Some birth injury cases award millions of dollars to families suffering from the effects of severe birth injuries.
Could Your Child’s Birth Injury Have Been Prevented?
While each case is different, some birth injuries could have been prevented with proper medical care.
Medical professionals have years — if not decades — of experience delivering babies. They should know how to safely prevent birth injuries or the dangerous conditions that may cause them.
Unfortunately, health care professionals sometimes make easily preventable mistakes that cause birth injuries. When this happens, it may be considered medical malpractice.
Birth Injuries and Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice is not the same as a small medical mistake. Doctors are trained to provide a high standard of care for their patients. When healthcare providers are negligent with their care, there is a higher risk for birth injuries.
Medical errors leading to birth injuries include:
- Failing to diagnose an infection in the mother or fetus
- Improperly administering medications
- Improperly using forceps or vacuum extractors during delivery
- Using excessive force to deliver a baby, causing physical harm
Birth injuries can place unexpected financial and emotional burdens on families. Birth injury lawyers can help families pursue legal justice and secure financial compensation through settlements.
How Can a Birth Injury Attorney Help?
Birth injury attorneys take legal action against the medical personnel who were negligent with their care. Your lawyers will gather personal recollections, medical records, and other information to build your birth injury claim.
If you have a case, lawyers will file a birth injury lawsuit and work to get you and your family the financial compensation you deserve.
Financial compensation can help pay for:
- Assistive devices
- Home care services (such as a full-time nurse)
- Mobility aids
- Therapy and rehabilitation
- Unexpected expenses as a result of the child’s injury
- Other costs (such as emotional damages, pain, and suffering)
Without a lawyer’s help, filing a lawsuit is a challenging and time-consuming feat. Receiving compensation becomes even more difficult, as simple mistakes may cause your case to be delayed or rejected.
Working with a birth injury lawyer can make the legal process easier so you can focus on your child’s medical care.
What Types of Cases Do Birth Injury Lawyers Take On?
Many lawyers accept any type of birth injury as a case, while other attorneys only handle specific types of cases.
Below, find a few common types of birth injuries that a lawyer may handle.
Cerebral palsy occurs when a newborn suffers brain damage before, during, or shortly after birth. Brain damage may occur if a baby experiences a lack of oxygen to their brain, suffers from bleeding in the brain, or sustains serious head trauma.
Cerebral palsy can lead to both physical and mental impairment. The symptoms can vary depending on where and how badly the brain was damaged.
There is no cure for cerebral palsy, but some symptoms can improve with treatment.
Erb’s palsy (brachial plexus palsy) occurs when a baby gets stuck in the birth canal during childbirth. Erb's palsy is caused by damaged brachial plexus nerves in the neck. This can cause the baby’s hand, arm, or shoulder to become weak or paralyzed.
Doctors who use excessive force when delivering a baby may cause brachial plexus injuries. The condition is often treatable with months — or years — of therapy, but some children never completely recover.
According to the Mayo Clinic, newborns run a higher risk of brain injury because their bodies are fragile and still developing.
Brain damage can be caused by:
- Oxygen deprivation to the brain
- Trauma to the head or other physical injuries
Untreated brain damage may cause permanent disabilities including limb paralysis or mental impairment.
A hematoma occurs when blood builds up between the brain and the skull. Infant hematomas are typically caused by trauma to the head, which may occur if a doctor uses excessive force to deliver a baby.
Mild hematomas often clear up without treatment. More severe hematomas can cause brain damage leading to permanent disabilities or death.
Intrauterine Fetal Demise
Intrauterine fetal demise, also known as stillbirth, occurs when a baby dies in the womb before it is born. Umbilical cord accidents and fetal infections can often lead to intrauterine fetal demise.
Many babies develop jaundice shortly after they are born. Jaundice occurs when the baby cannot process bilirubin, a pigment that blood cells discharge as a waste. Jaundice tints the baby’s skin yellow.
Most cases of jaundice clear up within a few weeks without treatment. Some severe cases cause brain damage from high concentrations of bilirubin, which can lead to cerebral palsy.
Kernicterus is a life-threatening condition that stems from severe cases of jaundice. It occurs when levels of bilirubin — the same pigment that causes jaundice — build up in the brain, causing permanent damage.
Kernicterus can lead to:
- Cerebral palsy
- Hearing loss
- Movement problems
Doctors can often prevent kernicterus using light therapy or blood transfusions. These will help the baby’s body break down the bilirubin and heal.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries can occur when doctors pull on a baby’s neck or back during the delivery process.
A spinal cord injury can interrupt signals going from the brain to the affected part of the spine, leaving a baby with weakened or paralyzed limbs. Spinal cord injuries cannot be cured and cause permanent disability.
Vacuum Extraction Complications
A vacuum extractor, a tool used to speed up difficult deliveries, attaches to a baby’s head and uses suction to pull them out of the womb. Some doctors still rely on vacuum extractors even today.
Doctors must exercise extreme caution when using vacuum extractors to avoid causing harm to newborns. Improper use of vacuum extractors can damage a baby’s scalp and even lead to bleeding in the brain.
What to Look for in a Birth Injury Lawyer
It is crucial to find a birth injury lawyer that has successfully helped other clients receive compensation.
A top birth injury lawyer will have:
- Experience: It is important to work with a lawyer who has handled other birth injury cases similar to yours. If your lawyer has no prior experience in handling birth injury lawsuits, they may not know how to get the maximum value out of your claim.
- National reach: Many birth injury lawyers work at national law firms that handle cases all across the country. These lawyers can file lawsuits within the time limits set by each state.
- No upfront fees: You should not have to pay any upfront costs to work with a lawyer. An experienced birth injury lawyer will provide a free consultation. Your lawyer will only receive a payment if you are awarded compensation.
Do not feel obligated to work with the first lawyer you consult. Take the time to research top personal injury lawyers. Your birth injury lawyer should have your best interests at heart and make you feel comfortable.
Find a Birth Injury Lawyer Near Me
Families affected by birth injuries should seriously consider working with a lawyer. Preventable birth injuries cause innocent children to suffer from long-term or permanent disabilities. Your birth injury lawyer will fight to retrieve financial compensation for your child’s treatment.
If you are considering filing a birth injury lawsuit, get a free case evaluation today. Learn how to connect with a lawyer in your state.
Frequently Asked Questions About Birth Injury Lawyers
If you are looking to work with a lawyer, you may have questions about the legal process. Get answers to common questions about birth injury lawyers below.
When should I hire a lawyer?
Once a birth injury is diagnosed — and you believe that medical negligence could be to blame — you should contact a lawyer. Your time to take legal action to file your medical malpractice lawsuit may be limited.
Every state has laws that limit the amount of time someone has to file a lawsuit. These are known as statutes of limitations, and they vary from state to state. Most birth injury lawsuits must be filed within a few years after the injury is discovered.
You will lose your ability to file a lawsuit forever if you do not file within your state's statutes of limitations.
The best — and only — way to learn about statutes of limitations in your state is by working with an experienced lawyer.
Birth injury attorneys at national law firms know the statute of limitations in each state. It is important to work with an experienced attorney to help you determine the best time to take legal action.
How do I find a birth injury lawyer?
You can find a birth injury attorney by contacting nationally renowned law firms.
When looking for a birth injury lawyer, be sure to choose one that has handled similar cases before.
A birth injury lawyer will know how to:
- File the case within the statute of limitations in your area
- Get the most compensation from your claim
- Properly build your case
It is important to work with a specialized birth injury lawyer since a lawyer at a general law firm may not know how to properly file your claim. As a result, you could receive a lower amount of compensation.
How long will a birth injury attorney work on my case?
Birth injury attorneys will work on your case from start to finish, and there is no time limit on their services. While one lawsuit could reach a conclusion after a few months, another could take several years.
A birth injury lawyer will try to resolve your case as quickly (and fairly) as possible and will update you on their progress.
How much compensation could I receive?
How much compensation you may receive depends on the type of case and the circumstances surrounding it. While amounts vary with each case, some birth injury lawsuits lead to million-dollar payouts.
According to a study by the TCD Group, the average medical malpractice payout for children under one-year-old was almost $1 million.
Although a birth injury lawyer may not guarantee a specific case value, they will do their best to maximize your compensation to pay for medical expenses.
How much does a birth injury lawyer cost?
You shouldn’t have to pay anything upfront to work with a birth injury lawyer. Most lawyers work on a contingency basis. They will only get paid if your case awards you with financial compensation.
If your personal injury case is successful, a small percentage of the total earnings will cover the lawyers’ fees.
Do you still have questions? Visit our Legal FAQ page to learn more.