FAQs about Birth Injuries

Birth Injury FAQs

What is the difference between a birth injury and a birth defect?

A birth defect occurs prior to birth and may be caused by genetic abnormalities, maternal infection, alcohol and drug use during pregnancy, or by an unexplained failure of the fetus to develop properly. A birth injury occurs during the labor and delivery process. Birth injuries are sometimes the result of medical negligence.

What are the causes of birth injuries?

Birth injuries have two primary causes: trauma and hypoxia. Hypoxia refers to deprivation of oxygen to the fetus. Trauma refers to physical wounds to the body resulting from force.

How can I tell whether my child suffered a birth injury?

If you think your child may have suffered a birth injury, ask yourself whether any of the following factors played a role in your child’s birth. These factors don’t always mean that a birth injury occurred, but they raise a warning flag that a birth injury might have happened:

  • You had an extended labor or other delay in delivery.
  • Your baby experienced seizures within hours of delivery.
  • There was an unexpected need for a Caesarean delivery (C-section).
  • Your doctor had to use a vacuum extractor to aid delivery.
  • Your baby had concerning heart rate patterns during labor.
  • Your baby was blue or gray at birth.
  • A previously unrecognized infection was discovered.
  • Your baby spent time in a neonatal unit.

What are common types of birth injuries?

Trauma, nerve damage, and brain damage are common birth injuries. Damage to the brain and nervous system can cause cerebral palsy, which is a group of non-progressive disorders affecting brain and nervous system function, including hearing, learning, seeing, moving, and thinking. Damage to the brachial plexus nerves can cause Erb’s palsy or Klumpke’s palsy, which are characterized by limited feeling and mobility in the shoulder, hand, and arm.

What is the prognosis for a child with birth injuries?

The prognosis for a child injured during birth varies. Some birth injuries, such as cerebral palsy, are not curable, but symptoms can be treated and managed to varying degrees depending upon the child’s level of impairment. Other birth injuries, such as Erb’s palsy, may be treatable with appropriate medical intervention.

How can I determine if medical negligence caused my child’s birth injury?

The child’s pediatrician is often focused on caring for the patient, and may not be comfortable or knowledgeable in discussing whether an injury may have been caused by another health care provider’s negligence. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can assist parents in obtaining and reviewing medical records. Attorneys also consult qualified medical professionals who are not personally involved in the patient’s care, for assistance in determining the likely causes of the birth injury.

My child was born several years ago. Is it too late to make a claim for my child’s birth injuries?

In general, birth injury and other medical malpractice claims in Washington must be brought within three years after the negligent medical error. It’s very important to remember, though, that the deadline for filing suit can vary based on the specific circumstances of the case.. Even if your child was born more than three years ago, you may still have a legal case. Talk with an experienced birth injury attorney as soon as possible.

How can I find out whether I have a legal claim for my child’s birth injury?

The best way to find out whether you have a legal claim for your child’s birth injury is to discuss your child’s condition with an experienced Washington birth injury attorney. Birth injury cases are complicated, and an experienced birth injury lawyer can evaluate your case and advise you about your legal rights and options.

At Kidman Tinker, PLLC we have a record of success representing birth injury victims. To talk to our team about your situation, call us today or fill out our online contact form for a free claim evaluation.