What to Do if You Believe Your Baby Suffered a Birth Injury

Daisy Rogozinsky
November 15, 2022

As parents, our greatest hope is that our children will be born happy and healthy. It’s terrifying to imagine that they could potentially be hurt in the process of pregnancy or childbirth. Unfortunately, birth injuries are not uncommon. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 3% of babies in the United States are born with a birth injury. 

If you believe that your child may have suffered a birth injury, you probably feel afraid and uncertain of what to do next. But you don’t have to deal with it alone. There are options available for parents of children with birth injuries to receive aid and justice. In this article, we’ll review the steps that it is recommended you take if you suspect your child may have suffered a birth injury.

1. Look for Immediate Signs and Symptoms

The first thing you need to do is to determine whether or not your baby is showing signs of birth injury. There are many different types of birth injuries, including:

  • Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)
  • Newborn jaundice
  • Erb’s palsy
  • Newborn cephalohematoma
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Brain damage
  • Spinal cord Injuries
  • Kernicterus

Each of these has different symptoms, some of which can be seen immediately upon birth. Some early signs of birth injury include:

  • One limp arm
  • Abrasions, bruises, or swelling on the face, head, or shoulder
  • A floppy appearance indicating a lack of muscle tone
  • Requiring resuscitation at the time of delivery
  • Seizures developing within 48 hours
  • Failure to begin breathing immediately following delivery

If you notice any of these symptoms, it is likely your baby may have been injured during childbirth. 

2. Look for Symptoms that Develop Later

It’s important to note that not all symptoms of birth injury are apparent immediately after birth. Some can take hours, days, or even weeks or months to develop. Some signs of birth injury that you might notice later on include:

  • Stiffness in the joints or muscles
  • Inability to control leg or arm movement
  • Trouble performing basic movements, such as clapping or grasping
  • Inability to crawl, walk, or sit up
  • Trouble swallowing or eating
  • Missing certain developmental milestones, like rolling over, sitting, or standing
  • Excessive drooling
  • Seeming to favor one side of the body
  • Issues with muscle control or motor skills
  • Limited range of motion
  • Numbness or weakness in one arm
  • Lack of arm movement indicating partial or complete paralysis

3. Determine Whether the Injury Was Preventable

In order to have a valid medical malpractice case, you must be able to prove that your baby’s birth injury was preventable and caused by negligence on the part of a doctor, nurse, hospital, or other healthcare professional. There are many different errors that medical staff can make that might lead to a birth injury. These include:

  • Prolonging a difficult labor
  • Delaying a necessary cesarean section
  • Failing to notice and respond to signs of fetal distress
  • Failure to diagnose and respond to other issues that can cause birth injury including malpresentation, molar pregnancy, jaundice, incompetent cervix, high-risk pregnancy, umbilical cord compression, fetal growth restriction, and more

Once you’ve noticed the symptoms of a birth injury, you’ll need to consider what caused it. If a doctor would have been able to prevent the injury by offering better care, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.

4. Gather Key Information

No matter when your baby’s birth injury symptoms become apparent, it’s not too late for you to pursue justice. If you believe that your baby’s birth injury was caused by another party, you can take steps toward receiving compensation for your pain, suffering, and medical bills.

Before you speak to a birth injury lawyer about your next steps, it’s important to gather some key information that will help clarify the details of your case. To prepare for a legal consultation, you should gather the following:

  • Your child’s signs and symptoms
  • When, where, and how the birth injury may have happened
  • Who you believe may be responsible and why
  • Any health records and bills related to your baby’s injury

5. Receive a Free Legal Consultation

With all of the necessary information in hand, you can contact a lawyer to receive a free consultation. It’s recommended to choose a birth injury lawyer with experience and expertise handling cases similar to yours. In your consultation, you’ll be able to speak about your baby’s birth injury, who caused it, and determine how much compensation you should be eligible for. If the lawyer believes you have a strong case and is willing to take you on as a client, you can begin working together to file a lawsuit.

Featured Birth Injury Lawyers

Margolis Law Firm

Google rating
37 years in practice
Birth Injury, Medical Malpractice, Personal Injury
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Bliss Law Firm, LLC

Google rating
33 years in practice
Birth Injury, Medical Malpractice, Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect, Personal Injury, Wrongful Death
View Profile

DeFrancisco & Falgiatano

Google rating
22 years in practice
Birth Injury, Medical Malpractice, Personal Injury, Premises Liability
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Theory Law APC

Google rating
10 years in practice
Auto Accidents, Employment Law, Personal Injury
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Lake Tapps Legal

10 years in practice
Criminal Defense
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D Michael Mullori Jr Attorney At Law

Google rating
23 years in practice
Auto Accidents, Personal Injury, Premises Liability
View Profile

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