Birth Injury Injury Law
Birth Injuries: Conditions & Common Causes
A birth injury is a trauma to the baby that occurs during the birth process. The injury is generally due to tremendous pressure put upon the baby while passing through the birth canal. It can be caused by factors such as prolonged labor, a “breech” (legs first) delivery, premature birth, doctor procedures (i.e., the use of forceps), and the small size or irregular shape of the mother’s pelvis.
Types of Injuries
Many birth injuries, such as bruising, swelling, forceps scars and even the rare fracture (usually during a breech birth), are not serious and heal within a few weeks. Temporary loss of nerve or muscular function caused by bruising, pressure or swelling around the nerves can similarly resolve itself within weeks or months. However, if the nerves are torn, the resulting damage may be permanent.
Facial paralysis can be caused by pressure on the facial nerves during birth or by the use of forceps during birth. If the nerve was bruised, the condition generally improves within weeks. If torn, however, surgery may be required.
Brachial plexus injury (also known as Erb’s Palsy) is a paralysis or weakness of the arm caused by stretching of the nerves around the shoulder during birth. This damage can be caused by excessive pulling on the arm during birth or by pressure on by raised shoulders during a breech delivery. Most infants recover within 6 months, but those that do not will require surgery to make up for the nerve damage and have a poor outlook for improvement.
Cerebral palsy is a chronic disorder caused by trauma to the brain during or near the time of birth and its symptoms include the loss of movement or other nerve functions. The condition is not progressive (meaning that it does not worsen or improve with time) and its severity is determined by the type of damage done to the brain. A variety of medical mistakes, such as improper use of forceps or leaving the baby in the birth canal for too long (depriving the baby of enough oxygen), can cause cerebral palsy.
Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford publishes more information about birth injuries. If you have suffered a brain injury due to another person’s negligence, you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries and your medical expenses that result from the injuries. A personal injury attorney can tell you if you have a case worth pursuing, and estimate how much you may be able to receive.
It is important for you to start looking into any possible claim as soon as possible, because every state has a statute of limitations that limits when you can file a personal injury lawsuit (for example, some states allow 2 years from the date of the injury or from when the injury was or should have been discovered). If you miss the deadline, you will not be able to bring a lawsuit. If you would like an experienced birth injury lawyer to review your case, fill out our case evaluation form and an attorney will contact you for a no-cost, no obligation evaluation.
Free Advice also provides a list of Birth Injury FAQs which provides you with additional information.
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