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A Legal Overview of Medical Malpractice During Childbirth

Health Care Provider Should Be Held Accountable

Infants and mothers who are victims of medical malpractice need trustworthy Los Angeles injury lawyers to fight aggressively and pursue maximum compensation. We understand that tending to your child is a top priority – but taking a leave of absence and accumulating out-of-pocket costs at the expense of a negligent practitioner is harmful. Due to the complexity of birth injury cases and related legal issues, each case requires specialized resources and legal advice. Our firm prioritizes children’s safety and the family’s overall wellbeing. In this article, we focus on the different types of injuries that can happen during childbirth. We also explain when it is best to file a medical malpractice claim if needed.

Injuries That Can Happen During Labor and Delivery

In 2020, there were 3,605,201 births in the U.S., according to the CDC. But the number of medical malpractice lawsuits filled varies annually. Sadly, many vulnerable parents avoid pursuing legal action when something unexpected happens during delivery. We understand the concerns and fear you might have – especially losses if you lose your case. A birth injury attorney in LA with a history of success in personal injury claims is your best chance at holding medical practitioners or the hospital accountable.

Most childbirth injuries are preventable if doctors or other medical professionals attentively tend to patients and provide appropriate care. Although most birth injuries happen to the infant, mothers can also suffer when doctors are not exercising a duty of care or take immediate action when needed. The following events might happen:

  • The mother can get a seizure during delivery for untreated or undetected preeclampsia.
  • Medical equipment or disposable supplies may get left inside the mother during a C-Section procedure.
  • Damage to mother’s internal organs during a C-Section
  • Complications from anesthesia
  • Inability to control bleeding
  • Uterine rupture
  • Infection

What Injuries Impact Newborns?

According to the Birth Injury Justice Center, malpractice happens to 1-3 of every 1,000 deliveries. We list the most common injuries that affect newborns below. Keep in mind that solely getting injured does not mean you or your child has a strong claim. A newborn birth injury attorney in LA would advise you to learn about the possible risks. It will support your legal counsel in establishing how the doctor was negligent.

Caput Succedaneum
Caput succedaneum is the medical term for a newborn’s swelling scalp. During a difficult, head-first delivery, excessive pressure gets exerted on the baby’s head. This condition can also result from a vacuum extraction procedure. Sometimes bruising accompanies the swelling, but it goes away days following the birth.

Cephalohematoma occurs when a newborn is bleeding from the scalp. This birth injury also commonly occurs from vacuum extractions. It can take weeks or months to heal after birth and may not require treatment.

Neonatal Brachial Plexus Palsy
The medical term for nerves surrounding a newborn baby’s shoulder is the brachial plexus. During childbirth, doctors will position the baby to exert less pressure on their body. Too much stretching can result in nerve damage, loss of movement, and weakness.

Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)
Unfortunately, when a baby does not get enough oxygen or blood flow for a period, HIE might happen. This brain disorder can cause several health concerns, from developmental problems to cerebral palsy. It depends on how long the brain went without oxygen.

Bone Fractures
A newborn’s bones are very fragile. Collarbone and upper arm bone fractures are common injures, which can happen during birth. Sometimes it may be due to a genetic condition. If this happens to your child, it will heal naturally on its own.

Skin and Soft Tissue Injuries
A baby’s skin can get injured during contractions or by a doctor’s medical instruments. It might look like bruised skin or swelling. It is not uncommon to see slight irritation under the baby’s skin (fat). Red, irritated skin injuries will go away without treatment.

Labor or delivery injuries that result in the death of a newborn are emotionally tolling. With the help of a childbirth injury attorney in LA, you might be able to file a wrongful death suit.

When Can Birth Injuries Lead to a Lawsuit?

Not all childbirth injuries are because of medical negligence. A birth injury malpractice lawyer will follow a four-step process to determine the level of carelessness and liability in malpractice cases.

Step 1
Establish what the medical standard of care was according to the plaintiff’s situation. For example, if the defendant were an obstetrician, the court would compare their actions to someone of the same profession, skills, and training. A qualified medical expert would rate and testify on the proper medical standard of care.

Additional information that would get considered is the level of medical information available to medical professionals at the time of injury. In court, doctors will not be held responsible for information they would not have known at the time of injury.

Step 2
After establishing a standard of care, the defendant’s actions get measured against that standard. An expert will closely evaluate their actions toward the patient during labor and delivery. Next, they will look at what could have been done differently by someone of the same role-based on all the evidence.

Step 3
During this stage, a lawyer for birth injury malpractice will determine whether the defendant followed protocols and if there is a legal cause of harm to the mother or child, like failure to recognize complications during natural birth or a c-section. It requires a demonstration of how their direct action caused your child to get hurt in a medical malpractice case.

Step 4
Finally, we calculate the plaintiff’s injuries and other damages that resulted from the malpractice. Usually, cases will not make it to court if there are not enough damages to pursue compensation.

If you are thinking about taking legal action for a childbirth injury, schedule your first consultation to determine your best course of action. In California, medical malpractice lawsuits should be filed three years after the date of injury or a year after the plaintiff discovered it. However, if you hope to pursue a personal injury case, you have two years to act.

Reach Out to A Birth Injury Attorney from Grey Law to Get Started

“When it comes to getting you more, I won’t settle for less.” – David Grey

When you or a loved one gets injured due to negligence, carelessness, or wrongful acts of another person, David Grey is ready to help. Seeking compensation or negotiating with insurance companies can be stressful, especially while recovering. Let us do that for you. Our Los Angeles personal injury lawyers are well-versed in several practice areas:

  • Traffic Accidents
  • Premises Accidents
  • Personal Injuries
  • Product Liability
  • Nursing Home Abuse

Why do you need a lawyer for accident compensation? With thousands of lawyers in California, we understand it can be hard to choose the best legal representation. We have 35+ years of experience and secured millions for our clients. From the time you retain our firm, we build your case. For a free case evaluation and consultation, reach out to us at (323) 857-9500 or email

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