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Birth Injury vs. Birth Defect: When to Contact an Attorney

Posted By Montee Law Firm, P.C. || 4-Dec-2017

At Montee Law Firm, P.C., our Kansas City personal injury attorneys represent victims of negligence, including those who suffered preventable birth injuries as a result of negligent medical professionals. When it comes to birth injuries and medical malpractice, we know that complex laws and medical standards can make it difficult for victims and families to understand when they have a valid claim for compensation and when they do not. As such, we always take the time to thoroughly review cases, educate clients about their rights, and discuss how injuries or issues at birth may mean they have grounds to pursue a case.

One of the most difficult concepts victims and families must understand when it comes to birth injury cases, or any medical malpractice case for that matter, is that victims are entitled to compensation when injuries are preventable if not for negligence. This means that if a nurse, doctor, or other health care provider who treated you during pregnancy, labor, or delivery failed to provide care in accordance to accepted medical standards (which constitutes negligence) AND you or your child suffered harm as a result, you might be entitled to compensation.

While this is a general explanation of medical negligence, and although all cases will vary, determining whether or not an injury was preventable is one of the first steps in a birth injury case. Often, victims are confused as to whether their child’s injury was the result of negligence in some way – and much of this confusion can be cleared up when the difference between birth injuries and birth defects are explained:

  • Birth Injuries – Birth injuries refer to injuries sustained during the birthing process, including labor and delivery. Birth injuries can be caused by a variety of factors, including difficult labor, complications, and medical errors (such as failing to properly perform a C-section, improperly using forceps, or failing to monitor signs of fetal distress). Although medical negligence can certainly be a cause of birth injuries, it is not the only cause. In order to determine when a birth injury was caused by negligence – and therefore grounds for a birth injury lawsuit – a medical professional’s conduct will need to be closely evaluated to determine if it was not the type of care a reasonably skillful medical professional would have provided under the same or similar circumstances.
  • Birth Defects – Birth defects, as opposed to birth injuries, do not occur at birth. They are generally health conditions, illnesses, or abnormalities that form while a baby is still developing in the womb. Although both birth defects and birth injuries can create extensive needs for children and families, they are distinctly different when it comes to the law. That’s because most birth defects are congenital, meaning they cannot be avoided and do not result from medical negligence. In these cases, medical professionals would not be held liable for a birth defect. However, there may be cases where birth defects result from a fetus or pregnant mother being exposed to toxic substances. This may occur when the mother takes a certain medication without knowing it could cause defects, or when a mother is exposed to harmful substances such as lead, mercury, pesticides, and others. Depending on the circumstances, victims who can connect their child’s birth defect to toxic exposure (either exposure to a dangerous medication or environmental exposure) may have a case for compensation against the manufacturer of a drug or material (product liability) or party that exposed victims to the substance.

Do I Have a Case?

You might have a potential personal injury lawsuit if:

  • Your child’s injuries (or yours) resulted from medical negligence during birth; or
  • Your child’s birth defect resulted from exposure to a toxic substance, including harmful medications

Because there are so many unique circumstances involved in birth injury and toxic exposure cases, our legal team at Montee Law Firm, P.C. is available to help victims more thoroughly review their potential case. During a FREE and confidential consultation, we can help you better understand what may have led to you or your child’s injuries or defect, whether you may have a potential case, and what we can do to help! Contact us to speak with a member of our firm.

Categories: Medical Malpractice
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