Welcoming a new life into the world is a momentous occasion filled with hope and joy. But sometimes, this happiness is overshadowed by unexpected medical concerns. Two terms that might arise during these trying times are birth defects and birth injuries. To many, they might seem interchangeable. They aren’t.
Winston Briggs and the rest of the team at our law firm know how devastating birth injuries and defects can impact newborns and their families. Attorney Briggs has more than 30 years of experience. He’s a medical malpractice attorney in Atlanta who can pursue the compensation your family needs for birth injuries that were caused by someone’s wrongdoing.
Defining Birth Injuries and Birth Defects
The term “birth injuries” refers to physical harm or trauma a baby experiences during the process of childbirth. These might result from various factors like prolonged labor, complicated delivery, or the use of certain medical tools.
On the other hand, birth defects are conditions that develop while the baby is still in the womb, long before birth. Birth defects can be related to genetics, environmental factors, or sometimes a combination of both. Examples include congenital heart defects or Down syndrome.
Common Examples of Birth Injuries
While many of these injuries are minor and resolve without intervention, others might require medical attention. Here are some of the most frequently occurring birth injuries:
- Brachial Plexus Injury: Damage to the nerve group that controls arm and hand muscles.
- Caput Succedaneum: Swelling of a newborn’s head, typically resulting from a vacuum extraction.
- Cephalohematoma: A collection of blood between the baby’s skull and the scalp, often from birth trauma.
- Fractures: The clavicle or collarbone is the most commonly fractured bone during childbirth.
- Facial Nerve Injury: An injury that typically results from pressure applied to the baby’s face during delivery.
- Forceps Marks: Temporary marks or bruises on a baby’s face or head from forceps used during delivery.
- Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE): Brain injury caused by a lack of oxygen during birth.
- Intracranial Hemorrhage: Bleeding within the baby’s brain, commonly due to a traumatic delivery.
Why the Difference Between Birth Injuries and Defects Matters
Birth defects are usually nobody’s fault. Birth injuries, on the other hand, often involve potentially preventable harm that occurred during the birthing process. This may indicate that a doctor, another healthcare professional, or a healthcare facility acted negligently.
In the case of birth injuries caused by wrongdoing, a personal injury claim allows families to hold medical professionals or institutions accountable for any harm done. Identifying the difference between birth injuries and birth defects lets families know whether they might have grounds for a lawsuit.
How a Birth Injury Lawsuit Works
A birth injury lawsuit typically begins when a family believes their child’s injury resulted from medical negligence. If you find yourself in this position, you should consult a birth injury lawyer to assess the situation. They can investigate and gather evidence about your case. This evidence may include medical records, expert testimony, and other relevant documents.
If there’s a strong case, the lawyer will file a claim on your family’s behalf, aiming to secure compensation for medical expenses, pain, suffering, or other related losses. The process can either result in a settlement or, if necessary, proceed to trial, where a judge or jury will decide the case.
Get Help from an Atlanta Birth Injury Lawyer
If your child suffered a birth injury due to medical negligence, the W. Winston Briggs Law Firm can be your champion in your pursuit of justice. Call us in Atlanta at (404) 522-1500 for a free consultation, or you can complete our contact form.