When malpractice results in birth injury

Injuries that occur during the labor and delivery process or just after childbirth can cause serious long-term disabilities. While some injuries are minor, others result in physical and cognitive health issues.

Sometimes, negligence by a health care provider constitutes medical malpractice when a child suffers a birth injury. The family may have a legal claim to cover medical bills and other costs.

Types of birth injury malpractice

Birth injuries can occur because of these negligent actions or failures by a member of the health care team:

  • Lack of proper monitoring of the mother and fetus during labor and delivery
  • Failure to detect a defect, complication or communicable disease
  • Lack of proper response to a life-threatening development during labor and delivery, such as emergency cesarean section, umbilical cord complications, loss of oxygen or excessive bleeding
  • Inappropriate or incorrect use of assistive devices during labor, such as a vacuum or forceps

Requirements for a malpractice claim

The plaintiff in a birth injury claim must show that the doctor or nurse caring for the mother and infant did not adhere to a reasonable level of care. Typically, a medical expert in obstetrics and gynecology provides testimony in a malpractice case involving birth injury.

Illinois residents can file a medical malpractice claim within two years of the injury date or the diagnosis date when the injury. Those acting on behalf of a minor may have additional time to file a lawsuit. The court may award financial damages that cover pain and suffering, loss of earning capacity, current and future medical bills, and other expenses that result from the birth injury.