Michigan Lawyer Blog

Labor Complications: When It’s Time to Involve a Birth Injury Lawyer


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Problems during labor and delivery are every parent’s worst nightmare. Mothers who experience complications during the birthing process must receive proper medical attention. When medical professionals fail to address labor complications, those failures can put both the mother and baby in severe danger, resulting in permanent injuries or, sadly, even death. When a preventable injury occurs, it is medical malpractice. If you or your child has been injured as the result of medical malpractice, it’s time to involve a birth injury lawyer.

We Can Help

With over 150 years of combined experience, our team is well prepared to get your family justice and your child the financial resources needed for their care and well-being going forward. With a comprehensive understanding of medical malpractice laws and the legal system overall, and with the resources and connections to experts to build your case, our team puts you in the best position to secure the compensation your child and your family deserves, as our clients and our settlement awards show.

Why Choose Us?

Following a birth injury, families are often thrown into unexpected emotional turmoil. Our team will respect your pain, treating you with compassion and empathy while fighting fiercely to hold accountable those who have caused your suffering.

When Birth Complications Become Medical Malpractice

Labor complications, such as failure to progress, fetal distress, excessive bleeding and malposition can occur, but these issues do not automatically amount to medical malpractice. Malpractice occurs when the medical staff makes a mistake or does not provide appropriate medical care, jeopardizing the health of the mother or baby and opening the door to a birth injury claim. You should not try to determine whether a birth injury is malpractice. When your baby sustains a birth injury, that is when to involve a birth injury lawyer.

Common Causes of Labor and Delivery Malpractice Injuries

Any preventable mistake can lead to injury, though some errors are more common than others:

  • Administering the wrong medication during pregnancy

  • Failing to properly monitor fetal signs

  • Failing to order diagnostic or other testing

  • Failing to follow up on vaginal bleeding or reduced fetal movement

  • Failing to perform a timely C-section

  • Misusing tools, such as forceps

  • Failing to alert doctors to abnormalities or emergencies

  • Delaying or improperly administering anesthesia.

Types of Birth Injuries

The consequences of a medical professional’s negligence can leave mothers or babies with lifelong disabilities requiring permanent medical care. Though there is no exhaustive list of the types of birth injuries a preventable mistake can cause, some injuries are seen more commonly.

Brain Damage

Brain injuries can result from a lack of oxygen, head injuries sustained as the baby emerges from the birth canal, or preventable infections. Brain damage can cause lifelong cognitive and physical disabilities.

Often, oxygen deprivation leads to cerebral palsy (CP), described by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as “a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture.” Symptoms can vary, but the most severe case can leave a person unable to walk and in need of lifelong care.

Brachial Plexus Palsy

Brachial plexus palsy, or Erb’s palsy, is caused by damage to the baby’s brachial plexus during delivery. The injury damages nerves, affecting the child’s shoulders, arms, and hands, by weakening or paralyzing the parts of the body. Though treatment is available, affected babies can sustain lifelong consequences.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries can occur if a doctor strains or pulls a baby’s neck as it exits the birth canal or uses tools to remove the baby from the birth canal. If damage to a baby’s spine before its birth goes undiagnosed, the condition can be made worse during delivery.

These kinds of injuries disrupt the connection of nerves between the brain and the body, causing partial or total paralysis.

Bone Fractures

Babies’ bones are soft and therefore fracture or break more easily. Larger babies or those in the breech position are more likely to experience a bone break during delivery and are especially vulnerable to clavicle breaks.

Maternal Physical and Mental Birth Injuries

Mothers in childbirth can also experience serious injuries. These injuries can affect the mother alone but often accompany an injury to the child. Vaginal tearing, infection, uterine ruptures, and excessive bleeding are not uncommon. These injuries, or an injury to the child alone, can leave new mothers with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety or depression, and physical disabilities.

Compensation for Birth Injuries

To collect compensation for birth injury medical malpractice, you need to file a claim two years from the date the injury occurred, according to Michigan law. While this deadline is generally firm, if the effects and diagnosis of the injury come later, you have six months from that discovery to file. Connect with a birth injury lawyer promptly to ensure you file within the deadline.

All cases and settlements are different, and while it is not possible to state an average settlement amount, you can expect your attorney to pursue compensation for the following:

  • Medical costs, including future care needs

  • Lost wages and earning potential if the mother is injured and unable to return to work

  • Emotional and psychological anguish

  • Physical damage, such as pain, disability, or disfigurement

  • Diminished quality of life.

If the baby or mother dies from the preventable injury, your birth injury attorney can file a wrongful death claim so survivors can recover medical costs, end-of-life expenses and lost income, and have their emotional distress and loss of relationship acknowledged.

When to Hire a Birth Injury Lawyer

In the aftermath of a birth injury, new parents (or the surviving parent) are distraught and vulnerable as they come to terms with the situation. Getting through each day, more than planning for the future, is foremost in their minds.

However, for injuries requiring long-term care and financial resources, it is critical to plan for the future. Partnering with a birth injury lawyer is the best course of action. You may be wondering, “When should I contact a birth injury lawyer?” The answer is “right away.”  Parents can focus on recovering and adjusting, while an empathetic, knowledgeable attorney handles the legalities and negotiations to secure compensation.

When Should I Contact a Birth Injury Lawyer?

If you or your baby has been injured during labor complications because of a medical professional’s negligence, that is when to hire a birth injury lawyer. To speak to one of our experienced Detroit birth injury lawyers, call us at 248-286-8100 or visit our contact page to send an electronic message. Our legal team will review your case at no cost, and if you or your child has been hurt by medical malpractice, we will fight to help you recover the compensation you need and the justice you deserve.