Bradshaw Law, LLC
Bradshaw Law, LLC

What Are Common Birth Injuries?

What Are Common Birth Injuries?

There are several common birth injuries in Nevada, including bone fractures, brachial plexus injuries, facial nerve injuries, and more. If you believe a birth injury developed because of a medical professional or facility’s negligence, you may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the liable parties.

Closeup shot of an unrecognizable pregnant woman holding an ultrasound scan. what are common birth injuries

If you need assistance with building your birth injury claim or lawsuit, the attorneys at Bradshaw Law, LLC can help. We can determine if you have a viable case and the total compensation you’re able to recover. Call us at 775-738-7444 to speak with one of our attorneys.

Nevada’s Birth Injury Statistics

Nearly one in every 1,100 infants is born with a birth defect in Nevada every year. Additionally, one in five infant deaths in Nevada results from a birth defect. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that the infant mortality rate in Nevada is 5.76 infant deaths per 1,000 births, which is considerably higher than in other states like California, Iowa, and North Dakota.

Not all birth injuries and defects result from negligence, but they often develop due to the negligence of medical professionals, hospitals, and other parties. Holding the responsible parties accountable is crucial in recovering compensation and helping prevent future incidences of negligence and birth injuries.

What Are Common Birth Injuries Caused by Negligence?

The following are some of the most common types of injuries that impact infants during birth.

Facial Paralysis

Medical negligence could result in facial paralysis when infants experience pressure on their facial nerves. Depending on the severity of the injury, the infant could suffer from either temporary or permanent paralysis.

Fractures

Infants could also suffer bone fractures, such as a broken collarbone. If these injuries are mild, they could heal without treatment, but they may also require more extensive treatment if bones experience severe fractures or if multiple fractures occur.

Brachial Plexus Injuries

These injuries occur when an infant’s spinal nerve cluster, called the brachial plexus, sustains injuries before, during, or shortly after birth. When injured, symptoms in babies include paralysis of the arms, hands, shoulder, or neck. Like other nerve injuries, mild brachial plexus injuries can heal without treatment, but more severe injuries could result in permanent paralysis.

Cerebral Palsy

This condition can develop in infants due to a number of contributing factors, including oxygen deprivation, an infection that the mother contracts while pregnant, or an infection affecting the infant. While cerebral palsy may develop without any form of negligence behind it, doctors could be responsible for the development of this condition if they don’t check the fetus or newborn for signs of palsy or work to prevent it.

Some signs of cerebral palsy include:

  • Muscle spasming or weakness
  • Insufficient motor skill development
  • Blindness
  • Drooling
  • Generally delayed development

Cephalohematoma

Infants may experience bleeding in the space between the skull and the covering over it. This develops when the infant’s head experiences pressure during birth, and it often goes away on its own. It can be visible in the form of a lump on the child’s head and will normally go away within weeks to a few months, during which time the baby may appear jaundiced during blood cell breakdown.

While this condition is typically harmless and doesn’t affect the brain, doctors should check the infant for other injuries, such as a subdural hematoma, that can result in serious injury.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Damage to the spinal cord could occur in infants if they sustain prolonged pressure on the spine. In turn, tears could develop, leading to developmental issues. For example, an infant may experience loss of movement or sensation, culminating in permanent paralysis and underdevelopment.

Forceps Marks and Bruising

During birth, the infant could experience bruising while moving through the birth canal. Bruising could also occur from vacuum extraction. When using forceps, doctors may leave temporary marks on the child’s head. These injuries aren’t often severe and heal quickly on their own, but too much pressure from forceps could cause more damage, such as spinal cord injuries.

Caput Succedaneium

During birth, a child may exhibit signs of Caput, which occurs when the soft tissue on the child’s scalp begins to swell and bruise. While this often occurs during vacuum extraction, it could also develop during natural birth due to pressure on the infant’s head.

Subconjunctival Hemorrhage

If an infant displays redness in the white part of the eye after birth, this could indicate subconjunctival hemorrhage, which occurs when blood vessels in the eyes are damaged. This injury often develops naturally and doesn’t require treatment of any kind.

Signs of Birth Injuries in Infants

After delivery, keep an eye out for birth trauma symptoms in babies. Signs of birth injuries include:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Seizures
  • Low heart rate
  • Weak reflexes
  • Fussiness or high-pitched cries
  • Arched back when crying

If you notice these or other symptoms, ensure your doctor monitors the child’s condition and checks for injuries or illnesses. If a child experiences these symptoms for too long, injuries could become more severe, permanent, or life-threatening.

What Are the Legal Considerations for Birth Injuries?

After a birth injury, you may be able to recover compensation through a medical malpractice claim with the help of a birth injury attorney.

The damages you may recover include economic damages for medical expenses, lost income, and ongoing care for the child. When birth injuries leave invisible scars, including psychological distress and anguish over the child’s condition or death, it’s possible to recover non-economic damages for pain and suffering affecting the parents and the child. However, you must prove that a doctor or facility practiced negligence to succeed with a malpractice case.

Proving Negligence in Nevada

Like in other states, it’s often more difficult to prove negligence in medical malpractice cases than with other types of civil lawsuits. You need to show that medical professionals or facilities owed a duty of care, often through written proof of a patient-doctor relationship. You must then show that this party breached that duty of care and that this breach led to birth injuries and damages.

It’s not enough to gather evidence on your own in these cases. Even if you have compelling visual or other evidence that a physician practiced negligence, you will need to file an affidavit of merit from an experienced medical practitioner in the same or a related field. In this affidavit, the medical professional will detail how the doctor’s actions veered from the necessary standards of care and he or she failed to act reasonably to prevent injury.

Without this affidavit, your case is far less likely to succeed, as Nevada courts won’t typically see cases without review from a medical professional first.

To ensure you’re able to prove negligence and get the help of a medical practitioner’s affidavit, it’s best to contact a birth injury lawyer who knows how to find the right connection.

Nevada’s Statute of Limitations

Not only do you need to consider the requirement for proof of negligence and an affidavit of merit, but you must also take into account the state’s statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases.

A statute of limitations gives claimants and plaintiffs a limited amount of time to file a case before they’re unable to seek compensation. The statute varies from case to case and from state to state.

So, how long can you wait after a birth injury to sue? In Nevada, the statute of limitations is three years from the date of the birth injury or one year from when you noticed the birth injury.

Work With an Attorney for a Birth Injury Case

An attorney can review your case to determine your options, connect with a reliable medical professional to provide an affidavit of merit, and represent you during the claims process.

For help with a case, reach out to the Elko birth injury attorneys at Bradshaw Law, LLC. Contact us today to learn what we can do for your case.

author-bio-image author-bio-image
Denise Bradshaw

Personal injury lawyer Denise Bradshaw is the founder of Bradshaw Law, LLC., which has offices in Elko, NV and Houston, TX. Denise represents victims of catastrophic birth injuries, automobile accidents, motorcycle accidents, dangerous products, and medical malpractice. Denise has been named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers and is also a member of the Multi-Million Dollar and Million Dollar Advocates Forums.

Years of Experience: More than 15 years
Nevada Registration Status: Active

Bar & Court Admissions: Nevada State Bar, U.S District Court, All Nevada and Texas Courts

author-bio-image author-bio-image
Denise Bradshaw

Personal injury lawyer Denise Bradshaw is the founder of Bradshaw Law, LLC., which has offices in Elko, NV and Houston, TX. Denise represents victims of catastrophic birth injuries, automobile accidents, motorcycle accidents, dangerous products, and medical malpractice. Denise has been named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers and is also a member of the Multi-Million Dollar and Million Dollar Advocates Forums.

Years of Experience: More than 15 years
Nevada Registration Status: Active

Bar & Court Admissions: Nevada State Bar, U.S District Court, All Nevada and Texas Courts