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The difference between birth injuries and birth defects

On Behalf of | Jan 6, 2017 | Firm News, Medical Malpractice |

When a couple in Lafayette is expecting the birth of a child, they are often filled with joy and excitement. They may find themselves readying the baby’s room, buying new baby items and discussing names. For many Floridians, though, the birth process quickly turns into a nightmare when their child’s health is put in danger. The damages resulting from these situations can be excessive, including physical, emotional and financial losses.

Although these families may be able to recover compensation for their damages via a medical malpractice lawsuit, these claims are often hotly contested. One challenge parents may face is proving that their child’s injuries resulted from a doctor’s negligence rather than a birth defect. Whereas a birth injury is caused during the birthing process by a medical professional’s negligence, a birth defect occurs prior to birth and may be caused by uncontrollable factors like heredity and environment.

Sadly, birth injuries are far too common, affecting approximately five out of every 1,000 babies born. Those individuals whose child is born with an injury such as shoulder dystocia or cerebral palsy should analyze the situation to determine whether their child suffered a birth injury or a birth defect. An experienced attorney may be able to help these families assess the situation and determine the best way to move forward.

If the choice is made to pursue a medical malpractice claim in hopes of recovering compensation for medical expenses and other damages, evidence must be presented showing negligence and causation. This means establishing the applicable standard of care and how it was breached, resulting in the child’s harm. In many birth injury cases, this requires expert testimony and extensive medical explanation. For this reason, birth injury victims and their families may want to consider seeking assistance from a legal professional.

Source: FindLaw, “Birth Injury Overview,” accessed on Dec. 31, 2016