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Birth Injury

If your child has suffered an injury because of malpractice, our legal team of New Jersey birth injury lawyers may be able to help you recover damages. Please take a few moments to look over the information on this page.


What are the most common birth injuries?

Approximately 2 to 7 out of every 1000 births involve some type of birth injury. Of the more serious, cerebral palsy and Erb’s palsy are the most common.

  • Temporary Bruising or Swelling – Sometimes, the use of forceps or vacuum extraction causes bruising to the face, head, or scalp. In other cases, the small blood vessels in the babies eyes break, causing a bright red band around the iris. In most of these cases, there is no permanent damage and the swelling, bruising, or redness goes away within a week or two.
  • Fractures – Collarbone fractures are common during labor and delivery, particularly if it is a breech delivery.
  • Face Paralysis – If the baby’s facial nerve is compressed or damaged during delivery, the baby may experience facial paralysis. When the baby cries, part of its face will not move. In most cases, the effects are temporary.
  • Cerebral Palsy – Cerebral Palsy describes a group of disorders that affect the body’s movements and muscle coordination. Children that are affected by the disorder have difficulties performing daily activities including walking, talking, playing, or eating. It is not curable but it is also not contagious and doesn’t get worse over time. In most cases, the disorder is caused by damage to one or more areas of the brain during fetal development, delivery or after birth. In about 10% of cases, cerebral palsy is caused by oxygen deprivation during birth.
  • Erb’s Palsy – Erb’s Palsy is a common form of brachial palsy – and refers to an injury to the fifth and sixth cervical nerve of the brachial plexus region, a bundle of nerves that runs from the spinal cord into the arms. Erb’s Palsy impairs the baby’s upper arm and rotation of the lower arm. Other types of brachial palsy include Brachial plexus, which impairs the upper arm, and Klumpke paralysis, which impairs the hand.
  • Brain Damage – Lack of oxygen to the brain can cause permanent brain damage resulting in autism, mental retardation, or other mental disorders. In cases where there is a complete deprivation of oxygen to the brain – called anoxia – damage to the baby’s nervous system can occur. Forceps and vacuum delivery can also cause closed brain injuries.

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What are the most common reasons birth injuries occur because of medical malpractice?

A difficult delivery may increase the chances of something going wrong. Some risk factors include:

  • the baby weighs over 9 pounds
  • the baby is breech
  • the baby is too large to fit through the birth canal
  • the labor is abnormally long or short
  • the baby is delivered through a vaginal operation or C-Section

Common reasons why birth injuries occur include:

  • Oxygen deprivation
    • The umbilical cord is compressed, twisted or wraps around the baby’s neck
    • The baby remains in birth canal too long
    • The baby inhales it’s own meconium (fecal matter) and amniotic fluid – known as Meconium Aspiration Syndrome
    • A medical practitioner improperly inserts an oxygen tube.
  • Medical personnel errors
    • Failure to order specific tests during pregnancy and/or not interpreting those tests correctly
    • Failure to perform a timely C-Section
    • Failure to respond to mother or baby’s vital and other distress signs during or after birth
    • Excessive or improper use of force during delivery
    • Excessive or improper use of tools like forceps or vacuum extraction
    • Failure to diagnose and treat the baby’s seizures after delivery

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Are all birth injuries caused because of medical malpractice?

No. Sometimes, doctors can take all the right precautions and serious problems still arise. On the other hand, if your doctor was careless – he or she didn’t order the appropriate tests, missed symptoms or warning signs, or didn’t properly review your medical records – malpractice may have occurred.

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How do I know if medical malpractice was committed?

While some cases are straightforward, most cases can be complicated. In general, the court is looking for two main things:

  • Would other health care professionals in your geographical area act similarly to your physician? Would they perform the same tests and procedures or make the same omission?
  • Is the injury or loss a result of the act or omission?

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If my doctor did not pre-screen my fetus for birth defects during my pregnancy, did medical malpractice occur?

Perhaps. If there were warning signs during your pregnancy and your physician did not investigate further, malpractice may have occurred. In addition, many birth defects can now be detected with a blood test or ultra sound. Some of these birth defects include:

  • Spina Bifida
  • Down Syndrome
  • Tay-Sachs Disease
  • Thalassemia
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Sickle Cell Anemia

If your child was born with a birth defect that could have been prevented or detected through proper prenatal screening, you may be the victim of malpractice.

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What can I expect if I contact an attorney?

Once you request a Free Case Evaluation, a New Jersey attorney will contact you to discuss the details of your case. These include:

  • interviewing you to learn your side of the story
  • determining which medical professionals are responsible
  • evaluating how extensive and severe your injuries are
  • estimating the amount of your loss

If both you and your lawyer are satisfied that you have a viable case, your lawyer will begin building your case. This includes:

  • Collecting all available information
  • Reviewing your medical records including doctor reports and hospital records
  • Finding appropriate expert witnesses who can testify that your doctor acted inappropriately – in many medical malpractice cases, whether you win or lose will depend on the credentials and expertise of your expert witnesses.

Your lawyer does this so that he or she can re-enact the scene before a judge or jury. It is critical to have all the information available so you can paint as clear a picture as possible of what actually happened.

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When should I contact an attorney?

If you intend to file a lawsuit, you must start the process within two years from the date of your physician’s inappropriate action. In the case of a birth injury, any malpractice claim must be filed by the minor’s thirteenth birthday. It is extremely important to talk to an attorney about your situation as soon as possible.

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What compensation am I entitled to?

The exact amount of money you can recover can’t be determined without analyzing all information related to your injury including your medical bills, loss of income, and the severity of your injury. Each case involves a different set of circumstances, and therefore different amounts of money. The child victim of medical malpractice and his or her family may recover monetary damages for:

  • past and future medical expenses
  • future loss of earnings or reduced earning capacity
  • pain and suffering
  • costs of specialized care – including medical equipment, caregivers and aides, physical and emotional therapy and education
  • the family’s out-of-pocket expenses for caring for the victim

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How long will my case take?

While we handle all cases as quickly as possible, the length of time varies from case to case. It is important to realize that once you settle the claim, you cannot go back for more money if you realize later that the injuries are more severe than you thought. Therefore, it is crucial to collect as much information as possible about the injuries before presenting your case before a judge.

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Do I have to file a lawsuit?

Not necessarily. It depends on the extent of your injury. In most cases, medical malpractice cases are extremely expensive, take a long time, and can be difficult to prove. You will be asked – and must be prepared to answer – many personal questions about your situation, and you must be prepared to spend significant time assisting your attorney with your case. However, if your child has suffered a birth injury that required medical attention and rehabilitation, an attorney specializing in medical malpractice for birth injuries cases can help you recover the expenses you incur as well as compensation for pain and suffering by presenting a strong case.

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How long will it take me to receive my money?

That depends on a number of factors such as how serious the birth injury is and whether the case is settled or goes to trial. For serious injuries, it is best not to settle until your child receives sufficient medical treatment and rehabilitation so you can better estimate how much the injury will cost in the long run.

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What are the attorney’s fees?

If we accept your case, there are no out of pocket fees or costs to you. We are reimbursed a small percentage of the amount we recover for you – so if you don’t get paid, neither do we.

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How do I get started?

Please fill out the Free Case Evaluation form on the top right side of this page and we will respond within 24 hours.

If you wish to speak with someone immediately, call our client-intake specialist, Ken Cooper, at (856) 308-5426.