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Unfortunately, there are several types of injuries that can occur during labor and delivery. These birthing injuries can cause lifelong impairment and disfigurement. The birthing process can be incredibly traumatic and some of these injuries are unavoidable. However, in some instances, these injuries are the result of an error by a medical professional. If a doctor or nurse does something or fails to do something correctly and that failure to act appropriately causes harm to an infant or the infant's mother, then there may be a compensable medical malpractice claim. Birthing incidents are notorious for being potentially lengthy and complicated cases with high damages and major liability issues that are likely to be contested by the at-fault party. Given the situation, it is important to have an attorney who can properly assess the claim and potential value for the case. Members of Goodnow|McKay are experienced with these claims and are here to help. We are committed to helping our clients recover fair compensation. We are often able to negotiate reasonable settlements with the responsible insurance companies, but we are willing to fight for our clients through trial if necessary.

Common Causes of Birth Injuries:


Birth injuries can occur for many reasons—and often times they are, unfortunately, unavoidable. However, a medical professional may fail to recognize signs that could help prevent some of these injuries. Common causes of birthing injuries are oxygen deprivation to the child during the birthing process, failure to recognize signs the child is larger than anticipated and should be delivered via cesarean section, and the child becoming stuck in the birthing canal or, alternatively, removed incorrectly from the birthing canal.


Common Consequences of Birth Injuries:


  • Cerebral palsy: Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders with many different causes. It can begin in the womb and continue to develop throughout the first two years of a child's life. Some forms of cerebral palsy can occur as a result of oxygen deprivation. Some forms are attributable to head injuries, brain bleeding, or infection. Cerebral palsy can affect a child's speech, movement, and learning functions.


  • Brachial Plexus Injuries: During birth, a child may become lodged in the birth canal or the infant may be twisted or contorted in a manner that twists his or her head, neck, shoulder, or arm in a manner that causes damage. Often, this damage occurs to a network of nerves running between the neck, arms, and spine, known as the brachial plexus. Damages to the brachial plexus can have a range of side effects including permanent impairment. In extreme cases there can be complete immobility of the arm forever.


  • Umbilical Cord Compression: The umbilical cord supplies oxygen and nutrients to the baby in utero. If there is a serious issue with the umbilical cord, it can cause serious injuries to the child as a result of impairing the developmental process and, unfortunately, in some cases, umbilical cord issues can lead to the death of the child. One common umbilical cord issue is a prolapse. When an umbilical cord prolapses, the cord will begin moving down the birthing canal during labor. This may cause the cord to be unable to perform properly and deprive the child of oxygen attributable to compression.

Claims and Compensation:


Birth injury claims are a type of medical malpractice claim. This means that claims for injuries are usually lodged against a healthcare professional such as a doctor or nurse, or in certain circumstances, a healthcare facility.


Medical malpractice claims are a specialized and nuanced field of injury law and a successful claim requires an attorney who is familiar with the legal duties and responsibilities of a healthcare provider, as well as the medicine and procedures underlying the claim itself. While not all birth injuries are caused by medical error, it is important to note that medical providers involved in the birth of a child should be prepared to handle foreseeable issues with the health and safety of the child and mother. If the provider fails to meet these duties and that failure causes injuries to the mother or child then there is potentially a medical malpractice claim.


Compensation in these cases varies dramatically based on the injuries the mother or child suffers. Generally, the claims may include payments for past and future medical expenses. These expenses may include estimated costs of medication, physical therapy, live-in or home healthcare accommodations, special needs, and education costs. These claims may also include compensation for non-economic damages including physical pain and emotional suffering. Valuing the non-economic damages can be difficult. Medical expenses and bills have a number that is concrete and easily identifiable but pain and suffering does not. The attorney will help to estimate the value of the claim based on what was taken from the injured party and the impact it has on the party's life.




Members of Goodnow|McKay are vigilant in research and advocacy on behalf of accident victims. Please see the linked articles below related to medical malpractice cases:


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Chris Goodnow is licensed in Arizona. Justin McKay is licensed in Arizona. Matters in other areas are handled by licensed attorneys employed, associated, or co-counseled with Goodnow|McKay.