When you or your partner deliver your baby, the last thing you think about it a potential injury occurring during the process. Unfortunately, five out of every 1000 babies that are born sustain a birth injury of some sort. This can be devastating and you may wonder what options you have.

Birth injuries should not be mistaken for birth defects, however, which occur as the result of something harming the baby during the pregnancy.

What are birth injuries?

Generally speaking, birth injuries occur when either the baby or mother suffers injuries due to something that was incorrectly done during the birthing process. According to FindLaw, some examples of birth injuries include the following.

  • Inappropriate medical techniques
  • Improper use of medical equipment
  • Failure to recognize and treat medical conditions during pregnancy
  • Prescription of a drug that results in an injury to the mother or the baby

Who is liable for birth injuries?

In these situations, multiple parties may hold responsibility for a birth injury. While your first thoughts may turn to the medical doctor who delivered your baby, anesthesiologists, nurses and other places where you receive health care may also be responsible. The hospital where your baby was born may hold liability for the birth injury either directly, or vicariously. In some situations, however, the hospital will not hold liability for the injury and the specific nurses or doctors will hold responsibility instead.

If the birth injury is due to a pharmaceutical drug that you took under the direction of your doctor, the pharmaceutical company may be liable as well. However, since the pharmaceutical companies typically disclose all potential side effects to the doctors who prescribe them, it is likely that your doctor will assume liability instead.