When Is a Birth Injury Considered Medical Malpractice?

Categories: Medical Malpractice

birth injury medical malpractice

Having a baby is a joyous occasion that leaves parents with excitement and anticipation. But sometimes there are complications with the pregnancy or childbirth that cause devastating injuries to the mother or infant. Should these complications be the result of a healthcare professional’s negligence, then you may have a case for birth injury medical malpractice.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of birth injury medical malpractice, contact the experienced Washington medical malpractice lawyers at Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner. We will analyze your case to determine if the birth injury gives rise to a medical malpractice claim.

What Is Medical Malpractice?

A medical malpractice claim is classified as a type of personal injury claim. Medical malpractice lawsuits are initiated when a healthcare professional’s negligent act causes harm to the patient.

Medical errors are more prevalent than you may think. A John Hopkins study found that over a quarter of a million people die from medical errors every year, and are the third leading cause of death in the United States.

When Is a Birth Injury Medical Malpractice?

A birth injury amounts to medical malpractice when a healthcare professional’s negligent act causes the injury. A medical malpractice birth injury can arise in two different scenarios. The first is when the healthcare professional does something that harms the mother or the baby. For example, the healthcare professional might prescribe the wrong medication or handle the baby too roughly during delivery.

The other scenario for birth injury malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional does not do something they should have done. Failure to diagnose or treat a condition or disease falls within this umbrella. Examples include the following:

  • Failure to treat the mother’s high blood pressure,
  • Failure to monitor the baby’s heart rate,
  • Failure to put the mother on bed rest, and
  • Failure to perform a cesarean section.

These actions or inactions then lead to serious health issues for the mother and infant.

How Do You Prove Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice is a type of negligence claim. For your claim to be successful, you must meet the four elements of negligence.

Duty of Care

All medical professionals have a duty to provide their patients with satisfactory care.

Thus, you must prove you were a patient of the healthcare professional you are accusing of medical malpractice. Normally, this step is easy. You can show medical records or invoices to prove you were under the healthcare professional’s care.


Next, you must show that the healthcare professional breached their duty of care. You must prove that the care they provided was unsatisfactory by showing they did something wrong or failed to do something.


You must connect your health provider’s breach of care to you or your infant’s injuries. For example, if your doctor failed to monitor your high blood pressure while you were pregnant, you must connect that breach to the premature delivery of your baby.


You must have documentation to show that you or your infant suffered some injury from this breach of care. Medical invoices and financial statements can also prove the financial distress your family suffered from the injury.

What Types of Birth Injuries Are There?

Mistakes or failure to act can lead to serious injuries for both the newborn and the mother. Birth injuries vary in terms of severity and include the following injuries for your newborn:

  • Cerebral palsy,
  • Spinal cord damage,
  • Dislocated shoulder,
  • Skull fractures,
  • Newborn jaundice,
  • Erb’s palsy,
  • Broken bones,
  • Brain damage,
  • Fetal distress,
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis,
  • Umbilical cord strangulation, and
  • Wrongful death.

The mother may also be harmed and suffer from the following injuries:

  • Blood loss,
  • Vaginal or uterine tears,
  • Post-traumatic stress,
  • Depression,
  • Chronic pain, and
  • Incontinence.

Note that other injuries not included here may amount to medical malpractice, so contact a lawyer immediately to find out if you are entitled to compensation.

Who Can Be Sued for Birth Injuries?

Any healthcare professional who acted negligently in treating, diagnosing, or caring for a mother or infant can be liable for medical malpractice, including:

  • Doctors,
  • Surgeons,
  • Nurses,
  • Certified nurse’s assistants,
  • Technicians, and
  • Pharmacists.

You may also be able to sue the hospital as an entity.

File a Birth Injury Medical Malpractice Claim

Birth injuries and childbirth complications can cause serious harm to the baby and the mother. Some of these damages are long-lasting and can make it difficult for the mother and baby to live a normal life.

The cost of these complications can send you and your family into financial distress. Our seasoned personal injury attorneys in Washington can help. We have recovered over $100 million for our clients. We have the knowledge, resources, and perseverance to get you the compensation you deserve.

Contact us at Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner for a free case evaluation.

Author Photo

Matt Conner

Matt Conner, a distinguished attorney at Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner, brings a unique blend of financial and legal expertise to his practice. Graduating with a double major in mathematics and economics from Willamette University, he initially honed his analytical skills as an economist for the State of Oregon. Specializing in personal injury law, Matt is adept at handling a wide array of cases, including multiparty litigation against large entities, and claims involving gun violence, sexual and police misconduct, car accidents, traumatic brain injuries, and wrongful death. Admitted to the Washington State Bar in 2014, he is known for his tenacious advocacy and deep compassion for clients facing life-altering challenges. His approach is not just about legal representation; it’s about restoring lives.