Birth injuries can cause permanent disabilities that require ongoing medical treatment, life-sustaining medical equipment, and modifications to your home and vehicle. When birth injuries are caused by medical malpractice, parents can file a birth injury claims to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If your child suffered an injury during birth, Reno birth injury lawyer Stephen H. Osborne will fight to obtain the compensation your child needs.

What Are the Leading Causes of Birth Injuries?

Birth injuries can happen for various reasons. Medical professionals may fail to diagnose an issue during pregnancy or during the delivery procedure. They may neglect to act when signs indicate the baby is in distress. Or they may otherwise deviate from the standards of care expected while caring for the mother and the baby during labor or delivery. Risk of birth injury is especially high during labor due to the stressful and complex nature of the delivery procedure. If your child suffered a birth injury, it is essential that you consult a Reno birth injury attorney. A review of facts may reveal medical malpractice. The following factors can increase the risk of birth injuries.

Large Birth Weights

The risk of a birth injury occurring increases if a doctor fails to detect that a baby has a large birth weight. Specifically, the risk increases if a baby’s weight exceeds 8 pounds, 13 ounces. Increased birth weight may result in complications for a vaginal delivery and forceps, vacuum, or other equipment may be necessary to aid the birth.


A premature birth occurs when a baby is born prior to the 37th week of a pregnancy. Babies that are born prematurely often require extensive medical treatment and are at higher risk of suffering birth injuries. A baby that is born prematurely is more vulnerable to suffering health complications, and infections such as neonatal sepsis.

Cephalopelvic Disproportion

Cephalopelvic disproportion occurs when a baby’s head or shoulder does not fit through the mother’s pelvis during labor. This occurs because the baby’s head is too big or the mother’s pelvis is too small. Cephalopelvic disproportion can cause a baby to suffer several types of injuries, including a brain injury.

Prolonged Labor

On average, labor for first time pregnancies takes approximately 12 to 18 hours. For subsequent pregnancies, labor typically takes about eight hours. If labor takes longer than 18 hours, the risk of a child suffering a birth injury increases. This is because contractions place pressure on the baby and cause increased stress for prolonged periods of time.

Abnormal Birthing Presentation

A baby must be correctly positioned to ensure it passes safely through the vaginal canal. If the baby is not positioned correctly, or is too large, it is at high risk of suffering a birth injury. Close attention must be paid if this complication arises. In many cases, birth injury can be prevented if a C-section is quickly performed.

What Damages Are Recoverable in Birth Injury Lawsuits?

If you are a parent that is considering pursuing a birth injury lawsuit, it is important to understand the basis of a monetary settlement or judgment. The money you could obtain is based on the damages you are claiming for your child’s injuries. Three types of damages may be available.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are those that can be easily quantified. Your child’s birth injury likely required medical treatment, the use of additional medical supplies, drugs, and medication. Some birth injuries leave children permanently disabled. Your child may need future medical treatment. The financial cost of your child’s past, and future, medical treatment can be claimed as economic damages. Additionally, the cost of the medical supplies can also be claimed as economic damages.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are damages that can not be easily quantified. Your economic losses are often used as a basis for determining the value of your non-economic damages. You may be able to recover compensation for physical pain and suffering and emotional trauma caused by the birth injury. You may also recover compensation for your child’s inability to enjoy a full life due to a disability. If your child died, and you are asserting a wrongful death claim, you can recover compensation for loss of companionship and emotional distress.

Punitive Damages

Unlike economic and non-economic damages, punitive damages are not meant to compensate your child for his or her injuries. Instead, punitive damages are designed to punish a wrongdoer. Punitive damages are also meant to act as a deterrent to potential wrongdoers. You can only be awarded punitive damages if your Reno birth injury attorney proves that the wrongdoer committed a malicious, oppressive, or fraudulent act. Nevada law requires you to prove your claim for punitive damages by clear and convincing evidence.

Who Is Liable for a Birth Injury Caused by Medical Malpractice?

Various parties may be liable for your child’s birth injuries. A detailed investigation of the facts surrounding your child’s injury by a Reno birth injury attorney is essential to identify the negligent party. If the birth injury is the result of medical malpractice, the negligent party may be:

  • The doctor who delivered your child
  • A nurse that was involved in the delivery of your child
  • A nurse practitioner that was involved in the delivery of your child
  • A physician’s assistant that was involved in the delivery of your child
  • An anesthesiologist that was involved in the delivery of your child

Finally, the hospital where the birth occurred may also be vicariously liable for the actions of its employees. Additionally, the hospital may be liable if it failed to verify their staff members credentials, or failed to adhere to the relevant standards of care.

Common Injuries Seen by Birth Injury Attorneys

  • Brachial palsy – Paralysis of a child’s upper extremities can result due to the child’s shoulder becoming lodged against the mother’s pelvic bone.
  • Bruising or forceps marks – Babies that become lodged in the birth canal need forceps to guide them, but may suffer scarring if the forceps are used incorrectly.
  • Cephalohematoma – Blood pools under a baby’s skull due to a doctor misusing a vacuum or forceps.
  • Fractures – The risk of a collarbone or clavicle fracture increases during tough deliveries or breech births.
  • Facial paralysis – A baby’s facial nerves may suffer damage due to the improper use of forceps. Corrective surgery may be required.
  • Subconjunctival hemorrhage – Blood appears in the baby’s eyes due to the misuse of forceps or vacuum extractors. This may be a symptom of another issue.
  • Cerebral Palsy – Brain damage can result from the baby’s brain being deprived of oxygen before or during labor.

Hire a Reno Birth Injury Attorney Today

Pursuing damages in a birth injury case requires the testimony of medical experts, extensive review of medical records, and lengthy negotiation and or litigation. Studies reveal that victims are significantly more likely to recover fair compensation when they hire an attorney to handle their cases. Protecting the rights of injured victims since 1992, Reno birth injury lawyer Stephen Osborne knows how to advocate for your child after a birth injury is diagnosed. Our law firm can guide you and your family through the medical malpractice claims process to ensure negligent parties are held accountable, and you receive the compensation you need to pay for medical bills and other losses. Call today for a free consultation.