Birth Injury Medical Malpractice

Quick Answer

Birth injury medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional make mistakes during delivery that cause birth injuries. A birth injury can leave a child with serious complications for the rest of their lives. You may be able to take legal action and file a birth injury medical malpractice claim if your child's injury was preventable.

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What Is Birth Injury Medical Malpractice?

According to the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys (ABPLA), medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, hospital, or other health care professional causes harm to a patient through an act of negligence.

Health care professionals are expected to give quality medical care during childbirth. It may be considered medical malpractice if your child experienced a brain injury due to a careless mistake during childbirth. Medical malpractice can result in several types of birth injuries.

Birth Injury Medical Malpractice Can Cause...

Do I Have a Birth Injury Malpractice Case?

If you believe your child was the victim of birth injury malpractice, try to record any birth injury symptoms and recall any details from your child’s birth.

Our caring nurse case managers can provide a free consultation to determine if you have a case and are eligible for financial compensation.

Nurse Beth Carter

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Symptoms of a Birth Injury Caused by Malpractice

There are certain physical and neurological symptoms to look for if you think your child has a birth injury caused by medical malpractice but you do not have a diagnosis yet.

Symptoms of a birth injury caused by medical malpractice include:

  • Arching of neck and body
  • Blindness or deafness
  • Communication issues
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Failure to meet developmental milestones such as crawling, sitting, or standing
  • Feeding difficulties
  • Floppy or stiff muscles
  • Inability to move on side of body
  • Sharp, loud crying
  • Seizures
  • Swelling or soft spots on head

Types of Birth Injuries Caused by Malpractice

Babies can be left with lifelong injuries from birth trauma.

The primary cause of birth injury malpractice is careless medical mistakes made by health care professionals before, during, or shortly after childbirth.

Doctors, nurses, and other health care providers should know how to properly handle a difficult or complicated childbirth. However, some professionals do not uphold the expected standard of care and make careless mistakes that may result in serious injury or death.

Examples of birth injury medical malpractice include:

  • Excessively pulling on the baby’s head, shoulders, and/or arms
  • Failure to diagnose maternal infection
  • Failure to identify risk factors during pregnancy
  • Failure to order necessary tests for mother before delivery
  • Failure to perform cesarean section (C-section)
  • Failure to recognize fetal distress and lack of oxygen (hypoxia)
  • Improper use of forceps or vacuum delivery
  • Lack of aftercare for mother and/or child
  • Misdiagnosing a life-threatening birth trauma as a less serious condition
  • Prescribing medications that can harm the unborn baby

The mother can also suffer from permanent injuries sustained during childbirth from medical malpractice.

Maternal health issues caused by birth injury malpractice include:

  • Blood clots
  • Diabetes
  • Hemorrhage
  • Infections
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Severe vaginal tears
  • Uterine rupture

Medical malpractice can cause birth injuries which may cause your child to miss important developmental milestones. If you believe your child suffered from birth injury malpractice, take our developmental milestones quiz today.


Take Our Milestones Quiz

Taking note of your child’s physical, social, and emotional skills can help you determine if they potentially suffered from an injury at birth. An early diagnosis can help your child get the treatment they need as soon as possible.

Q1: How old is your child?

0-2 Months

3-4 Months

5-6 Months

7-9 Months

10-12 Months

13-18 Months

19-23 Months

24+ Months


  • Q2: Hold their head steadily on their own?
  • Q3: Push themselves up when they are lying on their stomach?
  • Q4: Start to make smoother movements with their arms and legs?
  • Q5: Smile at other people?
  • Q6: Bring their hands to their mouth?
  • Q7: Turn their head when they hear a noise?
  • Q8: Coo or make gurgling noises?
  • Q9: Follow things with their eyes?
  • Q10: Try to look at their parents or caregivers?
  • Q11: Show boredom, cry, or fuss when engaged in an activity that hasn’t changed in awhile?
BACKBACK0-2-years old child


  • Q2: Hold their head steadily on their own?
  • Q3: Push down on their legs when their feet are on a flat surface?
  • Q4: Start to roll over from their stomach to their back?
  • Q5: Hold and shake a toy such as a rattle?
  • Q6: Bring their hands to their mouth?
  • Q7: Play with people and start to cry when the playing stops?
  • Q8: Smile spontaneously, especially at people?
  • Q9: Copy some movements and facial expressions of other people?
  • Q10: Babbles with expressions and copy sounds they hear?
  • Q11: Cries in different ways to show hunger, pain, or being tired?
  • Q12: Respond to affection like hugging or kissing?
  • Q13: Follows moving things with eyes from side to side?
  • Q14: Recognize familiar people at a distance?
BACKBACK3-4-years old child


  • Q2: Roll over on both sides (front to back/back to front)?
  • Q3: Begin to sit without support?
  • Q4: Rock back and forth?
  • Q5: Supports weight on legs and might bounce when standing?
  • Q6: Begin to pass things from one hand to another?
  • Q7: Bring objects such as toys to their mouth?
  • Q8: Know if someone is not familiar to them and is a stranger?
  • Q9: Respond to other people’s emotions such as a smile or a frown?
  • Q10: Enjoy looking at themselves in the mirror?
  • Q11: Look at things around them?
  • Q12: Respond to sounds they hear by making sounds themselves?
  • Q13: Make sounds to show joy or displeasure?
  • Q14: Respond to their own name?
  • Q15: Start to string vowels together such as "ah," "eh," "oh," or say consonant sounds such as "m" or "b"?
  • Q16: Begin to laugh?
BACKBACK5-6-years old child


  • Q2: Crawl?
  • Q3: Stand while holding onto something to support them?
  • Q4: Sit without support?
  • Q5: Pull themselves up to stand?
  • Q6: Play peek-a-boo?
  • Q7: Move things from one hand to another?
  • Q8: Pick small things up such as a piece of cereal with their thumb and index finger?
  • Q9: Look for things that they see you hide?
  • Q10: Watch the path of something as it falls?
  • Q11: Show fear over being around strangers?
  • Q12: Become clingy with adults familiar to them?
  • Q13: Have favorite toys?
  • Q14: Use their fingers to point?
  • Q15: Understand “no?”
  • Q16: Make a lot of repetitive sounds such as “mamama” or “bababa”?
  • Q17: Copy sounds and gestures of other people?
BACKBACK7-9 years old child


  • Q2: Stand alone with no support?
  • Q3: Walk while holding onto furniture?
  • Q4: Take a few steps without holding onto anything?
  • Q5: Get into a sitting position without any help?
  • Q6: Bang two things together when playing?
  • Q7: Poke with their index finger?
  • Q8: Start to use things like hair brushes or drinking cups correctly?
  • Q9: Find hidden objects easily?
  • Q10: Play peek-a-boo or pat-a-cake?
  • Q11: Become shy or nervous around strangers?
  • Q12: Repeat actions or sounds to get attention?
  • Q13: Puts out an arm or leg to help when getting dressed?
  • Q14: Cry when a parent leaves the room?
  • Q15: Show that they have favorite things or people?
  • Q16: Show fear?
  • Q17: Say things such as “mama,” “dada,” or “uh-oh”?
  • Q18: Try to say the words you say?
  • Q19: Start to use gestures like waving or shaking head “no”?
BACKBACK10-12 years old child


  • Q2: Walk by themselves?
  • Q3: Walk up stairs and run?
  • Q4: Pulls toys while walking?
  • Q5: Drink from a cup on their own?
  • Q6: Eat with a spoon on their own?
  • Q7: Can help undress themselves?
  • Q8: Have occasional temper tantrums?
  • Q9: Show affection to familiar people?
  • Q10: Become clingy in new situations?
  • Q11: Explore their environment alone with parents close by?
  • Q12: Say several single words?
  • Q13: Say and shake their head “no”?
  • Q14: Point to show things to other people?
  • Q15: Scribble?
  • Q16: Know what ordinary products such as phones, spoons, and brushes are used for?
  • Q17: Follow 1-step commands such as “sit down” or “stand up”?
  • Q18: Plays with a doll or stuffed animal by pretending to feed them?
BACKBACK13-18 years old child


  • Q2: Begin to run?
  • Q3: Kick a ball?
  • Q4: Climb down and onto furniture on their own?
  • Q5: Walk up and down stairs while holding on?
  • Q6: Stand on their tiptoes?
  • Q7: Throw a ball overhand?
  • Q8: Copy others, especially people older than them?
  • Q9: Get excited around other children?
  • Q10: Show more independence as they age?
  • Q11: Do what they were told not to do and become defiant?
  • Q12: Point to things when they are named?
  • Q13: Know names of familiar people or body parts?
  • Q14: Say 2 to 4-word sentences?
  • Q15: Repeat words they hear?
  • Q16: Complete sentences and rhymes in familiar books?
  • Q17: Name items in books such as dogs, cats, birds, etc.?
  • Q18: Play simple pretend games?
  • Q19: Start to use one hand more than the other?
  • Q20: Begin to sort shapes and colors?
  • Q21: Follow 2-step instructions such as “pick up your hat and put it on your head?”
BACKBACK19-23 years old child


  • Q2: Run easily?
  • Q3: Climb?
  • Q4: Walk up and down stairs with one foot on each step?
  • Q5: Dress and undress themselves?
  • Q6: Show affection for friends without being told?
  • Q7: Take turns when playing games?
  • Q8: Show concern when others are crying?
  • Q9: Understand the idea of “mine,” “his,” or “hers”?
  • Q10: Show many different emotions?
  • Q11: Copy adults and friends?
  • Q12: Separate easily from their parents?
  • Q13: Get upset when there is a major change in their routine?
  • Q14: Say words such as “I,” “me,” “we,” “you,” and some plural nouns?
  • Q15: Say their first name, age, and gender?
  • Q16: Carry on a conversation with 2 to 3 sentences?
  • Q17: Work toys with buttons and other moving parts?
  • Q18: Play pretend with dolls, animals, or people?
  • Q19: Finish 3 or 4 piece puzzles?
  • Q20: Copy a circle when drawing?
  • Q21: Turn pages of a book one page at a time?
  • Q22: Turn door handles?
BACKBACK24 months + old child

How to Prove Birth Injury Medical Malpractice

In order to win compensation, your legal team will need to prove that the medical professionals committed birth injury malpractice that resulted in harm to your child.

A birth injury malpractice case must show:

  • Damages resulting from the injury (such as medical bills, loss of income, pain and suffering, etc.)
  • How the doctor in question was negligent
  • How the doctor’s medical negligence harmed the child
  • The mother was a patient of the doctor and was under their care

Lawyers at specialized birth injury law firms can gather evidence such as medical records and witness testimonies to strengthen and support your medical malpractice birth injury claim.

How Can a Birth Injury Claim Help Me?

Birth injuries can put significant emotional and financial strains on families. Many parents are not prepared for the high costs of care. Thankfully, you can file a birth injury claim to pursue financial compensation that can help pay for your child’s birth injury treatment.

$1 Million

The estimated lifetime cost for caring for a child with cerebral palsy

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Birth injury malpractice compensation can help cover:

  • Assistive devices
  • Emotional damages
  • Loss of earnings
  • Medication
  • Mobility aids
  • Special education programs
  • Surgery
  • Transportation modifications
  • Therapy
Free Legal Case Review

Do you suspect your child’s birth injury was caused by medical malpractice?

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Filing a Claim for Birth Injury Malpractice

Working with a medical malpractice attorney is the best way to file your birth injury claim to receive financial compensation.

A medical malpractice birth injury lawyer will file your claim and work to prove that the doctors who delivered your child were negligent with their care.

It is important to contact a birth injury malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. Each state has a statute of limitations that puts a time limit on how long you have to file a lawsuit.

Once the statute of limitations expires, you will lose your right to sue forever. An experienced attorney will know when to file your birth injury case.

Find Out If You Have A Case

You may be able to work with a birth injury malpractice lawyer.

If you believe your child was a victim of birth injury malpractice, you may be eligible to receive financial compensation to pay for your child’s treatment.

A birth injury lawsuit helps to hold the doctors that harmed your child responsible for their negligence. Compensation awarded from a lawsuit can help your family pay for surgery, medication, therapy, and more.

Get a free case review today to learn if you may be eligible to file a birth injury malpractice case.

Birth Injury Medical Malpractice FAQs

Can doctors cause a birth injury?

Yes. Medical professionals are expected to provide high-quality care during childbirth. Careless medical mistakes during the birthing process may be considered medical malpractice.

Can you sue for a birth injury?

Yes. You may be able to sue the doctors, nurses, medical professionals, or hospital that delivered your child if you believe their birth injury was caused by medical malpractice.

Your lawyer must prove that the individuals that delivered your child were directly at fault for the injury.

How long do you have to sue for medical malpractice?

Each state has its own statute of limitations. This law sets a time limit on how long you have to sue for a personal injury claim. If you do not file within your state’s statute of limitations, you may lose your right to sue forever.

Since these time frames vary for each state, reach out to us for a no-obligation case review to learn more about the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases in your area.

What is the average payout for a birth injury malpractice claim?

According to a study from The TDC Group, the average medical malpractice payout for children under one month old was $936,843.

Birth Injury Support Team

The Birth Injury Justice Center was founded in 2003 by a team of legal professionals to educate and empower victims and families affected by birth injuries. Our team is devoted to providing you with the best resources and legal information for all types of birth injuries.

View 5 Sources
  1. American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys, “What is Medical Malpractice?”. Retrieved from: Accessed on April 5, 2022.
  2. Boeschen, C. (2011, October 10). Birth-Related medical malpractice. Retrieved April 5, 2022, from
  3. Medical malpractice: Who can be sued? (2019, October 02). Retrieved April 5, 2022, from
  4. Ranum, D. (n.d.). Study of malpractice claims involving children. Retrieved April 5, 2022, from
  5. What is malpractice? (n.d.). Retrieved April 5, 2022, from,treatment%2C%20aftercare%20or%20health%20management
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