Fast Facts About Birth Injuries
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), birth injuries occur in about 7 of every 1,000 babies born in the United States.
- The most common form of birth injury is brain damage from a lack of oxygen (asphyxiation).
- Birth trauma occurs most often in rural areas.
- Babies who are oversized, born prematurely, and part of multiple births are at a greater risk of a birth injury.
- Women between the ages of 25 and 34 are at the highest risk for birth injuries caused by assistive delivery tools (like forceps or vacuum extraction complications).
- Mothers aged 15-17 are at the highest risk for birth injuries when no assistive delivery tools are used during a vaginal delivery.
Learning about birth injury statistics can be helpful for families who are affected. Understanding what caused your child’s condition can play a big part in managing their care. You could even have financial options that you may not be aware of.
Understanding Birth Trauma
Birth injuries (or birth trauma) can have devastating effects, leading to lifelong disabilities and even death for the infant or mother.
Birth trauma leads to death in about 3 out of every 10,000 live births in the U.S. The main cause of death involves birth asphyxia (or a lack of oxygen).
In many cases, birth trauma is avoidable. In one study, some mothers reported that if their health care provider had listened and explained procedures better, the birth trauma might have been avoided.
About 55% of labor and delivery staff have witnessed a health care provider perform a medical procedure that the mother said she did not want.
If a health care provider did not get your consent for a procedure that led to a birth injury, it could be considered medical malpractice.
Birth Injury Medical Malpractice Statistics
Birth injury medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional causes injury through negligence or providing poor treatment that doesn’t meet the acceptable standard of care.
If a patient suffers an injury that could have been avoided, medical malpractice may be the cause. When a newborn is injured during childbirth, the family may be able to file a birth injury lawsuit on behalf of their child.
A study that looked at birth injuries in a single year (Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project) found almost 157,700 potentially avoidable injuries to mothers and newborns.
Another study on birth injury legal statistics found that out of all medical malpractice claims paid between 2009 and 2014, about 25% were related to obstetrics and gynecology.
Medical errors are a leading cause of accidental death in the United States. They account for between 251,000 and 440,000 deaths each year, according to findings from different studies.
Experiencing medical malpractice can be traumatizing, and it may require expensive and ongoing treatment. If you suspect your child’s birth injury was caused by medical negligence, talk to one of our registered nurses now to learn how we can help.
Birth Injury Legal Statistics: Liability Claims
A recent study geared toward understanding birth injury legal statistics by Coverys, a Boston-based liability insurer, found that many liability claims involving pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum care involve severe injury.
Coverys analyzed 472 claims from 2013-17. The study discovered that 80% of cases were of high clinical severity. In fact, the mother and/or infant died in 24% of the cases analyzed.
- Neurological or brain damage (41% of claims)
- Shoulder injuries (37% of claims)
- Death or stillbirth (34% of claims)
*Claims involving multiple injuries can fit more than one category.
Birth injuries can affect a child’s quality of life and may require ongoing treatment. Compensation from a birth injury liability claim can help families pay for their child’s care and other expenses like medication and special equipment.
Birth Injury Legal Statistics: Causes of Birth Injury Malpractice
The causes of birth injury malpractice are not always straightforward. Labor and delivery teams are trained to handle a wide range of situations that may arise during childbirth.
Often, lightning-fast decisions must be made to protect the safety of a mother and baby. However, sometimes, these decisions are inappropriate and may be considered medical malpractice.
In its analysis, Coverys identified these top issues surrounding care during pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
Midwives may have vastly different levels of clinical experience because licensing requirements vary by state.
Many women have certain expectations about the care they and their baby will receive before, during, and following birth. Health care providers need to address these expectations ahead of time to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Poor Management of Labor and Delivery
Coverys found that 40% of birth injury liability claims involved poor management of labor and delivery. Most of these claims were made after a vaginal delivery proved to be the more dangerous delivery option for the mother and baby.
Medical providers should know when to perform a cesarean section (C-section) instead of a vaginal birth. They should also know how to prevent common types of birth injuries to reduce the risks for the mother and infant.
Poor Monitoring of Fetal Heart Patterns
It is essential for fetal heart monitoring to be included in ongoing training and skill checks. That way, health care professionals know what to look for when monitoring a baby’s heartbeat before, during, and after delivery.
If you think one of these issues caused or contributed to your child’s birth injury, you may be able to file a lawsuit. Contact us today for a free case review.
Birth Injury Legal Statistics: Lawsuits
Health care professionals and facilities are responsible for providing an acceptable level of care. Medical staff may be held accountable for medical negligence when they make poor decisions — or even fail to make the same ones others in their field would make.
Birth injury lawsuits help the families of children who were harmed by negligent health care providers get compensation to pay for medical expenses.
The average payout for a lawsuit involving children under 1-month-old is $1 million, according to a study by The Doctors Company.
Here are some additional birth injury legal statistics:
- 48% of lawsuits on behalf of newborn babies involve injury to the brain
- 19% of birth injury lawsuits involve harm to the baby’s arm(s)
- About 95% of personal injury lawsuits settle outside of court
Birth injury legal statistics show that families generally don’t have to go through lengthy court trials when they file a medical malpractice claim.
A qualified birth injury attorney will do everything possible to guide you through the legal process as quickly as possible and fight for maximum compensation in a birth injury settlement.
Birth Injury Legal Statistics: Settlements and Verdicts
Birth injuries and the conditions they cause may require lifelong treatment, which can burden the child’s family financially. This is why the Birth Injury Justice Center has partnered with some of the best birth injury law firms in the country.
The lawyers in our network have a history of representing families in birth injury cases stemming from medical negligence and improper care.
Birth Injury Lawsuit Compensation
Caring for a child with these conditions can mean expensive treatments and specialized care. However, birth injury lawsuit settlements and verdicts can help.
- Over $13 million for the mother of a child born with premature retinopathy (damage to the eye retina)
- $8 million for a child who suffered an injury from a vacuum-assisted delivery
- $6 million on behalf of a child with undetected jaundice
- $5.97 million recovered for a child who suffered oxygen deprivation at birth due to delayed medical care
- $5.1 million for a child who suffered birth asphyxia
Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit Compensation
Cerebral palsy is a permanent condition that may occur when an infant’s brain is damaged before or during childbirth. Treatments can be expensive, but the best birth injury lawyers can help get families compensation to offset the costs.
- Over $10 million for the family of a child affected by cerebral palsy
- $9 million for the family of a 5-year-old with cerebral palsy
- $8.9 million for the family of a child with cerebral palsy
- $5.8 million for a 1-year-old girl with cerebral palsy
- Over $4 million for the family of a 7-year-old with cerebral palsy
Erb’s Palsy Lawsuit Compensation
Erb’s palsy is a brachial plexus injury caused by nerve damage in the shoulder, arm, and/or hand. Although Erb’s palsy is usually not permanent, the costs to treat it can add up quickly.
- $4.5 million for the family of a child who has Erb’s palsy
- $2.75 million to the family of a child with Erb’s palsy
- $975,000 for a 6-year-old boy who has Erb’s palsy
- $950,000 to the family of a 5-year-old girl with Erb’s palsy
- $940,000 for a woman who lost her child to Erb’s palsy complications
Get a free consultation now to find out if we can help your family as well.
A free case review is the first step in pursuing compensation for you and your family.
Working With a Birth Injury Attorney
Many birth injuries happen because of medical mistakes by hospital staff. If a doctor, nurse, or other health care professional does not provide proper care and your baby was injured, you may be able to file a lawsuit and pursue settlement money.
Birth injury legal statistics shed light on how often these preventable situations occur and the pain and suffering they can cause children and their families.
Our network of experienced birth injury attorneys may be able to help you pursue compensation for the harm done to your child.
Get a free case review now to find out if you have a claim.
Birth Injury Legal Statistics FAQs
Can I claim compensation for traumatic birth?
Yes, if doctors and other health care professionals failed to keep you or your child safe during the birthing process, you may be able to access financial compensation.
Many families with children who suffered preventable injuries during the birthing process file birth injury lawsuits.
These lawsuits involve errors made during delivery or before or shortly after a baby is born. Common mistakes include improper use of assistive delivery tools (such as forceps or vacuum extractors) and failure to treat infant or maternal infections.
What are the statistics for childbirth injuries?
Here are some key birth injury statistics:
- Birth injuries occur in up to 7 of every 1,000 live births in the United States.
- Birth trauma results in up to 3 deaths for every 10,000 live births.
- Birth injuries are most common in rural areas (places that are far from large cities).
- Birth injury risk factors include larger than average babies, premature birth, use of assistive devices, and multiple pregnancies (such as twins or triplets).
Which birth injury is more common?
The most common form of birth injury is brain damage, which is often caused by asphyxiation (lack of oxygen). In severe cases, babies may experience hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) or even end up with cerebral palsy.
Some other common types of birth injuries include:
- Brachial palsy
- Caput succedaneum
- Facial paralysis
- Fractures (to the clavicle or skull)
- Subconjunctival hemorrhage
What is the prognosis of birth injury?
The prognosis of a birth injury depends upon the severity. Fortunately, many birth injuries are minor and resolve within days. However, some more severe forms of birth trauma, especially those in which the baby suffered brain damage, can lead to lifelong disabilities.