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Who may be held liable for a birth injury?

A birth injury is any injury or harm done to a baby during or immediately after the delivery process. This is different from a birth defect that may occur during pregnancy due to factors not related to the delivery process. A birth injury is usually caused by a complication during birth that was not corrected or accounted for by the physician overseeing the birth. When a person chooses to file a lawsuit for a birth injury, they must prove that an involved party's negligence contributed to the injury. Some birth injuries are unavoidable, and simply the occurrence of an injury is not grounds for a successful lawsuit.

Determining who is liable for a birth injury has a major impact on the lawsuit and damages that can be claimed. While most plaintiffs may assume that the physician overseeing the birth is liable, there may be other parties that are also liable. This commonly includes hospitals, nursing staff, and pharmaceutical or medical supply companies.

A hospital can often be liable for the negligent actions of its employees. This is called vicarious negligence. The hospital may also be directly liable if the injury arose due to a hospital policy or decision that is considered negligent. Direct negligence could include having insufficient staff for patient care, improperly admitting or discharging a patient, improperly keeping or handling records, or hiring an employee or independent contractor without making reasonable assurances of their qualifications or expertise.

A birth injury can occur under myriad circumstances and for a number of reasons. Due to the complex nature of medical malpractice lawsuits, legal aid is important, and this blog cannot be used as a substitute for consultation with a legal professional. An attorney can assist a client with, among other things, gathering and organizing information and determining fault and negligence. This may help the client determine who is liable and who they might name as a defendant in a lawsuit.

Source: Find Law, 'Responsible Parties in Birth Injury Cases: Who Can Be Sued?" Oct. 7, 2014

Source: Findlaw, "Birth Injury", October 07, 2014

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