birth injury vs. birth defect
Tags birth defect, birth injury, birth injury lawsuit, birth injury lawyer, brachial plexus injury, cerebral palsy, erb's palsy, legal definitions, medical malpractice, medical negligence, shoulder dystocia

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It’s common for people to use the terms “birth injury” and “birth defect” interchangeably, but there’s actually a big difference between the two. The distinction isn’t just about medical science, there are actually legal ramifications to it. Understanding the difference between a birth injury vs. birth defect can make or break your birth injury case. But more importantly, it can help you better understand the causes, symptoms, or your child’s birth injury and allow you to make more informed decisions for treatment.

What is a Birth Injury?

A birth injury happens when an infant is physically harmed during childbirth. These injuries can result from a variety of factors, including medical negligence, improper use of medical instruments, mismanagement of complications, or unforeseen difficulties during childbirth. Birth injuries are often preventable and can have a profound impact on a child’s health and well-being.

Common types of birth injuries include:

What is a Birth Defect?

On the other hand, a birth defect, also known as a congenital anomaly, is a structural or functional abnormality present in a baby at birth. These abnormalities are not caused by physical trauma or damage, and can develop during the early stages of pregnancy when the baby’s organs and tissues are forming. They may result from genetic factors, environmental influences, or a combination of both. Unlike birth injuries, birth defects are typically not caused by medical negligence or errors during childbirth.

Common types of birth defects include:

  • Heart defects
  • Neural tube defects (e.g., spina bifida)
  • Cleft lip and palate
  • Down syndrome
  • Clubfoot
  • Chromosomal abnormalities

Filing a Birth Injury Lawsuit

While both birth injuries and birth defects can bring challenges to families, it’s important to understand the differences between a birth injury vs. birth defect if you are thinking about pursuing a birth injury lawsuit.

Birth injuries that result from medical negligence may be subject to legal action. If you are able to prove that your child’s birth injury was directly caused by the negligence or malpractice of a medical professional, you may be awarded compensation for your child’s injuries. 

Birth defects are generally not the basis for medical malpractice claims, since they are caused by factors outside of human control.

If you suspect that your child’s challenges were the result of medical negligence, it’s important to consult with legal professionals experienced in birth injury cases. Seeking legal advice can help you navigate the complex process of determining responsibility and seeking compensation if negligence played a role in your child’s birth injury.

Get in touch with the team at Merson Law PLLC today by calling our office or filling out our contact form. 

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