What Is a Birth Injury? 

A birth injury is an injury to the baby or the mother that occurs during pregnancy, labor, or delivery. Birth injuries can also happen immediately after a baby is born. Unlike birth defects, which are often the result of genetic and/or environmental factors, birth injuries are caused by medical malpractice and negligence. 

Some examples of relatively common birth injuries include: 

  • Shoulder Dystocia: Shoulder dystocia occurs when the baby’s shoulder(s) become lodged in the mother’s pelvis during delivery. Although most babies with shoulder dystocia are born safely, some experience serious injuries. Shoulder dystocia can lead to fractured arms or collarbones if the doctor attempts to forcefully remove the baby from the birth canal. It can also cause damage to the brachial plexus nerves, which may result in Erb’s palsy, Klumpke’s palsy, and partial or total paralysis of the affected arm. If the baby is not delivered quickly, he or she can suffer a loss of oxygen, which may lead to brain damage or death. In some cases, this condition can also cause birth injuries to the mother, such as postpartum hemorrhaging, perineum tearing, or uterine rupture. 
  • Cerebral Palsy: Cerebral palsy (CP) is a motor disability affecting balance, movement, and posture. In children, it is commonly caused by birth injuries. Specifically, when an infant loses oxygen, either before or during birth, it can cause brain damage that may result in CP. Untreated maternal infections or conditions, prolonged labor, an umbilical cord that is wrapped around the baby’s neck, and shoulder dystocia are some of the risk factors for oxygen deprivation and CP. In some cases, CP is caused by abnormal development of the brain while the baby is in the womb. 
  • Holoprosencephaly: Holoprosencephaly results in malformations of the face. The full extent of the causes of holoprosencephaly is not known, but there is evidence of a higher incidence rate (particularly among baby girls) when the mother suffered a transplacental infection that was undiagnosed and left untreated. 
  • Cephalohematoma: Cephalohematoma is bleeding that takes place between the infant’s skull and the thin membrane that covers the bone (periosteum). It is typically caused by instruments used to extract the baby during an obstructed delivery or when the baby is too large for the birth canal. The condition often results in jaundice, anemia, and hypotension.
  • Cesarean Section Injuries: When a baby cannot be delivered vaginally, medical providers must perform cesarean sections or C-sections. This is a surgical procedure that requires careful skill and precision to avoid injury to the baby or the mother. Though rare, C-section injuries can and do happen. Often, these are the result of surgical errors, such as failure to monitor the mother or the baby, improper incisions, and damage to internal organs during surgery. 
  • Brain Damage: Infant brain damage is often caused by loss of oxygen and/or blood flow to the brain. This includes asphyxia, hypoxia, and anoxia—all serious conditions that can result in significant and permanent brain damage or death. Common causes of brain damage in newborns include prolonged labor, shoulder dystocia, failure to order a timely C-section, and failure to properly monitor the baby for signs of fetal distress. 

These are just some of the many types of birth injuries to babies that can result when a licensed medical professional is negligent. Whether your baby’s injury was the result of improper prenatal diagnosis and treatment, an error in the delivery room, or an undiagnosed medical condition during neonatal care, your physician or healthcare facility may be liable for compensating your family for damages.

What Damages Could Be Recovered in a Birth Injury Claim?

Potential damages that could be recovered may include:

  • Medical Expenses: Birth injuries often necessitate extensive medical care, including surgeries, therapy, medications, and assistive devices. A successful birth injury claim can help recover the costs associated with these medical expenses, both past and future.
  • Rehabilitation Costs: Children with birth injuries could mandate ongoing rehabilitation to enhance their quality of life. Compensation can cover the expenses related to physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other necessary treatments.
  • Pain and Suffering: Birth injuries not only impact the child physically but can also lead to emotional and psychological suffering. Compensation may be sought for the pain and suffering endured by the child and the emotional distress experienced by the family.
  • Lost Wages: If a parent must reduce work hours or quit their job to care for a child with a birth injury, the family may be entitled to compensation for lost wages and potential future earnings.
  • Special Education Costs: Children with birth injuries may require specialized education and support services. Recoverable damages can include the costs associated with special education programs, tutors, and adaptive technology.
  • Home Modifications: Birth injuries may necessitate modifications to the family's home to accommodate the child's unique needs. Compensation can cover the expenses of making these necessary adjustments.
  • Future Care Costs: Birth injuries often require a lifetime of care. Compensation may include funds for ongoing medical care, assisted living, and other services required to ensure the child's well-being.
Legal Awards

Types of Birth Injury Cases We Handle

At Curtis & Co., we have a long history of representing children, parents, and families who have suffered the devastating, life-altering effects of a birth injury.

Some of the many cases our Albuquerque birth injury lawyers have handled involved: 

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Erb’s palsy
  • Klumpke’s palsy 
  • Brachial plexus injuries
  • Oxygen deprivation leading to brain damage
  • Shoulder dystocia resulting in paralysis of the neck and arms
  • Cephalohematoma 
  • Persistent pulmonary hypertension
  • Holoprosencephaly, resulting in developmental disability or death of the fetus
  • Maternal hospital-acquired infections
  • Preeclampsia
  • Surgical errors occurring during caesarian sections
  • Vaginal tissue fissures and tears
  • Misdiagnosis of maternal conditions and complications 
  • Medication errors 
  • Wrongful death of the infant or mother

No matter how serious or complex your case may be, you can count on our team to advocate for you throughout the entire legal process. We understand the enormous tragedy that has affected your family, and we want to help you hold the liable parties accountable for the pain, suffering, and trauma they have caused. 

Talk to Our Birth Injury Attorneys Today

If you believe that your child or the mother were harmed or died due to medical negligence, it is important that you contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. During this incredibly difficult time, it can be difficult to think about filing a lawsuit—but you only have a limited amount of time to bring your claim in court. The sooner you reach out to our team at Curtis & Co., the sooner our Albuquerque birth injury lawyers can begin explaining your options, gathering evidence to support your claim, and negotiating with the liable party for a fair settlement on your behalf. If necessary, we are fully prepared and willing to take your case to court.

There are no upfront or out-of-pocket costs when you hire our firm. We offer our legal services on a contingency fee basis, so you only pay attorney fees if/when we recover compensation for you. We invite you to reach out to us today to learn more.

Schedule a complimentary case evaluation with a member of our Albuquerque birth injury lawyer by calling us at (505) 871-3740 or by submitting a secure contact form through our website.

Curtis & Co. Curtis & Co.
You are passionate, persistent, and from everything that I saw today, a brilliant lawyer and orator.

What Sets Us Apart:

  • 25 Years of Experience
    Founding Attorney Lisa K. Curtis has pursued law since the young age of 6. This is all we've ever wanted to do, and we've done it well for decades.
  • Treating Clients Like Family
    We're a smaller firm so we can give our clients the focus and attention they deserve. You've been wronged, and we stop at nothing to make it right.
  • Compassionate, Capable Advocates
    We know how difficult it is not only to experience the injustice you did, but to be brave enough to move forward. We're here with you every single step of the way.
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    New Mexico is and always has been our home and chief priority. Our families go back centuries here, and we look to better this community with every move we make.

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