What Is the Difference Between a Birth Defect and a Birth Injury?

By February 19, 2024

Bringing a child into the world is an exciting and rewarding experience. Unfortunately, some babies suffer injuries due to the negligence of medical care providers. These injuries may be mistaken for birth defects. Poissant, Nichols, Grue, Vanier & Babbie, P.C. has handled many birth injury cases and can help you hold the at-fault parties accountable.

There are similarities between baby birth defects and injuries, and some conditions may have similar symptoms. The main difference that separates a birth defect from an injury is the time when the condition first developed. Learning more about these conditions can help you tell the difference between birth injuries and defects.

What Is a Birth Defect?

portrait of a baby girl who has a cleft palate looking over the shoulder of her motherBirth defects or congenital disabilities are abnormalities that develop while an infant is in the womb. Many birth defects appear during the first trimester, but some may not show up until later in the pregnancy. Birth defects are present at the time of birth and are usually diagnosed in a child’s first year of life.

Types of Baby Birth Defects

Birth defects can occur for many reasons, but experts don’t know what causes the majority of birth defects. Examples of common birth defects include:

  • Blood clotting defects (like hemophilia)
  • Cleft palates
  • Eye or ear defects
  • Down syndrome
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Clubfoot
  • Limb defects

What Is a Birth Injury?

gentle baby feet babyA birth injury can develop prior to, during, or directly after a baby is born. Many birth injuries involve some sort of physical trauma. While some birth injuries are diagnosed early on, others may not show obvious symptoms until later in a child’s life.

Birth injuries are sometimes referred to as “neonatal trauma.” These injuries have many causes and, at times, may occur when a doctor or nurse is providing lifesaving care. Unfortunately, injuries may also be caused by reckless or negligent behavior. Potential causes of birth injuries include:

  • Negligence during prenatal care
  • Unnecessarily extending labor or delivery
  • Failing to perform a medically necessary C-section
  • Incorrect use of devices like forceps or vacuums
  • Failing to monitor an infant during or after delivery
  • Deprivation of oxygen
  • Miscommunication or lack of communication between staff

If you believe your child has a birth injury, it’s best to talk to NY lawyers as soon as possible, even if you’re not sure that the injury was caused by medical negligence. New York has a statute of limitations on medical malpractice claims, and acting immediately will ensure that you don’t lose the right to seek damages.

Types of Birth Injuries

Babies can suffer many types of injuries during the birth process. Some injuries, like bruising, are minor and temporary. Other types of injuries can leave babies with long-term symptoms. Examples of birth injuries include:

  • Soft Tissue Injuries
  • Fractures
  • Facial Paralysis
  • Nerve Damage
  • Bleeding (beneath the skin)
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Brain Injuries

Damages for Birth Injuries

Some birth injuries can have devastating consequences. Injuries can be permanently disabling and result in costly medical bills. In addition to these damages, you may feel traumatized by what happened to your baby during childbirth. If these injuries were caused by medical negligence, you’re entitled to seek compensation from the at-fault parties.

When you file a birth injury claim, you can recoup compensation for the following:

  • Medical Bills
  • Rehabilitative Care
  • Lost Wages (related to your child’s injury)
  • Reduced Earning Capacity (due to birth injuries)
  • Disfigurement
  • Disability
  • Pain and Suffering

In New York, birth injury claims must be filed within two years and six months from the date on which the injury occurred. Claims involving fatal injuries must be filed within two years. While your child may be able to seek damages when they reach adulthood, it’s always best to talk to a medical malpractice lawyer and pursue damages right away.

Look for a Medical Malpractice Lawyer To Help You

Birth injuries can result in significant losses. At Poissant, Nichols, Grue, Vanier & Babbie, P.C., we’ll fight to ensure that you and your child are compensated for those losses. We’ll carefully investigate your claim and identify the liable parties. In addition, we’ll work with medical experts and gather evidence providing that your child has a birth injury.

We’ll handle negotiations, paperwork, and other issues so that you can focus on caring for your child. Call us today at (518) 483-1440 to start the process of collecting compensation for your child’s birth injury.

All initial personal injury consultations are free. Contact our office regarding any matter at any time.

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