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FAQ: Personal Injury / Wrongful Death

Who Is Responsible for Birth Injuries?

During the delivery of a child, injuries sometimes occur. Often these injuries are not avoidable. However, at times injuries are the result of medical negligence and may have been prevented if responded to properly and with adequate care. If your child suffered preventable injuries during birth, there may be a number of people held responsible, including the doctor, other hospital employees and/or the hospital. It depends on the type of injury your child suffered and the circumstances surrounding the injury.

In many cases, the physician who performed the birth may be held accountable for his or her own actions (if negligent) or the actions of employees under his or her supervision, such as nurses, medical residents or interns, other physicians or other staff members. In a medical negligence claim against a doctor, the plaintiff (most often the parents on behalf of their child) must prove to the court that the doctor who delivered their child failed to meet the standard of care, which is the level of care other doctors would use in a similar situation. If the court confirms that medical negligence has been established, the doctor may be held liable for your child’s injuries.

Likewise, hospitals must also meet a standard of care used by other hospitals in the same/similar circumstances. Hospitals also owe patients receiving treatment a duty of care. If it can be shown that the hospital failed to meet their standard of care or breached the duty of care owned to their patients, the medical facility may be held liable for injuries. Moreover, a medical facility may be held responsible for the actions of their employees and may be found liable of corporate negligence in cases where the hospital has been negligent in their hiring practices, by hiring unqualified employees, or has not provided adequate supervision of their employees. In some cases, other staff members may be held liable for their negligent actions. Such as nurses who were found to be medically negligence. However, often hospitals may be held accountable for negligent actions of staff members as well.

What Damages May I Be Awarded if My Child Suffered Birth Injuries?

As parents, you may be awarded damages for your child’s injuries. The amount and type of damages will depend on the extent of the injuries, the circumstances that caused the injury and the law in your jurisdiction. Parents may receive damages for their own losses, such as loss of companionship, negligent infliction of emotional distress, medical costs and, in some cases, wrongful death. Additionally, parents may also receive damages for birth injuries on behalf of their child. Some examples may be damages for pain and suffering, mental or physical disability, loss of future income and/or loss of quality of life. Usually monetary damages for the child’s injuries will go to the child; a trust for the recovery the child is awarded may often be created for his or her benefit. The type of recovery available is dependent on many factors, it is important to speak to an attorney about the circumstances of your case for more information.

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