The birth of a child should be one of the most joyous occasions in a person’s life. Unfortunately, it can quickly turn into a nightmare when doctors, nurses, midwives, and other medical professionals make mistakes or fail to provide an acceptable level of care to mothers and newborn babies.
All too often, such actions lead to devastating trauma and birth injuries, many of which require immediate and long-term care. Tragically, birth injuries can sometimes lead to the death of the child or the mother.
If you believe that your child or the mother of your child was injured or died due to a doctor’s negligence, turn to the team at Ball, Kirk & Holm, P.C. for dedicated legal guidance. You do not have to face the future alone; our birth injury lawyers in Waterloo can help you fight for the justice you and your child deserve.
What Is a Birth Injury?
In the simplest of terms, a birth injury is an injury sustained by an infant during birth. In a broader sense, a birth injury can happen at any time during pregnancy, labor, or delivery, and it can affect either the fetus/newborn or the mother.
Notably, not all birth injuries are the result of medical malpractice; some birth injuries occur due to true, unavoidable accidents. Birth injuries should also be distinguished from birth defects, which typically develop in the womb as a result of genetic or environmental factors.
In cases in which a doctor, nurse, obstetrician, midwife, or any other medical professional’s negligence leads to or directly causes a birth injury, the parent (or child, when appropriate) is entitled to seek financial compensation for their resulting damages.
These types of birth injury cases generally function in similarly to medical malpractice claims—in order to have grounds for a lawsuit, one must show that a medical provider failed to uphold the standard duty of acceptable care, meaning the provider did not provide the same level of care one could reasonably expect a competent medical professional to provide.
Examples of Birth Injuries
When doctors and other medical professionals are careless, make mistakes, or act wrongfully, they can cause serious, lasting harm. Birth injuries take many forms, nearly all of which can lead to immense physical trauma and psychological harm.
Examples of common birth injuries resulting from medical negligence or malpractice include:
- Birth Asphyxia: When an infant fails to receive adequate oxygen during delivery
- Cerebral Palsy: A neurological disorder often caused by premature birth or insufficient oxygen during birth, leading to delays in/problems with motor development
- Brachial Plexus Injuries: Injuries to the bundle of nerves (brachial plexus nerves) located near the neck/shoulder, including shoulder dystocia
- Erb’s Palsy: A condition caused by an injury to the upper brachial plexus nerves, often resulting in partial or total paralysis of the affected shoulder, arm, hand, or fingers
- Fractures: Broken bones, often caused by excessive force applied by medical professionals during the delivery process
- Facial Paralysis: Caused by pressure on a facial nerve or misuse of forceps; typically minor and resolves on its own
- Caput Succedaneum: Swelling of the soft tissues located on an infant’s scalp; can be caused by vacuum extractor delivery
- Cephalohematoma: An injury involving bleeding between the skin and the skull, leading to a raised lump beneath the skin; can lead to jaundice, meningitis, and other issues if untreated
Other, less serious birth injuries may include superficial scratches and bruises resulting from a difficult labor or delivery process.
Common Causes of Birth Injuries
While some birth injuries are simply the result of unavoidable situations, most are preventable. The leading cause of birth injuries is medical negligence.
Examples of this may include:
- Failing to monitor for signs of fetal distress
- Failing to address signs of fetal distress
- Failing to notice/react to poor reactions in the mother
- Allowing labor to continue for too long
- Failing to order a cesarean section (C-section) when needed
- Improper use of forceps/vacuum extractors
- Failing to provide adequate/proper pre-natal care
- Failing to diagnose/treat preeclampsia
- Failing to diagnose/treat maternal infections
Essentially, any time a mother or infant does not receive the level of care one could reasonably expect from another health care provider, this is an example of malpractice. When a child (or mother) sustains injuries as a result, the negligent health care provider can—and should—be held accountable.
Statute of Limitations for Birth Injury Claims in Iowa
How Long Do You Have to Sue for a Birth Injury? In accordance with Iowa's medical malpractice statute of limitations, plaintiffs have up to 2 years following the date on which they knew or should have reasonably known about the injury (whichever comes first).
However, there is an overarching cap that prevents suits from being filed more than 6 years after the injury occurred (with the exception of foreign objects being left in the body). Additionally, in Iowa a claim may not be filed on behalf of a child after their 10th birthday.
Our Iowa Birth Injury Attorneys Can Help
At Ball, Kirk & Holm, P.C., our Waterloo birth injury attorneys believe that no one should have to fear for the safety of their newborn baby during labor and delivery. This should be an exciting and happy experience but, unfortunately, that is not always the case. When doctors and other medical providers are negligent, our Waterloo birth injury attorneys are ready to fight for justice.
We have extensive experience handling complex birth injury claims, including cases involving injuries and conditions that take months or even years to manifest. We have helped countless parents and families find relief in the form of financial compensation, allowing them to obtain critical medical care for their children, as well as a much-needed and deserved sense of justice.
Filing a birth injury claim can feel daunting. After all, hospitals and other facilities will often rally behind doctors, doing everything possible to assert that they did everything possible to ensure the health and safety of their patients.
Their insurance providers will often go to great lengths to avoid paying out claims, including offering lowball settlements or even denying claims outright. But our team is ready to fight back. We have the resources, experience, and track record to go up against doctors, hospitals, and large insurance companies—and we know how to win.
Real Clients, Real Stories
"My experience with Ball,Kirk & Holm was awesome."Terry D.
"Eashaan is a fighter! This law firm won’t disappoint!"Shea R.
The teamwork at Ball, Kirk & Holm were very informative & in constant contact.Russ, Personal Injury Client
If you believe your child sustained a birth injury as a result of a doctor’s error or negligence, do not wait to contact Ball, Kirk & Holm, P.C. In Iowa, you only have two years from the date of the injury or the date on which the injury was discovered to file your claim.
With more than 60 years of legal experience, our birth injury attorneys in Waterloo are ready to guide you through the legal process and fight for the recovery you and your family are owed. We prioritize client communication and provide personalized legal services tailored to each and every client’s unique situation.
Please give us a call at (319) 220-0416 or contact us online today to schedule your complimentary case evaluation. We offer expert representation in Waterloo and Iowa City and throughout the rest of the state.