No baby should receive severe, life-altering injuries while being born. A newborn is precious. Injuries do happen, which is easy to say, but as a mother, your entire world could be turned upside down.

These are some commonly asked questions about birth injuries:

How common are birth injuries?

About 6-8 live births in 1000 result in a birth injury.

What are the most common types of birth injury?

The most common birth injuries include:

  • shoulder nerve damage
  • bone fractures
  • head injuries (such as caput succedaneum, cephalohematoma)
  • perinatal asphyxia – oxygen deprivation
  • intracranial hemorrhage – bleeding inside the skull
  • subconjunctival hemorrhage – blood in the eye
  • facial paralysis
  • spinal cord injuries
  • cerebral palsy – an overarching term for a number of disorders affecting brain and body movement.

What can be done about it?

In 2006, approximately 158,000 injuries to mothers and newborns could have potentially been avoided, according to Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project. The data finds trends among race, type of birth and insurance coverage. A key statistic is that almost half of all birth injuries are potentially avoidable just by identifying and planning around risk factors.

If your child is injured at birth, it can be attributed to the person who delivered your child, or prenatal care. A lawsuit in this scenario would likely become a medical malpractice claim against the doctor or others involved and/or the hospital where the malpractice took place.

Will your lawsuit succeed?

Just because your baby was harmed during childbirth does not automatically mean a win in court. Some injuries during birth are considered unavoidable. What is important to the jury or judge is whether a doctor or chemist failed to provide you with adequate care. Medical associations set these standards. Note that specialists such as obstetricians are held to a higher standard of care. If your case proceeds to court, experts, such as other doctors, are likely to testify as to your physician’s conduct during the birth and whether key standards were met.

As a mother, you hope that a hospital is the best place to give birth because of the medical experts employed there. But all humans make mistakes, including physicians. Delivering an infant into the world is one of life’s most important jobs. Doctors and chemists know the standards of care expected of them. They know the positive impact their actions can have, as well as the consequences of sheer negligence.