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Medical Malpractice

Frequently Asked Questions About Birth Injuries

September 30, 2022

Birth injuries are among the most common types of medical malpractice claims. Unfortunately, parents are often unsure whether their child has suffered a birth injury and are quickly overwhelmed with questions. In an attempt to help guide you in the right direction, we have provided some answers to some of the most common questions people have about birth injuries. 

What Exactly Is a Birth Injury?

A birth injury is an injury suffered by the infant before, during, or immediately following birth. It most commonly occurs during delivery, often as a result of the natural force and pressure that occurs during the birthing process. 

What Are the Most Common Causes of Birth Injuries?

Some of the most common causes of birth injuries include the following: 

  • High birth weight (more than 8 pounds, 13 ounces), infants that are abnormally large
  • Abnormal presentation such as a breech birth
  • Difficult or prolonged labor
  • Prematurity (the baby is born before 37 weeks of gestation)
  • Cephalopelvic disproportion – the mother’s pelvis is not adequately sized or shaped to deliver the baby vaginally

What Are the Most Common Birth Injuries?

Head injuries are the most common type of birth injury that infants suffer. These can include the following: 

  • Cephalhematoma – bleeding outside the skull bones where the blood accumulates below the periosteum (the fibers that cover the skull)
  • Subgaleal hemorrhage – bleeding that occurs directly under the scalp but above the periosteum
  • Intracranial hemorrhage – bleeding in the brain as a result of ruptured blood vessels

Many of these head injuries will resolve themselves, while others can be quite serious and result in serious health problems for the baby. Other common birth injuries unrelated to the head include the following: 

When Is a Birth Injury Caused by Medical Malpractice?

The key issue in any medical malpractice case is whether the doctor or other medical professional failed to meet the standard of care. Under Montana law, the standard of care is determined by considering what a reasonably competent practitioner would do in the same or similar circumstances in that community. 

In the context of a birth injury case, doctors and nurses often have to make snap judgments and difficult decisions in a matter of minutes or even seconds. As a result, it can be very difficult to determine whether a birth injury is the result of medical malpractice, especially for non-lawyers. 

Is there a time limit for pursuing a birth injury claim?

Montana law concerning the deadline to pursue a birth injury claim is unfortunately complicated. For the infant, they have 10 years from the date of their 8th birthday. 

Parents, on the other hand, must file a lawsuit within 2 years of the date the injury occurred or the injury was discovered through reasonable diligence, but no more than 5 years from the date of injury. 

When Should I Contact a Birth Injury Lawyer? 

If you suspect your child has suffered a birth injury, you should trust your instincts and contact a birth injury lawyer as soon as possible. The sooner you contact them, the easier it will be to gather the evidence you need to prove your case. Furthermore, you do not want to risk losing your rights by failing to meet the deadline to pursue your claim. 

Talk to a Birth Injury Lawyer at Ragain & Clark Today

We have over 30 years of experience in helping families move forward after experiencing a birth injury. To discuss your claim and how we can help, contact us today at 406-651-8888 (Billings) or 307-388-6400 (Worland) to schedule a free consultation.


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