A closeup shot of a doctor's hand holding up a baby's foot to check it for injuries.

Welcoming a new child is one of life’s most emotional and memorable moments. Parents-to-be prepare for months to set up a nursery, go to medical appointments and ultrasounds, do their research, and more. Birthing a child is considered a major medical event, meaning minimizing risk to the mother and child involves a team of medical staff, a stay in a hospital, and potentially even surgery.

While the family focuses on the baby’s arrival, the doctor is there to make calls, especially if there are any complications. However, their calls are not always in line with standard accepted safety practices, and the results are often catastrophic. If your doctor was negligent, do not feel you must deal with the consequences alone. Whether bringing your bundle of joy via natural or cesarean section, with improper care and negligence, there is an increased risk of birth injury that otherwise could have been avoided if care was appropriately administered.

Finding your baby and your family dealing with an unexpected birth injury can feel impossible to bear. With the help of Valley Law Accident and Injury Lawyers, you can expect top-tier representation as we work towards seeking compensation for your damages. Call (801) 810-9999 today to speak to a member of our team.

A Utah Birth Injury Lawyer Knows When You Have a Case

Birthing a child can come with its complications. While most are avoided in a typical delivery, when there is a birth injury, it can carry serious repercussions that can last for the rest of the child’s life. Stanford Medicine Children’s Health defines a birth injury as a physical injury resulting from being born, and is also referred to as birth trauma or birth injury.

Your doctor should be able to work with medical staff to ensure that your care is tailored to your and your baby’s needs. However, when this level of care is achieved, it increases the risks of complications. Failing to act upon the discovery of a complication or existing factor that increases the chances of birth injuries, for example, may qualify as malpractice, a form of professional negligence.

Negligence in the birthing process happens when a doctor, nurse, or hospital fails to:

  • Anticipate birth complications, like a twisted umbilical cord or breech in the birthing canal
  • Refuse to take additional measures to control maternal meningitis or diabetes, like monitoring blood sugar levels
  • Ignore obvious fetal distress, like elevated abnormal heart rates and lack of oxygen
  • Misuse medical tools, like vacuums and forceps
  • Fail to provide medical care on time, like pursuing switching to surgery over natural birth when there are possible complications

Negligent doctors should be held accountable medicine after making decisions that severely negatively affect your family. When you work with a birth injury attorney, you are working with someone who has handled many similar cases that have been resolved with compensation for damages associated with the case.

Your birth injury attorney will gather all relevant information, documents, and evidence that showcase your doctor’s negligence.  

Medical Malpractice Cases in Utah

Medical malpractice laws have seen changes over the last twenty years. Cases against hospitals, medical professionals, or even staff are more complicated than other legal cases and require more steps to properly file a lawsuit. Additionally, medical malpractice cases are affected by Utah’s statute of limitations, which is only two years, and they are also limited by maximum payouts for noneconomic damages ($450,000). Any cases filed after this deadline will most certainly be dismissed immediately.

The Difference Between Birth Defects and Birth Injuries

Birth defects and birth injuries are not one and the same. Birth defects generally develop in the first trimester of pregnancy and can be caused by factors like genetics, drug abuse, abnormal fetus development, or an untreated infection by the mother.

However, in a birth injury, the damages are sustained during the birthing process. While some are a natural result of conditions from the mother, others can be inflicted by practices like the use of forceps or vacuum by medical teams, which leads to sometimes irreparable damage to the baby and causes unforeseen disabilities that will last for the rest of their life.

Causes of Birth Injuries

Multiple factors can lead to a birth injury that can derive from the baby or the mother due to medical malpractice or medical negligence. These conditions are meant to be monitored by doctors and medical staff to make needed adjustments to the type of care the patients are receiving to prevent further complications.

Fetal causes leading to birth injuries are due to:

  • Heavy body weight, also known as macrosomia
  • Severe prematurity and extremely low birth weight
  • Breeched (buttocks first) or in other abnormal positions
  • Congenital anomalies that can be internal or external in their bodies
  • Macrocephaly, or an abnormally large head

As important as it is for mothers to attend prenatal appointments, medical teams must track the child’s development, like the measurement of their heads and the weight of their bodies, while still monitoring the milestones in gestation.

Conditions from the mother that can lead to birth injuries if they are:

  • Dealing with obesity
  • Diagnosed with diabetes
  • Diagnosed with cephalopelvic disproportion or are petite with smaller than usual birth canals
  • Suffered prolonged labor or one that was too quick
  • Diagnosed with primiparity or has not had a child before

While these are the more common causes of birth injuries, they are often identified weeks, if not months, before the mother goes into labor. Medical negligence and malpractice can lead to severe aftereffects that impact the baby’s future and quality of life.

Babies born under these circumstances are more likely to suffer from injury when otherwise, had there been better medical recommendations and decisions, the chances of these injuries happening would have been significantly reduced.

Types of Birth Injuries

How the baby was injured by the birthing process can potentially make some injuries more likely than others. This is why doctors must make the right call on whether continuing with a natural delivery is the safest option for both the mother and child. 

Some of the most-common forms of birth injury are listed below.

Brachial Palsy

Babies born naturally receive assistance from medical staff to help guide the shoulders out of the birthing canal. However, the misguidance of the baby’s body can lead to injury of the nerves that move arms and hands, leading to immobility that will last for months. In the worst cases, damage to the arms and hands can be permanent.

Bruising and Forceps Marks

Being born through the birth canal can leave marks and bruising that will go away quickly. However, sometimes medical staff will need to use tools to help guide the baby out, and in those cases, it can lead to additional bruising, lacerations, and marks on a baby’s head and face.


Generally, a hematoma is bleeding in the brain. A cephalohematoma is bleeding in the area that is between the skull and its fibrous covering and appears hours after birth as a raised lump on the baby’s head. It is usually not dangerous, as the blood of the lump will be reabsorbed by the baby’s body in a few weeks. But in some cases, the blood is not reabsorbed, and the baby will start showing symptoms of jaundice (yellowing color of the skin).

Facial Paralysis

Using forceps does not just cause marks and bruising. If used improperly, it can cause the child to have facial paralysis. This kind of birth injury is made visible the moment the baby cries when it cannot close one eye or move the affected side of the face.

In most cases, facial paralysis goes away in a few weeks as the bruised nerve heals. However, in the worst cases, babies must undergo surgery to correct this, and that can lead to exposure to other medical complications and cause the child great discomfort.


A baby has more bones than an adult because they need the added flexibility to safely pass through the birth canal. Although babies’ bodies are more flexible for that evolutionary reason, it is still possible to break or fracture a bone while they are navigating through the birth canal, especially if the attending doctor misguides the baby.

Subconjunctival Hemorrhage

Another type of hemorrhage associated with the birthing process is subconjunctival hemorrhaging. This kind of injury affects the eyes of the baby, where breaks in the small blood vessels cause the white part of the eye to be red due to the rupture of blood vessels. This kind of hemorrhage normally disappears about ten days after birth but usually occurs from improperly using forceps or a vacuum.

Spinal Cord Injuries

While seen infrequently when it comes to birth injuries, spinal cord injuries are sustained by the baby when there is excessive traction or rotation of the spinal cord as it is extracted from the birth canal. A spinal cord injury can lead to an array of medical issues, including bladder and bowel dysfunction and lesions in the thyroid or clavicle areas that can potentially lead to death.

Reach Out to Our Trusted Utah Birth Injury Law Firm

No new parent should have a child bear the consequences of a birth injury because of someone else’s negligence. Whether from medical malpractice or lack of communication between teams, most of these injuries could be prevented as they can be identified and accommodated when the mother attends obstetrician appointments throughout her pregnancy.

If you find yourself in a situation where your child was injured at birth because of medical malpractice or negligence, you may have a case. Reach out to Valley Law Accident and Injury Lawyers today to schedule your free initial consultation with a member of our team.

No child should have to enter this life and face an injury that could have been prevented. Call Valley Law Utah today at (801) 810-9999 or submit our online form to get started. We are more than ready to help you fight for the compensation your case deserves.

Additional Questions?

We have helped many clients recover from injuries resulting from car accidents in West Valley, Salt Lake City, and the greater Utah area. We are here to help you recover after an accident. If you've been injured, don't hesitate to call Valley Law Accident and Injury Lawyers for a free consultation. We have recovered millions for our clients and we are ready to fight for you.

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