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Who is liable for a birth injury?

When a baby suffers from an injury during birth, the parents may wonder what parties can be named as defendants in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Determining who is liable for a birth injury will depend greatly on the type of injury that occurred and the circumstances that surrounded it. Potential parties include health care facilities, doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists and pharmaceutical companies.

In most cases, pharmaceutical companies will not be found liable for a birth injury caused by a drug they manufacture as long as they gave adequate warning to the physicians who prescribed it. As the learned intermediary, the physician is responsible for warning patients about the potential risks of a medication and prescribing the medication properly. Physicians who failed to do so could be found liable for birth injuries caused by a pharmaceutical drug.

Although a birth injury is often caused by the negligence of hospital staff, the hospital itself usually is vicariously liability. For instance, the hospital may be found guilty of negligence in hiring and retaining a negligent employee. Failure to provide a sufficient number of staff and failure to properly monitor staff could also result in the hospital having liability for a birth injury.

Because each birth injury is different and involves its own unique set of circumstances, the foregoing information should not be construed as specific legal advice. An attorney may be able to help parents who believe their child was injured during birth to determine which parties are liable for the injuries. The family may then wish to seek compensation for the medical costs and other financial burdens that have resulted from the birth injuries.

Source: Findlaw, "Birth Injury", October 03, 2014

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