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Medical Negligence Claims

What Birth Injury Medical Negligence Claims Entail

Medical negligence claims for injury at birth are best handled by experienced medical law attorneys, especially because it is necessary to prove that the injury sustained is not a birth defect which originated in the womb caused by environmental factors, medication, drugs, injury or for genetic reasons.

A medical negligence claim against the medical practitioner, hospital or support staff must sufficiently show that the birth injury was a result of the medical professional’s actions, or lack thereof, which was preventable. It is also necessary to prove that the defendant, such as the attending physician or hospital, was responsible for the medical care of your child at the time when the injury was sustained. There must thus have been a duty of care.

The medical negligence claim must also prove that the professional who had a duty of care, breached that duty by making a mistake, being careless or following incorrect procedure while the child was in their medical care.

The attorney will also have to prove that the breach of duty of care was the reason for the injury sustained. You can, for instance, not hold the medical professional accountable for the baby’s injury if you fell down and were injured in the process. There is thus reasonable cause to believe that the injury was the result of the traumatic experience rather than the actions of the doctor. However, if the doctor used forceps incorrectly or made a mistake during the birth process, such as not monitoring the oxygen supply to the baby and the lack of oxygen caused the injury, you will still have sufficient grounds for a negligence claim. Medical negligence claims are complex in nature and as such you will benefit from legal guidance and representation.

Examples of medical negligence that can lead to birth injuries include, but are not limited to:

  • Inadequate oxygen supply to the infant.
  • Incorrect usage of forceps.
  • Incorrect infection control.
  • Not treating jaundice in a timely manner.
  • Incorrect usage of medicine.
  • Not monitoring for and responding correctly to signs of foetal distress.
  • Waiting too long before performing a caesarean section.

You can claim compensation for damages suffered such as:

  • Medical expenses (past, present, and future).
  • Loss of income because of having to take care of your child.
  • Rehabilitation and care costs.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life.
  • Emotional and physical pain and suffering.

It is important to start legal proceedings as soon as possible after the incident. The first step is to make an appointment with a medical negligence lawyer who will help to determine the merits of the case. To speed up the process and to enable the attorney to assess all the facts, provide the attorney with as much as possible information. Write down a statement regarding what happened in the delivery room, who was present, when it happened, and where. Be sure to also keep all medical accounts, written communication with medical professionals, your health history, and proof regarding loss of income.

The attorney will advise you regarding the medical negligence claim’s process and will handle the proceedings on your behalf.


Information in this article is not intended as legal advice and is only for informational purposes. Please seek legal guidance from Adele van der Walt before relying on this information to make any legal decisions.

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