Learning that a newborn baby has health problems can be devastating for any parent, whether the condition is temporary or permanent. There can be a lot of waiting, unanswered questions and time that a baby cannot be with the parent while doctors and nurses work to provide treatment.

Once the urgency of the situation has passed, parents don’t need to wait any longer to assess their legal options and get the answers they need. In cases where negligence or recklessness contributed to a birth injury or defect, parents can be in a position to file a lawsuit against the appropriate party to hold them legally and financially responsible for damages.

There are three basic factors that can affect a baby’s health and safety before it is born and in the first minutes after delivery: genetics, prenatal care and labor. In some cases, nothing can be done to change or prevent a baby from developing a condition; in other cases, however, it can and should be prevented.

If a defect or condition is the result of genetics, for example, then it is unlikely that any party can or should be held responsible. 

If a mother took medication during pregnancy that caused a defect, liability could go either way. If a mother was warned against taking certain medications while pregnant and did so anyway, third-party liability will likely not be a factor. If, however, a doctor approved the medication without knowing about or warning the mother of the potential risks, he or she may be responsible.

If a baby was healthy throughout the pregnancy but suffered oxygen deprivation or injury during labor, these can be the direct result of action or inaction by medical staff, which may be grounds for a malpractice claim.

Identifying negligence or medical mistakes that contributed to a baby’s condition can be a challenge, particularly for people without the legal and medical background to examine those elements of a birth injury case. Because of this, it can be crucial for parents to discuss their situation and legal options with an attorney experienced in cases involving birth injuries.