Bone Fracture Birth Injury Lawsuit (2023)

by Ronald V. Miller, Jr.

(Video) Shoulder Dystocia Birth Injury | Nucleus Health

Bone Fracture Birth Injury Lawsuit (2)

Childbirth can be a complicated and delicate process. While many births occur without any complications, some can result in injuries to the baby. One such injury that does not get a lot of attention from birth injury lawyers are bone fracture, which can happen during the delivery process as the result of the negligence of a doctor or other healthcare provider. When a baby suffers a bone fracture during birth, it can be a traumatic experience for both the baby and the parents.

When these fractures are the result of medical negligence, parents may seek compensation for the injury through a birth injury lawsuit to compensate both the parent and the child. This article will explore bone fracture birth injuries, the legal process for pursuing compensation, and the factors that can impact the outcome of a lawsuit.

Types of Bone Fracture Birth Injuries

Several types of bone fractures can occur during childbirth, with some of the most common ones being:

(Video) Birth Injury Lawsuit Settlements…The Process

  1. Clavicle (collarbone) fractures: These are the most common type of birth-related bone fractures, often resulting from a difficult delivery, such as a breech presentation or shoulder dystocia. In most cases, clavicle fractures heal without any long-term complications, but they can cause pain and discomfort for the baby.
  2. Skull fractures: These fractures are less common but can be more severe. The skull of a newborn is designed to be flexible during delivery, as it is made up of several separate bones. This flexibility helps to prevent fractures. But skull fractures can still occur during birth if complications arise during the delivery process. They can occur due to the use of forceps or vacuum extraction during delivery or if excessive pressure is applied to the baby’s head. Skull fractures can lead to brain damage, developmental delays, and other long-term complications. These are the most serious bone fracture during birth and these claims generally have the highest settlement payouts.
  3. Long bone fractures: Fractures of the humerus (upper arm), femur (thigh), or other long bones can also occur during childbirth, particularly if there is a difficult or assisted delivery. These fractures among neonates are often diagnosed as non-accidental because as long bone and rib fractures are often associated with medical mistakes.

Causes of Bone Fracture Birth Injuries

Bone fractures during birth can result from various factors, including:

  1. Medical negligence: If a healthcare provider fails to adhere to the standard of care during delivery, such as by using excessive force or improperly using delivery instruments, they may be held liable for the baby’s bone fracture injuries.
  2. Prolonged or difficult labor: A long and difficult labor can increase the risk of birth injuries, including bone fractures, as the baby may be subjected to increased pressure and stress during the delivery process. Why was the labor difficult? Often there is nothing a doctor can do. But in many cases, the failure to order a C-section or mistakes made trying to get the baby out cause head fractures.
  3. Large birth weight: Babies with a higher birth weight are at an increased risk of bone fractures during delivery, as their size can make the process more challenging for both the baby and the delivering physician. Another instance where malpractice, such as failure to monitor gestational diabestes, can be the cause.
  4. Breech or other abnormal presentations: If the baby is in a breech or another abnormal position during delivery, it can increase the risk of bone fractures as the baby may need to be manipulated or extracted using forceps or vacuum devices.

Pursuing a Bone Fracture Birth Injury Lawsuit

If your baby has suffered a bone fracture during birth and you believe medical negligence may have contributed to the injury, you may consider pursuing a birth injury lawsuit. Here are the key steps involved in the process:

  1. Consult with an experienced birth injury attorney: It is crucial to work with the best birth injury attorney you can find who has experience handling birth injury cases. Good lawyers make all of the difference in these cases.
  2. Investigate the cause of the injury: Your attorney will gather evidence to determine whether medical negligence contributed to your baby’s bone fracture. This may involve reviewing medical records, interviewing witnesses, and consulting with medical experts.
  3. Establishing negligence: To prevail in a birth injury lawsuit, you must prove that the healthcare provider’s negligence directly caused the baby’s bone fracture. Your attorney will need to show that the healthcare provider failed to meet the standard of care, and their actions or inactions led to the injury.
  4. Calculate damages: Your attorney will help you determine the damages you may be entitled to in your case, which can include medical expenses, future medical care, pain and suffering, and other losses related to the injury. In some cases, punitive damages may also be sought if the healthcare provider’s actions were particularly egregious.
  5. Negotiate a settlement: Many birth injury lawsuits are resolved through settlement negotiations, where both parties come to an agreement on the compensation amount. Your attorney will negotiate with the defendant’s legal team to reach a settlement that is fair and adequately compensates you for your losses.
  6. Go to trial: If a settlement cannot be reached, your case may proceed to trial. At trial, your attorney will present evidence and argue your case before a judge and jury. The jury will then decide whether the healthcare provider was negligent and, if so, the amount of compensation you should be awarded.
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Factors Affecting the Settlement of a Bone Fracture Birth Injury Lawsuit

Several factors can impact the outcome of a bone fracture birth injury lawsuit, including:

  1. The severity of the injury: The more severe the baby’s injury, the greater the potential compensation. Cases involving long-term complications, such as brain damage or developmental delays, may result in higher damages awards.
  2. The strength of the evidence: The success of a birth injury lawsuit largely depends on the strength of the evidence showing that medical negligence caused the baby’s bone fracture. Strong medical expert testimony and clear documentation of the healthcare provider’s actions can increase the chances of a favorable outcome.
  3. The defendant’s willingness to settle: Some defendants may be more willing to settle a case out of court to avoid the uncertainty and expense of a trial. If the defendant is open to negotiating a settlement, you may be able to resolve your case more quickly and efficiently. Few birth injury lawsuits have settlement payouts before extensive pretrial discovery. But if there is a type of birth injury claim that has the most opportunity for a pre-lawsuit settlement, it is a bone fracture claim.

To calculate damages,you have to look at the component parts of the claim. Damages in a birth injury broken bone lawsuit can include:

  1. Medical expenses: Calculate the cost of past and future medical treatments, surgeries, medications, and rehabilitation expenses related to the injury. The future medical expense projections often drive settlement amount in these lawsuits.
  2. Pain and suffering: Consider the physical pain and emotional distress experienced by the child and family due to the injury. The amounts here can be in the millions so the question is whether your juridiction caps pain and suffering damages.
  3. Lost wages: If the injury affects the parents’ ability to work, calculate the loss of income for the parent’s side of the claim.
  4. Loss of earning capacity: If the injury will have a long-term impact on the child’s ability to work in the future, estimate the loss of earning capacity. In some cases, this number can be millions.
  5. Home modifications and assistive devices: Calculate the cost of any necessary home modifications and assistive devices, such as wheelchairs or specialized equipment, to accommodate the child’s needs.

Example Settlement Payouts and Jury Awards in Bone Fracture During Childbirth Lawsuits

  • California (2018) $9,950,000 Settlement: Lawsuit alleged that negligent and excessive use of vacuum pump extraction during difficult delivery resulted in various birth injuries including a clavicle fracture and brachial plexus damage. The delay in delivery caused by the negligent vacuum extraction also cause oxygen deprivation and resulted in cerebral palsy with profound mental delays. The case settled for $9.9 million, although only a small portion of this was compensation related to the clavicle fracture. This case underscores that birth injury bone fracture cases often travel with other serious birth injuries.
  • Pennsylvania (2017) $17,967,086 Verdict: The infant plaintiff suffered two skull fractures, left cerebellar contusion, ventricular compression, and hydrocephalus. The lawsuit alleged that the injuries were caused by forceps negligence in that the OB/GYN improperly placed the forceps and used excessive traction on the baby’s head without a clear indicated need. The skull fracture injuries caused brain damage leaving the infant permanently disabled.
  • Pennsylvania (2017) $1,000,000 Settlement: The infant suffered Erb’s Palsy and a fractured right arm when the defendant OB/GYN allegedly used excessive force and lateral traction during vaginal delivery that was complicated by shoulder dystocia. The lawsuit alleged that the defendant failed to properly manage and respond to the shoulder dystocia complication.
  • Wisconsin (2011) $360,000 Settlement: The infant in this case suffered a fracture clavicle and some brachial plexus damage. The lawsuit alleged that the OB/GYN used excessive manual force and traction to bring the baby through the birth canal during a long and difficult vaginal delivery.

Hiring a Lawyer for Your Child Bone Fracture Claim

Bone fracture birth injuries can be a traumatic experience for both the child and their parents. If you believe that medical negligence contributed to your baby’s injury, pursuing a birth injury lawsuit may provide compensation for your losses and help ensure that your child receives the care they need. Working with an experienced birth injury attorney is essential in navigating the legal process and achieving the best possible outcome for your case. While every case is unique, understanding the causes, legal process, and factors affecting the outcome can help you make informed decisions and advocate for your child’s well-being.

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What is the most common bone fracture in birth trauma? ›

Skeletal injuries:

Clavicular fractures are the most common bone fracture during delivery and can occur in up to 15 per 1000 live births.

Can you claim for birth trauma? ›

Birth injury compensation claims can be made if the mother or child suffered an injury before, during or after childbirth. The injury needs to be a result of medical negligence – that is, when your healthcare provider fails to meet the necessary standards to keep you and baby safe.

What are birth injuries due to negligence? ›

Common types of birth injuries caused by medical negligence include: Brain damage. Intrauterine fetal demise. Intraventricular hemorrhage.

Can you sue for a broken clavicle at birth? ›

If you file a medical malpractice lawsuit with an experienced birth injury lawyer, then you could recover damages from the clavicle fracture. These damages could include: Medical bills. Loss of companionship and enjoyment of life.

Which bone fracture is the most painful? ›

The Femur is often put at the top of the most painful bones to break. Your Femur is the longest and strongest bone in your body, running from your hip to your knee. Given its importance, it's not surprising that breaking this bone is an incredibly painful experience, especially with the constant weight being put on it.

What bone is the hardest bone to heal? ›

The femur — your thigh bone — is the largest and strongest bone in your body. When the femur breaks, it takes a long time to heal. Breaking your femur can make everyday tasks much more difficult because it's one of the main bones used to walk.

What is considered birth trauma for mother? ›

These include: your childbirth experience not going to plan, or not matching your expectations. having a difficult labour or experiencing labour complications. needing intervention during labour, such as an assisted delivery (using forceps or ventouse) or an emergency caesarean.

What disabilities can you get from birth trauma? ›

Birth injuries can lead to long-term complications, including cognitive developmental disabilities. A baby who suffers head trauma at birth may have a higher chance of developing ADD/ADHD, cerebral palsy, and various learning disabilities. In some cases, head trauma and other birth injuries are unavoidable.

Is birth injury the same as birth trauma? ›

Birth injuries are physical injuries experienced during childbirth, and can affect either the mother or the baby. In newborn babies, a birth injury (often called 'neonatal birth trauma') can include many things, from bruising to a broken bone.

What are the 4 examples of negligence? ›

While seemingly straightforward, the concept of negligence itself can also be broken down into four types of negligence: gross negligence, comparative negligence, contributory negligence, and vicarious negligence or vicarious liability.

What are the 4 conditions of negligence? ›

Negligence claims must prove four things in court: duty, breach, causation, and damages/harm.

What are the 4 breaches of negligence? ›

The Four Elements of Negligence Are Duty, Breach of Duty, Damages, and Causation.

How much is a broken clavicle worth? ›

Based on the following sampling of case law, the range for general damages awarded for suffering from shoulder and collarbone injuries as a result of an accident is between $34,745 – $65,931 [adjusted for 2022 inflation rates].

Can I get disability for a broken clavicle? ›

The amount of disability benefits that you are entitled to receive for a clavicle injury depends on your average weekly wage and the extent of your disability. During the recovery, however, your disability status may change.

How serious is a fractured clavicle? ›

A broken collarbone can be very painful and can make it hard to move your arm. Many clavicle fractures can be treated by wearing a sling to keep the arm and shoulder from moving while the bone heals. With some clavicle fractures, however, the pieces of bone move far out of place when the injury occurs.

What bone fractures are most difficult to repair? ›

Example: A comminuted fracture is the most difficult to repair due to the bone having fractured into numerous pieces. Multiple bone pieces require more effort to hold them together in the ideal position for healing.

What is the hardest fracture to treat? ›

Compound Fracture

This is one of the most severe injuries: A compound or open fracture is when the bone pierces the skin when it breaks. Surgery is usually called for due to its severity and the risk of infection. Treatment for a Compound Fracture: This type of injury is an emergency.

What type of fracture is most difficult to heal? ›

Comminuted fractures take longer to heal than other kinds of broken bones. They're also much more likely to involve complications. Most comminuted fractures take around a year or longer to heal.

What is the weakest bone in your body? ›

The weakest and softest bone in the human is the clavicle or collar bone. Because it is a tiny bone which runs horizontally across your breastbone & collarbone, it is simple to shatter. Water makes up 31% of the weight of your bones. Your bones are four times more powerful than a concrete pound for pound.

Is a fracture worse than a break? ›

There's no difference between a fracture and a break. A fracture is any loss of continuity of the bone. Anytime the bone loses integrity—whether it's a hairline crack barely recognizable on an X-ray or the shattering of bone into a dozen pieces—it's considered a fracture.

What is the weakest joint in the human body? ›

KNEES: THE BODY'S ACHILLES' HEEL OUR WEAKEST JOINTS NEED EXTRA ATTENTION. NEW YORK — Look at the patient files of any orthopedic surgeon and it is immediately apparent that the human knee was simply not designed to withstand the stresses of modern life.

What are the most common birth injuries? ›

What are some of the more common birth injuries?
  • Brachial palsy. This occurs when the group of nerves that supplies the arms and hands (brachial plexus) is injured. ...
  • Bruising or forceps marks. ...
  • Caput succedaneum. ...
  • Cephalohematoma. ...
  • Facial paralysis. ...
  • Fractures. ...
  • Subconjunctival hemorrhage.

Can a traumatic birth affect you later in life? ›

Are infants too young to experience and remember painful emotions or traumatic events? A growing body of research suggests no, and researchers believe that if left untreated, trauma experienced in infancy can sometimes result in lifelong health consequences.

What is long term birth trauma? ›

Anxiety, hypervigilance, a feeling of being disconnected, overwhelming thoughts, or panic in the days, weeks, or months following the birth are just some of the symptoms you may experience after birth trauma, according to Benjamin.

What is the common disability at birth? ›

Common congenital disorders include: intellectual disability — where a child takes longer to learn than others and may experience delays in their development. Down syndrome (Trisomy 21) — a common genetic condition that causes intellectual disability.

What is a disability from birth called? ›

Some birth defects (also called congenital disorders or congenital anomalies) are mild and don't need any treatment. Others can be serious and require lifelong treatment.

What is an example of birth injury? ›

The following are common birth injuries: Swelling or bruising of the head. Bleeding underneath one of the cranial bones. Breakage of small blood vessels in the eyes of a baby.

How do you diagnose birth trauma? ›

Doctors may diagnose a birth injury case through a physical exam as well as imaging, hearing, vision, and intellectual tests. Getting a prompt and accurate diagnosis can help your child get the treatment they need to manage their symptoms and live a healthy, independent life.

What nerve injury is birth trauma? ›

Brachial plexus birth injury, also known as brachial plexus injury, is an injury to the brachial plexus nerves that occurs in about one to three out of every 1,000 births. The nerves of the brachial plexus may be stretched, compressed, or torn in a difficult delivery.

Which element of malpractice is hardest to prove? ›

The hardest element of a medical malpractice case to prove is the breach of the duty of care, the second element. This is because proving that the medical provider acted in a way that was not reasonable can be difficult.

What is the most difficult element of negligence to prove? ›

The most challenging elements to prove in a malpractice claim are the causes and damages.

How is negligence proven? ›

Proving Negligence

Most civil lawsuits for injuries allege the wrongdoer was negligent. To win in a negligence lawsuit, the victim must establish 4 elements: (1) the wrongdoer owed a duty to the victim, (2) the wrongdoer breached the duty, (3) the breach caused the injury (4) the victim suffered damages.

What is the time limit for negligence? ›

The primary limitation period for professional negligence claims is 6 years from the date of your loss. However, the law does appreciate that it is not always clear that there has been negligence until some years later.

What elements of negligence must be proven in a lawsuit? ›

Four elements are required to establish a prima facie case of negligence:
  • the existence of a legal duty that the defendant owed to the plaintiff.
  • defendant's breach of that duty.
  • plaintiff's sufferance of an injury.
  • proof that defendant's breach caused the injury (typically defined through proximate cause)

What are the 3 defenses to negligence? ›

The most common negligence defenses are contributory negligence, comparative negligence, and assumption of risk. This article will discuss all three defenses, when they're used, and how they're established.

What must a plaintiff prove to successfully show a defendant was negligent? ›

Under the traditional rules of legal duty in negligence cases, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant's actions were the actual cause of the plaintiff's injury. This is often referred to as "but-for" causation, meaning that, but for the defendant's actions, the plaintiff's injury would not have occurred.

What is compensatory damages in law? ›

In tort law, compensatory damages, also known as actual damages, are damages awarded by a court equivalent to the loss a party suffered. If a party's right was technically violated but they suffered no harm or losses, a court may instead grant nominal damages.

What can a defendant present to win a strict liability case? ›

To win a strict liability claim, you must show that you were harmed and that you are entitled to compensation because of the harm. You do not have to prove that the defendant meant to harm you, or that they were negligent.

Is a broken clavicle a minor injury? ›

Clavicle fractures:

Hearing us say your child has a 'fracture' sounds serious. The good news is, your child has a minor injury - the bones are stable and held in the right place, no procedures are needed and your child will make a full recovery. The most common part to break is in the middle of the collar bone.

How painful is a clavicle fracture? ›

It is often very painful and can make moving your arm or shoulder difficult. People who fracture their clavicle often spend time with their arm in a sling as the break heals.

What grade is a clavicle fracture? ›

Fracture classification

The most common system is the following one, created by Allman, in which the clavicle is divided into thirds : Group I fractures: Middle third injuries. Group II fractures: Distal third injuries. Group III fractures: Medial (proximal) third injuries.

Is bone fracture a permanent disability? ›

While it may be rare, it is possible for someone to have the broken bone itself heal but still have the fracture produce a permanent, disabling injury. In some cases, a fracture can cause damage to the nerves nearby. It may be possible for people to experience worsening pain and new symptoms as the actual injury heals.

Is bone fracture considered a disability? ›

If you have a non-healing bone fracture and are unable to work, then you may be eligible to receive disability benefits. You can apply for two types of benefits through the Social Security Administration.

How much disability will I get for shoulder injury? ›

If you need to have your shoulder replaced, you will likely receive 100% disability for one year after your surgery. After you've healed, the VA will give you a permanent disability rating based on your level of function. This rating could be 30% - 60%.

Can a broken collarbone cause permanent damage? ›

A Collarbone Fracture is not life threatening but can impact a patient's quality of life and function. Short Term - to pain, sleep disturbance and disability. Long Term - to malunion or non-union, that can result in ongoing pain and loss of function .

What is the most frequent complication of fracture clavicle? ›

The most common complication of clavicle fractures is malunion, or when the clavicle fracture heals with angulation, shortening, or a poor cosmetic appearance. Patients with malunion of clavicle fractures typically have except full function and are clinically not significant.

Is a fractured collarbone worse than a break? ›

Some people assume that fractured bones are more serious than broken bones, while others assume it's the other way around. But the truth is that these terms are used interchangeably, and they have the same meaning to medical professionals.

What is the most common fracture in neonate? ›

Clavicular fractures are the most commonly reported fractures in neonates [1]. These are birth-related fractures that may be avoidably occurring during the process of labor and delivery.

Where is the most common cervical fracture in trauma patients? ›

Cervical spine injuries occur in 3% of blunt force trauma patients with the subaxial cervical spine being a common location within the cervical spine; 50% of injuries occur between C5 and C7.

What is the most common pediatric bone fracture? ›

Torus, or “buckle” fractures – Torus fractures are the most common fractures in children. They frequently happen around the wrist when children fall and try to catch themselves.

Which type of birth injury occurs most commonly? ›

Head injury is the most common birth-related injury. Head molding is not an injury. Molding refers to the normal change in shape of the baby's head that results from pressure on the head during delivery. In most births, the head is the first part to enter the birth canal.

What are the 3 most common broken bones? ›

Here are the five most commonly-fractured bones.
  • Clavicle. The clavicle, more commonly called the “collarbone”, is one of the most frequently fractured bones in the body. ...
  • Arm. The arm is actually composed of three bones: the humerus, or upper arm, and the radius and ulna, which compose the forearm. ...
  • Wrist. ...
  • Hip. ...
  • Ankle.

How common are broken bones in babies? ›

A baby's bones are very soft and pliable, so they can break easily during birth. Unfortunately, bone fractures are common throughout the United States. Around 15 out of 1,000 births result in clavicle fractures, which are common bone injuries among newborns.

What is a congenital fracture? ›

This is a condition in which there is a progres- sive deformity of a long bone eventually result- ing in a fracture. The term 'congenital' can be used as, although the fracture itself is usually not present from birth, the underlying abnormality that causes the condition.

Who is most likely to suffer from fracture of cervical spine? ›

Nerve or spinal cord injuries, pseudarthrosis or malunion, and postoperative infection are the main complications of cervical spine fractures.

What is the mortality rate of cervical fracture? ›

Previous reports of mortality associated with cervical spine fractures in the elderly have referred to an in-hospital mortality rate of 8‒14% [2,3,4,5], and a 1-year mortality rate of 28‒29% [6, 7].

What is considered to be the most serious injury to the cervical spine? ›

A C1 through C2 vertebrae injury is considered to be the most severe of all spinal cord injuries as it can lead to full paralysis—but is most often fatal.

What is the hardest bone for a pediatric to break? ›

The thighbone (femur) is the largest and strongest bone in the body. Because the femur is so strong, it usually takes a lot of force to break it.

How long does a baby fracture take to heal? ›

In young children most fractures heal in 4-6 weeks. However, teens generally take 6 weeks to heal, and adults can take much longer. Although your child is out of their cast, it may not be healed completely to return to all activities. Placing a splint is during this time is common.

What is the most likely cause of pathologic bone fracture in children? ›

In children, most pathological fractures are due to benign bone tumour or tumour-like conditions, metabolic diseases and infection.

What is considered a traumatic birth? ›

These include: your childbirth experience not going to plan, or not matching your expectations. having a difficult labour or experiencing labour complications. needing intervention during labour, such as an assisted delivery (using forceps or ventouse) or an emergency caesarean.

What is the number one complication of childbirth? ›

Excessive bleeding.

If delivery results in tears to the uterus, or if the uterus does not contract to deliver the placenta, heavy bleeding can result. Worldwide, such bleeding is a leading cause of maternal death.


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