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If your child is injured or has a disability at birth, the question you may have is if your child was injured by a doctor’s errors or if the birth injury is actually a birth defect. At first glance, what looks like a defect may have been caused by negligence, just as something that you assume was caused by negligence could have been genetic or a result of the natural birthing process.

Birth injuries take place due to complications during delivery or labor in most cases. Out of every 1,000 children born in the United States, around five will suffer injuries because of improper medical techniques being used or other issues during birth. Sometimes, these complications are not the fault of the medical provider, so they’ll be injuries that you can’t make a claim for. Other times, it’s a mistake that was made that resulted in your child’s injury, and that’s when you can file a claim for compensation. For instance, a child breaking a collarbone is fairly common during vaginal delivery, and it’s not considered a medical error in most cases. However, asphyxia can be resolved and should be treated immediately by a medical provider; not helping a child in distress could be negligence and lead to a lawsuit.

Birth defects are usually due to problems that developed while in the womb. Sometimes, these defects can be caused by problems with a mother’s health before pregnancy as well. Around 7 percent of all children born in the United States have some kind of birth defect or irregularity, whether it’s a severe or minor condition. These conditions tend to be hereditary or caused by environmental factors. Things like taking drugs or drinking alcohol while pregnant can cause some of these issues.