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Home > Personal Injury Attorney

Birth Injury Lawyer
For Hilton Head Island, Bluffton, & Beaufort South Carolina (SC) Area

Becoming a parent should be a joyous time.  However, there are times when a birth gives way to injuries due to medical malpractice.   Occasionally during the birth process, the baby may suffer a physical injury that is simply the result of being born. Devastated parents and family members are unexpectedly confronted with an uncertain future.

Birth injuries vary from mild to severe and luckily, most birth injuries do not result from medical malpractice. An attorney from Kiker Law Firm can help you to assess an incident for the possibility of malpractice.

Common birth injuries include:

  • Bruising and Forceps Marks – Occasionally, a baby will develop bruising on their face or head due to passing though the birth canal, and also from contact with the mother's pelvic bones and tissues.  Forceps, if utilized during delivery, may leave short-term marks or bruises on the head of the baby.  Vacuum extraction may cause scalp lacerations as well as bruising to the head.  In severe cases, depressed skull fractures may occur from using forceps and may involve a surgical elevation.
  • Facial Paralysis - Pressure on the baby's face during labor or birth and/or utilizing forceps during childbirth, may damage a baby's facial nerves.  Paralysis will normally fade within a few weeks if a nerve is just bruised.  However, if there is more severe nerve damage, surgery may be necessary to repair the facial nerve. 
  • Brachial Palsy Injuries (Erb's Palsy and Klumpke's Palsy) -These condition transpire when the brachial plexus (the group of nerves that controls movement of the arms and hands) is damaged.  This injury most often results from when the baby's shoulders impair its passage through the birth canal.  When the injury merely causes bruising or swelling, typically, the baby will recover within three months.  In more serious cases permanent nerve damage may occur and physical therapy and surgery may be required.
  • Brain Injury - Birth difficulties can result in a lack of oxygen to the baby as a result of blood loss and/or twisting or compressing the umbilical cord.  Extended oxygen deprivation may lead to brain damage and seizure disorders, cerebral palsy, or mental impairment.

Birth injuries are more likely to occur during a complicated delivery and can be affected factors such as:

  • The baby's size. When a baby weighs more than eight pounds, thirteen ounces birth injury becomes more likely. Likewise, premature babies are more susceptible to injury.
  • Cephalopelvic Disproportion. The mother’s pelvis in not sufficient for a vaginal birth due to the size and shape. 
  • Difficult labor or childbirth. ("Dystocia"), or prolonged labor.
  • The baby's position.  When the child's buttocks or legs are presented first, is called a breech birth and is more likely to result in birth injury.

Medical error can also increase the possibility of birth injuries and can also enhance the severity and permanence of birth injuries.  Medical errors which may lay a foundation for malpractice actions may include:

  • Failing to anticipate birth complications
  • Failure to respond appropriately to bleeding
  • Failing to observe or respond to umbilical cord entrapment
  • Failure to respond to fetal
  • Delay in ordering cesarean section
  • Misuse of forceps or a vacuum extractor
  • Inappropriate administration of Pitocin in an effort to expedite labor

A result of substandard care after a birth may also produce injuries such as not addressing and attending to an infection and errors that occur during a circumcision.                          
Consider hiring an attorney
In evaluating a possible malpractice claim, an attorney will ordinarily want to review all of the baby's medical records, including those associated with the child's birth and neonatal care, and may wish to also have them reviewed by a nurse or physician.  An attorney at Kiker Law Firm will be able to assess your case, determine the monetary value necessitated by the injury and ensure your child will be compensated.  The statute of limitations on birth injury cases in South Carolina is only three years; you must bring your claim within that timeframe or risk not bringing a claim at all. 

Dedicated to the Client
Birth injury cases are a highly technical and specialized field.  The attorneys at Kiker Law Firm have extensive experience in nursing home cases.  We understand what you're up against and also know that many injuries do not appear serious at first but that they may, in fact, plague someone for life. Our staff can aggressively pursue full compensation for all your injuries – including present and future.

We offer a free consultation and evaluation of your case. Simply complete a free consultation form online or call us at 843-842-7200. We'd be happy to meet with you and help you make an informed decision regarding your accident and injury claim.

Birth Injuries Q&A
Q: What's the difference between a birth defect and a birth injury?
A: Typically, birth injuries stem from something that went awry during the delivery, while birth defects usually involve harm to a baby that arose prior to birth due to something that happened during or before the pregnancy.

Q: Will a lawsuit always be successful if a baby is harmed through a birth injury?
A: No. Some birth injuries are unavoidable; this is why it is imperative to speak with an attorney at Kiker Law Firm to discuss your case.

Q: What is medical malpractice?

A: Medical malpractice is negligence performed by a health care provider such as a doctor, nurse, dentist, technician, hospital or hospital worker.  This negligent performance of duties stray from the accepted standard of care which results in harm to a patient.

Q: How common are birth injuries?

A: In the United States, for every 1000 babies born, it is estimated that five will be injured during birth.

Q: In a lawsuit for a birth injury, how does a jury determine if a doctor's actions were within the accepted standard of care?

A: Experts, typically other doctors, will testify.  They will discern whether in their professional capacity, the doctor charged with malpractice followed the standard medical procedure or if they did not meet the standard level of care.

Q: What causes cerebral palsy?
A: Cerebral palsy is the nonspecific expression utilized for numerous disorders which involve the brain function and body movement of a baby.  Cerebral palsy can be the consequence of an injury to a baby's brain occurring delivery or after birth and may also occur due to a lack of oxygen to a baby's brain during delivery.  Cerebral palsy can be caused by trauma to the head from falls, car accidents and abuse transpiring after a baby’s birth. 

Q: Who will receive money after a successful lawsuit for a birth injury?

A:  Generally, damages will be awarded to the child, sometimes in the form of a trust, if the child is still living.   There are times that parents are able to recover compensation for emotional distress.  Unfortunately there are cases where a birth injury has led to the death of the infant.  When this occurs, the parents may bring a wrongful death lawsuit and may receive damages for loss of companionship, pain and suffering, emotional distress and medical expenses.

Q: What is Erb's palsy? Is it permanent?
A: Erb's palsy is the consequence of brachial plexus nerves located near the baby's neck being stretched or torn during birth.  The fallout of Erb’s Palsy can cause the loss of function of the arm, wrist, hand and/or fingers. In most cases, the affected child will recuperate and but not always.  There have been numerous cases in which the nerves were entirely severed, the child may necessitate surgery to repair the damage.

Q: Is there a limited amount of time to file a birth injury case?
A: Yes. South Carolina’s statute of limitations on medical malpractice cases is three years.   (Certain government run or funded facilities may fall within the purview of the South Carolina Tort Claims Act which has a two-year limitation period).   This means if you neglect to file your suit during those three years (or two, if applicable), you will not legally be allowed to file a lawsuit. The statute of limitations may begin commence at the time of the injury or at the time the injury is discovered. An attorney at Kiker Law Firm will be able to discuss the applicable statute of limitations and how it may affect your birth injury case.




Kiker Law Firm
2 Corpus Christie Place
(Professional Building ~ Suite 200)
Hilton Head Island

(843) 842-7300

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 5303
Hilton Head Island, SC 29938