Serious injury at birth can have lifelong consequences not just to the newborn, but to the family, as well. And, because the stakes for these claims are high, they are among the most fiercely litigated cases in California. Our office, with a team of consulting physicians, brings the experience and knowhow to get the results necessary to compensate for those life altering events


“Birth injury” or “birth trauma” – usually refers to a medical condition a baby suffers during pregnancy, labor, or delivery. A birth injury also could be caused in the hospital after birth.
There are many types of birth injuries, depending on when and what happened. Some of these are:

  • Brain Injury: Lack of oxygen – or too much oxygen – can result in brain injuries and cause seizures, cerebral palsy, and other mental impairments.
  • Brachial Plexus Injury: (Erb Palsy) the brachial plexus is a group of nerves that controls the arms and hands. Sometimes these nerves are injured when the baby’s shoulders get stuck under the mother’s pelvic bone (shoulder dystocia) during delivery.  If there is just bruising or swelling, the nerves usually will heal themselves in about three months. But if the nerves are torn, the baby could suffer paralysis or partial paralysis in that arm and hand.
  • Hypoxia: Lack of oxygen to the brain, which may be caused by blood loss or the umbilical cord being twisted or compressed, to name only two examples.
  • Birth Asphyxia: Caused when the baby does not get enough oxygen.
  • Facial Paralysis: Often caused by forceps during delivery. Severe damage to nerves in the face might mean extensive surgeries.
Some birth injuries will heal themselves in a few weeks or months. Others may result in a permanent disability or, sadly, even the death of the baby.

Many times birth injuries are caused by genetics, but sometimes they are caused by the negligence of a doctor, nurse, obstetrician, anesthesiologist, or midwife.

Some of the common causes of birth injuries in babies are:

  • Failure to treat or to diagnose a mother’s medical problem during pregnancy.
  • Failure of a nurse or midwife to notify a doctor when the mother is showing signs of a problem during pregnancy, labor or delivery.
  • Delaying a Caesarian section when a baby is in distress.
  • Failure to read monitors correctly– or at all — to determine that the baby is in distress during labor or delivery.
  • Failure to see or to treat umbilical cord entrapment during delivery.
  • Improper use of forceps or a vacuum extractor during delivery.
  • Oxygen deprivation during pregnancy, labor or delivery.
  • Failure to treat bleeding upon delivery.
  • Failure to treat or to diagnose an infection in the baby after birth.
  • Negligent care of the baby after birth.
The HIPPA Privacy Rule, as well as California law, entitles you to a copy of your – and your children’s – medical records.

The privacy notice you signed in your doctor’s office and at the hospital or clinic tells you how to get your medical records.

You also may call your doctor’s office or the hospital to ask them how you can get your medical records. Usually there is a form you need to fill out in order to request your medical records.

By law your healthcare provider may charge you a “reasonable fee” for copying your records.

In California your healthcare provider may charge you 25 cents a page for photocopying and 50 cents a page for copies from microfilm. Your provider also may charge you postage if the package is mailed to you.

But your provider may not, by law, charge you for finding, locating, or retrieving your records.

California law says that a healthcare provider must send or give you a copy of your medical records no more than 15 days after they receive your written request.

Be aware, you will have to individually request records from every doctor you saw as an out-patient, as well as put in a request for the hospital’s records.

For a free, no-obligation consultation, contact Bill Newkirk of The Law Offices of William H. Newkirk.

We Get You Answers
Parents of children who have suffered a birth injury often come to The Law Offices of William H. Newkirk desperate to know what happened to their baby and why. Often the hospital closes ranks, and no one will give the parents a clear answer.

These parents feel like they are drowning in “what if” and “maybe I caused my child’s problem.”
Many parents find the injury to their child has strained their marriage and their relationship with the rest of their family.

For each birth injury case Bill Newkirk brings together a team of medical experts to evaluate your prenatal and hospital records. The experts and attorneys work together to determine if there was medical negligence and, if so, what happened, to cause your baby’s birth injury.

What Compensation Can Mean to You and Your Family
Bill Newkirk understands that you want your child to have the opportunity to live the fullest life he or she can.
For a baby with a traumatic birth injury that could mean long-term medical care and surgeries, therapy, special schools, the assistance of a home healthcare worker, and special equipment.

When such an injury is the result of medical negligence, the parents of the child can take action to obtain compensation for medical costs, income that the child will never be able to earn, and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.

Compensation can provide the financial resources for long-term care, vocational therapy and other needs — as well as providing you and your family with greater comfort and security while being faced with extensive medical and special education costs.

How Long Do I Have to Bring a Case
If you are even considering bringing a lawsuit for negligence, contact Bill Newkirk as soon as possible.
All potential lawsuits have a statute of limitations (a deadline), by which you must file a case. Once you go over the statue of limitations, you give up all rights to bring a lawsuit.

Contacting Bill Newkirk right away also is important so that he can preserve evidence and ensure that your medical records are not altered. He also will take statements from witnesses before their memory of the situation fades.

The Cost of a Lawsuit
In most situations The Law Offices of William H. Newkirk takes birth injury cases on a contingency basis. This means that you pay nothing until the case is resolved.

Free Consultation with a Lawyer
For a FREE, NO-OBLIGATION CONSULTATION, contact Bill Newkirk of The Law Offices of William H. Newkirk.


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