St. Louis Birth Injury Lawyer

Expectant parents dream of showing their children the world. They make plans to visit the sea lions at the St. Louis Zoo. They imagine riding the carousel at Grant’s Farm. They look forward to exploring The Magic House.

When your child suffers a birth injury, those dreams give way to anger over their suffering and fear about their future.

A birth injury attorney helps you get the compensation you deserve. So your family can dream again.

Legal action holds medical professionals accountable for their errors. Even if your child makes a full recovery from medical negligence, the next patient might not be so lucky.

A child’s birth should be a time of joy, not worry. Your attorney shoulders the complexity of the legal process so you can focus on bonding with your baby and taking care of your family.

Fernandez Law has a compassionate team of knowledgeable professionals experienced in litigating birth injury claims in Missouri courts.

We’ll take care of all the documentation, communication, and litigation. We know how to handle insurance companies and maximize your compensation so your family is taken care of.

Birth Injury FAQ

Is my child’s birth injury the doctor’s fault?

What is medical negligence in pregnancy and birth?

Are birth injuries permanent?

Can I claim compensation for a traumatic birth?

How long do I have to make a birth injury claim?


What is a birth injury?

A birth injury is a physical injury to a baby that occurs before, during, or immediately after birth. Advancements in medicine and prenatal care have made birth injuries far rarer today than in the past. Nonetheless, an estimated 28,000 children are injured while being born each year. Based on birth rates, that means about 1 in 138 births in Missouri are complicated by a birth injury.

Common causes of birth injuries

Many things can cause a birth injury, including a prolonged or delayed birth, a prolapsed umbilical cord, or any situation that deprives the baby’s brain of oxygen.

Even a normal birth is a physically intense experience. Babies are often born with minor injuries like scratches and bruises that resolve themselves without treatment.

Natural Causes of Birth Injuries Medical Causes of Birth Injuries
Baby in the wrong position (e.g., breech) Improper use of forceps or vacuum
Baby too large for the birth canal Delay or failure to order a needed emergency Cesarean section on time
Underdeveloped lungs due to prematurity Medical errors
Mother’s pelvis the wrong shape or size for vaginal birth Failure to respond quickly to signs of fetal distress
Prolonged labor Failure to diagnose or treat a high-risk pregnancy


Is my child's birth injury the doctor's fault?

Appropriate prenatal care can alert medical providers to some potential complications ahead of time.

Planning ahead for these complications - for example, recommending a Cesarean delivery of a baby too big to pass through the birth canal - could prevent almost half of all birth injuries.

Talk to a birth injury lawyer about whether your child’s injury could have been prevented.

What is medical negligence in pregnancy and birth?

Some birth injuries are unavoidable. Others are caused when doctors, nurses, or technicians fail to provide an acceptable standard of care. These are the cases in which a birth injury attorney can help your family get compensation.

Examples of medical negligence that could result in birth injuries include:

  • Inadequate prenatal care
  • Inappropriate use of force during birth
  • Delayed treatment
  • Failure to monitor and respond to fetal and maternal vital signs
  • Inappropriate use of pharmaceuticals


Are birth injuries permanent?

Birth injuries range in severity from minor bruises to fatal complications. Some birth injuries are permanent and can lead to lifelong disability. Other injuries heal and children make a full recovery.

The permanence of your child’s injury should not be the deciding factor in whether you contact a birth injury attorney. Even a recoverable injury like a broken bone causes unnecessary pain and suffering when it is due to a medical mistake.

Common birth injuries

Lacerations and broken bones

Lacerations to a newborn’s delicate skin are usually the result of using instruments like forceps to assist in a difficult vaginal birth.

Broken bones are typically caused when a child is not positioned correctly for their trip down the birth canal, or when the size or shape of the mother’s pelvis can’t accommodate the baby’s size.

Since newborns heal quickly, broken bones rarely present long-term difficulties. However, they often indicate a Cesarean section would have been a better option than a vaginal birth.

Brain injuries

Injuries to a baby’s brain can lead to a wide range of conditions. Some of these are temporary while others may be lifelong. The severity of a child’s future impairment depends on the extent of the brain damage.

Cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability among American children. It has a number of possible causes, including injury in utero, stroke, and a prolonged labor that keeps oxygen from reaching the baby’s brain.

Brain ischemia occurs when a baby’s brain doesn’t receive enough blood during labor or delivery. Brain ischemia can lead to cerebral palsy, developmental delays, cognitive delays, and hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.

Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) occurs when an infant’s brain is deprived of oxygen. This condition can damage the brain and other organs.

Intracranial hemorrhage is also called a brain bleed. A brain bleed can be caused by head trauma suffered during delivery and may require surgery to stop the bleeding.

Neonatal sepsis and chorioamnionitis

Neonatal sepsis and chorioamnionitis occur when an infection passes from a pregnant mother to her fetus.

Neonatal sepsis is often caused by a Group B strep infection or by the herpes simplex virus.

Chorioamnionitis can cause dangerous symptoms in both the mother and child and can lead to a premature birth.

Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy

The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves running through the shoulder into the arm. In a difficult delivery, these nerves can be damaged. This damage can result in lifelong symptoms such as weakness or paralysis of the affected arm.

Erb’s palsy affects the muscles in the shoulder and upper arm, while Klumpke’s palsy affects the lower arm and hand.

Shoulder dystocia

Shoulder dystocia happens when a baby’s shoulders get stuck in the mother’s pelvis during labor. When this happens, medical personnel need to intervene to free the shoulders.

If medical staff fail to notice and address this complication, it can prolong labor and lead to fractures, lack of oxygen to the brain, and a brachial plexus injury. It can also cause heavy blood loss to the mother.


Cephalohematomas happen when blood pools between the skull and the scalp. They’re most likely to occur when doctors use a vacuum or forceps to pull on the baby’s head. This injury does not cause brain damage, but it can increase the risk of other complications, including jaundice and infection.


Death is the worst possible outcome of a traumatic birth. Infants and mothers may die during childbirth if medical staff fail to address pregnancy complications, fail to properly monitor fetal and maternal vital signs, or improperly administer medication.

Can I claim compensation for a traumatic birth?

Birth injury claims are a form of medical malpractice litigation. Fernandez Law has extensive experience getting families compensated for injuries suffered in a traumatic birth.

A successful medical malpractice suit in Missouri has three parts:

  1. Determine negligence. Medical professionals are expected to deliver a minimum standard of care. To have a case, we have to prove that standard was not met.
  2. Get an affidavit of support. This is a letter from a professional in the same field, such as an obstetrician or neonatal nurse, that confirms the care you received fell short of the minimum standard.
  3. Prove the negligence caused the harm. Some birth injuries are unavoidable. To win your case, we need to prove the action or inaction of the medical staff directly led to your child’s injury.

Missouri health care professionals and institutions are protected from medical malpractice claims by professional liability insurance. These insurers have tough legal teams who will do whatever they can to force you into a settlement or get your claim thrown out of court.

The Missouri legal system is not easy to navigate. You don’t have to spend your evenings and weekends trying to make sense of legal jargon, feeling bullied by insurance company attorneys, and wondering if you’re doing the right thing.

We have more than 30 years’ experience in medical malpractice claims. Our attorneys know how to go toe-to-toe with insurers and win. Spend your time caring for your child and building memories with your family. We’ll handle the legal fight, and we’ll make sure you understand your options every step of the way.

Possible compensation for a birth injury claim

Your Fernandez Law birth injury attorney will thoroughly examine all the impacts your child’s injury might have on their future and your family life. You may be able to claim:

  • Expenses related to the injury and treatment, such as medical bills and transportation to specialists
  • Lost wages of a parent who took time off work to become a caregiver
  • Anticipated future expenses such as
    • Medical care
    • Medical devices like wheelchairs and braces
    • Adaptive devices like shower rails and an accessible vehicle
    • Skilled nursing care
    • Therapeutic treatments
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering

Every birth injury case is unique, so it’s difficult to establish a base level of compensation. Missouri law caps the damages we can recover in a medical malpractice case.

How long do I have to make a birth injury claim?

In Missouri, you have two years from the date of injury to file a claim for medical malpractice.

Once they turn 18, the injured child has until their 20th birthday to file a claim on their own behalf.


Don't face the future alone

Birth injuries create a whirlwind of emotion and it can be hard to know what to do.

The first step is to connect with a compassionate, knowledgeable birth injury attorney who will listen to your story, give you honest advice, and help your family get the compensation you deserve.

Schedule a free consultation by calling 314-433-9131 or by submitting a form.

I am writing to express my sincere gratitude for the EXCELLENT work that was done for me. My case was a rather difficult one to prove and Gonzalo Fernandez and his team went above and beyond to prove my position. During the course of the proceedings I was kept well informed and never doubted for a moment that my interests were being looked after. The firm worked as a team and each attorney involved in my case worked wonders with their areas of specialty. I would highly recommend Gonzalo Fernandez or any member of this firm. If you want superb representation, this is the Team of Attorneys to call. A special thanks to Gonz, Jim and Mike.

- Paula

Contact Our Team Today

To speak with one of our attorneys, contact Fernandez Law today. Call 314-433-9131 or toll free 866-285-4611 to find out what your claim is worth. We’re ready to help you get the compensation you deserve.

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