Birth defects can be caused by a number of factors, however, a small amount of these cases are due to third party errors. These third party errors, often caused by doctors or pharmaceutical companies, can be the basis for a personal injury lawsuit. Medical malpractice lawsuits account to a small number of personal injury lawsuits filed in the United States. It is important to first determine whether the birth defect is caused by medical malpractice or negligence before filing an injury lawsuit. There are generally three causes of birth defects, namely 1) genetic, 2) environmental, and 3) unknown. In order to have a strong and valid medical malpractice lawsuit, you should first determine what caused the birth defect. After you’ve determined what caused it, you can contact The Jeff Sampson Law Firm
- Genetic causes can be due to a number of factors. First, the single gene defect, where a mutation of a single gene caused the birth defect. Some defective genes can be passed by one parent to the child, while there are instances where the defect will appear only if both parent suffer from the same single gene defect. Chromosomal defects are due to the structure or number of chromosomes and usually occur when something wrong happens during the development of the sperm or egg cell. Lastly, multifactorial defects occur through a combination of genetic and environmental and occur when the child inherits one or more defective gene and is then exposed to an environmental factor that could trigger the birth defect.
- Environmental causes of birth defects happen when the fetus (during the crucial developmental stage) is exposed to environmental substances or conditions that could trigger birth defects. The most common environmental factors are alcohol or drug use, infections and STDs, and chemicals or toxic materials.
- Unknown causes are those where there is still no medical explanation available yet. About 70 percent of birth defects are of unknown causes.
Legal liability for a birth defect can be established and set as basis for a medical malpractice lawsuit if the birth defect is linked to the mother being exposed to unreasonably dangerous prescription drugs without their knowing of the possible side effects to the babies. Insufficient warnings or blatantly hiding important side effect information would make the drug manufacturers liable for medical malpractice or product liability claims. Likewise, if the doctor performed inadequate prenatal care or made an error during the delivery of the baby that resulted to the birth defect, the doctor, nurses, or hospital can be held responsible for medical malpractice due to negligence.