Is a Midwife Liable for a Birth Injury?

Many birth injuries that affect infants for life are preventable with reasonable and prudent care by those overseeing the pregnancy, labor and delivery. Health care providers and birthing professionals, including midwives, could be liable if an infant sustains a preventable birth injury in Kansas City. Understanding midwife liability for a birth injury may take a consultation with a lawyer near you. You or your Kansas City birth injury lawyer will need to prove medical malpractice to obtain compensation.

What Is a Birth Injury?

A birth injury is a common type of medical malpractice in Kansas City. In a medical malpractice context, a birth injury is a preventable type of harm that stems from a health care provider’s negligence or recklessness. It can refer to any traumatic injury arising from the neglect of a health care worker to fulfill the accepted standards of care. If someone in the same position would have reasonably been able to prevent the birth injury, the defendant might be liable for damages.

  • Bone fractures
  • Nerve damage
  • Brachial plexus injuries
  • Brain injuries
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Erb’s palsy
  • Lacerations
  • Kernicterus
  • Wrongful death

Not all birth injuries stem from medical malpractice. If you believe your midwife or another health care worker should have done more to prevent your child’s injury, however, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice suit. It will be up to you or your attorney to prove the defendant in question breached a duty of care he or she owed you, resulting in your infant’s injury. A midwife might be the defendant in your medical malpractice suit depending on the circumstances of the case.

When Is a Midwife Liable?

A midwife is not a physician, but he or she is still a trained health care professional. Midwives help women through labor and delivery, typically in the mother’s home or a birthing center. Some midwives accompany mothers to hospitals. Midwives receive special training and have unique skills. Like doctors and hospital staff members, midwives owe certain duties of care to the patients they treat. If a midwife intentionally or carelessly breaches a duty of care, resulting in a birth injury, the midwife could be liable for damages.


  • Failing to communicate with the mother or other medical providers
  • Failing to diagnose a maternal condition
  • Failing to monitor maternal and fetal vital signs
  • Ignoring signs of a problem
  • Failing to take emergency action
  • Using incorrect or dangerous birthing techniques
  • Misusing birth-assistive tools
  • Failing to diagnose or treat a condition such as jaundice
  • Causing a traumatic injury, such as by dropping the baby


Midwife liability for a birth injury will come down to the question of negligence. It will be the plaintiff’s burden to prove the midwife owed a duty of care, failed to meet the expectations of this duty and caused the birth injury in question. A medical malpractice lawyer can assist you with the burden of proof. If a lawyer can prove a breach of the professional duty of care by the midwife, as well as a causal link to your child’s injury, the midwife or his or her employer may owe you compensation.


Midwives and Vicarious Liability

A midwife might be directly liable for a birth injury if he or she worked as an independent contractor while offering services. Most midwives and other birthing professionals have insurance plans to help them pay for damages in a settlement or judgment award. The individual professional or business owner might owe you compensation in this case.

If, however, you hired the midwife through an agency or hospital, the employer may be vicariously liable for your damages. A hospital has a responsibility to ensure the competence of its midwives. It will be vicariously liable for the negligence of its staff members. Discuss the potential liability of your midwife for a birth injury in more detail with a lawyer in Kansas City as soon as possible.


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