Hydrocephalus Birth Injury Information

Welcoming a new child should be a joyous occasion. Unfortunately, approximately 30,000 newborns each year suffer birth injuries, with 24,000 of those infants suffering moderate to severe birth injuries. The birth injury definition is anything occurring at birth adversely affecting the infant or mother’s physical structure or bodily functions.

You may have a legal case for compensation if your newborn suffered a birth injury, such as hydrocephalus. Let’s look at birth injuries, birth injury causes, and how a personal injury lawyer can help.

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What are common birth injuries?

Types of birth injuries newborns may suffer include the following:

  • Brachial palsy: Damage to the nerves that connect the brain to the infant’s hand and arms causes brachial palsy. Some infants may need surgery to repair the damage.
  • Cephalohematoma: This birth injury occurs when blood builds up between the baby’s scalp and skull. It can take six weeks for infants to make a full recovery. Severe cases may require surgery
  • Facial paralysis: Forceps can damage facial nerves. In some cases, it’s necessary to operate to repair this damage. 
  • Fractures: Issues during delivery can cause bone fractures
  • Hydrocephalus: Hydrocephalus is a brain injury occurring during birth
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs): Head trauma can cause TBIs. Severe head trauma can cause permanent brain injuries or death

Other birth injury types include caput succedaneum and subconjunctival hemorrhages. 

What is hydrocephalus? 

Hydrocephalus involves fluid buildup. It occurs when the volume of cerebrospinal fluid, the watery fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord, increases. Physical symptoms include a protrusion on the infant’s head. Other symptoms may include the following:

  • Irritability
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle weakness
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting

Pressure from the fluid buildup interferes with normal brain functions. Severe cases of hydrocephalus can cause brain damage or death.

Can birth trauma cause hydrocephalus? 

The causes of hydrocephalus birth injury include in-utero infections. Suppose a pregnant person has an illness such as syphilis or rubella. In that case, their doctor should provide prompt, appropriate treatment to protect the parent and fetus. Without treatment, babies contracting these illnesses in utero may be born with hydrocephalus.

Birth trauma also causes hydrocephalus. There is a greater risk of hydrocephalus when forceps or vacuums are used during childbirth. These devices can cause physical damage, causing cerebrospinal fluid to build up in the brain. 

What are the long-term effects of being born with hydrocephalus?

Hydrocephalus is a birth injury that does not heal on its own. Your baby may need a shunt or a surgery called endoscopic third ventriculostomy. There are risks of complications from surgery, and surgery may only address the physical cause of hydrocephalus. There may be long-term effects of the condition that require other medical attention.

Babies with hydrocephalus may suffer permanent brain damage. Consequently, it’s common for children with hydrocephalus birth injury to need a care plan to promote their recovery. Some children need to see an occupational therapist to facilitate their development of fine motor skills. Children may also need treatment from a developmental therapist and mental health therapist. 

Should I contact a lawyer for hydrocephalus?

Parents of infants suffering birth injuries in Colorado should contact a birth injury lawyer to discuss their case. Infants with hydrocephalus can suffer permanent, severe injuries. Your child may need long-term medical treatment or life-long care.

A birth injury attorney will investigate the birth injury and establish the legal grounds for a compensation claim. You may not realize you’re entitled to damages to cover the costs of your child’s birth injury. Still, an experienced birth injury lawyer will help identify all costs you can claim from a birth injury lawsuit. 

Monetary damages you can seek include the following:

  • Childcare costs: You may need to pay for childcare for other children while addressing your infant’s birth injury or for expert childcare for your infant with hydrocephalus
  • Elder care costs: Suppose you have an older parent living with you because they have medical needs and require your help to perform routine tasks, such as bathing and dressing. You may have to hire a home care aide to assist them while caring for your newborn with hydrocephalus. You can seek compensation for these costs. 
  • Lost income: You can seek compensation for the time you must take off work because of your infant’s birth injuries
  • Medical bills: You can seek to be reimbursed for costs stemming from medical tests and treatment, including the costs of medications, therapy, and surgery
  • Transportation costs: You may have to travel to another location for tests to confirm your child’s diagnosis or to receive suitable treatment. You can seek compensation for travel costs.

Non-monetary damages you can seek include the following:

  • Mental health-related costs: Your family and newborn may need therapy to address mental health issues stemming from their birth injury, such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Those costs can be claimed with your medical expenses; however, you can also seek compensation for the toll of living with these mental health issues. 
  • Pain and suffering: Having a newborn with a birth injury and caring for them can cause pain and suffering. Compensation for pain and suffering recognizes the long-term toll on parents and victims. 

How Bachus & Schanker can help

The scales of justice, a gavel, an hourglass and a stack of books are on a birth injury attorneys' desk.

When you hire Bachus & Schanker, you’re hiring a birth injury attorney in Colorado with years of experience fighting for justice for birth injury victims. Our legal team includes a Victim’s Advocate team filled with legal experts who use their knowledge and skills to investigate claims and find the evidence needed to build your case. This team also provides support, letting you know about financial aid options you can pursue until you receive the compensation you deserve.

Dealing with a newborn with a birth injury can be traumatic and time-consuming. The last thing you should worry about while caring for your infant with hydrocephalus is how to prepare a legal claim. We’ll handle the legalities for you, negotiate with the at-fault parties, and keep you informed throughout the process until we resolve your case.


Birth injury statistics. (2021). 

Brachial plexus palsy or Erb’s palsy. (2018). 

Chong, Sangjoon. (2022). Head Injury During Childbirth

Rains, Deborah A. et al. (2023). Cephalohematoma

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Written and Legally Reviewed By: Kyle Bachus

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Kyle is a member of the Colorado and Florida Bar associations and has served on the Board of Directors of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association for more than twenty years in total. Over the years, Kyle has achieved justice for many clients. He has served on numerous committees and repeatedly won recognition from his peers at both the state and national level. He is proud of the role he has played in the passage of state and national legislation to protect consumers and is a frequent speaker and guest lecturer.