If negligent care from the doctor or other hospital staff injured your child during the birth process, you can seek compensation. The experienced Chicago birth injury lawyers from Zayed Law Offices can provide further information about this process. Our Medical Malpractice Lawyers can help guide you through the claim process today.
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At Zayed Law Offices, standing up for the injured is one of our founding tenants, and we are proud to fight for justice every day. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to the reckless or negligent actions of others, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We have served personal injury victims across all walks of life and under many different circumstances.
Here are just a few examples of the awards we have recovered for our clients:
- $950,000 in a medical malpractice case
- $1.30 million in a wrongful death claim
- and millions more
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Table of Contents
- What Are Birth Injuries
- How Does Medical Malpractice Lead To A Birth Injury
- Common Types of Birth Injuries Resulting from Negligence
- Seeking Compensation After a Birth Injury
- Contact a Chicago Birth Injury Attorney
How Does Medical Malpractice Lead To A Birth Injury
Medical malpractice can lead to lasting injury and even death. This is particularly troublesome in the case of a newborn or a mother who has just given birth. There are many different ways that negligence can lead to such an injury. If any of the following has occurred in your own family, you may very well have a claim to compensation. Navigating the legal waters in this area can be quite complex, so you will want an experienced law firm on your side. A birth injury can be quite severe, resulting in extreme damages being awarded to the victim due to the long term care that will be required moving forward.
Some examples of negligence that may lead to severe birth injuries include:
- Not catching the fact that the pregnancy is high risk. This can include the features being in a breeched position.
- Preterm labor is not diagnosed quickly enough.
- Bleeding during birth is not appropriately responded to.
- The umbilical cord becomes entrapped and medical personnel fail to treat it appropriately.
- Fetal distress that occurs during the delivery process is not assessed or treated properly.
- A caesarian delivery is not ordered quickly enough.
- Either vacuum extraction or forceps are used incorrectly during the birthing process.
- Drugs meant to induce labor are not used correctly.
While most of the babies given birth to today are successfully delivered with the mother’s doctor close by, this does not always happen. Negligence can occur as a direct result of physician malpractice, or as a result of a failure to ensure that adequately trained medical personnel are on hand during the delivery. When either of these occur, the likelihood of a resulting birth injury increases.
Common Types of Birth Injuries Resulting from Negligence
As explained above, not all types of birth injuries result from negligence.
However, these actions can injure or even kill the infant:
- The provider failed to properly monitor the mother and fetus during pregnancy to ensure that there are no medical conditions that could result in premature birth or difficulty during the birthing process. The provider should discover and treat known conditions with the mother during pregnancy.
- The provider failed to diagnose preterm labor quickly enough to take effective measures to stop the labor.
- The medical staff failed to promptly perform a cesarean section for the safety of the mother and child.
- The doctor failed to adequately respond to maternal bleeding during labor and birth.
- The provider failed to adequately respond to information that the umbilical cord was compressed or wrapped around the infant’s neck.
- The medical staff did not properly monitor the infant during the process to detect and address signs of fetal distress.
- Improper use of vacuum suction, forceps, or other birthing instruments.
- Improper use of drugs to prevent or induce labor.
Seeking Compensation After a Birth Injury
When the birthing process injures a child due to medical negligence in Chicago, the child’s parents can seek compensation for the expenses and impacts of the injury through a medical malpractice claim. The claim is generally filed first against the provider’s medical malpractice insurance policy. However, if the insurance provider fails to pay the claim, it can be filed as a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Illinois’s laws covering medical malpractice claims state that:
- Plaintiffs must file most medical malpractice claims within the state’s two-year personal injury statute of limitations. However, because not all injuries resulting from medical malpractice are discovered right away, in some cases, claimants are permitted to file the claim in court up to four years after the injury occurred. Failing to file within the statute of limitations will generally bar the claimant from using the court system to seek compensation. Without the ability to file a lawsuit in court, many claimants find that the insurance provider is no longer willing to negotiate a settlement either.
- To file a medical malpractice claim for a birth injury in Illinois court, the claimant must attach an affidavit of merit. This affidavit states that the claimant’s attorney consulted with a knowledgeable health professional who practices in or teaches obstetrics, and this professional found a “reasonable and meritorious cause” for the claim. If you cannot obtain the affidavit before filing the claim, the claimant and their attorney must provide it within 90 days of filing the court claim.
Consult With a Lawyer Right Away
It is important to consult with a Chicago birth injury lawyer if you even suspect that a birth injury is the result of medical malpractice. You deserve financial compensation for the pain and suffering that has been caused as a result of the negligence. It is also important to have the financial means to take care of the long term medical expenses that result from such an injury, and that is what an attorney can help ensure transpires in a court of law.
What Do You Need to Prove in a Birth Injury Claim?
To show that a medical provider caused a Chicago birth injury, the claim must prove:
- There was an applicable standard of care for the treatment provided during pregnancy and delivery.
- The provider took actions that did not meet the established standard of care or violated it.
- The failure to uphold the standard of care resulted in an injury to the mother or child.
Standard of care refers to the reasonable actions that a similarly positioned provider would take in the same circumstances.
The Type of Compensation Available Through Medical Malpractice Claims
Birth injuries can result in several permanent conditions, such as cerebral palsy, requiring a lifetime of medical treatment and support. One of the critical services that a medical malpractice attorney can provide is a proper valuation of your claim to ensure that you—and your child—have enough compensation to meet their future needs.
The compensation that claimants can seek in a birth injury case includes:
- The cost of past and future medical services to treat the injury and associated complications.
- The provision of home health assistance or long-term care.
- Assistive devices, such as crutches, wheelchairs, or modifications to the home to accommodate the injury, such as roll-in showers, lowered countertops, or ramps.
- Specialized educational services.
- Loss of future earning capacity.
- Physical pain and suffering or emotional distress that the child endures from the injury.
Chicago Birth Injury Lawyers FAQ
When you and your new baby encounter trauma and injury during delivery, it sends your family down an uncertain path. We created this Chicago Birth Injury Lawyers FAQ to help you recognize the potential for birth-related injuries. We also want you to understand your legal options for recovering compensation for your injured child.
Some negligent medical acts and omissions cause only minor discomfort and inconvenience. Others leave newborns with brain damage, cerebral palsy, and other serious medical consequences. If this happens to your newborn, it changes everything. You must reassess your family’s future and learn to live with unanticipated outcomes. A birth injury attorney can help determine if you have a legal right to obtain compensation due to your medical professional’s negligent acts or omissions. Contact us at Zayed Law Offices to discuss your options.
How Does a Medical Professional Cause Injuries During a Birth?
A medical professional’s responsibilities begin long before labor and delivery. Parents rely on healthcare providers for quality obstetric care. Medical professionals must watch for adverse health events during prenatal appointments. They must also remain watchful during labor and delivery and intervene when necessary. When a medical professional misses a critical symptom or health issue, it sometimes causes a preventable birth injury. This happens for many reasons.
Missed Conditions During Prenatal Care
Parents expect quality prenatal care from their chosen medical professionals. Unfortunately, traditional prenatal standards become insufficient when a pregnant woman is experiencing specific medical or mental health issues. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Pregnancy Complications page discusses how certain health conditions may harm a pregnant mother and/or her baby.
These conditions render pregnancy high-risk and subject to higher monitoring and care standards.
- High blood pressure
- Sexually transmitted diseases and infections
- Pregnancy over age 35
- Drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, or other substances
Medical professionals must know about these conditions to make informed care decisions. Problems arise when they fail to use available testing and technologies to identify issues and treat a pregnant patient accordingly.
When medical professionals properly monitor and assess their pregnant patients, they have timely notice if something goes wrong. When monitoring is an issue during pregnancy, the gestation period sometimes continues too long.
Mayo Clinic’s Overdue Pregnancy page discusses the risks associated with pregnancies that last longer than 40 weeks.
- Larger than average birth weight is often a factor in shoulder dystocia. This condition sometimes forces a mother to undergo an unplanned c-section.
- Meconium aspiration can cause temporary or permanent medical issues. It occurs when a child releases and sometimes inhales their bowel movement during labor.
- Low amniotic fluid sometimes causes umbilical cord compression and fetal heart rate issues.
Insufficient Maternal and Fetal Heartbeat Monitoring
Physicians do not always remain at a hospital when their patient undergoes extended labor. Until it is time for delivery, they often rely on nurses, medical assistants, and technology when monitoring patients. Because of this duty delegation tradition, physicians rely on less-qualified others to monitor the patient during labor. They sometimes miss critical medical events that require intervention.
Delayed or Negligently-Performed C-Section
Physicians often know early on when their patient requires a c-section. They schedule and complete the procedure with few complications. This standard changes when a mother experiences problems or her child registers heart or oxygen difficulties during vaginal delivery. A doctor must quickly decide if a last-minute c-section is appropriate. Newborns often sustain injuries when a physician delays this critical decision. Doctors also cause birth injuries when they perform a timely but negligently executed c-section.
Assisted Vaginal Deliveries
Doctors sometimes use forceps or vacuum extraction devices when a vaginal delivery does not proceed as quickly as expected. Forceps are tong-like instruments the doctor uses to grasp and pull a newborn’s head. They attach a vacuum device to a newborn’s head to assist the baby through the mother’s birth canal. Using either device places a child at risk for head and facial injuries.
Failure to Monitor Anesthesia Complications
Many women prefer to have anesthesia during labor and delivery. It effectively minimizes labor pains, but when a mother cannot feel pain, sometimes she does not realize when she is having other problems. Doctors do not always recognize this dilemma, so their monitoring regimen does not always address it.
What Are the Different Types of Birth Injuries?
For many mothers, childbirth is often a lengthy and painful process. She can advise her physician if she is experiencing excessive pain and discomfort, but only her medical professional has the power to order alternative care.
They increase birth injury risks when they fail to listen to their patients’ concerns, manage high-risk pregnancies, or adequately monitor labor and delivery.
- Brain damage: When a mother or baby does not receive enough oxygen during labor or delivery, it sometimes causes hemorrhage, cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, ischemia, and other brain conditions. Anoxia, hypoxia, and birth asphyxia are alternate terms for birth-related oxygen issues.
- Dystocia: Physical injuries occur during a vaginal delivery when a baby’s shoulders become stuck at the mother’s pelvis. This sometimes fractures the child’s collarbone or injures the brachial plexus. When dystocia occurs, it may also harm the birth mother and cause hemorrhaging or other problems.
- Muscle and Tissue Injuries: Some babies experience lacerations, bruises, and more complex injuries when mishaps occur during standard vaginal or c-section deliveries.
- Kernicterus: When a child is born with too much bilirubin in their system, they often experience postnatal jaundice. If the physician does not treat the condition properly, it sometimes causes kernicterus. The CDC explains that kernicterus sometimes causes hearing loss, vision problems, a form of cerebral palsy, and other lifelong impairments.
- Infections: If a medical professional does not diagnose and treat a mother’s infection before labor and delivery, she sometimes passes the infection to her child. Sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, hepatitis, and other infections cause devastating harm. Some newborns experience pneumonia, blindness, brain damage, eye infections, blood infections, and other conditions when exposed to these conditions.
- Assistance Device Injuries: When misused, forceps sometimes cause facial injuries, eye trauma, facial weakness, skull fractures, and intra-skull bleeding. Vacuum extraction devices sometimes cause scalp wounds, shoulder dystocia, skull fractures, and intra-skull bleeding.
Do I Have a Right to File a Lawsuit for a Birth Injury Claim?
The Illinois Compiled Statutes provide a process for filing a suit due to “…medical, hospital, or other healing art malpractice….” When your attorney files a malpractice lawsuit, you must attach an affidavit from a medical professional.
The affidavit must meet these and other guidelines.
- Filled by a health professional who is knowledgeable about the relevant medical issues.
- The licensed health professional must have practiced or taught for at least six years in the same area of healthcare or medicine involved in the complaint
- . They must also have qualifying medical experience that demonstrates competence regarding your medical case.
- After reviewing your medical records and other information, they determined that your allegations were reasonable and meritorious.
How Long Do I Have to File a Birth Injury Lawsuit In Illinois?
Illinois Compiled Statutes describe the state’s medical malpractice statute of limitations. Your attorney can file suit on your behalf for two years—up to a maximum of four years after the omission or act—after you know or should have known or received written notification that a medical professional caused injury or death.
The statute lists several exceptions that might apply to a birth injury victim.
- An injured person under age 18 at the time of the incident has up to 8 years or until they turn 22 to file a suit.
- A legally disabled person’s statute of limitation extends until their disability is removed.
- The disability exception also applies to people who become disabled after the malpractice incident.
Medical malpractice statutes of limitation and other provisions require legal review that considers your circumstances. If you believe that your medical professional caused your child’s birth injury, contact a birth injury attorney at Zayed Law Offices immediately. When you give an attorney early notification of your case, they have a more reasonable chance of protecting your legal interests before your time runs out. Contact Zayed Law Offices today to get started on your case.
Do You Need a Birth Injury Malpractice Lawyer?
Birth injury malpractice lawsuits are inherently more complex than other cases. You need a seasoned birth injury lawyer to help you meet the statutory requirements and present your case. When you establish a working relationship, your attorney helps determine if you should move forward with your malpractice lawsuit.
When you schedule a legal consultation, you spend time talking to a legal professional about your case. You learn more about your legal options and can decide how you wish to proceed. Zayed Law Offices is here to help. Contact us today to get started.
How Our Attorneys Can Help With Your Chicago Birth Injury Claim
Medical malpractice claims are both critical and incredibly complex. Let an experienced Chicago birth injury lawyer from Zayed Law Offices explain the process in greater detail, answer the legal questions about your claim, and provide information about the services we can offer to assist you. For a free case evaluation, contact us online or call (312) 883-6907.