Birth injuries can be devastating, and they can cause long-lasting permanent damage to a child. In most cases, birth injuries are preventable. However, there are times when the negligent or careless actions of a medical provider cause harm to a child. If your child has sustained a birth injury, Seidman, Margulis & Fairman, LLP is here to help. Let our Chicago birth injury attorneys investigate your case and work to secure the compensation you deserve.
Birth Injury Lawsuit Information
- Benefits of Hiring a Birth Injury Lawyer
- Common Causes of Birth Injuries
- Statute of Limitations on a Birth Injury Claim in Chicago, IL
- Compensation Available in a Birth Injury Claim
- Free Consultation With a Birth Injury Lawyer
Why Choose Our Chicago, IL Birth Injury Lawyers
If your child has sustained a birth injury, you need a team by your side with extensive experience handling medical malpractice claims. Seidman, Margulis & Fairman, LLP is ready to get to work.
- We focus only on personal injury cases, which gives us unique insights and a high level of specialization to help handle the litigation process of birth injury claims.
- We are committed to providing each client with individualized attention. Our clients deal directly with their attorneys, not paralegals or junior assistance.
- We take Chicago birth injury cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that our clients face no upfront or out-of-pocket costs related to their case. We are only paid legal fees after we secure a favorable settlement or verdict on behalf of the client.
Like any medical malpractice case, birth injury cases can become incredibly difficult. Proving that a mistake occurred and caused harm to a child involves extensive investigation. A Chicago birth injury lawyer will have the resources necessary to:
- Obtain all evidence necessary to prove that malpractice occurred. This can include medical records, the history and safety records of the obstetrician involved, eyewitness accounts from others present, and more.
- Ensure that a trusted medical professional evaluates your child and reviews their medical records. Medical experts may need to provide witness testimony in the case.
- Negotiate with all parties involved to reach a settlement that covers all expenses related to the birth injury claim.
In many cases, a birth injury occurs because of the negligence of a member of the medical staff involved in the birthing process. In general, an obstetrician is the overall responsible party during the delivery process. Obstetricians are highly trained medical professionals that must maintain the standard of care that other similarly trained obstetricians would exercise in the same kind of situation.Some of the most common causes of birth injuries revolve around:
- A failure to perform a C-section if medical symptoms indicate the need for one
- A failure to recognize maternal or fetal distress
- The misuse of a vacuum device or forceps during delivery
- A failure to recognize a prolapsed umbilical cord or a breech birth
Birth injuries are not only caused by incidents that happen during the delivery process. It is also vital that obstetricians monitor a mother closely throughout her pregnancy as well as at the time immediately leading up to the birth to recognize and prevent complications.What Are The Most Common Birth Injuries?
There are various types of injuries that a child can sustain during the birthing process due to the negligence of a medical provider. Some of the most common birth injuries include:
- Bone fractures
- Meconium aspiration
- Bleeding on the brain
- Nerve damage
- Fetal oxygen deprivation
- …and more
One of the most well-known birth injuries in the United States is cerebral palsy. It is important to understand that cerebral palsy is not a single disorder, but rather a group of disorders that can affect the muscle control, head control, muscle tone, walking, balance, sensation, and cognitive function of a child. Cerebral palsy is the result of brain damage usually caused by hypoxia.How Long Do You Have To File A Birth Injury Claim?
As with any other medical malpractice claim, birth injury cases must be filed within a certain amount of time. These time limits are known as the statute of limitations. In Illinois, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases is two years from when the injury occurs or two years from the date the injury is discovered.
However, birth injury claims have a different statute of limitations. These cases must be filed within eight years of the injury occurring, and no claim may be filed after the child’s 22nd birthday.
Due to the complicated statute of limitations involved in medical malpractice and birth injury cases, it is vital to speak to a Chicago birth injury lawyer as soon as possible about your case.What Kind Of Compensation Is Available For These Cases?
If your child has been injured at birth due to the negligence of a medical professional, various types of compensation may be available for your claim. It is important to understand that every case is different and that the total amount of compensation awarded will vary depending on the facts of each case. However, at Seidman, Margulis & Fairman, LLP, we regularly help clients recover the following:
- Coverage of any medical expenses related to the birth injury
- Coverage for any future medical expenses caused by birth injury-related disabilities
- Compensation for any needed in-home care or medical devices
- Recovery of lost wages for a parent if they are unable to work
- Pain and suffering damages
- Loss of enjoyment of life damages
- Possible punitive damages against a grossly negligent medical provider
It is important to understand that the process of calculating birth injury compensation can be complicated, particularly when determining how these injuries will affect a child throughout the course of their life. A skilled Chicago birth injury lawyer will work with medical and economic experts to properly calculate these expenses.What Is The Difference Between Birth Injuries And Birth Defects?
It is important to understand the difference between birth injuries and birth defects (often referred to as congenital disabilities). A birth injury describes the damage that occurs as a result of physical pressure on the baby due to the birthing process. This usually occurs during transit from the womb through the birth canal. Birth injuries are not uncommon in the United States.
Birth defects refer to any disabilities or malformations that occur as a result of genetics or an environmental influence on the baby while they are developing in the womb. When looking at one environmental factor in these situations, there are prescription medications that have been known to cause birth defects when taken by pregnant women. In most cases, doctors are able to use various types of tests and imaging to determine whether or not there are any birth defects before delivery.Can Birth Injury Cause Autism?
Children who are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) could struggle with various challenges throughout their lifetime. It is important to point out that ASD is not the same for every person who has received a diagnosis. Scientists and researchers are not entirely sure about the causes of ASD, though they have uncovered various links between autism and other health issues.
According to the Autism and Development Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, children who have cerebral palsy could be up to 7 times more likely also to have ASD. The study, which was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), worked with 400 children who had cerebral palsy across four states. The study found that 6.9% of these children also had autism spectrum disorder, which is significant considering that only 1% of the general population has ASD.
While cerebral palsy is the most common type of motor disability amongst American children, this is not the only type of birth injury. Kaiser Permanente examined approximately 600,000 birth records and found that complications during childbirth could increase the risk of a child developing ASD by around 10%. When pregnancy complications began before a woman went into labor, the risk of developing ASD seemed to be even higher.
According to researchers, complications such as birth asphyxia and pre-eclampsia seemed especially likely to increase a child’s risk of developing autism. There are also links, though not as strong, to autism developing because of perinatal complications, such as placental abruption, fetal dystocia, umbilical cord prolapse, and breech birth. Additionally, Kaiser Permanente has said that maternal diabetes could be a risk factor for a child developing autism.Birth Injury Statistics
When we turn to data available from the National Healthcare Quality Report (AHRQ), we can see that around 6 to 8 out of every 1,000 children born in the US have a birth injury. Data indicates that around 28,000 infants are born each year with a birth injury.
The AHRQ data also shows the most commonly diagnosed birth injury in the US is cerebral palsy, which happens in approximately 4 out of every 1,000 births in this country. Data from multiple sources suggests that males are more likely to sustain birth injuries than females.
Many birth injuries do not surface immediately after the child is born. Approximately 7% of all birth injuries are diagnosed within the first year of a child’s life, but another 14% are not diagnosed until the child reaches school age. Various cognitive and developmental impairments caused by birth injuries are more likely to be diagnosed later in a child’s life than are physical impairments caused by a birth injury.
Data shows that the location where a birth takes place plays a role in the likelihood of a birth injury occurring. Statistics have shown that the size of the hospital where a birth occurs plays a role, as does whether the hospital is for-profit or not, and whether the hospital is public or private. The size of the hospital seems to have a greater impact than other factors. Overall, the rate of birth injuries in hospitals with more than 500 beds was less than the rate at hospitals with between 300 and 499 beds.
When birthing tools are used for delivery, mothers aged between 25 to 34 experience a higher rate of birth injuries. Mothers ranging in age is between 40 and 54 sustain a lower rate of birth injuries when birthing tools are used to assist with delivery. Birth injuries for mothers delivering with no instrument assistance and through vaginal birth are only high between the ages of 25 and 29.
When looking at race and birth injuries, we can see that black and Hispanic mothers experience lower rates of birth injuries when compared to white and Asian Pacific Islanders. When examining regions, those to give birth in rural areas are 33% more likely to experience birth injuries than those who give birth in more urban areas. Additionally, the northeastern section of the United States has 24 to 32% more birth injuries than other regions in the country.What Birth Injuries May Be Caused by a Delayed C-Section?
According to the CDC, approximately 30% of all babies born in the United States are born via cesarean section (C-section). In many cases, C-sections are planned in advance due to health concerns or for personal reasons. In other cases, some women are forced to deliver through emergency C sections because of a medical complication after labor begins. Sometimes, vaginal births are too dangerous for the mother. One of the most important responsibilities of obstetricians and other medical professionals is to recognize when an emergency C-section is needed to protect the life of the mother and the child. Delaying C-sections or proceeding with a vaginal birth when a C-section would be safer can lead to significant injuries for the child and mother.
If a healthcare provider fails to provide a timely C-section, various types of injuries could occur. The most common danger associated with the failure to provide an emergency C-section is reduced blood supply to the child. This could lead to a condition called hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, which is a lack of blood flow to the child’s brain. This lack of oxygen-supplying blood could lead to immediate brain cell death for the child. Dying brain cells can release the toxic chemicals that damage other brain cells nearby. Brain damage caused by hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy can lead to the following:
- Intellectual disabilities
- Behavioral problems
- Hearing and vision impairment
- Sensory processing issues
- Epilepsy and other types of seizure disorders
- Infant death
Additionally, a delayed C-section could also lead to cerebral palsy, which is the most common type of birth injury in the United States. A child with cerebral palsy could suffer from an inability to walk, difficulty swallowing or speaking, muscle spasms and muscle rigidity, seizures, intellectual impairment, and various other life-changing symptoms. Children with cerebral palsy often require specialized medical care for the remainder of their lives.Proving Malpractice After a Birth Injury
Birth injury cases often become complex medical malpractice lawsuits. In order to prove medical malpractice has occurred, there are four elements that need to be present. This includes the following:
- Duty. There must be some sort of doctor-patient relationship established between the treating medical professional and the mother/infant. In general, proving this type of relationship is not terribly difficult. Anytime a medical professional initiates care, this usually establishes a doctor-patient relationship.
- Breach. The toughest part of a malpractice case is proving that the medical professional breached their duty of care. When a doctor-patient relationship is established, the health care professional owes their patient a duty of care. In these situations, the duty of care revolves around the medical standard of care. When determining whether or not a healthcare professional has provided inadequate care, this will be judged by looking at how a similarly trained medical provider would respond in a similar situation.
- Causation. If it is shown that there was a breach of duty on the part of the health care professional, it will need to be determined whether or not the breach of duty directly caused the birth injury in question.
- Damages. Finally, it needs to be shown that the mother or infant suffered some sort of loss as a result of the incident. This can include medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering losses, loss of quality of life damages, and more.
If your child has experienced an injury at birth, and you believe that the injury was caused by the careless or negligent actions of a medical professional, seek legal assistance today. At Seidman, Margulis & Fairman, LLP, we pledge to investigate every aspect of your claim in order to secure the compensation you and your child need to get through this. When you need a Chicago birth injury attorney, you can contact us for a free consultation of your case or call (312) 781-1977.