Your Guide to Filing a Birth Injury Lawsuit in Illinois
Thousands of babies are born each day in this country with some sort of birth injury. Unfortunately, birth injuries are more common in the US than they are in other developed nations around the world. Some birth injuries leave a child only partially disabled, while others may render a child permanently disabled.
Birth injuries can affect a child’s entire life, and these injuries are often caused by preventable medical errors. It may be necessary for parents to file medical malpractice lawsuits in the event their child sustains a birth injury. If you believe your child was injured as a result of malpractice, you may be eligible to recover compensation. Contact a Chicago birth injury lawyer today.
What Constitutes Birth Injury Negligence in Illinois?
A birth injury is any injury that happens during the childbirth process. This can include injuries that occur just before birth, during the delivery, and shortly after a child is born. Some of the most common birth injuries that occur include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Brain Damage
- Cerebral Palsy
- Erb’s Palsy
- Klumpke’s Palsy
- Hypoxia or Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy
- Broken Bones, including fractures of the clavicle (collarbone), and femur
- Shoulder Dystocia
- Paralysis or Damage to the Spinal Cord
- Infant Torticollis (trauma to neck muscles)
- Ptosis (droopy eyelids)
These injuries are regularly caused by inadequate care on the part of the medical professionals involved in the birth of a child. This can include improper monitoring of a mother’s condition leading up to the birth, failing to recognize when a C-section is necessary, improper use of birthing tools such as vacuum devices or forceps, using too much force during the birthing process, and more.
Is There a Statute of Limitations on Birth Injury in Illinois?
If your child is injured due to the careless or negligent actions of a medical professional in Illinois, you need to be aware of the time limit in place to file a lawsuit. In general, the medical malpractice statute of limitations in Illinois is two years from the date of the injury or from the date the injury is discovered. However, the statute of limitations for cases involving minors (those under 18 years of age) is a bit different.
In the event a birth injury occurs, a medical malpractice lawsuit must be filed within eight years of a child’s injury. If a child sustains a disability caused by the birth injury, then the statute of limitations may even be extended until the child turns 22 years of age. In many cases, the effects have a birth injury may not be apparent until a child is older, thereby justifying the extended statute of limitations.
If a lawsuit is not filed within the appropriate time frames mentioned above, then the victim in the case will likely be unable to recover any compensation for what has happened. Please speak to a qualified birth injury attorney about your case to ensure that you get your lawsuit filed on time.
How do You Know if You Have a Case for Birth Injury Negligence?
You need to speak to a skilled birth injury attorney who can help determine whether or not you have a birth injury negligence case. An attorney will review all the evidence and work to determine whether the following elements of a successful medical malpractice birth injury case are present:
- Duty. There needs to be an established doctor-patient relationship between the OB-GYN and the mother. This is typically not difficult to prove. These cases do not necessarily have to involve the OB-GYN that the mother has been seeing. This can include any OB-GYN that is taking part in the delivery process.
- Breach. It needs to be shown that the OB-GYN and/or their medical staff breached the duty of care that they owed to the mother and the newborn child.
- Causation. It is vital to establish proof that the breach of duty on the part of the medical staff directly caused the injuries to the child or mother that are part of this lawsuit.
- Damages. Finally, it needs to be shown that the baby has incurred or is likely to incur some sort of physical or emotional harm as a result of the conduct of the medical professionals.
How Will an Attorney Help?
A skilled birth injury attorney has the experience and resources necessary to help you throughout your entire case. Birth injury cases, like any medical malpractice case, are notoriously difficult to prove. Doctors and health care facilities have an array of insurance carriers and attorneys by their side to protect them in these situations. That is why you need an attorney to help you navigate this process. An attorney can:
- Obtain any documents and medical records related to the birth.
- Seek assistance from expert medical witnesses who can evaluate the case and determine whether or not mistakes were made.
- Work with economic and medical experts to help assess how the birth injury will affect a child’s life in an effort to predict total lifetime costs.
Damages Available in an Illinois Birth Injury Case
There are various types of compensation available to victims in the aftermath of a successful birth injury medical malpractice case. There is no set amount of money awarded in these cases. The total amount of compensation will vary depending on the severity of the injuries, whether a child is disabled, the amount of care necessary, and more. Some of the most common types of compensation awarded in these cases include:
- Coverage of any medical care related to the birth injury
- Short- or long-term in-home disability care
- Coverage for lost income if a parent becomes a full-time caregiver
- Loss of enjoyment of life for the child
- Pain and suffering damages
- Possible punitive damages in cases of gross medical provider negligence
Contact an Attorney for a Free Consultation
You lose nothing by seeking a free consultation from a skilled birth injury attorney. If you are worried about how you will be able to afford an attorney, you should understand that most lawyers will take these cases on a contingency fee basis. When a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer determines that you have a solid birth injury case, they will handle any upfront or out-of-pocket costs and will not charge any legal fees until after they secure the compensation their clients need through a successful settlement or verdict.