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Untimely C-Section Injury Lawyer

Any delay in performing a C-section can cause permanent injuries and jeopardize the life of the mother and the baby. Our untimely C-section lawyers at Levin & Perconti hold negligent health care providers accountable when they deviate from the standard of care and wait too long to perform C-sections.

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A Cesarean section, or C-section, is a surgical alternative to vaginal birth. This procedure is sometimes medically necessary to protect the mother or baby’s health. In some cases, a pregnancy complication can indicate the need for a C-section ahead of time, allowing it to be pre-planned. However, most C-sections are emergency procedures in response to birth complications.

Attempting a vaginal birth against medical guidelines can cause irreparable harm and endanger the lives of the mother and the baby. When an emergency occurs during birth, every minute counts. If you or your baby suffered harm because a health care provider waited too long to perform a Cesarean, our C-section injury attorneys can pursue substantial compensation for your family.

Why Choose Levin & Perconti as Your Untimely C-Section Injury Attorney?

We have over 400 years of combined experience helping families get justice against negligent health care providers. We established our Chicago birth injury law firm in 1992, and our founders were among the first to hold health care providers accountable for birth injuries caused by substandard care.

Birth injury litigation requires specialized knowledge. Award-winning attorney Seth Cardeli is a nationally recognized leader in birth injury litigation and a sought-after speaker and lecturer who teaches attorneys about fetal monitoring techniques and effective litigation practices. 

Attorney Dov Apfel is a national advocate for children with neurological and intellectual disabilities, including cerebral palsy. He has more than three decades of birth injury litigation experience. He authored a law review article that helped set the standard for how attorneys handle birth injury litigation today.

Through decades of handling birth injury litigation, we have developed the most aggressive and effective approach to each C-section injury claim. Our knowledge of federal and state birth injury laws is unmatched. We have obtained several record birth injury case results, including the following: 

$40 Million


for a 19-year-old disabled teen who suffered a severe brain injury during birth due to a delayed C-section delivery.
$14 Million


for the family of a child who suffered a brain injury due to lack of oxygen during her birth. Despite nonreactive fetal heart tracings, the Chicago area hospital failed to promptly respond to fetal monitoring and did not arrange for a timely C-section.
$6.5 Million


for a young girl who suffered a brain injury during birth, resulting in cerebral palsy, after physicians failed to timely perform a c-section.
$4.5 Million


for a child who suffered brain damage causing cerebral palsy when a family practice physician failed to perform a timely Caesarean section in the face of fetal distress.

Our success has earned us the respect of our adversaries, and we leverage this to recover maximum compensation for our clients. We are successful trial lawyers who can win in court. We won’t settle for less than fair compensation. Our financial resources allow us to invest every dollar necessary to successfully prosecute every case.

If a doctor’s failure to perform a timely C-section harmed your baby, you can count on our skilled untimely C-section attorneys to fight for the compensation you deserve. The initial consultation is free and confidential. We charge no upfront fees, and you only pay if we win.

When Is a C-Section Necessary?

There is an established medical standard that reasonable medical providers use to indicate when a C-section is necessary. Some of the signs during delivery that a C-section is necessary include the following:

In the lead-up to delivery, there can also be obvious indications that a doctor should perform a C-section. These include the following:

  • Placenta previa
  • Placenta abruption
  • Pre-eclampsia

These conditions are so risky that they should be recognized early on, and a C-section should be pursued. In addition, the procedure is also sometimes appropriate if the mother has had a prior C-section, if she is having twins, or if the fetus is not in the normal position. If the doctor fails to notice the signs associated with these conditions or fails to notice them promptly, and the baby or mother suffers a resulting injury, the doctor may have committed medical negligence.

During a C-section, a surgical incision is made in the mother’s abdomen and uterus to deliver the child. During this process, there are risks to both the baby and mother. For instance, mistakes could result in internal bleeding, damage to organs, damage to nerves, heart complications, and others.

What Injuries Can Arise from Untimely C-Sections?

Any delay in performing a C-section can have serious adverse effects on the mother and the baby, including lifelong disability and death. Maternal bleeding from delivery complications can disrupt the blood and oxygen supply to the fetus and cause excessive blood loss in the mother.

If the baby is deprived of blood or oxygen for even a few minutes, irreversible harm can occur. This can happen as a result of a pinched or prolapsed umbilical cord, maternal hemorrhage, or detached placenta. The rapid effects of emergencies during birth impart a solemn duty to doctors and midwives to remain alert and act decisively when a complication arises.

A baby may suffer the following preventable injuries when a C-section is delayed:  

  • Oxygen deprivation – Oxygen deprivation can lead to cerebral palsy, seizure disorders, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, and organ damage.
  • Brachial plexus injuriesBrachial plexus injuries, such as Erb’s palsy, damage the bundle of nerves in the neck and upper arms. It often occurs when the shoulders become stuck in the birth canal after the head is delivered.  
  • Head injuries – Scalp injuries, skull fractures, and intracranial hemorrhages may occur when a doctor inappropriately uses vacuum extraction or forceps-assisted delivery when a C-section is medically indicated.

Mothers can also suffer injuries from a delayed C-section. One of the most important risks to a mother is bleeding. A delivering mother can hemorrhage from a uterine rupture, detached placenta, placenta previa, and multiple other causes. Maternal hemorrhages can result in significant blood loss in a short time, making a timely C-section critical.

If a doctor waits too long to perform a Cesarean, the care team may become frantic and hurry through the procedure in an unsafe manner. Without the proper care and planning, the surgeon could form the incision in the wrong place and seriously damage the mother’s bladder or bowels or create lacerations in the fetus.

What are the Causes of Untimely C-Section Injuries?

The potential for a delayed C-section is high due to the various steps involved. The following must occur before a Cesarean section can be performed:

  1. The doctor must determine that a Cesarean is medically necessary.
  2. The doctor must decide to perform the C-section.
  3. Hospital staff must transfer the mother to the operating room.
  4. The anesthesiologist must administer anesthesia.
  5. A surgeon must perform an incision.

According to established medical guidelines, 30 minutes is the maximum recommended interval between a doctor’s decision to perform a Cesarean section and delivery of the baby. This time frame assumes the doctor promptly diagnoses the emergency that necessitates the C-section.

Delay in Decision

Many expectant mothers hope for vaginal births. While well-meaning health care providers often attempt to provide the birth experience mothers want, it is improper to do so at all costs. Health care providers must remain objective because mothers and babies rely on their professional judgment.

If you or your child suffered an injury because a health care provider failed to remain objective, it is not your fault. Your doctor or midwife is the professional, and the provider is legally obligated to prioritize the standard of care above all else. Thus, it is up to the doctor to detect the emergency, convey the urgency of a Cesarean, obtain consent, and perform the procedure.

Doctors may also delay the decision for the following reasons:

  • Failure to detect the signs of fetal distress
  • Failure to detect maternal hemorrhage
  • Misdiagnosis of maternal infections
  • Lack of experience or training in performing C-sections
  • Understaffing
  • Lack of space or resources
  • Poor clinical judgment

The decision to continue a vaginal birth or perform a C-section should be based solely on the well-being of the mother and baby. The doctor must think objectively when performing medical procedures, including childbirth.

Delay in Delivery After Decision

A study of 453 Cesarean sections in the United States found that only 42.4 percent were performed within 30 minutes of determining that an emergency Cesarean was medically necessary. The primary causes of these delays include the following:

  • Understaffing
  • Lack of supplies and equipment
  • Lack of an available operating room
  • Procedural delays by the anesthesiologist
  • Delay in transferring patients to the operating room

Three mothers in the study died as a result of a prolonged decision-to-delivery interval. The most common delay occurred during the transfer to the operating room. Delays were more prevalent during the night shift due to a decreased presence of senior staff during these times.

Delays are not inevitable. Simulation-based multidisciplinary team training has demonstrated a higher 30-minute decision-to-delivery interval incidence.

Inadequate Prenatal Care

A competent prenatal provider should perform screening for conditions that may make a vaginal birth unsafe. Some conditions may warrant pre-planning a C-section without attempting a vaginal birth. Awareness of maternal risk factors ensures the doctor is prepared for a heightened possibility of an emergency Cesarean. 

Conditions detectable during pregnancy that could precipitate a medically necessary C-section include the following:

  • Fetal anemia, often caused by incompatible Rh blood types
  • Cephalopelvic distortion – large head size of the fetus
  • Preeclampsia – a hypertensive disorder in the mother
  • Misdiagnosed maternal infections during pregnancy or birth
  • Gestational diabetes, which may lead to excessive weight gain in the fetus
  • Placenta abnormalities, such as marginal cord insertion or placenta previa
  • Low amniotic fluid, which may point to placental abruption or other risk factors

Mismanagement of Abnormal Birth Positions

The normal birth position is head-first, with the fetus facing the mother’s back. Complications can arise when a fetus presents in any other position, and a prompt Cesarean section is often warranted.  The widest part of a newborn baby is the head. When the head emerges first and in the correct position, it can self-mold to fit through the birth canal due to the structure of the bones. 

In a breech presentation, the baby’s feet or buttocks go through the birth canal first. The head can become stuck in the birth canal because it cannot mold as it could from the other direction, and the buttocks typically cannot widen the birth canal enough to accommodate the unmolded head.

Our birth injury lawyers won a $6.71 million verdict against a hospital because the baby suffered a crippling brachial plexus injury when an inexperienced resident performed a vaginal breech delivery. In this case, the shoulders became stuck in the birth canal. This condition is known as shoulder dystocia. A C-section can prevent these injuries.

Other abnormal birth presentations that may necessitate a prompt C-section include the following:

  • Transverse lie – The baby lies sideways, so the shoulders present first.
  • Face presentation – The baby’s neck arches back, so the face presents first. 
  • Brow first – The neck arches slightly back, so the brow presents first.

All these presentations can compress the umbilical cord or put undue pressure on the baby’s body. This can deprive the baby of oxygen and damage the baby’s skull, nerves, tendons, and organs. The longer the baby remains in the birth canal in these conditions, the higher the risk of harm. A prompt C-section is often the only way to prevent permanent brain damage, organ damage, and other injuries.  

Are Delayed C-Section Injuries Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor fails to follow a reasonable standard of care, and the patient consequently suffers harm. An untimely C-section may constitute medical malpractice if you can prove that all of the following elements of negligence occurred:

  1. You were a patient of the health care provider, and the health care provider owed you a duty of care.
  2. The health care provider breached their duty by failing to perform a reasonable standard of care in delaying your C-section.
  3. You or the baby experienced an injury because the doctor failed to perform a timely C-section.
  4. The doctor’s breach of duty is the proximate cause of the injury, and the injury would not have occurred were it not for the breach of duty.

The reasonable standard of care is the level of care a prudent professional with the same qualifications would provide based on the information available at the time. 

What Actions Can I Take?

If you or your child has been diagnosed with a condition related to a birth injury, you should contact an untimely C-section lawyer as soon as possible. You may be eligible for compensation. 

Our knowledgeable C-section injury attorneys can compare your doctor’s actions to the reasonable standard of care, identify the breach of duty, and prove your case in settlement negotiations or, if necessary, in court. 

Legal Considerations in Untimely C-Section Injury Cases

Birth injury claims are complex cases that only an experienced medical malpractice law firm should handle. As nationally recognized leaders in birth injury claims, we regularly receive referrals from fellow lawyers nationwide due to our consistent record of successful results and our client testimonials. Below are answers to common questions about untimely C-section claims.

How Is Liability Determined In Cases Of Untimely C-Sections?

Any licensed health care provider that caused or contributed to your injuries may be liable, including the facilities that employ liable individuals. The following parties may be liable for your untimely C-section injuries:

  • Obstetricians
  • Midwives
  • Nurses
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Birthing centers
  • Hospitals
  • Pathologists

What Types Of Damages Can I Pursue in Cases of Untimely C-Section Injuries In Chicago, IL?

You may be eligible for economic and non-economic damages for your untimely C-section. Economic damages compensate for your financial losses, such as lost wages and medical expenses. These can also include ongoing medical expenses and future lost wages. 

Non-economic damages compensate for the intangible impacts of your injury, commonly known as pain and suffering. These losses include loss of bodily functions, reproductive harm, disability, emotional distress, and similar damages.

If your child suffered injuries that will result in lifelong disabilities, you may also be able to pursue these damages on behalf of your child. If you are the family member of a mother or child who has died from an improperly delayed C-section, our compassionate Chicago wrongful death attorneys can help you pursue the following damages:

  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of comfort
  • Loss of parental guidance 
  • Loss of consortium 
  • The lifetime lost income of the deceased

What Is The Timeframe For Taking Legal Action In Untimely C-Section Injury Cases In Illinois?

The statute of limitations for birth injuries in Illinois is two years from the date of the delayed C-section or from the date you discover the injury. For example, if your child is diagnosed with cerebral palsy a year after your delayed C-section, you will generally have two years from the diagnosis date to file your claim. However, the law imposes a maximum time limit of four years from the date of the malpractice.

Statutes of limitations are complex laws with many exceptions, especially the discovery rule. If you overestimate the time you have to file your claim, you could forfeit your right to recover significant financial compensation. Our seasoned C-section injury lawyers can determine how the statute of limitations applies to your case and ensure it gets filed on time.

Contact Our Chicago C-Section Injury Attorneys Today For A Free Case Review

If you or your child was harmed because a medical professional failed to perform a C-section, failed to perform a timely C-section, or made a medical mistake during a C-section, speak with an experienced birth injury attorney. The attorneys at Levin & Perconti have successfully handled hundreds of these cases. 

For example, we obtained a $4.5 million settlement for a child who suffered cerebral palsy when a physician failed to perform a timely C-section after detecting fetal distress. 

Call us at 312-332-2872 or 312-667-4033 or complete our online personal injury case form for a free consultation.