Illinois Birth Injury Lawyer
Parents should know that there are legal steps they can take to hold medical professionals accountable for malpractice, and secure the resources they may need to cover additional medical bills. The journey begins with acquiring legal representation to pursue a Illinois birth injury claim. Here are a few things caregivers should know about what they can do after a child is injured during delivery.
Types of Birth Injury Cases We Handle at Levin & Perconti
Parents trust they will receive the highest standard of care from hospital staff. However, mistakes or lapses in care can cause a number of serious injuries that can affect a child in different ways. At Levin & Perconti, we are experts in handling a variety of birth injury cases. Common birth injuries resulting in legal cases include:
Common Causes of Birth Injuries
Clients seeking Illinois birth injury lawyers do so as a result of a wide variety of injuries happening during the birthing process. A child’s birth injury may be treatable or result in permanent disability. Medical mistakes can also cause physical pain to the child or emotional trauma to family members. Regardless of the actual injury, it’s important to contact a personal injury attorney in a timely manner.
Attorneys can help clients to establish whether medical negligence is responsible for the birth trauma, or whether the child experienced birth defects that may have been detectable by your health care provider. There are a few common treatable health problems and preventable medical errors that can lead to a medical malpractice claim. These include:
- Bacterial or viral infections in the birth canal
- Asphyxia, or a lack of oxygen during the child’s birth
- Improper use of forceps, excessive pressure, or other factors leading to birth trauma
- Failure to recognize or treat prenatal conditions in the mother or unborn child, such as high blood pressure
Recognizing and Preventing Fetal Distress and Trauma to Improve Outcomes
New parents know that nothing is more important than the health of their baby. That’s why realizing that your child has suffered serious injuries can be devastating. However, it’s important to understand that often the birth-related injury was preventable and you may be entitled to compensation for your child’s suffering. An experienced birth injury attorney can gather evidence and examine medical records to hold medical practitioners accountable.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health and other medical experts have confirmed that many birth injuries are preventable. A 2014 study offers several approaches to help medical professionals diagnose common causes of distress related to respiratory or pulmonary problems. The paper also identifies multiple available management strategies for preventing and managing conditions that can impact the breathing of newborns.
Similarly, a 2021 publication identifies how pregnancy trauma should be recognized and evaluated. Events ranging from a standing height fall to a car accident can potentially harm an unborn child. Medical professionals can use a number of tools such as toconometry or examining for placental abruption, uterine rupture, or amniotic fluid embolus to mitigate injuries or intervene when necessary.
Birth Injury Prevalence in Illinois
While most parents report normal healthy babies, birth-related issues are unfortunately quite common in Illinois. One method of measuring the prevalence of potential injuries during childbirth is to consider the statistics on Cesarean section events. Because the birthing process itself can be quite traumatic, doctors often opt for a Cesarean section birth whenever they notice potential complications.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, mothers in the state experienced 106,897 births in 2019 that were considered to have received adequate prenatal care. However, nearly 15,000 children were born preterm. That’s just over 14% of all births. Perhaps most surprisingly, 42,928 new births occurred via Cesarean section. That means the medical provider in nearly 2 out of 5 deliveries felt it necessary to take steps to avoid a traditional vaginal birth.
While it might be difficult to discover the precise reason for Cesarean births in every circumstance, there are a variety of reasons why this option is used. According to the March of Dimes, doctors often choose this method when complications are present. Examples may include infections in the birth canal, medical conditions like diabetes, or issues with the umbilical cord.
The birth rate is another indicator of potential problems or injuries with the unborn child. Around 11,835 children in Illinois were considered low birth weight in 2019. Of those, 1,993 were rated very low birth weight. That equates to almost 2% of all children born during that year.
With proper prenatal and delivery care, many potential birth injuries and health complications to the mother and newborn can be prevented. Your doctor and other medical professionals providing you care throughout your pregnancy and during the birth should be well-versed in potential health problems and injuries to you and your newborn and how to mitigate risks effectively and promptly.
Illinois Medical Malpractice Laws
Once a newborn baby is born with an injury as a result of some form of potential medical error, the parents will need to take legal action. Each state has its own laws and procedures, so each medical malpractice case can be incredibly complicated. A birth injury lawyer can help to navigate the legal process when filing a birth injury lawsuit to get you the compensation you need for the care of your injured child.
Proving Liability for a Birth Injury
Personal injury cases filed regarding birth injuries must be able to prove that a child’s birth injury happened as a result of a medical professional being careless, negligent, or intentionally causing harm. This proof can happen through witness testimony, the examination of medical records, or testimony from medical experts. If the courts rule favorably, the client may receive compensation.
Since so many factors can affect liability, it’s important to speak with a knowledgeable birth injury attorney who can properly evaluate your case and support your allegations.
Who's liable for my child's birth injury?
In order to be held accountable for injuries to a child, a medical professional must have certain legal standards of care. Because there are a wide variety of cases related to birth injuries, a legal claim may attempt to hold a number of parties liable. Attending doctors, nurses, and medical institutions can all potentially be held accountable for negligence or mistakes.
A legal team and impartial medical experts can help determine which medical professionals should be included in a lawsuit.
Available Damages in an Illinois Birth Injury Lawsuit
Recovering compensation to recoup your damages or losses is the goal of a birth injury lawsuit. Personal injury lawyers may also seek punitive damages to further hold the negligent parties responsible. These damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer and prevent future similar wrongdoing in cases that are especially egregious, involving gross negligence or intentional acts.
Generally, you could be awarded economic and non-economic damages, including:
- Medical bills
- Therapy expenses
- Prescription medication costs
- Future medical expenses
- Educational assistance costs
- Lost wages of loss of income, especially when one parent needs to leave their employment to care for their child 24/7 due to increased needs from disability
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Disability or disfigurement
Filing a Birth-Related Wrongful Death Claim in Illinois
Sometimes, birth injuries might result in death. In Illinois, a wrongful death lawsuit can only be filed by the personal representative of the deceased. In the case of infants, that’s generally the surviving parents or next of kin. The state provides a two-year statute of limitations for lawsuits of this type. However, because many factors can affect the deadline to file a lawsuit, it’s best to speak with a birth injury lawyer as soon as possible to determine your rights and how and when to proceed.
Illinois Birth Injury Statute of Limitations
Illinois has several relevant statutes of limitations that can set deadlines for when a lawsuit can be filed. For example, once a plaintiff knew or should have known about a birth injury they have about two years to file a lawsuit. If there’s a legitimate delay in discovering the birth injury, clients may have four years to file. In some cases, general medical malpractice suits on behalf of a minor under the age of 18 can be filed within eight years of the date of the malpractice.
The timeline you have to file a birth injury lawsuit can be complicated. It’s important to contact a reputable attorney as soon as possible after you discover your child’s birth injury to protect your right to compensation.
What do I do after my child suffers a birth injury?
After a traumatic birth injury, it’s critical that certain steps are taken in order to preserve your rights and ensure a more positive outcome should you need to file a lawsuit to relieve the financial burdens associated with your child’s preventable harm. These steps include:
- Seek a medical evaluation and treatment for your child
- Don’t neglect your own health and well-being as you care for your child
- Find helpful resources, connect with other parents in similar situations, seek counseling, or hire help
- Keep a record of all expenses and any communications regarding diagnoses
- Don’t accept any settlement offers from insurance companies or hospitals
- Contact a lawyer as soon as you realize malpractice may have occurred
How can the Illinois birth injury lawyers at Levin & Perconti help me?
Levin & Perconti is the best choice to help you and your family get compensation for harm caused by medical malpractice or negligence. We are a nationally known law firm that specializes in personal injury cases. Our clients want results for their child’s pain and suffering, and we can deliver satisfactory outcomes. Some of our notable achievements include:
- $20 million verdict for a child who suffered a brain injury due to the negligence of nurses and residents during labor
- $16 million settlement for a child who suffered a brain injury due to negligent nursing and medical care during labor and cesarean section.
- $14 million verdict for a child who suffered a brain injury due to lack of oxygen during birth
Contact Levin & Perconti today to discuss a plan of action to help your family heal from the financial, physical, and emotional consequences of a birth injury.
About Our Birth Injury Lawyers
Dov Apfel and Seth Cardeli are two of the leading birth injury attorneys in the nation. They have litigated cases throughout the United States and at the federal level, and are passionate advocates for the families they represent. Dov Apfel is nationally known for his high level of medical knowledge, and acts as a resource for attorneys, judges, and healthcare providers throughout the country. He has been practicing in the field of birth injury for over 40 years and was the recipient of the Dan Cullan Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the AAJ Birth Injury Trauma Litigation Group in 2011. Apfel and Cardeli have presented at dozens of educational events and written for numerous publications. In 2020, they secured one of the top five highest medical malpractice settlements in the nation.
Not only were they so professional but also so caring and thoughtful. It was very difficult going over the facts in our mother's case but they were so compassionate and understanding and allowed us to be with them every step of the way. We were able to sit in on the depositions and we were really able to see how hard they worked on our behalf.