Achieving Fair Compensation and Justice for Birth Injuries

6 out of every 1,000 infants born in the US experience serious birth injuries like developmental disorders, fractured bones, and neurological disorders, according to CDC data. The experienced birth injury attorneys at The Alvarez Law Firm have successfully handled a wide range of birth injury and complication lawsuits across the USA and are ready to help in Illinois. Our dedicated birth injury lawyers possess the necessary experience, knowledge, and resources to secure a favorable outcome for your case.

Examples of Serious Birth Injuries

  • Cerebral Palsy: This neurological disorder can result from oxygen deprivation or brain damage during birth, leading to lifelong difficulties with movement, muscle coordination, and posture.
  • Erb's Palsy: Also known as brachial plexus injury, Erb's palsy occurs when the nerves in the baby's shoulder are damaged during a difficult delivery, causing weakness or paralysis in the arm.
  • Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE): HIE occurs when the baby's brain doesn't receive enough oxygen and blood flow, often due to complications during labor or delivery. It can result in long-term neurological issues or developmental delays.
  • Shoulder Dystocia: This birth complication happens when the baby's shoulder gets stuck behind the mother's pubic bone during delivery, potentially leading to nerve injuries, fractures, or other birth trauma.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: Mishandling or improper use of delivery instruments like forceps or vacuum extractors can cause spinal cord injuries in newborns, affecting their mobility and sensory functions.
  • Facial Nerve Palsy: This condition can occur when pressure is applied to the baby's face during delivery, leading to temporary or permanent paralysis of facial muscles.
  • Bone Fractures: Improper handling or excessive force during delivery can result in bone fractures, such as fractures in the collarbone or skull, which may require medical intervention and monitoring.
  • Intracranial Hemorrhage: This serious condition involves bleeding inside the baby's skull, often caused by trauma during birth, and can lead to brain damage or other complications.
  • Perinatal Asphyxia: When the baby experiences prolonged oxygen deprivation during labor or delivery, it can result in perinatal asphyxia, which may lead to serious neurological issues or even death if not promptly treated.
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What Are Some Common Causes of Illinois Birth Injuries that Count as Medical Malpractice?

When a healthcare provider, such as a physician, specialist, clinic, or hospital, deviates from the recognized standards of medical care, it constitutes medical negligence or malpractice, often resulting in harm, sickness, or deterioration for the patient.

Several common causes of birth injuries in Illinois may constitute medical malpractice. These include:

  • Failure to Monitor Fetal Distress: Healthcare providers must closely monitor the baby's vital signs during labor. Failure to detect and respond to signs of fetal distress, such as abnormal heart rate or oxygen levels, can lead to birth injuries.
  • Delayed or Improper Delivery: Timely delivery is crucial to prevent birth injuries. Delays in performing a cesarean section when necessary or using excessive force during vaginal delivery can result in harm to the baby.
  • Misuse of Delivery Instruments: Improper use of forceps, vacuum extractors, or other delivery instruments can cause injuries like skull fractures, nerve damage, or brain trauma to the newborn.
  • Medication Errors: Incorrect dosage or administration of medications during labor and delivery can have adverse effects on both the mother and the baby, leading to complications and potential birth injuries.
  • Failure to Diagnose and Treat Conditions: Healthcare providers must promptly diagnose and properly manage conditions such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, infections, or other maternal health issues to prevent birth injuries.
  • Inadequate Prenatal Care: Insufficient prenatal care, including missed screenings, inadequate monitoring of maternal health, and failure to address risk factors can contribute to birth injuries that could have been prevented with proper medical attention.
  • Lack of Informed Consent: Performing medical procedures or interventions without obtaining informed consent from the parents can be considered medical malpractice, especially if the procedure leads to harm or injury.
  • Negligent Postnatal Care: Inadequate postnatal care, including failure to identify and address newborn complications promptly, can result in worsening conditions or missed opportunities for early intervention.

How Do I Prove Medical Malpractice in a Birth Injury Lawsuit?

Proving medical malpractice in an Illinois birth injury lawsuit involves several key steps and considerations:

Establishing Doctor-Patient Relationship

Begin by demonstrating that a doctor-patient relationship existed between the healthcare provider and the mother or newborn at the time of the alleged malpractice. This relationship establishes the duty of care owed by the provider to the patient.

Defining Standard of Care

Define the standard of care expected in similar circumstances. This involves showing what a reasonable and competent healthcare provider would have done under the same conditions. As such, medical experts play a crucial role in proving medical malpractice. They can provide opinions on the standard of care, the causation of the injury, and the connection between the provider's actions and the resulting harm.

Showing Deviation from Standard of Care

Present evidence, including expert testimony, medical records, and other documentation, to demonstrate how the healthcare provider deviated from the standard of care. This could involve diagnosis, treatment, monitoring, or surgical procedure errors.

Establishing Causation

Connect the healthcare provider's deviation from the standard of care directly to the birth injury suffered by the mother or child. This step involves proving that the malpractice was the direct cause of the injury, illness, or harm.

Documenting Damages

Document and quantify the damages resulting from the birth injury. This may include medical expenses, ongoing healthcare needs, loss of income, pain and suffering, and other related damages.

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How Do I File a Birth Injury Claim in Illinois?

To file a birth injury claim in Illinois, follow these steps:

  • Gather Medical Records: Collect all relevant medical records related to the pregnancy, labor, delivery, and postnatal care. These records will provide crucial information for evaluating the case.
  • Honor Statute of Limitations: Be aware of the statute of limitations for filing a birth injury claim in Illinois. This timeframe typically starts from the date of the alleged malpractice or from the date when the injury was discovered or should have been discovered, with a maximum limit of four years from the date of occurrence.
  • Investigate Potential Malpractice: Work with your attorney to investigate whether medical malpractice may have occurred. This involves reviewing medical records, consulting experts, and evaluating the standard of care provided during pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
  • Document Damages: Document all damages resulting from the birth injury, including medical expenses, ongoing healthcare needs, loss of income, and emotional distress. Keep records of treatments, prescriptions, and any related costs.
  • File a Complaint: Your attorney will help you draft and file a formal complaint with the appropriate court in Illinois. The complaint outlines the details of the birth injury, allegations of medical malpractice, and the damages sought.
  • Serve the Defendant: Once the complaint is filed, it must be served to the healthcare provider or institution named as the defendant. Proper service ensures that the defendant is aware of the lawsuit and has the opportunity to respond.
  • Discovery Process: The legal process will enter the discovery phase, where both parties exchange information, depose witnesses, and gather evidence to support their arguments.
  • Negotiation or Trial: Depending on the circumstances, your attorney may negotiate a settlement with the defendant's insurance company or proceed to trial if a fair settlement cannot be reached. Your attorney will advocate for your rights and seek appropriate compensation for your damages.

Who Can Be Held Responsible for a Newborn Birth Injury?

Healthcare Providers

This includes:

  • Doctors
  • Obstetricians
  • Nurses
  • Midwives
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Other medical professionals involved in the prenatal care, labor, delivery, and postnatal care of the mother and newborn

Hospitals and Medical Facilities

The following may be held liable if their policies, practices, or staffing contributed to the birth injury:

  • Hospitals
  • Birthing centers
  • Clinics

This can include understaffing, inadequate training, or equipment failures.

Pharmaceutical Companies

If a birth injury resulted from the following, pharmaceutical companies may be held responsible:

  • Medication errors
  • Defective drugs
  • Inadequate warnings about medication use during pregnancy or childbirth

Other Parties

  • Medical Device Manufacturers: If a birth injury was caused by a defect in a medical device used during childbirth, such as forceps, vacuum extractors, or monitoring equipment, the manufacturer of the defective device could be liable.
  • Third Parties: In some cases, third parties not directly involved in medical care but whose actions or products contributed to the birth injury may be held responsible. For example, the contractor could be liable if a contractor's negligence led to unsafe conditions in a hospital's maternity ward, resulting in a newborn's injury.
  • Government Entities: In rare cases involving government-operated healthcare facilities or providers, such as public hospitals, government entities may be held accountable for birth injuries caused by negligence or malpractice.

What Compensation Can I Get for a Birth Injury Lawsuit in Illinois?

Medical Expenses

Compensation can cover past, current, and future medical expenses related to the birth injury. This includes costs for:

  • Hospitalization
  • Surgeries
  • Medications
  • Rehabilitation
  • Therapy
  • Assistive devices
  • Ongoing medical care

Emotional Distress

Compensation can be sought for emotional distress experienced by the child and family members due to the birth injury. This may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Trauma
  • Psychological impact

Other Damages

  • Loss of Earning Capacity: If the birth injury results in long-term or permanent disabilities that limit the child's ability to work and earn a living in the future, compensation may be awarded for the loss of earning capacity.
  • Special Education and Care Needs: If the child requires special education, therapy, adaptive equipment, home modifications, or other specialized care due to the birth injury, the cost of these services can be included in the compensation.
  • Loss of Consortium: Family members, such as parents or spouses, may be entitled to compensation for the loss of companionship, support, and services of the injured child due to the birth injury.
  • Punitive Damages: In cases of extreme negligence or intentional misconduct by the healthcare provider or facility, punitive damages may be awarded as a form of punishment and deterrent.
  • Legal Fees and Costs: The prevailing party in a birth injury lawsuit may also recover reasonable legal fees and litigation costs incurred during the legal process.
  • Pain and Suffering: Damages may be awarded for the physical pain and suffering endured by the child as a result of the birth injury. This includes both present pain and suffering and anticipated future pain and suffering.
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Can I File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit for Birth Injuries in Illinois?

Yes, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit for birth injuries in Illinois under certain circumstances:

  • A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed if the birth injury directly caused the death of the newborn or the mother. Wrongful death claims in birth injury cases typically arise from medical malpractice or negligence during pregnancy, labor, delivery, or postnatal care.
  • In Illinois, the personal representative of the deceased's estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the surviving family members, including the spouse, children, and parents of the deceased newborn or mother.
  • The lawsuit must generally be filed within two years from the date of death, although there are exceptions based on the circumstances. It's crucial to consult with a wrongful death attorney to ensure compliance with deadlines.
  • To succeed in a wrongful death lawsuit, you must prove that the birth injury and subsequent death were caused by the negligence, recklessness, or wrongful actions of a healthcare provider, facility, or other party responsible for the care of the newborn or mother.
  • Expert medical testimony is often crucial in wrongful death cases involving birth injuries. Medical experts can provide opinions on the standard of care, causation of the injury, and the connection between the negligence and the resulting death.

In a wrongful death lawsuit for birth injuries, damages can include compensation for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Loss of financial support
  • Loss of companionship
  • Emotional pain and suffering experienced by the surviving family members

Your case may be limited in the time you can file it so that is why it is important to contact your Illinois attorney to review as soon as possible. 

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    Make the Alvarez Law Firm Your Choice for Illinois Birth Injury Attorneys

    Mistakes during pregnancy or childbirth have the potential to transform a joyous event into a devastating tragedy. The respected birth injury lawyers at The Alvarez Law Firm in Illinois have assisted many families across the USA in securing rightful compensation from negligent healthcare providers.

    "Integrity for justice" is more than just a slogan; it's our guiding principle in all our endeavors. Our firm offers strategic and compassionate legal representation to assist you in holding the healthcare provider accountable for your child's injuries. Contact us now to arrange a complimentary, confidential consultation with one of our experienced Illinois medical malpractice attorneys.

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