In the United States, thousands of mothers and their children suffer from birth injuries resulting from complications that arise during pregnancy and delivery every year.
Birth injuries can be temporary or permanent in nature, and it is important to note that not all birth injuries are the result of breaches in the standard of care by a medical professional or healthcare provider.
That said, certain types of birth complications or injuries suffered at birth can be more indicative of poor monitoring, poor technique or negligence that results in medical malpractice.
The Chicago birth injury lawyers at Zayed Law Offices have the experience and knowledge to perform the most thorough investigations of complicated birth injury events and uncover the causes that lead to an injured baby or injured mother.
Our birth injury attorneys ensure that mothers and their injured babies not only receive compensation for medical costs and pain and suffering, they also pursue life care plan compensation to ensure that the best quality of life is provided for children suffering from birth injuries.
Why Do I Need a Birth Injury Lawyer or Medical Malpractice Lawyer?
You may require a birth injury law firm if you believe that medical malpractice occurred during the birth of your child resulting in a temporary or permanent birth injury or fetal injury.
A traumatic birth injury can have long-term effects on your child’s health and well-being, he or she may be permanently disabled and require life-long care, or they may otherwise experience developmental deficiencies and a reduced quality of life due to a traumatic birth injury.
If you are noticing signs of permanent injury, suspect that your child’s delivery is the cause, but are unsure if you have a case, speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney and the birth injury lawyers at Zayed Law Offices.
Zayed Law Offices provides complimentary birth injury case reviews so you will never pay lawyer’s fees unless we are successful at recovering compensation for you or your injured child.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is a term used to describe conduct by a healthcare professional that deviates from the applicable standard of care.
The medicalization of childbirth has introduced a number of professionals and procedures into the delivery room to ensure a woman’s right to a positive child birth experience.
A standard of care is generally defined as the minimum level of care that should be exercised by a health care provider, and it requires all medical professionals (such as doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, and any other healthcare professional you may encounter during the course of treatment) to exercise the same degree of knowledge of care that a reasonably careful healthcare provider would use in similar situations.
When medical malpractice is committed, the standard of care is considered to have been breached or violated.
Deviations from the standard of care occur in two situations:
- When a health care provider does something that a reasonably careful provider would not do in that situation.
- When a health care provider fails to perform an action that a reasonably careful provider would perform.
While doctors often undertake risky procedures in tough circumstances without any guarantee of success for their patients, a poor result alone is not sufficient evidence of medical malpractice.
However, if the results of a medical procedure are very unexpected, it can be evidence of malpractice and be solid grounds for a future medical malpractice claim.
If you or a family member undergoes a medical procedure related to pregnancy or childbirth and the results seem to be completely at odds with expectations or otherwise extremely unusual or unlikely, then you should consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney that understands the nuances of child birth.
A birth injury lawyer will review the medical records of the health care professionals present at the time of delivery who treated the mother and child and may order additional tests and exams in order to clarify the situation and evaluate the merits of a medical malpractice action.
Why Should I Hire a Birth Injury Lawyer?’
If you suspect that your child, their mother, or a family member suffered from a birth injury and associated trauma from delivery, then you should seek the counsel of an experienced birth injury lawyer.
At Zayed Law Offices, our birth injury lawyers are highly qualified in birth injury law and to litigate birth injury cases and help you and your family through this difficult and challenging state in your lives.
Our attorneys ensure that birth injury clients receive the compensation deserved and that the best quality of life and care is secured and its costs mitigated for children suffering from birth injuries.
When Do I Hire a Birth Injury Attorney?
While the statute of limitations on filing a lawsuit for an injury or wrongful death in Illinois is 2 years from the date of the event when medical malpractice occurs there are some nuances involved.
Depending on the facts of the case, such as the injury to a minor or presence of a disability the statute of limitations on medical malpractice can vary.
Accordingly, if you think that you have a medical malpractice case due to a birth injury or related delivery complications, it is best to contact personal injury attorneys who specializes in medical malpractice and birth injuries as soon as possible so they can guide you through the gauntlet of the statutes of limitations as they apply to your particular case.
Who Files a Birth Injury Lawsuit?
In addition to the injured victims from a birth event, a family member of the affected child or mother can also file a birth injury lawsuit; the child can also be involved later in life in the case of disability due to birth injury.
A medical malpractice attorney with experience in birth injuries can represent you and your family’s interests during a birth injury lawsuit and help you navigate dealing with the court system, insurance companies and their representatives, and all other parties during this complicated and difficult time in your life.
How Do I File a Birth Injury Lawsuit?
If you believe that your family member may have suffered a birth injury due to medical negligence or medical malpractice, the first step is contacting a birth injury lawyer to determine if there is a cause of action to file a lawsuit.
From there, you can request medical records, determine the exact parties at fault for the birth injury, the damages you can recover, and where to file the lawsuit.
Who is at Fault in a Birth Injury Lawsuit or Medical Malpractice Case?
Multiple parties can be at fault in a medical malpractice or birth injury lawsuit.
For example, the individual health care provider or providers (the doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, and other professionals involved in the case) can be considered responsible, as well as the institutions they are affiliated with or employed by.
Your birth injury lawyer or malpractice attorney will be able to identify all responsible parties and file the suit accordingly and in the proper jurisdiction.
Types of Birth Injuries to the Baby
There are different types of birth injuries that can occur, and they can vary in severity and their corresponding effects on future quality of life.
The conditions that are caused by birth injuries include but are not limited to:
Shoulder Dystocia Birth
This is an extremely serious and even life-threatening injury that can occur during birth or delivery.
Shoulder dystocia happens when the baby is unable to pass through the birth canal and the shoulder becomes compressed.
When this occurs, the baby may only have seconds before a potentially devastating injury requiring extensive care may result.
Shoulder dystocia injuries can also happen due to the high level of pressure on the umbilical cord if the baby’s shoulder is compressed.
If your child has suffered from a shoulder dystocia birth injury, a Shoulder dystocia birth lawyer who specializes in birth injuries can help.
Cerebral palsy can occur as a result of excessive pressure on the baby’s shoulder or neck during delivery, and this can affect their long-term quality of life and may result in the need for lifelong care.
A cerebral palsy lawyer can represent your and your child’s interest if their delivery has led to cerebral palsy.
Brachial Plexus Birth Injury
The brachial plexus is the group of nerves in the shoulders that sends messages to the spinal cord.
If this nerve group is stretched too aggressively or quickly, injuries can occur.
While brachial plexus injuries tend to occur as the result of falls from significant heights when they present in adults, one of the more common ways they happen is during childbirth.
If your child suffered a brachial plexus birth injury during delivery, a Chicago birth injury attorney who understands the effects of brachial plexus birth injuries can help you get fair compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and anything else your family is owed.
Klumpke’s palsy is a birth injury that stems from damage to the collection of nerve fibers in a newborn child’s spine and neck.
It is commonly caused when the baby’s shoulders become lodged in the birth canal and cannot safely pass through.
When this occurs, the doctor needs to use appropriate means to ensure a safe delivery but if that does not happen, Klumpke’s Palsy can occur.
This birth injury can lead to lifelong debilitating conditions include permanent mental retardation and loss of motor functionality.
Therefore, if your child or a family member suffers from Klumpke’s Palsy as a result of a birth injury, it is essential that you work with an experienced birth injury lawyer to ensure that the child’s long-term medical and financial needs are appropriately covered.
Birth injuries can be caused by a number of issues that are the result of medical negligence or improper use of various medical equipment, including but not limited to:
Improper Forceps Use
Forceps are used when a mother is experiencing difficulty delivering the child or if the infant is not positioned correctly in the uterus, the attending physician may rely on forceps to help the baby move along the birth canal.
While the proper use of forceps can reduce the child’s risk of fetal distress and oxygen deprivation (both of which have been linked to cerebral palsy and other birth injuries), improper use of forceps during labor and delivery can cause nerve damage to the infant’s neck and chest along with other slightly less severe injuries to the head.
Improper Vacuum Use
If a birthing mother is experiencing difficulty pushing the baby through the birth canal, a vacuum may be required to assist during delivery.
When used during childbirth, vacuums are attached to an infant’s shoulder or head in order to guide the child through the birth canal into the world.
Doctors and nurses are responsible for properly placing the vacuum on the baby but when one is improperly placed or other used incorrectly, the mother and child can both suffer severe injuries.
Delayed Caesarian Section
If there is a delay or it takes too much time to order and perform an emergency caesarian section or C-section, birth injuries to the mother and child can occur.
If a child is suffering from fetal distress during labor, a C-section is typically ordered in order to mitigate the problems and get the baby delivered safely.
Fetal distress occurs when the infant’s heart rate slows due to a sudden drop in the mother’s blood pressure, bleeding due to placental abruption, or other problems that may occur during birth.
Some health conditions also demand an immediate C-section including but not limited to uterine ruptures, cord prolapses, slowed labor, and placenta previa (this is a condition where the placenta covers the cervix).
If the labor and delivery team neglects to recognize that a mother requires a C-section delivery or emergency C-section, they may be liable or at fault if their lack of perception or foresight causes birth injuries to the mother or child.
This is a condition that occurs when a child’s brain doesn’t receive enough oxygen; during childbirth, hypoxia can be the result of a tangled umbilical cord, an infection, or damage to the placenta.
Health care providers – particularly those typically involved in labor and delivery – are trained to detect hypoxia well in advance and to take steps in order to eliminate the chance of harm to either the mother or child.
If hypoxia is not swiftly addressed, the child can develop chronic mental and physical disabilities that will greatly affect their future quality of life.
It goes to follow that if a doctor or health care professional neglects to notice the hypoxic event and take the appropriate speedy and necessary actions to avoid injury, they may be liable for any damages or birth injuries that result.
If your child suffered from hypoxia at birth, they may have hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) and you will want to consult an HIE attorney or a birth injury lawyer with experience dealing with this specific injury.
In some cases, a pregnant mother goes beyond their due date and medical intervention is required to induce labor.
Labor induction is somewhat common, however, it does pose certain risks to the mother and child including umbilical cord issues like a prolapsed umbilical cord due to rupture of the amniotic sac that leads to asphyxia and brain injuries, heart rate issues and the resulting lack of oxygen to the baby due to the medications required to induce contractions, infections from the rupture of the amniotic membrane, shoulder dystocia, brachial plexus injuries, and maternal injuries like uterine rupture or post-partum hemorrhaging.
Prolonged, slow, or arrested labor occurs when a mother is in the active state of labor for more than twenty hours for the first pregnancy and fourteen hours for a second or additional pregnancy.
Some of the reasons for prolonged labor include cephalopelvic disproportion (when the infant’s head is too large to move through the birth canal), malpresentation or when the infant is in the breech position or is not facing towards the mother’s back, or weak contractions (when the mother’s contractions are not strong enough so the cervix does not dilate at the proper rate.
Pain medications administered to the mother may also cause prolonged labor.
Prolonged labor can result in asphyxia and oxygen deprivation resulting in brain injuries, fetal strokes, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), or periventricular leukomalacia (PVL).
It can also cause birth trauma like skull fractures, brachial plexus injuries, sepsis or infections, or maternal injuries.
Meconium Aspiration Syndrome
Meconium Aspiration Syndrome or MAS occurs when a baby passes meconium or fecal matter prior to birth while still in the womb and breathes it into their lungs, which may result in asphyxia and corresponding brain injuries like fetal strokes, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), cerebral palsy, or periventricular leukomalacia (PVL).
MAS has a variety of causes, including prolonged labor, oligohydramnios or low amniotic fluid, or maternal health conditions like preeclampsia.
Doctors and nurses should be monitoring the baby for signs of fetal distress or respiratory distress like cyanosis (a bluish skin color) or if the infant is struggling to breathe, which may be signs of MAS and mean that the baby needs to be treated for meconium aspiration by suctioning the nose and mouth.
More severe cases may require an oxygen mask, breathing tube, or ventilator along with antibiotics to prevent infection.
Doctors need to take extra precautions when prescribing and administering medication to pregnant mothers since these drugs can affect the overall health of the fetus as well as the health of the mother and child during labor and delivery.
If you have been given the wrong prescription due to negligence, our medication errors lawyers can help.
If a baby is not in the proper position to enter and exit the birth canal, there are serious risks involved in labor and delivery and a breech birth may result in potential complications and birth injuries such as asphyxia and associated complications or conditions, birth hypoxia, and other serious and even life-threatening problems.
Some of these birth injuries can result in life-long disability or other permanent conditions.
Doctors, nurses, and other health care providers may perform certain procedures in order to handle a breech birth or perform an emergency C-section to avoid further risk to the mother and baby.
Both the mother and the baby should be monitored closely during labor and delivery.
Doctors and nurses should respond promptly to any signs of fetal distress or any other concerns that arise, and failure to take proper action to protect the health of both patients may be considered medical negligence and a possible cause of action for a medical malpractice or birth injury lawsuit.
Note that while the above conditions can be a cause of action for a birth injury lawsuit, their occurrence or presentation alone does not mean that medical malpractice was committed or health care providers were otherwise negligent.
If you are unsure as to whether you have a case for a birth injury lawsuit, consult with a birth injury attorney or hospital malpractice lawyer as soon as possible and request all medical records associated with the mother’s prenatal care and all care received during labor and delivery.
Types of Birth Injuries to the Mom
While birth injuries to the fetus are often quickly addressed in most modern hospital and childbirth facilities, the same level of care needs to be provided to the laboring mother as well.
Unfortunately, doctors and nurses are not always prepared to handle surprising complications that may arise and threaten a mother’s health during pregnancy and childbirth.
Such problems can lead to long-term health problems, disability, or even death.
These complications include but are not limited to:
This condition occurs when the mother has high blood pressure signs of damage to other organs such as the liver and kidneys.
A mother with preeclampsia means that childbirth will be riskier for the mother and should be monitored as such; the baby may be at high risk for hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), brain damage, and cerebral palsy.
Amniotic Fluid Embolisms
This condition is rare and it occurs when amniotic fluid or fetal cells enter the mother’s bloodstream due to puncturing the placenta or other trauma to the uterus.
It can require a long recuperation or even cause maternal death if not immediately noticed and mitigated by placing a catheter in an artery to monitor blood pressure and performing an emergency C-section.
If the uterus ruptures during labor and delivery, there is a significant risk of infection, post-partum hemorrhaging, and other complications.
A laceration or tear in the birth canal that occurs during childbirth puts the mother and baby at increased risk of infection and more severe complications such as post-partum hemorrhaging.
This condition is characterized by heavy bleeding after birth and can result in low blood pressure and anemia, and it can be fatal if left untreated.
Post-partum hemorrhaging or PPH is treated by uterine massage, medication, removal of residual placenta, blood transfusions, or in severe cases hysterectomies are performed.
PPH is often caused by uterine rupture, laceration, inversion, or hematoma.
Epidural Birth Injury
If an epidural is administered in a negligent manner (e. g. a doctor fails to consider the patient’s history of a bleeding disorder and they bleed dangerously after the injection, or the doctor does otherwise not account for a pre-existing medical condition), then the patient in question may have a cause of action for an epidural malpractice lawsuit.
An improperly administered epidural can result in a traumatic birth and potential injury to the mother and the baby.
Note that while these conditions can be a cause of action for a birth injury lawsuit, their occurrence or presentation alone does not mean that medical malpractice was committed or health care providers were otherwise negligent.
If you are unsure as to whether you have a case for a maternal birth injury lawsuit, consult with a birth injury attorney as soon as possible.
Maternal Death and Fetal Death Lawsuits
If the mother or child passes away during labor and delivery, there may be a cause of action for a medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit.
If you suspect that negligence was involved during birth that resulted in a fatality or fatalities, then contact established Chicago wrongful death attorneys as soon as possible to determine the next steps for your case.
Birth Injury Settlements and Birth Injury Damage
When a mother or child (or both) suffers a severe birth injury caused by medical malpractice or medical negligence, the family involved may be owed monetary damages to compensate for their losses.
This compensation or recovery of damages can cover both monetary losses (e. g. medical bills) and intangible losses such as a reduced quality of life.
The damages recovered during a birth injury lawsuit include but are not limited to past and future medical expenses, additional health care costs including counseling, occupational therapy, in-home care providers, special vehicles or equipment, and modifications to the home, lost wages, loss of society and companionship, loss of life’s enjoyment, and pain and suffering or emotional distress.
Birth Injury Lawsuit Trials
While a birth injury case may be settled out of court for a monetary amount agreed upon by both the defendant and plaintiff and their lawyers, a medical malpractice or birth injury case may go to trial if a satisfactory settlement cannot be reached.
Birth injury lawsuits go to trial due to a number of reasons.
For instance, if the health care provider or negligent party or parties are solely at fault but their insurance won’t acknowledge the fault of the policyholder, the case may be taken to trial to enable a judge and jury to decide if damages should be awarded and in what amounts.
How Do I Start the Birth Injury Lawsuit Process?
The birth injury lawsuit process begins when you contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your potential case.
They will advise you as to the next steps and contact the appropriate parties from your insurance company, the healthcare provider’s insurance company, and others.
Do not speak to insurance company representatives or anyone else involved in the potential or current lawsuit unless it is via your birth injury attorney.
You will also want to obtain copies of your medical records.
All patients have a legal right to obtain a copy of their medical records, and parents have a right to obtain the medical records of their minor children.
A request for medical records should be made in writing and must include details like the patient’s social security number, address, date of birth, and other pertinent details.
Requesting medical records must be done in a timely fashion and may require payment or fees due to the records department of the medical facility or institution providing the records.
What Do I Do During a Birth Injury Lawsuit?
One of the vital aspects of successfully navigating the complicated legal system during a birth injury lawsuit or any other medical malpractice case is to avoid direct contact or outright accusations towards your health care provider, their associates, or the institution they work at or are employed by.
Prior to bringing up a birth injury medical malpractice lawsuit, be sure to request your medical records and consult with an experienced birth injury lawyer to review the records and get guidance as to your potential cause of action, appropriate jurisdiction to file a lawsuit, the parties at fault, and other details.
All communication with the defendants or potential defendants during a birth injury medical malpractice case should be through your attorney.
Statute of Limitations for Birth Injury Cases
In Illinois, the statute of limitations on birth injury claims or lawsuits clearly states that lawsuits may be filed within eight years of the birth injury.
However, if the child is disabled due to a birth injury, the statute of limitations extends until that individual reaches 23 years of age, since the extent of birth injuries may not become truly apparent until the child is older.
Consent to Medical Treatment and Birth Injury or Medical Malpractice Cases
While any medical treatment requires that you or your guardian (in the case of a minor or child) sign the necessary consent forms, merely signing the form does not mean that you do not have a medical malpractice case or that you have consented to medical treatment below the applicable standard of care owed by all health care providers and professionals to their patients.
Types of Recovery in a Birth Injury Lawsuit Case
While the amounts recovered for damages in a birth injury lawsuit case vary based on the type of injury, the extent of the damage, and a number of other factors unique to each case, the total compensation typically covers immediate and future medical costs and the care required to maintain the best possible quality of life for the child who suffered the birth injury.
Compensation for pain and suffering or emotional distress may also be involved.
If there was a fatality related to a birth injury, then there may be a case for a wrongful death lawsuit as well.
Amounts recovered from medical malpractice lawsuits are generally not taxable in Illinois or most other states.
Our Birth Injury Lawyers are Here to Help
A birth injury or traumatic birth can be a catastrophic event that affects you, your child, your family, and even your career in many complicated and devastating ways.
Furthermore, the effects of suffering from a birth injury and related complications can last for many years into the future, affecting you and your child’s health, medical costs, current and future income, and even the rest of your family’s future if you lose earning capacity or the ability to care for yourself or you or someone else in your family has to become a caretaker for your child, or your child requires long-term health care.
And if you’ve lost a loved one to a birthing injury, you deserve a settlement and to deal with the grieving process as best you can without the extra stress of dealing with insurance companies and other third parties.
All of the above reasons are why you should work with a birth injury attorney who has experience dealing with the aftermath of a traumatic birth and associated health conditions who can help you recover costs for the pain and suffering, loss of earnings, loss of earning capacity, medical bills, disability, and emotional distress for you, your child, and your family.
Have you and your child suffered a traumatic birth and do you think you need a birth injury lawyer to help you file a lawsuit and recover compensation for damages?
We welcome the opportunity to speak with you about your legal situation and help you determine the next steps.
Please contact the birth injury lawyers at Zayed Law Offices in Chicago, Wicker Park, Aurora, Joliet, Peoria, Rockford, or Wheaton, and schedule a free and confidential initial consultation by completing our short contact form.
We’ll schedule a time that is convenient for you and please note that you will not pay lawyer’s fees unless we recover compensation for you.
OUR CHICAGO BIRTH INJURY ATTORNEYS UNDERTAKE A WIDE RANGE OF WORK IN THE AREA OF BIRTH INJURIES, INCLUDING CASES INVOLVING:
Medical malpractice is a term used to describe conduct that deviates from the applicable standard of care. A standard of care is a generally a minimum level of care that should be exercised by a health care provider. A standard of care requires healthcare providers to exercise the same degree of knowledge or care that a reasonably careful healthcare provider would use. Violations of a standard of care occur when a healthcare provider does something that a reasonably careful provider would not do or when a provider fails to do something that a reasonably careful provider would not do.
Once the doctor-patient relationship has been established, the healthcare provider must adhere to the applicable standard of care. A patient bringing a medical malpractice claim must show that the healthcare provider breached the applicable standard of care, that the breach caused injury, and that the breach caused the patient’s injuries.
Prosecuting a claim for medical malpractice can be time consuming, complicated, and costly. Contacting an attorney who has a proven track record of excellence is an essential part of bringing a successful medical malpractice claim.
Very often doctors undertake risky procedures without any guarantee of success, and a bad result alone is not evidence of medical malpractice. One of the most solid grounds for suspicion of medical malpractice is when the results of a procedure are widely unexpected. It is important to look into any suspicions of medical malpractice, and this is best done by contacting an experienced medical malpractice law firm. An experienced medical malpractice attorney will review the records of healthcare professionals and may order additional tests and exams.
In the event of medical malpractice, health care providers can be held responsible as well as the institutions they are affiliated with. An experienced medical malpractice attorney will be able to identify ALL parties who are responsible.
Two years is the general time limit for filing suit for injury or death in Illinois. However, there are many nuances that apply to medical malpractice statutes of limitation. The statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits is from one to seven years depending on the facts of the case. It is best to contact a personal injury attorney in order to consult with an attorney who will guide your case through the gauntlet of applicable statutes of limitations.
One of the most important things to do in the event of a suspected medical malpractice is to avoid outright accusations toward your healthcare provider. Make sure that you request your medical records and then consult an experienced medical malpractice attorney to review the records and provide guidance on your potential cause of action.
Signing a consent form means you have acknowledged that there are known risks associated with your medical treatment. A signed consent form does not mean that you have consented to medical treatment below the applicable standard of care owed by all healthcare providers to their patients.
Amounts recovered from medical malpractice lawsuits are generally not taxable.
All patients have a legal right to obtain a copy of their medical records. These requests should be made in writing and must include details like the patient’s social security number, address, date of birth, etc. Requesting medical records can be very timely and may require payment of fees to the records department providing the records.