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What Legal Options Do I Have in Chicago if My Child Was Injured During Birth?

There are very few things that can be as difficult to cope with as the fact that your child has been born with a congenital impairment. What may make this even worse is that this injury may have been caused by the negligence of a medical professional or by a medication you were prescribed during your pregnancy. This is where a Chicago birth injury law firm can help. We know the stress, confusion, and sadness that the parents feel can be overwhelming and could change their entire future as a family.

As troubling as it may be for you as a parent, it is in your child’s best interest to take legal action as soon as this occurs. Initially, many issues will arise and so will even more questions. You’re not sure what medical treatment is needed, how long it will take, and of course, what all of this may cost. You are certain of only one thing; that you want the absolute best care for your child and funds to cover whatever that may be!

Illinois law holds hospitals and physicians responsible to treat patients with reasonable and safe care. A physician who does not provide the appropriate amount of attention, or a physician who lacks the skills to do so, could very well be guilty of medical malpractice. If a doctor or nurse acts with negligence during a birth, the consequences can be disastrous. Far too many birth injuries occur each year that can directly be traced to careless, reckless, or inadequate care on the part of a doctor or nurse.

Some examples of common birth injuries are:

  • Erb’s palsy
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Brain injuries
  • Facial paralysis
  • Klumpke’s palsy
  • Fractures
  • Cephalohematoma (bleeding beneath the skull)

One of the first things a Chicago personal injury lawyer will do is to gather all the medical information needed to get to the bottom of just how the injury was caused and if any form of malpractice or negligence was observed. If a birth injury lawsuit is filed, it can supply you and your child with substantial and needed financial compensation. Nothing can make up for the pain suffered by you, your family, and your child, but for you (as a parent) trying to get the best treatment for your child, such monetary awards can be crucial.

What Is the Difference Between Birth Injuries and Birth Defects?

It’s vital to understand the difference between a birth injury and a birth defect when you’re looking into the options required to properly care for your newborn. Legally, a medical malpractice suit can only be filed if your baby sustained an actual birth injury.

A congenital disability would occur during your pregnancy itself and affects the fetus while it’s still in utero. In most all these cases, birth defects are of genetic origin and are not preventable. This genetic alteration differs in major ways from a birth injury and is not a reason for a malpractice suit.

Some common birth defects are congenital heart defects, spina bifida, cleft lip, clubfoot, and sickle-cell disease. Most of these conditions can be treated by surgery or medical treatments but still may have long-lasting effects.

On the other hand, birth injuries very typically happen during the labor and delivery process itself. There are various medical mistakes, such as oxygen to the baby’s brain being cut off, or a physician or nurse who fails to notice an infant’s distress, a C-section ordered too late, or delivery equipment misused—all of which can cause serious, long term injury.

If you even suspect that your newborn was mistakenly or negligently injured, you have the right to file a claim against the person or entity that caused the injuries. Your Chicago birth injury attorney is well-versed in what to look for medically and in getting your newborn the treatment he or she needs to recover and go on to the brighter future he or she deserves.

Do I Have a Time Limit to File a Birth Injury Lawsuit in Illinois?

Current Illinois law recognizes that the full scope of many birth injuries is often not fully realized until the child nears school age. Therefore, the Illinois medical malpractice statute of limitations, states the lawsuit must be filed within eight years after a child’s birth.

Other types of birth injuries are often preventable and quickly diagnosed, such as hypoxia (oxygen deprivation). The labor and delivery staff are expected to closely monitor the baby’s heart rate and take swift action if there are signs that a newborn’s health is in danger. If labor and delivery professionals are negligent in any way and fail to meet the medical standard of care and this causes injury to the newborn, they can be sued for malpractice.

Even if the reason for the birth injury is diagnosed rapidly, negative symptoms and impairment can reveal themselves years later.

For example, if your newborn was deprived of oxygen for a limited time, the child can end up with permanent brain damage and conditions can occur, such as cerebral palsy. This is a disorder characterized by muscle weakness, spasticity, and lack of coordination. It is a serious condition, and in some cases, the damage may be so severe that the child will require costly life-long care.

So, there is a reason that an eight-year statute of limitations is provided, since you may not fully realize the depth and scope of the injury until a long time afterward. More importantly, you want to make sure that both initial symptoms and those that may appear months or years later will be adequately treated and that you have the funds to do so.

Do not leave your child’s future up to chance. By consulting and retaining a Chicago birth injury lawyer, you can be sure that negligence, failure to act, or simple medical incompetence wasn’t the cause of your newborn’s injury. If it was, then your birth injury lawyer can provide you comfort in the fact that you’ll receive the funds needed to treat, care for, and give your baby the best life possible.

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