Few things may be as difficult to cope with as the knowledge that your child’s congenital impairment may have been caused by the negligence of a medical professional or by a medication you were taking during your pregnancy. As troubling as all of this is for your family, it will be in your child’s best interests to take legal action as soon as you learn of his or her impairment as possible.
At Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC, our Chicago birth injury attorneys know just how important it will be for your family to hold the responsible party accountable for your child’s pain and suffering. That being said, our personal injury attorneys can help your family pursue the compensation you will need to offset the costs associated with your child’s care. More than that, your lawsuit may help to prevent similar accidents or consequences from befalling other families.
Common Birth Injuries Caused by Medical Malpractice
As the Chicago birth injuries attorneys at Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC can attest, far too many birth injuries each year can be traced to carelessness or recklessness on the part of a doctor, nurse, or another hospital employee. Though nothing can make up for the traumatic pain and suffering you and your child are facing, you do at least have some legal options. A successful medical malpractice birth injuries lawsuit can supply you and your child with financial compensation. For a parent trying to get life back on track for your family after your child is injured during birth, such monetary awards can be absolutely crucial.
The law holds hospitals and medical practitioners responsible for treating all of their patients with reasonable, safe care. A doctor who fails to treat a patient with the appropriate amount of attention, or a doctor who lacks the required knowledge or skills, might be guilty of medical malpractice. If a doctor or nurse acts with negligence during a birth, the consequences can be disastrous.
Some common birth injuries that have been traced to medical malpractice include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Erb’s palsy
- Klumpke’s palsy
- Brain injuries
- Facial paralysis
- Cephalohematoma (bleeding beneath the skull)
- Umbilical cord problems
Any one of these injuries can lead to expensive future hospital visits in addition to a great deal of pain and suffering for parents and baby alike.
Filing a Birth Injury Claim in Chicago
Though your child may go on to lead a fulfilling life, the costs that may be associated with his or her treatment are likely to be substantial, particularly when treatment will be necessary throughout the child’s life. Bearing that in mind, we will need to anticipate the full range of care that your child may need throughout his or her life, including, but not limited to, the following:
- The medical care your child will require
- The rehabilitative care your child will need to work through
- The at-home care your child may need
Our legal team has the experience and the resources you will need to take any responsible party to court, including medical professionals, their medical malpractice insurers, and pharmaceutical companies. We know just how quickly expenses can pile up, and we can help you take any action necessary to put this legal matter behind you once and for all.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do I have to file a medical malpractice claim after the birth injury of a child?
There is a statute of limitations on medical malpractice claims, meaning that a claim cannot be filed after the statute of limitations has passed. If it appears that negligence or malpractice caused the birth injury on the part of a medical professional, then it necessary to file a medical malpractice claim. With birth injury claims, a lawsuit must be filed within eight years of the child’s injury. It is best to consult with an attorney as the child would need to be a minor and under a certain age at the time of the filing. In addition, if the birth injury led to mental disability, other laws apply.
How long do I have to file a medical malpractice claim if the child dies at birth?
Illinois law states that wrongful infant death must be filed within two years from the date of the child’s death. However, seeking legal counsel is advisable before filing decisions are made.
How prevalent are birth injuries in the United States?
Approximately six to eight children out of every 1000 born in the United States are born with a birth injury. In other words, about one in every 9,714 babies in the U.S. are born with a birth injury. On a yearly basis, about 28,000 babies are born with a birth injury, which is 2,333 per month, 532 per week, 76 per day, or three per hour.
What are the most common types of birth injuries in babies?
Some of the more common types of birth injuries are Brachial Plexus Palsy (Erb’s Palsy), fractures, hematoma, subdural and intracranial hemorrhage, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, and oxygen deprivation.
Can a brain injury occur at birth due to negligence?
In some of the most unfortunate circumstances, a brain injury can occur at birth. Brain injury at birth is among the most devastating injury that an infant can sustain, and can result in some lifelong consequences. Due to the prevalence of birth injuries in the U.S., it is obvious that many physicians’ and/or hospitals’ standard of care needs much improvement and evaluation.
How do I know if my child has a birth injury or has a childhood disability?
Physicians are required by law to report any disability or abnormality to the parents before delivery. If you were expecting a normal and healthy child at birth, but the infant has a disability at birth, this is an indication of a problem. In many cases, the failure to properly diagnose a baby’s health issues or disability can lead to a birth injury that could have been otherwise prevented.
Are birth injuries always known right away at the time of the baby’s birth?
Typically, the color, health, and status of the baby at the time of delivery is usually an indication of whether a birth injury has occurred. However, some birth injuries don’t make themselves known until later. As a parent, if you have any doubts as to whether your child was the victim of a birth injury, it is important to bring attention to the matter so that your child can get the proper and timely care.
U.S. Birth Injuries – Are They Preventable?
It has been reported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality that communication errors alone are the cause of at least 30% of all birth injuries. When physicians and medical staff fail to relay or regard patient health information and their medical history, these errors occur. Many birth injuries are caused by a failure to diagnose fetal and/or maternal distress, but hospital negligence also plays a large role in these injuries. In these types of cases, birth injuries are almost always preventable.
Due to the large number of preventable birth injuries each year in the United States, many hospitals made it a priority to participate in safety programs, such as the 2008 Premier Perinatal Safety Initiative. This initiative took place over a five-year span, involving a total of 14 hospitals in 12 different states. After assessing over 250,000 births from 2008 to 2013, results showed that numerous medical errors, which were preventable, were the primary reasons for most of the birth injuries. The most common medical mistakes related to this study included:
- Failure to detect and monitor fetal distress
- Inappropriate medication administration
- Improper use of birth-assisting tools
- Umbilical cord problems
- Delayed cesarean sections (C-sections)
Parents Can Be Proactive
Although parents cannot control physician error or misdiagnosis, they can be proactive in potentially preventing a birth injury from happening to their baby. If there are questions related to the baby’s birth, such as the method of delivery or any medical risks, the parent has the legal right to ask questions at any time. It is important for the parent to speak up and educate themselves beforehand regarding any risks associated with the more common delivery techniques, such as using birth-assisting tools, C-section deliveries, and more.
Further, parents can research the types of medications that may be used in a mother’s pregnancy and the types of birth defects associated with certain drugs taken while an infant is still in utero. These actions can allow the parent to be more informed if a certain decision must be made prior to giving birth. By being more informed, parents can make their decisions based on their facts and research, and not just on their physician recommendation.
Additionally, it may be important to research family medical history to find out if there is a history of birth defects, according to family DNA or some other medical predisposition within the family. Yet a birth defect and a birth injury are different, as the latter is damage that an infant would sustain before, during, or just after the birthing process.
Giving birth can be a stressful time for the parents, so by planning ahead and finding out all about birthing techniques and potential issues with birth defects, the parents will know that they have done their homework and they can rest assured that they are making the right decisions for their baby.
Consult with a Birth Injury Attorney in Chicago
If your child was born with congenital impairment that could have been prevented with more astute medical care or that was caused by a medication prescribed to you, it will be in your best interests to reach out to an attorney as soon as you are able to do so. To speak with a Chicago birth injury attorney at Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC about the particulars of your claim, please call our offices in Chicago at 312-346-8620 today.