Chicago, IL Infant Injuries and Birth Injury Lawyers
In the United States, more than 50 babies a day are born suffering from medical negligence. Medical negligence and malpractice can lead to birth injuries and health defects that last a lifetime, from skull fractures to cerebral palsy, and with those conditions can come a lifetime of associated medical costs and emotional distress. If medical negligence has put your newborn in harm’s way, you and your little one shouldn’t be left to deal with the consequences on your own—an experienced medical malpractice lawyer can help.
How Birth Injuries Happen
As experienced Chicago birth injury attorneys know, infant injuries and birth complications can arise for a variety of reasons. For example, negligence during the delivery can easily lead to life-altering accidents that irrevocably compromise your baby’s physical well-being. Mishandling the child immediately after birth can also cause terrible injuries—even negligence during your prenatal care can have devastating effects on the health of your newborn.
Paying for a Lifetime
If your child is born with or develops health conditions as a result of negligence and poor medical care, the amount of emotional distress that you and your child will go through can be immeasurable. A birth injury can result in medical problems that last a lifetime and permanently cripple your child, all because of someone’s lack of care. However, that isn’t the only price you both pay. Caring for a special needs child requires a level of care that most parents don’t know, including special safety precautions, education, physical therapy, medications and operations. You should never be forced into a position of financial hardship as a consequence of someone else’s carelessness, which is why Chicago’s top birth injury attorneys will always advocate for your child’s wellbeing.
Because medical errors and negligence are considered a form of medical malpractice, lawyers will take your case to court if need be, so that you and your child receive the care and compensation you deserve. If someone’s behavior has compromised the health and well-being of your newborn, you don’t have to quietly accept it—you can hold them accountable in accordance with the law.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1) What is the difference between a birth injury and a birth defect?
A birth injury is an injury that occurred during the birth itself, such as an injury caused by the improper use of forceps. A birth defect is harm that occurred before birth that can be traced to something that happened during pregnancy or, in some cases, even before pregnancy – a deformity caused by a defective drug taken during pregnancy, for example.
2) What do I have to prove to win a medical malpractice lawsuit?
To win a medical malpractice lawsuit, you must prove that (i) the doctor or other healthcare provider failed to meet the applicable standard of care, and (ii) this failure to meet the applicable standard of care actually caused the infant/birth injury that triggered the lawsuit. You must also prove the amount of damages that you are claiming.
Due to training and licensing, a doctor is held to a much higher standard of care than, say, a non-doctor who simply renders first aid after witnessing an auto accident. Moreover, a specialist such as a cardiologist is held to a higher standard of care than a general practitioner. Expert medical testimony (normally from another doctor) may be necessary to determine the exact standard of care in terms of what the doctor should have done under the circumstances that caused your injury. The mere fact that an injury occurred is not enough to establish that malpractice was involved – the injury must have been unnecessary.
3) What are some of the causes of infant/birth injuries?
There are a myriad of potential causes of infant and birth injuries. Some of the most common are:
- Issuing an improper prescription to the mother while she is pregnant
- Rough handling of the baby during delivery (particularly the use of forceps) and immediately thereafter
- Oxygen deprivation leading to brain damage and other maladies
- Failure to promptly and properly deal with unexpected delivery complications
- Failure to properly monitor the baby’s vital signs
Tracing the cause of the injury and tying it to medical negligence can be a difficult undertaking in many cases, which is why the assistance of a skilled birth injury lawyer is absolutely critical.
4) Who can I sue if my baby is injured by a defective drug?
In many cases you can sue the manufacturer of the drug or another defendant in a product liability lawsuit. In a strict product liability lawsuit, you will need to prove that the drug was defective and unreasonably dangerous, and that the defect caused your baby’s injury. Although proving all of this can be a major undertaking, it can lead to quite a high recovery in cases of serious injury.
5) How are damages calculated in infant/birth injury cases?
In an infant/birth injury case, the plaintiff is entitled to compensation for the following:
- Past, present, and future medical expenses. If the injury caused a lifelong or long-term disability, it will be critical to accurately calculate the combined future medical expenses so that you will know how much money to ask for. Although this calculation can get complicated, we possess the resources to take care of this matter on your behalf.
- Lost earnings, if a parent has to resign from a position to care for the infant full-time.
- Noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish, etc. In some cases, noneconomic damages far exceed the amounts awarded for economic damages. Noneconomic damages are often calculated as a whole number multiple of economic damages (three times the cumulative amount of economic damages, for example).
6) What are my legal options if my baby dies?
If your baby dies from the injury, you can have a court appoint a personal representative of the baby’s probate estate. The personal representative then files a wrongful death lawsuit in the name of the estate. Since it is obvious that a baby isn’t going to have named a personal representative of his or her estate, a court is likely to appoint a close relative to this position (the baby’s mother, for example). The personal representative must file the lawsuit within one year of the baby’s death, otherwise the claim will be forever barred. Of course, it is likely that the healthcare provider you are claiming against will be willing to settle out of court rather than lose a wrongful death lawsuit.
The court may award damages for medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, grief and sorrow, and any other amount that the court considers fair and just. Since certain expenses, such as funeral and burial expenses, will be paid by the estate, the court will award amounts for these items directly to the estate. Other components of damages, such as grief and sorrow, can be awarded directly to close relatives.
Making Your Case
If you think you may need a medical malpractice attorney to take on your birth injury case, contact Malman Law today for a consultation.