Learning that your newborn has suffered a birth-related injury can be traumatic, especially if the injury could have been avoided. Sadly, approximately seven of every 1,000 babies born in the U.S. suffer a birth injury of one form or another as a result of medical malpractice.
Birth Injuries and Birth Defects – Understanding the Difference
While they often get lumped into one category, there are actually two types of birth-related conditions that can result from medical errors: birth injuries and birth defects.
Birth injuries result from traumatic events that cause harm to your child. Examples include:
- Broken bones
- Brain damage
- Cerebral palsy
- Erb’s (brachial) palsy
By contract, birth defects involve DNA abnormalities that lead to deformities or disabilities. The most common medical error that results causes birth defects is improper prenatal medication.
Why Does it Matter?
One of the primary reasons why it is important to distinguish birth injuries from birth defects is the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations determines how long you have after an accident or injury occurs to file a claim for damages. In Illinois, the statute of limitations varies depending on the type of claim you have.
Lawsuits for curable birth injuries generally need to be filed with eight years of birth. However, for a birth defect or injury that results in your child being physically or mentally disabled, you do not have to file your claim until a pre-determined amount of time after the disability is cured. For permanent disabilities, you may never lose your ability to file a claim.
As you can see, understanding how your baby’s condition is classified is key to understanding your legal rights.
Not All Injuries and Defects Entitle You to Compensation
It is also important to know that, for a birth injury or defect to entitle you to financial compensation, it must result from negligence on the part of a doctor, nurse, or healthcare facility. As noted above, this is referred to as medical malpractice. Some injuries and defects may be unavoidable given the circumstances of your pregnancy. However, if your child’s condition could have been avoided with proper medical care, you may have a claim for financial compensation.
The Sooner You Act, the Better Your Chances of Success
While the law gives you plenty of time to file your claim, it is generally advisable to seek damages as soon as possible after learning of the injury or defect. There are numerous reasons why acting quickly is in your best interests – among them the ability to obtain money to pay for future medical expenses.
Do You Have More Questions? Speak with a Birth Injury Lawyer in Chicago, IL
If your child is suffering as a result of a birth injury or birth defect, we can help you determine whether medical malpractice is to blame. To schedule a free consultation, call Malman Law today at (888) 625-6265 or fill out our online FREE case evaluation.