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Legally Reviewed by:

Jonathan Rosenfeld
J.D

January 18, 2024

Over $400 Million worth of case results

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The joy of birth can be overshadowed by the tragedy of injury, and in such devastating circumstances, it may be difficult for you to know where to turn. Unfortunately, birth injuries are not a rarity. In the United States in 2022, there were approximately 5.60 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. [1]

If your family has experienced the consequences of a birth injury that you believe was caused by medical negligence, you don’t have to carry this emotional and financial burden alone.

Read on to learn more about the cases that our Chicago birth injury lawyers commonly handle, the types of damages we can help you recover, who may be held liable for such injuries, and how our birth injury law firm can provide critical assistance in navigating your legal options.

Chicago birth injury fetal monitoring errors

What Constitutes a Birth Injury?

A birth injury refers to the harm inflicted on both the mother or child that occurs before, during, or after labor and delivery. Sometimes, birth injuries occur because of mechanical forces (such as compression or traction) during childbirth, or potentially due to an illness that develops in the infant while still in the womb.

For babies, common birth injuries range from temporary physical damage like cuts and bruises or feeding difficulties to more long-term conditions like cerebral palsy caused by oxygen deprivation. 

In mothers, possible birth injuries can include conditions such as perineal tears, infections resulting from unsanitary medical equipment, and severe emotional trauma.

Birth Injury vs Birth Defect

Filing a lawsuit can be an important step towards recovering damages, whether you’re fighting against the tragic reality of devastating birth injuries or facing long-term challenges due to birth defects. Recognizing the distinction between birth injuries and birth defects is fundamental when considering legal action. 

Birth injury lawsuits primarily target healthcare providers, such as hospitals and doctors responsible for neglectful handling before, during, or immediately after delivery that results in harm to the newborn or the mother. 

In contrast, a birth defect lawsuit typically focuses on potential environmental triggers, including irresponsibly prescribed medication or exposure to something hazardous during pregnancy that contributes to developmental issues within the womb. It might also point to inadequate prenatal care as a critical factor leading up to fetal anomalies.

While both types of legal action aim for justice and compensation regarding significant health complications, they differ based on the factors causing these devastating circumstances.

Chicago Birth Injury Lawyer: Emergency c-sections

 

Types of Birth Injury Cases That We Handle

Experiencing a birth injury is unimaginably challenging for any family. At our law firm, we handle an extensive range of cases associated with varying types of birth injuries to ensure the safety and justice your loved ones deserve. 

Cerebral Palsy

This condition affects balance, mobility, and posture due to imbalances in brain development. Cerebral palsy is frequently caused by disruptions to an infant’s blood supply while being delivered, often resulting from complications like uterine rupture or detached placenta.

Brachial Plexus Injuries

These injuries involve the brachial plexus, a nerve group transmitting signals between the spinal cord and the arms. A brachial plexus injury results from damage during childbirth which often leads to long-lasting impairments, such as loss of rotation, flexion, and mobility in the arms.

Brain Bleeds

Birth-related brain bleeds are often serious medical emergencies. They occur when blood vessels in the baby’s brain rupture during delivery, leading to internal bleeding.

Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)

One of the most severe brain injuries, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy occurs when the infant’s brain doesn’t receive adequate oxygen or blood flow. This can happen before, during, or post-delivery causing irreversible damage to individual cells and motor cortex tissue, potentially leading to cerebral palsy.

Perinatal Asphyxia and Brain Injury

A precarious condition caused by insufficient blood flow or gas exchange in a nurturing fetus, perinatal asphyxia can trigger chronic impairments such as brain damage, cerebral palsy, or learning disorders due to extensive destruction of important brain cells resulting from oxygen deficiency in the child’s bloodstream.

Spinal Cord Injuries

One of the most severe birth injuries is damage to a baby’s spinal cord from overstretching during childbirth. This is rare, but life-altering, as it can lead to loss or alteration in senses and motor functionality while also affecting critical bodily processes such as respiration.

Fetal Death

The unfortunate reality is that some birth injuries lead to what experts term intrauterine fetal demise, a tragedy in which a fetus dies prior to or during delivery. This can occur as a result of genetic factors and maternal health conditions like high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. 

Understanding the kinds of birth injuries that can occur is vital. When these painful experiences arise, it’s imperative to seek legal support right away. With professional guidance, you’ll be able to navigate through this difficult time more effectively and confidently.

Chicago types of birth injury lawsuits

 

Damages That Our Chicago Birth Injury Lawyers Can Help You Recover

When filing an Illinois birth injury lawsuit, you may be entitled to various types of damages for your losses. Our birth injury lawyers will meticulously review all aspects of your case to ensure recovery in all applicable areas. The most common types of damages include:

Economic Damages

These are quantifiable losses related directly to the medical incident. They include current and future losses such as:

  • Medical bills, including the costs associated with hospital stays, surgery, doctor visits, physical therapy sessions, and medication.
  • Future life care expenses and necessary adaptive equipment; for example, potential future surgeries, mobility aids, and caregiver support.
  • Lost wages, including future lost wages and loss of earning capacity for severe cases where the birth injury causes long-term disability.

Non-Economic Damages

These refer to damages for subjective, non-monetary losses such as:

  • Pain and suffering, which factors in physical distress caused by the injuries.
  • Emotional distress, which acknowledges the mental impact of the injury, such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Loss of companionship due to relationships with loved ones being negatively altered.

 

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are sometimes awarded, which are aimed at punishing exceedingly reckless or malicious conduct rather than serving as compensation for specific injuries. 

These are awarded only in cases where harmful actions evidence evil motive, outrageous recklessness, or conscious indifference to the safety and rights of the injured party. Punitive damages are also meant to serve as a deterrent to others who might otherwise consider similar behavior.

When navigating the aftermath of a birth injury, our Chicago birth injury attorneys are committed to pursuing justice on your behalf and seeking the fair compensation you’re entitled to under the law. 

Chicago Birth Injury Lawyers

 

The Most Common Causes of Birth Injuries

Birth injuries can arise for several reasons, with some of the most common causes including: 

Maternal Conditions

Many birth injuries are caused, at least partially, by a mother’s physical characteristics. 

For example, the shape and size of the pelvis can impose constraints inhibiting safe childbirth causing possible disruptive oxygen flow to the fetus. 

Compromising situations like awkward fetal positioning or abnormal cervix dilation can also complicate the labor and delivery process, potentially resulting in birth injuries.

Infant Conditions

Difficulties can develop when newborns exceed average weight, as this often corresponds with a more physically intensive birthing process, making it more difficult for them to proceed through the birth canal. 

Premature births (before the 37th week of gestation) also have an increased risk for birth injuries as babies’ muscles and nervous systems sometimes aren’t fully developed at this point.

Medical Malpractice

Despite every mitigation attempt, negligence remains high on the list of causes of severe birth injuries. 

Our medical malpractice lawyers often see cases of excessive usage of force during delivery, misapplication or over-dependence on birth-aiding tools, such as vacuum extractors and forceps, resulting in cranial damage. 

Sometimes impatient or inexperienced healthcare professionals might fail to interpret crucial patient data correctly, leading to serious injuries and even fatalities.

Chicago birth injury causes

 

How a Chicago Birth Injury Attorney Can Help

Retaining the services of a local birth injury attorney can be essential to your case for several reasons. 

  • Navigating Complex Legal Processes: Birth injury lawyers are well-versed in all facets of the intricate legal procedures surrounding these cases. They ensure that every piece of paperwork is accurately completed and filed on time, adhering to mandated deadlines.
  • Medical Knowledge: Birth injury cases require a deep understanding of complex medical matters. An experienced attorney has this expertise and access to reputable medical experts who can provide critical evaluation and testimony about your situation.
  • Understanding State Laws: A local child birth injury lawyer brings specialized knowledge about relevant Illinois state laws influenced by past precedents and rulings that could directly impact your lawsuit’s outcome.
  • Trial Experience: If negotiations fail to result in a fair settlement, an attorney experienced in birth injury litigation is invaluable. They have the skills and understanding needed to effectively present your case before a judge and jury.

Entrusting your birth injury case to an experienced attorney allows you to focus on healing and recovery while the attorney navigates the complex realm of medical malpractice laws.

You Have Limited Time to File a Birth Injury Lawsuit

In Illinois, the legal deadline for filing a lawsuit related to a birth injury, known as the statute of limitations, is generally two years. The countdown typically begins from the date you first discover or could reasonably have discovered that medical malpractice occurred.

However, it’s important to remember there are some exceptions that are particularly relevant to birth injury claims. When minors are involved, the statute of limitations is different. 

If a child suffers an injury at birth, the case can be filed up until 8 years following the occurrence of the medical error. However, this extension does not continue beyond a child’s 22nd birthday, regardless of when the negligence was discovered.

If you don’t file a lawsuit within the designated statutory period, it will jeopardize your rights to any legal claim for compensation. This is why it’s essential that birth injury victims speak to a lawyer as soon as possible.

Birth Injury Statistics

Birth injuries represent a significant concern, often leading to long-term health implications for affected children and their families.

Here are some birth injury statistics that shed light on the prevalence and impact of such injuries:

  • About 10,000 babies born each year will develop cerebral palsy [2]
  • About 8.52% of births have a low birth weight (less than 2,500 grams) [3]
  • Birth injury to a baby (neonatal birth trauma) is prevalent at 31.1 per 1,000 hospital births [4]

Leading causes of infant deaths include:

  • Congenital malformations, deformations, and chromosomal abnormalities
  • Disorders related to short gestation and low birth weight
  • Sudden infant death syndrome [5]

Who Can Be Held Liable in a Birth Injury Case?

Determining liability is a key aspect of filing a birth injury lawsuit. The potential liable parties can vary depending on the specific circumstances surrounding each unique case, but some of the most common possibilities include:

Doctors Who Cared For You During Pregnancy

Any medical professional who provided care during pregnancy could potentially be liable, from radiologists conducting ultrasounds to OB/GYNs overseeing overall healthcare.

Medical Professionals Present During Birth

This category includes those present during delivery, such as obstetricians, nurses, midwives, and anesthesiologists. If negligent care was provided during childbirth resulting in injury, they could be potential defendants.

Postnatal Healthcare Providers

Medical professionals who cared for the mother and the newborn after delivery may also bear responsibility. Any negligent care or action during this crucial period can directly impact the health of a newborn.

Prescription Drug Companies

If it’s shown that prescribed medication used during pregnancy contributed to the birth injury, the pharmaceutical company that manufactured this drug could potentially be liable. This usually necessitates proving that they failed to provide adequate warnings about potential risks.

Pharmacists

Individual pharmacists who deviate from the standard of care can also bear responsibility. This could include deviating from the physician’s prescription order or providing incorrect medication or dosage, contributing to an adverse outcome.

Medical Equipment Companies

If a birth injury resulted from defective medical equipment, the manufacturer of the device could potentially be held responsible. 

The Hospital

Hospitals can also be held responsible in some cases, particularly under the principle of vicarious liability. Under this theory, employers (like a hospital) are liable for the negligence of their employees (such as doctors or nurses). 

It’s also worth noting that hospitals can be liable for administrative decisions, such as understaffing or inadequate training, which can negatively impact the quality and safety of the care mothers and babies receive. 

This is not an exhaustive list of the parties that could be held liable in a birth injury claim. A birth injury lawyer from our team will explore all possible options to secure the justice you deserve. Contact us for a free consultation to get started!

Experienced Birth Injury Law Office: Has Your Baby Sustained Birth Injuries

Proof Needed in Birth Injury Lawsuits

In the context of birth injury lawsuits, plaintiffs have to prove four essential elements to successfully establish a valid medical malpractice claim:

  1. Duty: The first thing you must prove is that the medical professional owed the mother and child a duty of care. This means they were obligated to provide proper medical care, meeting the level of care that a reasonably competent healthcare professional in the same or similar situation would provide. Simply put, a doctor-patient relationship needs to have existed. 
  2. Breach: Second, plaintiffs need to establish that the defendant failed to fulfill their duty, constituting a breach. This usually involves bringing in expert medical witnesses who can indicate that the healthcare provider did not adhere to established medical standards.
  3. Causation: This means demonstrating that the birth injury occured as a result of the breach of duty. Establishing this element often requires intricate analysis from medical experts who can comprehensively connect how a certain act or omission led to the injury.
  4. Damages: Finally, you need to establish the damages resulting from this birth injury. Examples include physical or emotional pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, immediate medical costs for treating the resulting injuries, and future treatment and rehabilitation expenses for a lifetime care plan if long-term disability occurred due to these injuries.

Determining legal responsibility in birth injury cases requires meticulous examination of all possible liable parties and a thorough understanding of medical negligence. Be sure to consult with an experienced attorney who can guide you through this complex process to seek the justice and compensation you deserve.

The Time It Takes to Settle a Birth Injury Lawsuit

The duration it takes to come to a resolution in a birth injury lawsuit heavily depends on the specifics of each individual case. This process could be relatively quick, possibly resolved within months if there’s clear evidence of malpractice resulting in a quick settlement out of court.

However, more typically, these kinds of cases are complex, requiring lengthy investigations, reviewing medical records, speaking with witnesses, and consulting with expert witnesses. This process could end up taking several years to resolve in the most complicated situations.

The Cost of Hiring an Experienced Birth Injury Attorney

Our birth injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. Under this type of arrangement, you do not pay any upfront costs or hourly fees to retain our services. 

Instead, the lawyer’s fee is “contingent” upon winning your case, meaning they will receive a percentage of the total settlement amount or court judgment should you succeed. 

Filing a Claim With Our Chicago Birth Injury Attorneys

Taking legal action after a birth injury can seem overwhelming, especially while dealing with the emotional and financial implications. But by working with an attorney skilled in this area of law, you can focus on recovery while they focus on the legal complexities of your case. 

Some ways our birth injury attorneys can help include:

  • Gathering Evidence: One of the first steps our lawyers will take is to gather as much evidence as possible to try to prove your birth injury claim. This usually includes medical records, witness testimony, video footage or photos if available, and anything else relevant to your case. 
  • Calculating Damages: We will thoroughly evaluate all of your damages and losses, including physical injuries and other less tangible and financial injuries. This is essential because you can’t get what you deserve if you don’t know what it is.
  • Determining Liability: Determining who is liable is the one way to get the justice and compensation you need. We will do everything we can to figure out who should be held accountable for this injury.
  • Filing Your Lawsuit: If necessary, we will file a lawsuit on your behalf and make sure that all documents are properly filled out and filed on time. 
  • Communicating and Negotiating With Insurance Companies: We will handle all communications with the insurance company and work to finalize a settlement so we don’t have to fight it out in court. This is less stressful and quicker for you and everyone involved in most cases. 
  • Representation in Court: While most cases are settled out of court, sometimes this isn’t possible. In these cases, we’re ready to take your case to trial and fight for what you deserve. 

Contact a Chicago Birth Injury Lawyer Today!

Navigating the aftermath of a birth injury is difficult and emotional, and it’s even more challenging if you don’t know your legal rights. Having access to experienced legal representation is invaluable in uncovering liable parties, managing deadlines effectively, communicating with insurance providers, and obtaining the best outcome possible. 

Contact us online or call us toll-free at (888) 424-5757 today for a free consultation and let us assess your situation without any risk or commitment.

Resources: [1] CDC, [2] CerebralPalsy.org, [3] Cleveland Clinic, [4] NIH, [5] CDC  

Client Reviews

Jonathan Rosenfeld was professionally objective, timely, and knowledgeable. Also, his advice was extremely effective regarding my case. In addition, Jonathan was understanding and patient pertaining to any of my questions or concerns. I was very happy with the end result and I highly recommend Jonathan Rosenfeld.

- Michonne Proulx

Extremely impressed with this law firm. They took control of a bad motorcycle crash that left my uncle seriously injured. Without any guarantee of a financial recovery, they went out and hired accident investigators and engineers to help prove how the accident happened. I am grateful that they worked on a contingency fee basis as there was no way we could have paid for these services on our own.

- Ethan Armstrong

Jonathan helped my family heal and get compensation after our child was suffered a life threatening injury at daycare. He was sympathetic and in constant contact with us letting us know all he knew every step of the way. We were so blessed to find Jonathan!

- Giulia

This lawyer really helped me get compensation for my motorcycle accident case. I know there is no way that I could have gotten anywhere near the amount that Mr. Rosenfeld was able to get to settle my case. Thank you.

- Daniel Kaim

Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial.

- Lisa
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