When Should I Contact an Attorney to Evaluate my Child's Birth Injury
A birth injury could change your child’s life. Severe birth injuries could cause permanent damage, either physically or cognitively. Knowing when to contact an attorney is important for the future of your family. Pursuing a birth injury action may be your opportunity to achieve justice and financial compensation. A successful case could give your family what it needs to move forward.
After Serious Infant Injuries
If your infant suffered a minor birth injury, such as a small cut or bruise, it likely will not be enough to constitute a birth injury lawsuit. Unless the injury caused your family medical bills, pain and suffering, or other serious damages, it will not be worth taking to court. You might spend more money in legal fees than the value of your case. Most medical malpractice birth injury claims involve serious infant injuries, such as:
- Brain injuries
- Cerebral palsy
- Spinal cord injuries
- Bone or skull fractures
- Facial paralysis
- Muscle-related injuries
- Brachial plexus injuries
- Shoulder dystocia
- Birth defects
- Infant death
A serious birth injury deserves attention from a birth injury lawyer. A major injury may cost thousands of dollars in medical expenses and lost wages – not to mention the immense emotional costs. If your child suffered a serious, catastrophic, lifelong, or fatal birth injury, seek counsel from a birth injury attorney.
When You Detect Signs of Medical Malpractice
You will need a lawyer’s assistance if medical malpractice caused your child’s birth injury. Although not all birth injuries stem from malpractice, many do. If you or your spouse suspects that a doctor’s negligence, carelessness, or incompetence caused your child’s injuries, you may have grounds for a case. The same is true if you have evidence of the hospital or birthing center’s negligence, such as lack of premises sanitation or failure to adequately train employees.
It can be difficult to notice the potential signs of medical malpractice as a parent, especially amid a complicated or difficult delivery. Certain injuries can point to malpractice, as they may not have occurred without someone’s negligent act or omission. If a doctor diagnosed your child with cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, Klumpke’s palsy, a broken bone, or kernicterus (severe jaundice), you could have a case of malpractice. Talk to a lawyer to discuss whether the injuries could have a negligence-related cause.
Other signs of medical malpractice may exist with the doctor or facility. If your physician appeared sloppy, careless, unknowledgeable, or incompetent during your birthing experience, he or she could be guilty of malpractice. Failure to monitor fetal vital signs, lack of emergency preparedness, and overall patient neglect are also signs of physician malpractice. Other red flags can include an unclean premises, broken machines, or negligent staff members.
Before Speaking to Insurance Companies
Once you believe you have a birth injury claim, your next step is filing an insurance claim against the at-fault party. Unfortunately, the insurance company will not be on your family’s side. The company’s goal will be to minimize its liability and your payout. Most birth injury claims involve major insurance corporations. Do not go up against a hospital, birthing center, or insurance company in Chicago alone. Hire an attorney to take over negotiations for you.
Negotiating your own birth injury claim could lead to accepting a settlement that is far less than your child’s injuries demand. You may not understand the full value of your claim until you speak to an attorney. The insurance company will use practiced delay-and-deny tactics to get you to settle for as little as possible. It is important to call a lawyer to evaluate your birth injury case before saying yes to any insurance settlement offers. Once you accept, it may not be possible to renegotiate the deal.
If you do not want to communicate with insurance companies alone, call a lawyer before filing your insurance claim. A lawyer can walk you through what to say and what not to say. For example, you should not agree to give a recorded statement to the insurer. The company can use this statement against you during your lawsuit. Trusting your insurance claim with a birth injury attorney can protect your family’s rights to compensation.
Within Eight Years of the Incident
Most birth injury cases in Illinois can come to successful settlement agreements without needing to go to court. However, if the insurance company refuses to offer what your case is worth, your lawyer can help you file a lawsuit against the defendant to pursue damages through a medical malpractice trial. If you wish to file a medical malpractice claim for your child’s birth injury in Illinois, you have eight years from the incident to do so.
The statute of limitations on medical malpractice claims is unique for birth injuries. Instead of the standard two-year deadline, you have eight years from the date the malpractice occurred. If your child suffered a disability because of the injury, you have until he or she turns 22 to file your claim. Missing your deadline to file will usually result in losing your right to seek compensation. Contact an attorney as soon as possible after a birth injury in Chicago.