Naperville / Chicago /Illinois Birth Injury Attorneys
The Collins Law Firm represents families in Naperville, Chicago, DuPage County, and Cook County who have been devastated by a birth injury caused by medical negligence during the birth of their baby. Our dedicated and caring birth injury lawyers will guide you through this difficult time with compassion while fighting to get answers and justice for your family.
The day of a child’s birth is one of the happiest and most exciting days in a parent’s life. However, that day can quickly feel like a nightmare if your precious baby is injured during birth by the negligence of a doctor or the medical staff. The shock and grief can be overwhelming, especially if the birth injury was caused by the very doctor you trusted with your child’s well-being. Unfortunately, too many families are thrown into this chaos of sadness and disbelief every year.
The sad fact is that doctors, nurses, and medical professionals make preventable mistakes—either before, during, or after a child’s delivery--that can result in devastating consequences for the infant. Studies indicate that out of every 1,000 babies born each year, between 6 and 8 of them will have a birth injury. This number is the equivalent to approximately 28,000 children being born with a birth injury each year. To make matters worse, it is estimated that nearly 50% of all birth injuries are preventable.
If your child has suffered a birth injury, it is critical that you get the experienced birth injury attorneys at The Collins Law Firm involved as soon as possible to determine whether medical malpractice was the cause.Frequently Asked Questions
- What Causes Birth Injuries?
- What Are Some Common Types of Birth Injuries?
- How Can Birth Injuries Be Avoided?
- How Do You Know If the Injury Was Caused by Medical Malpractice?
- How Much Time Do You Have to File a Birth Injury Lawsuit?
- What Compensation Can You Receive in a Birth Injury Lawsuit in Illinois?
- How Can our Illinois Birth Injury Lawyers Help You?
A birth injury occurs when an infant is injured during the period just before, during, or after labor and delivery. Some birth injuries may be the result of natural and unavoidable complications, but others may be the result of negligence or mistakes on the part of the medical professionals. For a birth injury to rise to the level of medical malpractice, a doctor, nurse, or healthcare professional must have failed to provide the standard of care that is expected in the medical community. The next criteria required to prove medical malpractice is that this negligence resulted in harm. If a medical professional does not perform at the standard of care that is expected and this failure results in harm to a patient, then he or she has committed medical malpractice. In such a case, it is important to speak to an experienced birth injury attorney right away. Birth injuries that are caused by medical malpractice often involve one or several of the errors below:
- Delayed Cesarean Section Delivery: Caesarean section deliveries are usually ordered when the child is distressed due to a problem during delivery. If a cesarean section is delayed, further harm may come to the mother or child.
- Improper use of Forceps or Vacuum: Forceps or a vacuum may be used when the mother is having difficulty delivering the child on her own. These tools can be extremely helpful for both the mother and child when they are used properly. However, if they are used improperly, such as with excessive force, they can cause birth injuries to both the mother and her child.
- Hypoxia: Hypoxia is when the body is deprived of oxygen. When this occurs before, during, or after delivery, serious birth injuries can result. Hypoxia can be caused by many things, not all of which are the medical practitioner’s fault, but if the medical practitioner fails to notice hypoxia and give the baby oxygen in time to avert damage it is considered medical malpractice.
- Failing to properly monitor a baby’s condition immediately after birth.
- Failure to notice and respond promptly to changes in the fetus’s condition, including signs of fetal distress.
- Failing to properly diagnose and treat problems during pregnancy such as gestational diabetes, pregnancy-induced hypertension, placental abruption or previa, umbilical cord entrapment, or premature rupture of the membranes or infections. This can be the result of inadequate prenatal testing.
- Neglecting to refer high-risk patients to doctors specialized in this area.
Birth injuries, especially those that could have been prevented, are always tragic. However, they can range in severity from a mild or temporary health issue to a very serious and life-threatening one. Below are the most common types of birth injuries, some of which can cause lifelong disability:
- Brain damage: destroyed or deteriorated brain cells, which is usually caused by excessive force or a lack of oxygen or blood flow to the brain. Brain damage is permanent and can lead to other disabilities or even death.
- Caput Succedaneum: swelling around the skull, which usually occurs due to trauma during childbirth. This injury gives newborns a ‘cone headed’ appearance. This is usually temporary, but if left untreated can lead to other problems like jaundice and infection.
- Cephalohematoma: a collection of blood between the scalp and skull. This is usually caused by trauma during childbirth but is temporary and easily treatable. However, cephalohematoma puts your baby at a higher risk for other issues like jaundice or infection.
- Cerebral Palsy: a congenital movement, muscle tone, or posture disorder that is usually caused by brain trauma or lack of oxygen during childbirth. Cerebral palsy is a lifelong disability.
- Clavicle fractures: a fractured collarbone, usually caused by trauma during birth. This fracture will usually heal on its own, but a clavicle fracture can lead to brachial plexus damage in some babies.
- Brachial plexus injuries: damage to the bundle of nerves at the base of the neck. This damage can result in Erb’s Palsy which can cause permanent loss of motion of the infant’s arm and hand.
- Cranial nerve trauma / Facial Nerve Palsy: paralysis or loss of muscle movement of the face, typically due to trauma during birth, but also linked to labor-inducing medication or an epidural. Facial nerve palsy usually goes away in three months, but permanent paralysis is possible.
- Intracranial Hemorrhage: a ruptured blood vessel in the infant’s brain, usually caused by a lack of blood or oxygen in the bloodstream. Permanent brain damage may result.
- Extracranial injuries: a skull fracture, caused by the misuse of forceps or a vacuum extractor, this injury can be disfiguring.
- Gestational diabetes: gestational diabetes affects the mother, if it is not tested for, managed, or treated properly it can lead to complications for both the mother and child. Preeclampsia, prematurity, larger babies, and stillbirths are all possible complications.
- Hypoxia: a lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain, this usually results from some sort of birth trauma. It can lead to brain injuries and permanent disability if it is not treated.
- Kernicterus: a rare form of infant brain damage caused by untreated jaundice. This can cause lifelong hearing loss, deafness, or movement disorders if not properly managed early on.
- Meconium aspiration: the inhalation of meconium, the baby's first stool, can cause meconium aspiration syndrome. This can be very serious and lead to lung failure and death in newborns.
- Perinatal asphyxia: decreased or complete lack of oxygen to a baby before, during, or after childbirth. This can lead to brain damage, permanent disability, or death.
- Placenta previa: a condition where the placenta completely or partially covers the cervix during pregnancy. This can lead to hypoxia, stillbirth, hysterectomies, excessive bleeding, or death of the mother if not managed properly.
- Spinal cord injuries: a compression of the baby’s spinal cord, most commonly caused by trauma during birth, which can cause paralysis, loss of mobility, or reduced bowel and bladder function. These injuries are typically permanent.
- Wrongful death of child or mother: wrongful death can be the result of many of the birth injuries above if they are not noticed, managed, and treated properly.
It is important to note that while some symptoms of a birth injury are apparent right after birth, some do not present themselves until later as the baby develops. If your child has suffered from one of these birth injuries, you may have a medical malpractice claim against the doctor or medical staff at the hospital. An experienced birth injury attorney can help you determine if that is the case and if you have the right to file a claim for damages.
One of the best things you can do to avoid a potential birth injury is to find an obstetrician that you trust, who has not been sued for malpractice or lost any malpractice claims, and who comes highly recommended. While this doesn’t guarantee that your child won’t suffer a birth injury, it certainly stacks the odds in your favor. For the most part, however, preventing birth injuries is the responsibility of your medical team. If you don’t feel your doctor is providing you with adequate prenatal care during your pregnancy, this is a red flag and you should find a different doctor who will take your health more seriously. Responsible obstetricians take steps to prevent injuries during birth, including:
- Throughout your pregnancy, your obstetrician should perform the appropriate prenatal tests to assess both your health and the baby’s health. Moreover, he or she should listen closely to your concerns and take you seriously when you describe any symptoms you may be experiencing.
- Your obstetrician should help you carry your baby to term by being on the lookout for and attending to any risk factors that could lead to premature birth. Premature infants face a range of medical issues that are not faced by infants born full term.
- Finally, during delivery, your doctor should monitor both you and the baby for any signs of fetal distress and be prepared to prevent or remedy any complications that may arise.
There are some situations where it may be obvious that malpractice was at play, however, most of the time it will not be so clear-cut. The birth injury attorneys at The Collins Law Firm recognize the types of injuries that are commonly caused by medical mistakes. We will conduct a thorough investigation to determine whether your child’s birth injury was due to medical malpractice or some other cause. Our lawyers will review all of your medical records and consult with medical experts to determine exactly what caused your child’s injury and whether medical negligence was involved. If it was, you may be entitled to recover damages for the financial, emotional, and developmental impact of the birth injury on your child and your family.
A statute of limitations refers to the amount of time a victim has to file a claim after an injury occurs. If you are outside of this window, you lose your right to file a lawsuit. A birth injury lawsuit is a type of medical malpractice claim. Medical malpractice lawsuits in Illinois must be filed within two years from the date of the negligent act which caused the injury or within two years from when the injury was discovered or should have been discovered. In the event of a child’s death due to a birth injury, the statute of limitations is two years from the death of the child.
The statute of limitations in a birth injury case, however, can be confusing and difficult to determine because there are so many exceptions to the rule. A good birth injury lawyer will know how the statute of limitations affects your case and be able to advise you. Moreover, it can be time-consuming to build a strong medical malpractice claim in a birth injury case, so it is essential that you speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible if you suspect that your child’s birth injury was caused by medical malpractice.
Birth injuries can cause serious or lifelong mental or physical disabilities that can devastate a family financially and emotionally, and you are entitled to seek compensation. If your child has suffered a birth injury due to medical malpractice, claims can be brought on behalf of both the child and the parents for damages. Your lawyer will seek recovery for economic and non-economic damages such as:
- Past and future medical bills
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Lost wages
- Caretaking expenses and accommodations to your home
- Psychological or emotional distress
- Physical and emotional pain or suffering
- Disability or loss of a normal life
- Shortened life expectancy
- Wrongful death damages in the event that your child dies from a birth injury
These damages can never truly give you the justice you deserve but they can provide compensation for some of the things that you and your family have gone through. Rest assured that our birth injury attorneys will be by your side every step of the way to ensure that you receive the full and fair amount that you are entitled to.
If you suspect that your child’s birth injury may have been caused by medical error, it’s important that you speak with a birth injury attorney as soon as possible. The experienced medical malpractice lawyers at The Collins Law Firm have a track record of success helping families and individuals harmed by medical negligence. We will fight to get you the maximum compensation to make your family whole and allow your child to live a full life. Your case will begin with a FREE CONSULTATION where we learn about the details of your child’s birth injury. Then, if we agree to work together, we will fully investigate your claim, consulting with medical experts when necessary, to determine exactly what caused your child’s birth injury. Once medical malpractice has been established, we will file a lawsuit on your behalf and fight for full and fair compensation for you and your child. And rest assured, when you work with The Collins Law Firm, you will pay nothing unless we obtain a settlement or verdict for you. Call us today at (630) 527-1595 or fill out our contact form for a free evaluation of your case.