Bringing a new baby into the world is supposed to be a happy occasion, one of the most incredible moments in your life. However, when a healthcare provider’s negligence puts your baby at risk and causes them an injury as a result of substandard care, this miracle of life can quickly become a nightmare with long-lasting consequences. Children with birth injuries may experience lifelong hardships.
If you or your child were injured during childbirth, reach out to a compassionate birth injury lawyer. At Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C., we want to help families seek the justice and accountability they deserve after being injured by a careless medical provider. Contact us today to take advantage of a free and confidential case review.
What Is a Birth Injury?
A birth injury occurs during labor or delivery causing harm to a baby. One of the most common causes is the failure of your healthcare providers to properly monitor the child’s vital signs or fetal heart rate and failing to notice the baby is in distress or not receiving enough oxygen or blood supply.
What Causes Birth Injuries?
While some birth injuries are caused by unforeseen circumstances, many others are due to the negligence of healthcare providers. Birth injuries can be due to problems with labor, prenatal care, or other mistakes healthcare providers make during pregnancy. Some common causes of birth injuries stemming from negligent care include:
- Poor response to fetal distress – Healthcare providers should carefully monitor the mother and baby during labor and delivery. If a baby is in crisis, healthcare providers must be able to react quickly and appropriately to avoid permanent disability or death.
- Delayed cesarean section – Healthcare providers must recognize when a baby must be delivered and timely perform a cesarean section..
- Misdiagnosis – An expectant mother may be misdiagnosed with a condition or not diagnosed with a condition at all. When healthcare providers miss problems like infections, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, infectious diseases, or other medical conditions, the mother and baby may be missing the care they need to make delivery safe.
- Medication mistakes – Healthcare providers must carefully prescribe medication to expectant mothers to prevent harm to the child or mother. They must also consult with the patient’s current medication list to avoid problems with drug interactions.
- Anesthesia mistakes – Labor and delivery is a painful process. Anesthesia can help ease some of this pain. However, if the medicine is not administered correctly or the wrong dosage is used, birth injuries can result.
- Improper use of forceps or vacuum extractors – Healthcare providers who use these tools incorrectly or with too much pressure can cause delivery trauma.
- Negligent postnatal care – Failure to provide appropriate postnatal care can result in injury or death to the baby or mother.
Every birth injury case is different, so it’s important to thoroughly investigate the situation and determine the cause. An experienced birth injury lawyer can help.
What Are Common Types of Birth Injuries?
Birth injuries can harm the mother, baby, or both. Some common types of birth injuries that may harm the newborn include:
- Cerebral palsy – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) define cerebral palsy as a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture caused by abnormal brain development or brain damage.
- Brachial plexus injuries – Brachial plexus nerves control the arms. These nerves are sometimes damaged during delivery as healthcare providers are removing the baby from the uterus. Brachial plexus injuries can affect the infant’s arms, hands, and wrists and potentially result in paralysis.
- Erb’s palsy – Erb’s palsy is one condition that can happen because of brachial plexus injuries. Elbow and shoulder muscles may be impacted during delivery, resulting in this serious medical condition.
- Shoulder dystocia – Shoulder dystocia occurs when a baby’s shoulders are caught above the mother’s pubic bone during delivery. By definition, this condition occurs during a vaginal delivery when the healthcare provider fails to deliver the baby using only gentle downward traction or when additional methods are necessary to deliver the baby.
- Paralysis – Trauma to the spinal cord during labor and delivery can cause paralysis. If nerves are mishandled during the birthing process, facial paralysis can occur.
- Brain damage – A lack of oxygen or fetal distress can destroy brain matter during the birthing process. Brain damage can affect a child’s entire life and future.
- Cephalohematoma – This medical condition can occur when blood vessels are damaged during delivery, causing blood to pool near the scalp and the area to be soft to the touch.
- Hemorrhaging – Dangerous hemorrhages can occur when there is bleeding in the brain, especially when babies are born prematurely or with low birth weight.
- Oxygen deprivation – If the baby’s supply of oxygen is cut off during delivery, they can experience serious medical conditions, including coma, shock, cerebral palsy, asphyxia, or even death.
- Fractures – Bones may break during the birthing process, including the collarbone during a difficult delivery. Fractured skulls and arms are also far too common.
Sadly, some birth injuries tragically result in the loss of the baby.
Who Is Responsible for Birth Injuries?
Any healthcare provider involved in prenatal care or the birthing process may be responsible for birth injuries, including:
- Medical clinics
Because many different parties may share in the responsibility for birth injuries, it’s essential to work with an experienced birth injury lawyer who can get to the bottom of the situation and make all necessary legal claims.
Complications of Birth Injuries
Birth injuries can have lasting impacts on the traumatized child and the family. Babies who experience injuries during labor may have a more difficult time adjusting to life outside the womb. They may suffer brain trauma, which can affect their learning and development, gross and fine motor function, and ability to form connections with others. Some birth injuries permanently alter the child’s life. Others result in the devastating death of a newborn. Even if the baby initially survives childbirth, it may still die before reaching the age of one, which falls within the CDC’s definition of infant mortality. Sadly, about 20,000 babies died before reaching the age of one in the United States in 2020, according to the CDC.
Compensation in Illinois Birth Injury Cases
In Illinois, you may be able to seek compensation for the following losses in a birth injury case:
- Medical expenses to treat the injury and ongoing care
- Caretaking and nursing care
- Medical devices and equipment
- Home and vehicle modifications to accommodate a disability
- Physical and occupational therapy services
- Physical rehabilitation
- Specialized educational needs
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Pain and suffering
- Disability and loss of normal life
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
At Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C., we understand that birth injuries require considerable resources. We will fight tirelessly to secure the compensation you need to support your child and family.
Was Your Child’s Injury Due To A Doctor’s Fault?
Though some things can go wrong when a baby is born, injuries may be caused by a medical professional’s negligence or error. At Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C. our lawyers advise parents in legal claims to seek maximum compensation for any harms caused by another’s fault.
We help parents whose babies suffered birth injuries such as:
- Cerebral palsy
- Shoulder dystocia
- Erb’s palsy
- Brachial plexus injury
Mistakes In Prenatal Care May Lead To Injury Claims
Although some birth injuries are the result of negligence during the labor and delivery process, others may be the consequence of negligent prenatal care such as failing to order the appropriate tests. A failure to monitor the progress of labor or intervene in a timely way when a baby is in distress during delivery can lead to serious injury or death. Whatever the cause, our attorneys are able to develop strong cases that may give parents the resources they need to care for an injured or disabled child.
Protecting Your Child’s Future
If a baby is severely disabled as a result of a birth injury, parents will need considerable resources to care for that child. In some instances, the child will require care and treatment throughout his or her lifetime.
When we obtain a jury verdict or settlement, our lawyers are able to obtain a monetary fund that can support the care the child will need, even after his or her parents are gone. It gives parents great peace of mind to know their disabled child will have the resources he or she needs.
Moreover, full, fair and adequate damages in cases like these include proper compensation for a lifetime of pain and suffering, and a proper settlement or verdict can make a big difference in the quality of life and opportunities for such a child.
Birth Injury FAQs
How Can a Birth Injury Lawyer Help Me?
A birth injury lawyer can be your trusted advocate during this difficult time. They can listen to your story and explain your legal rights and options. A thorough investigation may determine how the injury occurred and how it could have been prevented. They may be able to prevent the same situation from harming another family by taking swift action. Additionally, birth injury lawyers can fight to get your family the compensation you will need to put your life back together after a traumatic birth injury, and to provide an injured child with the care they will need.
How Much Is My Case Worth?
Every birth injury case is different. Several factors can affect the potential value of your case, including:
- The defendant’s actions
- The nature and severity of the injury
- The insurance coverage available
- The economic and non-economic losses you incur
- The anticipated impact the birth injury will have on the infant
At Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C., we want to help you recover the maximum amount of compensation available for your claim. We provide a free, no-obligation case review in which we can discuss your case and whether you have grounds for a birth injury suit. After we conduct a thorough investigation, we can help calculate the potential value of your claim.
How Long Do I Have to File a Birth Injury Claim?
In Illinois, the statute of limitations dictates how long you have to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. The general statute of limitations in medical malpractice cases is two years from the date you knew or should have known of the injury. However, the statute of limitations for a birth injury to a child is eight years, or potentially longer depending on the circumstances. An experienced birth injury lawyer can review the circumstances of your case and determine the time limit that applies. You will want to take legal action well before the statute of limitations runs on your case so you can preserve your right to pursue compensation through the court system.
Contact a Caring and Dedicated Chicago Birth Injury Lawyer
If you or your child suffered a birth injury, reach out to a Chicago birth injury lawyer from Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C. for assistance. We are Chicago’s trusted source for birth injury and medical malpractice claims. Contact us today to learn more.