Chicago Birth Injury Lawyer

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Birth injuries can be traumatic and life altering events for both your newborn baby as well as your family. As its name suggests, birth injuries occur to a newborn during or immediately after birth through the labor and delivery process. They can range from bruises, to fractured limbs, to brain and nerve damage. In some cases, a birth injury can be benign, like scrapes and bruises that heal within a few days. While in other cases, a birth injury may cause permanent physical and cognitive injuries that your child will have to endure for the rest of their life. In many cases, a birth injury is preventable, and you may be able to hold your doctor and hospital accountable at trial.

Get Help from Chicago Birth Injury Attorneys

If you believe your child’s birth injury was caused by a doctor or hospital’s negligence, it is important to speak with experienced Chicago birth injury lawyers as soon as possible. At The Kryder Law Group, our team of experienced personal injury attorneys has represented many birth injury victims, and we know what it takes to hold careless medical professionals accountable. To learn more about your legal rights and options, contact our office today for a free consultation with our Chicago birth injury attorneys.

What are examples of birth injuries?

Types of Birth Injuries Infographic

A birth injury can range from benign to deadly, and may affect your newborn in drastically different ways. Some of the most common birth injuries ranging from minor to serious injuries include:

  • Cerebral palsy: Complications during or immediately after labor may cut off a newborn’s oxygen or blood supply, causing cerebral palsy. CP is a brain injury that affects a child’s ability to control their muscles. Common symptoms include spasticity (stiff muscles), poor coordination, muscle weakness, tremors and shaking, and seizures. Tragically, CP in incurable and will affect a child for the rest of their life. Treatments such as occupation and physical therapy may help treat some of the underlying symptoms.
  • Brachial palsy: Brachial palsy (or Erb’s palsy) is commonly caused by an injury to the brachial plexus nerves in a newborn’s shoulders. This may result in numbness or weakness in their arms. In some cases, brachial palsy can be cured by intensive physical therapy or surgery.
  • Paralysis: Newborns may suffer from paralysis of varying severity if they suffer physical trauma or oxygen deprivation at birth. Paralysis is often comorbid with other forms of injuries such as seizures, cognitive disabilities, or loss of sensory perception.
  • Brain damage: Brain injuries can cause both permanent physical and cognitive injuries. It is oftentimes caused by oxygen deprivation but may also be caused by physical trauma such as abnormal birthing positions or forceps errors and from biologic factors like medication errors and infections.
  • Loss of hearing or sight: Permanent sensory losses such as blindness or deafness can be caused by undiagnosed or misdiagnosed infections, medication errors, or failure to take action during pregnancy complications.
  • Fractures: Newborns can suffer fractured clavicles, fractured craniums, or fractures to their arms or legs during birth if a doctor misuses a forceps or other assisting instrument. They may also occur if a doctor fails to correct an abnormal birthing position or fails to detect other pregnancy complications.
  • Hematomas and bruising: Hematomas can be insignificant or a sign of a serious injury. Redness and swelling in a newborn’s eyes is not uncommon and may completely resolve after a few days. However, larger hematomas, especially so a newborn’s head, can put pressure on their brain and cause permanent injuries or death.

Call today for a free case evaluation with our Chicago birth injury attorneys.

Is there a difference between a birth injury and a birth defect?

A birth injury is typically caused by a complication or medical error immediately before, during, or after childbirth. Conversely, a birth defect typically occurs during or immediately after conception, and the baby’s genetics may play a role in their condition.

You typically cannot recover against a hospital or doctor for a birth defect because the treaters did not breach their standard of care and because the treaters did not cause the injuries. In some instances; however, you may be able to file a product liability suit against a different defendant due to maternal, paternal, or in vitro teratogenic chemical exposure (chemicals that are associated with birth defects) that caused the birth defect. One common example of this type of case involves maternal exposure to contaminated drinking water at home or maternal exposure to teratogenic chemicals at a workplace.

What causes birth injuries?

There exist a multitude of factors that may cause or contribute to a birth injury. Many risk factors can be detected during pregnancy well before going into labor, so your doctor should inform you of any potential complications and what can be done to minimize the risk of injuries to you and your newborn during birth. Common risk factors include:

Prolonged labor: Prolonged labor increases the time that a newborn is subjected to high blood pressure, oxygen deprivation, and physical stress. It is also indicative that other comorbid complications are affecting the childbirth as well.

Large babies: It is more difficult to give birth to large babies, which can create complications.

Misuse of forceps: Forceps are oftentimes used to assist mothers or reposition fetuses during a vaginal birth. Physicians undergo extensive training during their education and residency, so errors that cause fractures or head injuries are oftentimes the fault of the physician.

Medication errors: Medication errors can interfere with labor and a newborn’s vitals with tragic results.

Administering excessive or poorly timed childbirth medications such as Pitocin can lead to oxygen deprivation or overly strong contractures that injure or kill a baby during childbirth.

Failing to instruct a mother to stop taking certain medications, including blood pressure medications, certain antidepressants such as Prozac, acne medications like Accutane, and seizure medications like Topomax, prior to giving birth can also lead to birth injuries.

Additionally, failing to administer certain medications such as antivirals or antibacterial prescriptions may cause the mother to pass infections on to their newborn. While these infections may be minor to an adult, newborns’ immune systems have not yet developed, and they may suffer serious and permanent complications.

Premature or late births: Early or late childbirth is oftentimes associated with complications during labor, and you should speak with your doctor about their attendant risks.

Pelvic abnormalities or underdeveloped pelvis: A mother’s pelvis affects the shape and size of the vaginal canal, which can impact the pressures on a newborn during labor. This can cause fractures, nerve damage, and oxygen deprivation that can result in permanent injuries. Your doctor should normally detect these complications during your pregnancy and warn you of any risks and alternative steps you can take.

Age: Young (less than 20 years) and older (over 35 years) mothers are associated with labor complications and birth injuries.

High or low blood pressure: Low and high blood pressure is often associated with pregnancy complications and can cause preeclampsia, preterm birth, placental development problems, and late decelerations of the fetal heart rate. Doctors and nurses should be monitoring the fetal heart rate for late decelerations to minimize the risk of birth injuries.

Abnormally positioned baby: Newborns should normally pass through the vaginal canal head-first. When they pass buttocks-, leg-, or arm-first, they are had higher risk of dislocated and broken bones as well as brain and nerve damage from lack of oxygen.

Umbilical cord problems: The umbilical cord supplies fetuses with critical oxygen right up until birth, so problems such as flattened, crushed, or twisted umbilical cords can cause brain damage to a newborn from lack of oxygen.

Misplacement of fetal monitors: Fetal monitors track your newborn’s vitals during labor. If they are misplaced, they may actually be tracking the mother’s vitals and miss critical problems with the newborn leading up to their birth. Fetal monitoring strips are oftentimes a key piece of evidence in a birth injury trial.

Disregarding fetal monitoring strips: If doctors and nurses ignore this important information, they may miss critical and obvious indicators of fetal distress.

How do I prove a birth injury?

OBGYNs and their nurses have specialized childbirth training, educations, and experienced, so they should identify pregnancy complications as soon as possible, explain to you the complication and what can be done about it, and inform you of any risks inherent in their recommended course of action. When your treaters fail to identify or prevent a birth injury, fail you to warn of any risks inherent in a particular procedure, or through a medical error cause a birth injury, you may be able to recover for their negligence and medical malpractice.

Since birth injury cases are a subtype of medical malpractice, a plaintiff must prove the same elements to recovery in a birth injury lawsuit:

  1. Owed a professional duty of care to their patient;
  2. Breached the professional duty of care;
  3. That breach caused the patient’s injury;
  4. That injury resulted in damages.

Damages include the newborn’s pain and suffering, loss of a normal life, disfigurement, lost wages over their lifetime, loss of care and affection, and past and future medical and lifecare costs.

Call today for a free consultation with our Chicago birth injury attorneys to find out more about filing birth injury lawsuits.

Experts that May be Used in a Birth Injury Case

Whether a doctor, nurse, or hospital is liable is highly dependent on the facts of the case, and proving liability can be a difficult protracted process. An affidavit signed by a licensed physician supporting your case is required just to file a complaint. Due to the complexity of medical malpractice cases, multiple expert doctors and nurses are also needed to testify against the defendants. Economists and life care planners may be needed to prove damages. All in all, over a dozen experts may be necessary in some of the more complex birth injury cases to prove liability, causation, and damages. Experts may include:

  • Gynecologists
  • Obstetricians
  • Perinatologists and neonatologists
  • Pediatric surgeons
  • Radiologists
  • Epidemiologists
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Labor and delivery nurses
  • Maternal and neonatal nurses
  • Geneticists
  • Psychologists
  • Life care planners
  • Occupational therapists
  • Billing experts
  • Economists

Medical records and consent forms will also be essential to proving liability. Cases involving birth injuries due to oxygen deprivation or trauma often hinge on a doctor’s analysis of your newborn’s fetal monitoring strips that track fetal heart rate and contractions. Late decelerations occur when a fetus’s heart rate slows down and does not recover until well after a contraction. They oftentimes are indicative of fetal hypoxia (lack of oxygen). Additional critical charts indicating that a treater may have made an error include blood-gas analyses, acidity readings, and oxygen saturation levels.

Due to the inherent complexities involved in proving a birth injury, we recommend that you retain an attorney as soon as possible to review your case with you. Kryder Law Group has successfully handled numerous birth injury cases. If your child suffered a birth injury, call Kryder Law Group for a free case consultation.

What You Need to Know About Birth Injury Cases

Who can I sue in for my child’s birth injuries?

Both the doctor and the hospital may be sued if they are responsible for a birth injury. Oftentimes multiple parties are responsible, and this rule holds especially true in a hospital setting where multiple nurses, doctors, and treaters provide care for a patient. When multiple parties negligently caused a patient’s death, they typically should all be named as defendants in a single lawsuit. This includes any responsible obstetricians, neonatologists, radiologists, and nurses. At trial, the jury will have the opportunity to assess fault against each defendant.

In many instances, a hospital can be held liable for birth injuries as well. If a responsible doctor or nurse was an employee of the hospital, then the hospital will also be liable for their employees’ conduct under the doctrine of vicarious liability. Hospitals may also be directly responsible for fault medical equipment, unsafe policies and practices, understaffing, or making material misrepresentations about quality and abilities of their facility or workers.

A plaintiff should work with their birth injury attorney to obtain their loved one’s medical records and documents, which can be essential to identifying which treaters may have committed malpractice. Oftentimes, you will need to retain and consult with multiple experts in the field to determine the proper standard of care and whether treaters violated that standard while committing medical malpractice. This process can be complex and expensive, so you should consult with your birth injury attorneys to determine the best course of action.

How much time do I have to file a birth injury case?

A statute of limitations sets a time limit for parties to sue a defendant. If a personal injury or birth injury lawsuit is not filed within that time, the case is typically dismissed. Plaintiffs have two years to file a birth injury lawsuit under the Illinois statute of limitations. (735 ILCS 5/13-212). This two year deadline begins when the plaintiff knew or should have known of the injury, although 735 ILCS 5/13-212 requires that the lawsuit must be brought within four years after the injury regardless of the knowledge of the plaintiff.

How long does a birth injury case take in Chicago?

The length of time it takes for a birth injury case to resolve varies substantially form case to case, so it is difficult to estimate when a case will resolve or go to trial. In some cases where liability is straightforward and the injury are uncontested, the case may be resolved before a lawsuit even needs to be filed. In other instances, especially where liability and damages are heavily contested, the case may take months or even longer.

Birth injury cases are exceptionally complex and involve reviewing thousands of pages of records with consultants and experts, taking numerous depositions, and appearing in court many times before the case even goes to trial. Insurance companies and hospital oftentimes vigorously fight these cases, which can slow the resolution process even further.

What can I recover for a birth injury in a medical malpractice lawsuit?

The amount awarded by juries can be highly variable and are dependent on the type of injuries sustained, whether they are permanent, and whether they are treatment. Call for a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case with a birth injury attorney to find out what your case may be worth.

Illinois allows recovery for the following damages in the birth injury lawsuit:

Pain and suffering: A jury will award higher damages for conscious past and future pain and suffering experienced by your child.

Loss of a normal life: Serious injuries such as paralysis, cognitive injuries, sight and hearing injuries, and seizure disorders will command larger recoveries, especially if they are permanent.

Disfigurement: Children who will be confined to a bed or wheelchair tend to have higher damages. Similarly, jurors will also factor spastic or disfigured limbs and surgery scars into an award.

Loss of enjoyment of life: Children that suffer from cerebral palsy, blindness, or other injuries might never be able to enjoy the things that able-bodied children and adults take for granted such as playing a sport, learning an instrument, driving a car, or dating a significant other. Jurors may increase damages awards for this loss of enjoyment of life.

Loss of income: If a child will never be able to enter the workforce because of their injuries, they will also be entitled to their lost wages. A life care planner or economist expert will likely be necessary to prove these damages.

Medical bills: Jurors may also award medical bills incurred as a result of your child’s injuries. These damages are not limited to just past medical bills. Future medical costs may also be awarded if a treater or expert witness attests that they are reasonable and necessary. This may include occupational therapy and physical therapy for the rest of their life.

Caretaker costs: Some birth injuries may require temporary nursing and caretaker help while your child recovers. In other instances, the child may require around the clock care for the rest of their life. Jurors may award the reasonably and necessary expenses associated with these caretaker costs.

Equipment costs: Plaintiffs may also recover for the costs of medical equipment such as medications, wheelchairs, splints, and orthopedic devices. They may also recover for any specialized home modifications such as ramps hospital beds, or stairlifts.

What are some examples of birth injury recoveries in Illinois?

Birth injury recoveries are highly variable depending on the injuries involved and the relative liability. Doctors are held in high esteem in our society, which can also make it difficult. Therefore, each case is unique and requires its own analysis, investigation, and consultation. The evidence oftentimes involves complex medical records and expert witnesses that may be difficult for a jury to understand.

One of the strongest ways to improve your chances of prevailing on a birth injury case is to hire an experienced medical malpractice attorney who understands the medical issues and the courtroom. The Kryder Law Group can review your case, consult with experts in the field, and communicate with the hospital’s representatives to put you in a strong position to favorably resolve your birth injury claim.

Call today for a free consultation with our Chicago birth injury lawyers. Our team is experienced with medical malpractice cases and will fight to get you fair compensation when birth injury occurs.

Recent Birth Injury Cases

Some examples of recent birth injury recoveries include:

  • $102 million for newborn who suffered traumatic and permanent brain damage because treaters failed to recognize obvious complications present in the fetal monitoring strips.
  • $35 million for newborn who suffered brain damage, cerebral palsy, and quadriplegia from delayed delivery.
  • $29.1 million for newborn who suffered severe brain damage after treaters failed to identify and treat an infection.
  • $23.1 million for newborn who suffered brain damage and cerebral palsy because a neonatologist was not on site at the hospital.
  • $13.3 million for newborn who suffered permanent injuries to arm during delivery.
  • $8.25 million for family of newborn who died due to an error in administration of prescription medication.

What should I do when my child suffers a birth injury?

Birth injuries cases can be complex, protracted, and expensive. The Kryder Law Group has decades of experience fighting for the rights of families with a medical malpractice claim whose children suffered birth injuries. If your child suffered a birth injury due to a medical error, contact our Chicago birth injury attorneys today for a free case evaluation. We will give you an honest assessment of your birth injury claim and give you an idea of the birth injury compensation you may be eligible for.

Chicago Birth Injury Lawyer
Chicago Birth Injury Lawyer

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