Birth Injury Lawyer in Chicago
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    Chicago Birth Injury Attorney

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    Injuries To Mothers And Babies Can Be Devastating

    A 2021 study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed some telling statistics surrounding injury to and mortality of mothers and babies during birth. During the time frame in which the study was conducted, complications during birth doubled. Additionally, the number of emergencies during delivery increased by 75 percent. This study, taken in conjunction with research performed by other health organizations, presents a frightening picture: American hospitals are failing to protect the safety of patients during the labor and delivery processes.

    If you experienced serious complications during childbirth or delivered a baby who suffered birth injuries, you likely have numerous questions and concerns.

    • What is the difference between a birth injury and a birth defect?
    • How common are birth injuries?
    • How can I tell if my doctor was responsible for the birth injury?
    • What are the common causes of trauma?

    At Clifford Law Offices, we are prepared to answer these questions while providing sound legal guidance from start to finish of your birth injury case.

    For more on the study referenced above and other related data sources, visit the CDC’s page on Severe Maternal Morbidity (the most serious complications of pregnancy) in the United States.

    What Is the Difference Between a Birth Injury and a Birth Defect?

    A birth defect is a medical issue that develops during pregnancy while the child is in utero. It can describe a health condition, abnormality, or illness present before birth and may be caused by genetics. Birth defects cannot always be predicted or prevented.

    A birth injury refers to physical trauma to a baby during or shortly after the process of labor and delivery. Birth injuries may be caused by delivery complications, difficult or prolonged labor, or medical malpractice, including the incorrect use of birth-assistive tools. Birth injuries are often preventable and can have devastating impacts on the immediate and long-term health of both mother and child.

    How Common Are Birth Injuries?

    Birth injuries, adverse events, and trauma that occur at birth affect thousands of infants in the United States each year. Based on the most recent data available, the birth trauma rate in the U.S. is approximately 1.9 injuries per 1,000 live births.

    Sadly, not all infants survive their birth injuries. According to the CDC, birth injuries were the fourth leading cause of infant death in 2021. Birth injuries accounted for 20 percent of the 20,000 infant deaths recorded in 2021 or one in five infant deaths. Infant mortality data from the National Center for Health Statistics shows a slight increase in infant deaths from 5.4 per every 1,000 births in 2021 to a rate of 5.6 per every 1,000 births.

    How Can I Tell if My Doctor Was Responsible for the Birth Injury?

    Determining whether a doctor or another health care provider was responsible for causing a birth injury can be difficult. It often requires a comprehensive examination of related medical records and expert opinions from birth injury specialists. In many cases, extensive legal analysis is necessary to determine liability for a birth injury.

    A Chicago birth injury attorney can help you gather all medical records related to prenatal care, labor, delivery, and postnatal care. These records will provide insights into the events leading up to the incident. Your lawyer will assess whether your doctor properly identified and managed any prenatal health issues, as well as how your doctor performed during labor and delivery.

    Your lawyer will look for any indicators that your doctor deviated from the required medical standards of care. Specialists such as obstetricians and neonatologists may review the medical records to give their expert opinion. If there is evidence of a breach of the standard of care in connection to the birth injury, your doctor can be held liable.

    What Are the Common Causes of Trauma?

    Trauma during the birthing process can result from numerous factors, many of which are preventable when the medical practitioners involved adhere to the appropriate standards of care. Common examples include:

    • Large infant size
    • Breech birth presentation
    • Maternal health conditions
    • Fetal distress and oxygen deprivation
    • Failure to identify risk factors
    • Improper birthing techniques
    • Incorrect use of tools and instruments, such as forceps or vacuums
    • Failure to monitor vital signs
    • Shoulder dystocia issues
    • C-section complications

    Many births encounter complications naturally, and birth injuries cannot always be avoided even with proper medical care. However, if there are signs that medical staff behaved negligently or acted below the standard of care, it can be considered medical malpractice.

    Complications Can Arise During Prenatal Care or the Childbirth Process

    2024 Best Medical Malpractice Lawyers in ChicagoBirth injuries can be devastating and life-altering. Both the child and mother are at risk for serious injuries and lifelong conditions. If a medical professional has acted negligently, your family could face numerous injuries, including:

    • Cerebral palsy: a lifelong neurological condition affecting movement, coordination, balance, and muscle control. It may also impact speech and communication.
    • Brachial plexus: injuries to the complex network of nerves located in the shoulder and neck, often caused by excessive stretching or compression of the infant’s shoulder during delivery. This can result in weakness or paralysis of the affected arm.
    • Shoulder dystocia: a birth complication that occurs when the baby’s head becomes stuck behind the mother’s pelvic bone, preventing smooth passage. This can lead to other complications, such as brachial plexus injuries.
    • Birth hypoxia: insufficient oxygen supply reaching a newborn before, during, or shortly after birth, potentially resulting in damage to vital organs, including the brain.
    • Erb’s palsy: a type of brachial plexus injury that can cause weakness, limited range of motion, or paralysis in one arm. Surgery may be needed to repair damaged nerves in severe cases.
    • Forceps injuries: birth injuries caused by the use of forceps during childbirth, including scalp injuries, lacerations, facial bruising, nerve damage, facial paralysis, and intracranial hemorrhage.
    • Breech birth complications: challenges caused by a baby in the incorrect position for childbirth, where the feet or bottom are presented first rather than the head. This can lead to head entrapment, umbilical cord prolapse, neonatal distress, and delayed progression.
    • Vacuum extraction injuries: harm caused by a vacuum that may be used to assist childbirth by applying suction to the baby’s scalp. If not performed correctly, scalp injuries, fluid collection in the baby’s head, cephalohematoma, and other injuries can occur.
    • Spinal cord injuries: damage to the infant’s spinal cord that can occur due to forces exerted upon the baby during labor and delivery, such as spinal cord compression, contusion, fracture, or dislocation.

    Procedural errors can also lead to complications. For example, failure to recognize fetal distress or failure to perform a timely cesarean section can result in significant injuries. Our lawyers will work with a network of trusted medical professionals to gain a clear understanding of what happened and the resulting injuries. Trust us to aggressively advocate on your behalf through insurance settlement negotiations and courtroom litigation.

    How to Identify OB/GYN Negligence

    Best Lawyers Badge Medical Malpractice 2024Not all mother and child injuries during labor and delivery stem from a physician’s fault. Sometimes, an obstetrician or gynecologist (OB/GYN) does his/her very best for the health and safety of mother and baby, but something may still go wrong. If you assess your situation and discover breaches of a physician’s medical duties, consider filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. Signs of medical malpractice surrounding the birth of a child include:

    • An understaffed hospital room
    • Inattentive physician
    • Little to no checking of your (and the baby’s) vital signs
    • Mother or infant mistreatment
    • Inappropriate use of birthing tools
    • Failure to recommend a C-section until it was too late
    • Pulling or yanking on the baby’s arm
    • Lack of informed consent for a procedure
    • Dirty, dark, and dingy birthing centers
    • Inadequate prenatal care
    • Nurse or midwife errors
    • Undiagnosed diabetic ketoacidosis in pregnancy
    • Failure to diagnose and manage preeclampsia
    • Failure to properly respond to fetal distress

    It is an OB/GYN’s job to fulfill the accepted standards of medical care while delivering a child. Although not all child injuries result from someone else’s fault, many do. Consult an attorney about your potential medical malpractice claim after your child receives an injury diagnosis soon after birth.

    Most Common Examples of Medical Negligence in Birth Injury Cases

    Various examples of medical negligence or malpractice can result in birth injuries. Statistically, however, some types of mistakes are more frequent than others. Examples include:

    • Inappropriate use of birthing tools: misusing tools such as forceps and vacuums during the birthing process, potentially resulting in birth trauma to various parts of the baby’s body. Proper training and adherence to established medical guidelines are crucial for the safe use of birthing tools.
    • Inadequate monitoring: the failure to properly monitor the condition and vital signs of both mother and baby, which can result in a doctor missing signs of distress or complications. This can greatly increase the risk of adverse outcomes.
    • Lack of informed consent: the failure to adequately inform and educate expecting parents about the potential risks, benefits, and alternatives associated with certain medical procedures during childbirth, such as the use of assistive tools or a C-section.
    • Understaffing: a health care facility having an inadequate number of qualified staff members to provide the correct level of care to expectant mothers and infants. This can lead to a range of potential risks, including delayed response to emergencies, inattention, lack of patient monitoring, increased workload, staff fatigue, and inadequate communication.
    • Failure to perform a C-section: a doctor failing to recommend or perform a C-section in an emergency, such as when there are signs of preeclampsia, fetal distress or vaginal birth presents an excessive level of risk. Delayed C-sections can cause oxygen deprivation in the baby (birth asphyxia), traumatic brain injury, Cerebral Palsy, and wrongful death.

    Any mistake made by a health care provider that a reasonably prudent doctor would not have made in the same circumstances can constitute medical malpractice if it causes injury to the mother or child.

    What to Do After a Birth Injury

    It is normal for parents to feel confused and emotionally distraught after a child is diagnosed with a birth injury. Remembering a few steps to take can help your family strengthen a birth injury claim and ensure the protection of your legal rights during this difficult time:

    1. Find a new doctor. Ensure your child has proper medical care but do not continue seeing the same delivery doctor or attending the hospital where you gave birth. You should discontinue all communication with your delivery medical providers.
    2. Follow your infant’s treatment plan. Keep up with the medical care and treatments recommended by your new doctor. Skipping treatments or missing appointments could jeopardize your birth injury claim.
    3. Document everything. Keep a detailed record of all documents and information related to your case, including medical records, treatments, procedures, and communications with the health care provider or an insurance company.
    4. Consult with an attorney. Contact a birth injury lawyer in Chicago at Clifford Law Offices as soon as possible to find out if you have grounds for a claim. We will review your case and guide you through the next steps to take at no cost or obligation to hire us.
    5. File a claim without delay. In Illinois, birth injury claims must be filed within eight years of the date that the child was injured. If the child suffered a disability due to a birth injury, the deadline can be tolled until the child turns 22.

    Speaking to our attorneys can help you understand your legal rights and options as a victim of a birth injury. Your lawyer can help you file the necessary legal documents to pursue justice and fair financial compensation for your losses.

    Should You File a Lawsuit?

    Many of the potential injuries from a birthing error can have lifelong consequences. Cerebral palsy, for example, is a group of neurological disorders that may arise from a lack of oxygen to an infant’s brain during delivery. Any impact on the development of a baby’s brain could cause cerebral palsy and related issues.

    Cerebral palsy currently has no cure and can impact a child’s ability to think, speak, and move. This is just one example of many different injuries a child could suffer from medical malpractice.

    Fighting for your child’s future with a medical malpractice lawsuit can offer the justice, closure, and financial relief you need to move forward. Your family can receive financial reimbursement for hefty medical bills, lost wages, your child’s future losses, and pain and suffering with help from an attorney.

    What Damages Could You Obtain?

    A medical malpractice lawsuit could result in financial recovery for your injury-related medical bills, lost income, physical pain, emotional suffering, and mental anguish. Your child could be eligible for lost quality of life and lifelong medical cost coverage if he or she suffers a permanent injury.

    If the courts find the doctor’s actions particularly egregious, you could also receive punitive damages. This additional award serves to punish the defendant for gross negligence or malice. Clifford Law Offices regularly secures high-value settlements and verdicts for medical malpractice clients.

    How Can a Birth Injury Lawyer Help?

    Hiring a birth injury attorney in Chicago can be highly beneficial to you and your family in many ways. If your child suffered an injury during the birthing process, a lawyer can conduct a thorough investigation of the incident to search for evidence of negligence or malpractice.

    Your lawyer will apply a deep understanding of Illinois’ medical malpractice laws to your case and consult specialized medical experts to provide critical testimony. If your case cannot reach a fair settlement and must go to trial, an attorney’s experience in birth injury litigation can prove invaluable. Your lawyer will fight for maximum compensation for your family while you focus on healing.

    Why Choose Clifford Law Offices?

    Mother and child injuries during the birthing process are the last thing any family should face when welcoming a new member to the family. If you believe such harms have happened to you or your infant, talk with another physician for an honest conversation about how to move forward medically, then speak with one of our attorneys. Our lawyers will review your case and give you an honest, unbiased opinion about your legal options.

    When you discuss your case with our lawyers for your birth injury case, you benefit from attorneys with more than 30 years of legal experience. You will receive information and updates about your case through an always-open line of communication with your lawyer. You will also have in-depth conversations with a legal firm that cares about you and your family. If you are ready to receive help from results-driven birth injury attorneys, contact our firm.

    Discuss Your Case With a Knowledgeable Chicago Birth Injury Attorney

    Headquartered in Chicago, Clifford Law Offices is prepared to represent clients throughout Illinois and across the nation. Call us at (312) 899-9090 or complete our email form to schedule a consultation.

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