While the birth of a child is always a memorable event, most parents expect it to be happy rather than traumatic or tragic. Many medical professionals assist in minimizing painful or dangerous situations during childbirth, providing treatment to reduce pain, and handling complications. However, in some tragic cases, a medical professional’s negligent care can cause the exact harm they’re trained to prevent.
If your child has suffered an injury at birth, you may be wondering whether to consult with a birth injury lawyer and, if so, when you should. Explore the right time to hire a birth injury attorney, and how Nessler & Associates can help recover compensation for victims.
Has My Child Suffered a Birth Injury?
Many newborns experience mild birth injuries (like minor head swelling) that resolve themselves within a few days or weeks of birth. However, some birth injuries can cause long-term damage requiring intensive treatment. In severe cases, they can result in lifelong disability or even prove fatal.
Multiple causes and varieties of birth injuries can have long-lasting impacts on your child. For instance:
- Laboring for too long can result in a lack of oxygen to the baby, resulting in brain damage or death.
- Improper use of forceps or vacuum (suction) assistance can cause head trauma, brain injury, bleeding in the brain, and nerve damage.
- Moving the baby too roughly during birth can cause nerve damage, broken bones, or spinal cord injuries.
Some birth injuries may not be preventable, even with medical intervention. In other cases, birth injuries are caused by medical negligence and would not have occurred with proper care. For example, a doctor who fails to check on you during labor and delivery may not recognize signs of fetal distress or perform an emergency C-section.
Can I File a Claim for a Birth Injury?
You can only file a claim for a birth injury if you and/or your baby suffered damages due to medical negligence. Damages include long-lasting injuries or disabilities, financial difficulty due to unexpected medical costs, and preventable death. An attorney can determine if you have a case and review the damages you can recover.
For instance, many doctors administer oxytocin (Pitocin) to speed up labor. However, receiving too high a dose can cause rapid contractions, reducing the oxygen your baby receives through the umbilical cord. If your baby suffered brain damage as a result, the medication error might allow you to file a claim for any treatment related to the brain damage.
Proving medical negligence on your own can be extremely challenging. Hospitals and birthing centers are unlikely to admit fault, and the chaos of the delivery room can sometimes make it hard to determine when the negligence occurred. An experienced birth injury attorney can help you gather proof of medical malpractice.
When Should I Get an Attorney?
If you suspect your child has suffered a birth injury, consult with an attorney immediately. In most cases, the Illinois eight-year statute of limitations for a birth injury claim will apply, meaning that you cannot file a claim if eight or more years have passed since you became aware of the injury. Illinois has several statutes of limitations when it comes to birth injury claims, so it is best to discuss your specific circumstances with an experienced birth injury lawyer to ensure you don’t miss the deadline for filing.
Many people don’t realize they have a valid case, and those who do may not pursue it: hiring a lawyer is often costly, and most people fear losing the case. Consider a birth injury attorney who works on contingency, like Nessler & Associates, so you won’t owe anything unless you win.
How an Attorney Can Help Your Birth Injury Case
Since a birth injury case requires you to prove medical malpractice, you don’t want to take on the case by yourself. Your attorney can do far more than just prove medical negligence, however. They can also assist with the following:
Evaluating Your Damages
You may be able to recover different damages depending on your child’s injury. When you consult with your attorney, they can assess the facts of your case and determine what damages they can help you pursue.
Any form of personal injury lawsuit requires paperwork. When you hire an attorney, they will typically handle this paperwork for you, ensuring that you don’t miss any critical deadlines for filing. Your attorney will also handle other relevant papers, like drafting a demand letter.
While you will likely have copies of your and your baby’s medical records, identifying health information is protected under HIPAA, making most medical evidence difficult (if not impossible) to obtain by yourself. Your attorney can request information from the hospital or birthing center and any medical professionals involved.
You may also have other forms of evidence, like voicemails or text communication, that suggest or confirm medical negligence. An attorney can determine whether your evidence is permissible in court.
Seeking Input from Medical Professionals
Under Illinois law, you can only pursue a medical malpractice case if you or your baby received care that was subpar to what most trained medical professionals would administer. To determine if you and your child received subpar care, your attorney will consult with other medical professionals in the field to determine the typical standard of care.
Negotiating a Settlement
Treatment for a birth injury can quickly become expensive: your child may need treatment in the NICU, physical therapy, surgery, or even lifelong treatment. On your own, you likely won’t get any compensation at all or receive an offer that is less than what you and your child deserve. A birth injury attorney can recognize a low settlement and negotiate with the other party to get you a higher offer.
Arguing Your Case
Most birth injury cases don’t progress to court, instead ending in a settlement. However, if your case reaches the courtroom, your attorney can present your case in court and argue why you and your child should be compensated. You and your attorney can also have a medical expert testify in court to prove that you and your child received inadequate medical care.
Get Compensation for Your Child with Nessler & Associates
Caring for your child is stressful on its own, but caring for a child suffering from a birth injury can be even more so. Any good parent wants the best for their child, but providing the best for them is difficult when you can’t afford their medical care.
While you likely have too much on your mind to even consider filing a birth injury claim on your own, being forced to bear the weight of your child’s birth injury can feel unjust. After all, a medical professional is supposed to support your child’s health, not hinder it.
At Nessler & Associates, we want you to be able to focus on your child in the aftermath of their injury. Our attorneys will take over the legal aspects of your case and passionately pursue compensation on behalf of you and your child, ensuring you both get the payout you deserve. Our case results include a $1.65 million award due to birth trauma that resulted in cerebral palsy.
With a no-fee guarantee, you won’t need to worry about paying us: we’ll only be paid if we win your case. Call us at (800) 727-8010 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation today.