When your child suffers an injury, you can feel just as much pain as he or she does. An injury caused by the negligence of a doctor or health care provider during pregnancy or childbirth is a tragic and devastating event that comes at a significant emotional and financial cost. Holding the responsible party accountable is an important legal decision that can be difficult to face alone. The birth injury attorneys at Leopold & Associates have helped Chicago residents pursue these medical malpractice claims for over 30 years. We will listen to your concerns and answer any questions you may have about bringing your lawsuit.Causes of Pregnancy and Birth Complications
Obstetricians, nurses, and other health care providers are held to a professional standard of medical care when treating expectant patients throughout their pregnancy and labor. When physicians fail to perform at the acceptable standard of the medical community and their negligence, in turn, harms a patient, a medical malpractice claim may arise. Some examples of negligence that may lead to pregnancy and birth complications are: failing to diagnose or treat specific conditions, including cervical incompetency, gestational diabetes and pregnancy-induced hypertension or eclampsia, intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), inadequate monitoring of the health of the mother and baby during pregnancy, failing to prevent premature labor, and failing to perform a timely cesarean section.Proving Negligence in a Medical Malpractice Claim
Medical malpractice is a legal term to describe professional negligence in the health care field. To establish a medical malpractice claim, a plaintiff must prove the proper standard of care, a deviation from that standard, an injury caused by that deviation, and damages. In doctor-patient relationships, a doctor has a duty to exercise the same care and diligence as a qualified practitioner would under same or similar circumstances, in the same or similar geographic area. The plaintiff must prove that the doctor deviated from that professional standard, thus breaching the duty. In addition, it must be shown that the resulting injury was caused as a result of the doctor’s failure to exercise due skill or care. Generally, expert testimony is required to establish these elements in medical cases.
The final requirement is the element of damages, or compensation for the injury. These may include economic damages, such as the cost of past and future medical expenses, and lost income and earning capacity. It can also include non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering, disability or disfigurement. In Illinois, there is currently no cap on the amount of compensation that a plaintiff can receive from a jury in a medical malpractice suit.
An important consideration to keep in mind is the applicable statute of limitations, which dictates the deadline by which a claim may be filed. In Illinois, medical malpractice suits must typically be filed within two years from the time that the injury becomes known, or should have been known, to the plaintiff, and no later than four years after the date that the negligent act occurred. However, in Illinois, there are a number of exceptions that toll the statute of limitations period. For example, in situations involving minors, such as injuries from pregnancy and birth complications, there may be exceptions. If the patient was under 18 at the time, the claim must be filed within eight years of the negligent act, but no later than the time the patient turns 22. For lifelong mental disabilities, it is possible that the claim may not be barred at any time. An attorney with experience in cases related to pregnancy complications can help you determine whether you have a timely medical malpractice claim.Chicago Lawyers Serving Medical Malpractice Victims
If you believe you or your child has been the victim of medical malpractice, the Chicago lawyers at Leopold & Associates have the resources and experience necessary to help you pursue your claim. We are proud to serve clients throughout Illinois and Cook County, including in Des Plaines, Evanston, Skokie, and Chicago. To learn more about how we can assist you, call 312-781-6212 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.