The moments leading up to and during childbirth are among the most dangerous in a person’s life. Even if all the pre-natal checkups indicate that a child is expected to be healthy at birth, unforeseen circumstances can jeopardize their future and may lead to injuries that have a permanent effect on their health.
When doctors, nurses, or other medical professionals make errors during the birthing process that result in an injury, they may have committed malpractice. However, legally proving that malpractice occurred is a complex matter that requires the aid of a medical expert—as well as often the advice of a skilled attorney.
Injured children and their families have the right to collect compensation following a medical malpractice incident that results in a birth injury. A Lake County birth injury lawyer could lead the way in demanding these payments.
Causes and Effects of Birth Injuries
A variety of birth injuries may have a serious impact upon the health of a child. The most obvious injuries are those that occur during the birthing process and come about from an emergency situation. Prominent examples of these include:
- Twisting or choking of the umbilical cord
- A lack of oxygen due to an obstructed windpipe
- Forceps injuries
- Separated joints or broken bones due to breach deliveries
A competent doctor should be able to recognize these problems as they arise and take appropriate remedial measures to protect the health of both mother and child.
A second class of birth injury can occur when a doctor fails to recognize potential complications that may arise due to a defect during the neo-natal phase. Modern medical science should allow medical professionals to recognize a potentially troublesome birth long before the delivery date. If doctors fail to recognize these risks, and a child is born with a preventable condition, that doctor may be civilly liable.
The Obligations of Doctors During Birth
Medical professionals always have a duty to treat their patients with an appropriate level of skill and care. Illinois Jury Instruction 105.01 specifically defines this responsibility as a duty to perform medical procedures with “the knowledge, skill, and care used by a reasonably careful [peer].” In simple terms, this means that the medical professional must act as another average professional would under the same or similar circumstances.
If a doctor’s negligence leads to an injury, they may carry civil liability to compensate the harmed individual for their losses. However, to prove medical malpractice following a birth injury, a plaintiff must rely upon the opinion and testimony of a medical expert.
These experts can examine the evidence in the case, issue their opinion as to how the defendant doctor failed in their duty, and testify to this effect at trial. For their part, a Lake County birth injury attorney could help a plaintiff understand what they must prove to prevail in their case and how they could work with the aforementioned expert to do so.
A Lake County Birth Injury Attorney May Be Able to Help
Birth injuries are serious matters that may jeopardize both the short and long-term health of a child. Many of these injuries are preventable if a doctor recognizes the risks and takes appropriate steps to mitigate. Accordingly, a failure to do so may rise to the level of medical malpractice.
A Lake County birth injury lawyer could help the families of children harmed by birth injuries to hold negligent doctors responsible for their actions. Call an experienced personal injury attorney today to schedule an initial consultation.