Illinois Injuries from Prematurity Attorney
Prematurity, or birth before forty weeks of gestation, is one of the most common pregnancy complications. Infants born prior to thirty-six weeks of gestation usually have serious health issues. Their hearts, lungs, kidneys, and other internal organs are seriously underdeveloped. Moreover, severely premature babies usually have sensory problems. These injuries often multiply over time. For example, if Susan’s brain is underdeveloped, once she goes to school, she falls further behind every month.
The mother’s medical history is often the biggest prematurity risk factor. Only healthy mothers are physically capable of carrying children to term. A history of premature deliveries is another red flag. Once established, these patterns rarely break. Additionally, multiple pregnancies (twins and triplets) almost always involve prematurity issues. Unfortunately, many doctors dismiss these red flags as “borderline” conditions, so they do not react appropriately.
In contrast, the diligent Illinois premature infant injuries attorneys at Wais, Vogelstein, Forman, Koch & Norman never automatically take the path of least resistance. Instead, we look for ways to obtain maximum compensation for your family’s serious physical and emotional injuries. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages are usually available in these cases as well.
Legal Components of Your Claim for Damages
If a baby is premature, the medical bills are usually staggering. Even if there are no serious complications, and there usually are, most babies must stay in the NICU until they would have reached forty weeks gestation (e.g. a thirty-six week preemie must stay in the NICU for a month). Most neonatal intensive care units cost over $3,000 per day. So, these costs add up quickly.
Compensation is available if an Chicago premature infant injury attorney establishes negligence, or a lack of care. There are basically four legal components in a negligence case:
- Duty: Legally, most doctors in Illinois have a fiduciary duty. They must disregard priorities like spending time with their families and making money, so they can exclusively focus on what is best for the patient.
- Breach: Attorneys compare the standard of care, which is normally high, with the care administered. Many doctors take shortcuts somewhere in the prenatal care or labor & delivery process. Because of the high duty of care, almost any shortcut is a breach of duty.
- Cause: There must be a direct connection between the breach of duty and the prematurity or other injuries. Additionally, the injuries must have been a foreseeable (possible) consequence of the breach of duty. If a nurse drops a baby, that’s usually not a foreseeable consequence of physician negligence.
- Damages: The victim/plaintiff must be fully aware of all physical, emotional, and other damages. Frequently, families are not fully aware of injuries related to prematurity until many years after the birth.
Attorneys must prove all these elements, especially breach, by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not).
What to Expect in a Birth Injury Claim
Some birth injury claims settle almost overnight. However, if there is any question about liability, the extent of damages, or another issue, and there usually is, attorneys normally file legal paperwork to kickstart the process.
At that point, many insurance companies file procedural motions, hoping to convince a judge to throw the case out of court. However, as long as attorneys lay the proper foundation for their legal claims, as outlined above, these motions almost always fail.
If the case remains unsettled as the trial date approaches, most Cook County judges refer it to mediation. During mediation, both sides have a duty to negotiate in good faith. They must be willing to make some compromises, if that’s what is necessary to finalize a deal. Mostly because of this additional duty, these court-supervised negotiation sessions are about 90 percent successful.
Rely on an Experienced Chicago Cook County Attorney
Injury victims are usually entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced premature infant injuries attorney in Illinois, contact Wais, Vogelstein, Forman, Koch & Norman by going online or calling 410-567-0800. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.