Illinois NICU Attorney
Advanced care in a neonatal intensive care unit is often almost literally a life-saving experience. NICUs have diagnostic tests and treatment equipment that the regular labor, delivery, and recovery areas of a hospital do not have. Furthermore, the NICU staff, specifically the doctors and nurses, usually have additional training and experience when it comes to neonatal health. So, from a medical standpoint, “your baby needs to go to the NICU” might be the best words a new family hears after the birth of a new baby, especially if there were some complications.
However, from an emotional and financial standpoint, “your baby needs to go to the NICU” are often the most devastating words a family can hear in the immediate wake of a birth. Emotionally, a prolonged NICU stay is very hard on a family. Financially, most insurance companies grumble about the cost or even refuse to pay the bill. As a result, many doctors either do not refer babies to the NICU or clear them to return home early. In other words, the doctor gives in to the patient’s wants instead of addressing the patient’s needs.
The experienced Illinois NICU attorneys at Wais, Vogelstein, Forman, Koch & Norman know how to balance wants and needs. While we never tell families what they want to hear, we regularly communicate with them, so they know what is happening in their cases. Almost everyone wants to be in the loop. We also understand that our clients need maximum compensation for their serious injuries. So, we work hard to obtain that compensation.
Building Your Claim for Damages
This compensation is available if a victim/plaintiff proves negligence, or a lack of care, by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not. In the Prairie State, there are basically four legal elements in a negligence case:
- Duty: Before they even see their first patients, doctors have years of education, training, and experience. Once they start practicing, they must complete ongoing requirements in these areas. So, a doctor has a very high duty of care (level of legal responsibility) in Illinois.
- Breach: Essentially, a breach of duty is a lack of care. Spilling a glass of water in the delivery room is an accident. Spilling a glass of wine in the delivery room is a breach of care, because the doctor should not be drinking.
- Cause: Compensation is available if there is a direct connection between the breach, which was discussed above, and the damages, which are discussed below. In some cases, the zone of danger expands, and an indirect connection is sufficient. The zone of danger rule comes up a lot in birth injury cases.
- Damages: Tangible injuries related to a NICU referral error usually include the medical bills related to revision surgery and lifelong care. Intangible injuries include the emotional distress that the birth injury caused.
A preponderance of the evidence means more likely than not. That’s one of the lowest burdens of proof in Illinois law. So, a little bit of evidence on points like breach, cause, and damages goes a long way.
Resolving Your Claim for Damages
Chicago NICU attorneys settle most negligence claims out of court. If informal settlement negotiations do not bear fruit, and they often do not, most judges refer cases to mediation.
During this court-supervised settlement negotiation session, which usually lasts a full day, a third-party mediator works with both sides and tries to facilitate a settlement. Since both sides have a duty to negotiate in good faith, mediation is usually successful.
Out-of-court settlements usually significantly benefit victim/plaintiffs. These resolutions end legal claims sooner, so victims get their compensation earlier. Additionally, out-of-court settlements give victims more control over the outcome.
Rely on an Experienced Chicago Cook County Attorney
Injury victims are usually entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced NICU attorney in Chicago, contact Wais, Vogelstein, Forman, Koch & Norman by going online or calling 410-567-0800. We handle these claims on a nationwide basis.