Taking the Confusion Out of Common Injury and Estate Planning Worries: Answers to Your Frequent Questions
The most important job for any attorney is making sure that his client understands every aspect of her case. Although some lawyers are comfortable keeping their clients in the dark, we feel that you deserve more. You deserve to have all of your questions and concerns addressed in order to pursue your own case confidently and successfully. This is why we take the initiative to answer common questions that you may have even before you even step into our office. If you don't see your question answered below, please contact our office at 855-522-5291.
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Was my baby’s cerebral palsy caused by a doctor’s mistake?
You have just received a devastating diagnosis: your baby has cerebral palsy. No one seems to be able to tell you why this happened, but you have heard that a mistake during delivery could be the cause. The only way to find out could be to educate yourself and call a medical malpractice attorney.
The Basics of Cerebral Palsy
The term cerebral palsy refers to a group of disorders that affect brain and nervous system functions. In most cases, cerebral palsy is caused by injuries to or abnormalities of the brain as the baby grows in the womb, but can also be the result of a head injury, brain infection, or bleeding on the brain during the first two years of life, when the child’s brain is still developing. Cerebral palsy can also be the result of complications during labor and delivery. Depending on the type and severity of brain damage that has occurred, children with cerebral palsy may experience the following:
- Lack of muscle control and coordination
- Difficulty breathing
- Lack of bladder or bowel control
- Difficulty eating
- Visual impairment or blindness
- Hearing loss
- Food aspiration (the sucking of food or fluid into the lungs)
- Gastroesophageal reflux (spitting up)
- Speech problems
- Tooth decay
- Sleep disorders
- Osteoporosis (weak, brittle bones)
- Behavior problems
- Intellectual disabilities
There is no cure for cerebral palsy and treatment is focused on helping the person become as independent as possible through therapy, rehabilitation, and home health care.
If Negligence Caused Your Baby’s Cerebral Palsy, Get Help
While it was once believed that oxygen deprivation during delivery was the primary cause of cerebral palsy, it is now understood that this accounts for only about nine percent of cases. In the remaining cases, premature birth, complications during birth, and problems occurring immediately after birth cause the damage to the brain. In any one of these scenarios, a mistake or negligence on the part of medical staff could be to blame. Don’t face your child’s uncertain future without at least finding out if you might be able to recover damages. Fill out our online contact form now.
Will my baby’s brachial plexus injury cause permanent damage?
If you experienced a difficult vaginal delivery and later notice signs that your baby seems to be having trouble moving his arm or hand, he may have suffered an injury to the nerves around his shoulder known as the brachial plexus. Your doctor may tell you the weakness is temporary, but, in some cases, the damage is permanent and you may need the help of a medical malpractice attorney to get the financial assistance you will need to care for your baby.
How Did This Happen?
In a brachial plexus injury, the nerves in the shoulder area are damaged, which can cause weakness or paralysis in the baby’s arm. This can happen during difficult deliveries, including the delivery of larger-than-average babies, breech deliveries, and deliveries during which the shoulder gets stuck after the baby’s head emerges, known as shoulder dystocia. During these problematic births, any of the following can happen:
- The infant’s shoulder is grabbed and pulled during a head-first delivery.
- Pressure is put on the baby’s raised shoulder during a breech (bottom-first) delivery.
- The baby’s head and neck are pulled to the side as the shoulders pass through the birth canal.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Depending on the extent of the damage to the nerves, the baby may demonstrate weakness in all or just part of his arm. While weakness restricted to just the upper arm is known as a brachial plexus injury, conditions affecting more of the arm are identified as follows:
- Erb’s paralysis. In this condition, both the upper and lower parts of the arm are affected.
- Klumpke paralysis. Along with the upper and lower arm, this condition also affects the hand, impeding the baby’s ability to make a fist or grasp objects.
Symptoms of the injury are usually apparent immediately after birth, but, with short hospital stays for new mothers, they frequently go unnoticed. Signs you may notice soon after bringing your baby home include:
- No movement in the baby’s upper or lower arm or hand.
- Absence of the Moro reflex—a movement reaction to a sudden loss of support—on the affected side.
- Arm bent at the elbow and held against the body.
- Weak or decreased grip on the affected side.
Gentle massage and range-of-motion exercises may help the newborn regain use of the arm. If the condition does not improve after a few weeks, a specialist should be consulted; surgery may be necessary.
Whose Fault Is It?
While you may not want to place blame on the doctor or hospital for your baby’s injury, the fact is that your baby did not have a brachial plexus injury before he was delivered. The doctor’s or midwife’s actions and the decision to not perform a Caesarian section led to the injury your baby has suffered. If the damage turns out to be permanent, your child will have a lifelong disability. Call us toll free at 855-522-5291 to find out how we can help.
When should I contact a wrongful death attorney?
Speaking with an attorney as soon as possible can help you determine if you may be entitled to file a claim and if so, how to proceed. An experienced wrongful death lawyer can help you determine who may be eligible to file a claim, what damages may be recoverable, and more.
Who can be held liable in a wrongful death accident?
The individual responsible for the death of a loved one will commonly be held responsible however it may be more than one person depending on what caused the death. For example, a fatal accident caused by vehicle failure may call on the manufacturer to be held responsible as well the driver for failing to get the problem fixed before a collision occurred.
What is the wrongful death statute of limitations in Illinois?
In Illinois a wrongful death claim must be filed within two years of when the individual passed away. However, if a person who is entitled to recover benefits is within the age of 18 they may be permitted to file within two years of turning 18 years of age.
What types of wrongful death damages may we be entitled to?
If the decedent was the primary breadwinner of a household, the financial impact is immediately felt. Those who wish to file a wrongful death claim may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, medical bills, loss of consortium, and more.
Who may file a wrongful death claim?
The decedent’s spouse, children, or parents may bring forth a wrongful death lawsuit against the parties that caused the death.