Chicago Birth Injury Attorney

Birth injuries can have a lifelong impact on a child’s wellbeing. When a healthcare provider’s negligence contributes to your child’s birth injury, you can hold him or her liable through a birth injury lawsuit. The costs to treat a birth injury, as well as the expenses associated with raising a child with special needs, make it crucial for Chicago victims to recover damages against the liable party.

At Ankin Law, we understand the true impact a birth injury has on the family unit. We will listen to your story, conduct a thorough investigation, and work diligently to hold responsible parties accountable for their actions or negligence. Our dedicated team of experienced birth injury attorneys have a proven track record of advocating for families affected by negligent medical professionals.

Don’t risk your family’s future. A Chicago birth injury attorney with Ankin Law can provide you with the guidance you need to secure a brighter future for your child.

Call the Chicago birth injury lawyers at Ankin Law to secure your family’s financial future. (312) 600-0000.

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Causes of Birth Injuries

Birth injuries refer to physical trauma that occurs to an infant during or shortly after birth. Understanding the common causes of birth injuries is crucial for parents and healthcare professionals alike. By identifying these causes, parents can determine who is responsible for the injuries their child suffered and hold the at-fault party accountable for the resulting losses. 

Common causes of birth injuries in Chicago hospitals include:

Prolonged or Difficult Labor:

Difficult labor can increase the risk of birth complications. A difficult labor may arise from abnormal fetal position, cephalopelvic disproportion, or a failure to progress. 

Fetal Distress:

Fetal distress occurs when a baby’s oxygen supply is compromised during the labor and delivery process. This is often caused by umbilical cord problems, placental abruption (the separation of the placenta from the uterine wall), or meconium aspiration (the baby’s inhalation of fecal matter). Lack of oxygen can result in brain damage and other birth injuries.

Missed or Delayed Medical Intervention:

Medical intervention is critical during labor and delivery. If healthcare providers miss the signs of fetal distress, birth injuries can occur. For example, a delay in performing a cesarean section (C-section) or the improper use of delivery tools like forceps or vacuum extractors can lead to birth trauma.

Maternal Health Conditions:

A mother’s health plays a significant role in the outcome of childbirth. Some maternal health conditions can increase the risk of a child sustaining birth injuries. For instance, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, infections, and high blood pressure can have adverse effects on the baby’s well-being. Additionally, maternal drug or alcohol use can also contribute to birth injuries.

Multiple Births:

The birth of twins, triplets, or higher-order multiples carries a higher risk of birth injuries. The challenges of multiple deliveries, such as restricted space in the womb and the need for complex delivery techniques, can increase the likelihood of birth trauma.


Macrosomia refers to a condition where a baby is larger than average at birth, typically over 8 pounds 13 ounces. This can occur due to maternal diabetes, obesity, or genetic factors. The size mismatch between the baby and the birth canal can lead to a difficult delivery.


The ideal position for delivery is head-first with the baby’s face down. However, malposition, such as breech (feet-first) or transverse (sideways) presentations, can complicate the delivery process. 


Premature birth occurs when a baby is born before 37 weeks of gestation. Premature infants may have underdeveloped organs and are vulnerable to birth injuries.

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    What Are Common Types of Birth Injuries?

    Identifying the signs of a birth injury can help ensure that a baby receives prompt medical treatment. Early diagnosis and appropriate medical interventions can significantly improve outcomes for affected infants. Common types of birth injuries include brachial plexus injuries, cerebral palsy, fractures, perinatal asphyxia, facial nerve damage, and caput succedaneum/cephalohematoma. Parents and healthcare professionals should work together to ensure early detection, proper management, and support for infants affected by birth injuries, promoting their well-being and quality of life.

    Brachial Plexus Injuries

    Brachial plexus injuries occur when the nerves in the arm and shoulder are damaged during delivery. These injuries can be caused by excessive force applied during a difficult delivery, or from the baby’s shoulder getting stuck behind the mother’s pelvic bone. The injury can range from mild stretching to severe nerve tearing, resulting in conditions such as Erb’s palsy or Klumpke’s palsy. Physical therapy and, surgery can help to restore functionality in some cases.

    Cerebral Palsy

    Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder caused by brain damage sustained during birth. It affects the victim’s motor skills and coordination. The exact cause of cerebral palsy can be difficult to identify, but it often results from oxygen deprivation, infections, or trauma during childbirth. Early intervention, therapy, and assistive devices can help manage the condition and improve the child’s quality of life.


    Fractures, especially of the collarbone or clavicle, are common during difficult deliveries. Large infant size, breech presentation, or the improper use of forceps or vacuum extractors can contribute to these injuries. Most fractures fully heal with proper treatment.

    Perinatal Asphyxia

    Perinatal asphyxia refers to a lack of oxygen or blood flow to the baby’s brain during delivery. This injury can be caused by a variety of factors, including problems with the placenta, umbilical cord complications, or prolonged labor. Perinatal asphyxia can lead to long-term neurological damage, developmental delays, or even death.

    Facial Nerve Damage

    Facial nerve damage often occurs as a result of improper forceps use. This can lead to temporary or permanent paralysis of the facial muscles on one side of the face. Some cases resolve with treatment in weeks or months, while others require surgical intervention.

    Caput Succedaneum and Cephalohematoma

    Caput succedaneum is the swelling and bruising of the baby’s scalp, while cephalohematoma refers to bleeding beneath the cranial bones. These conditions result from prolonged or difficult labor. Although they typically resolve on their own over time, they may increase the risk of jaundice or infection.

    What Can You Recover in a Birth Injury Lawsuit?

    A birth injury can have a lifelong impact on the affected child and his or her family. If your child has suffered a birth injury due to medical negligence or malpractice in Illinois, you have rights. Filing a birth injury lawsuit can not only hold responsible parties accountable, but also allow you to recover compensation for the costs associated with treating your child. Compensatory damages are commonly awarded in birth injury lawsuits. These damages are intended to compensate the victim for the losses associated with sustaining an injury. In a birth injury claim, damages typically include:
    • Medical Treatment Costs: The medical expenses associated with treating a birth injury can be substantial. In a birth injury lawsuit, victims can recover damages for past, present, and future medical treatment.
    • Rehabilitation and Therapy: Birth injuries often require long-term rehabilitation and therapy to help the child regain functionality and reach his or her full potential. Compensation can be sought for physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and other forms of rehabilitative care. These services aim to improve the child’s quality of life and mitigate the long-term effects of the injury.
    • Pain and Suffering: Birth injuries can cause emotional pain and suffering for both the child and his or her family. Compensation for pain and suffering acknowledges the anguish, mental distress, and emotional trauma endured as a result of the birth injury.
    • Loss of Enjoyment of Life: When a child sustains a birth injury, his or her ability to engage in activities and experiences associated with developmental milestones may be impacted. Compensation for loss of enjoyment of life accounts for the limitations placed on the child’s ability to partake in recreational activities, hobbies, and social interactions.
    • Reduced Future Earning Capacity: In severe cases, birth injuries can result in permanent disabilities that hinder the child’s ability to earn a living in the future. Parents can seek compensation for the loss of the child’s future earning capacity, taking into account his or her age, educational prospects, and potential career opportunities. This helps secure financial stability for the child’s long-term needs.
    • Home Modifications and Assistive Devices: Birth injuries may require modifications to the child’s living environment, such as wheelchair ramps, accessible bathrooms, or home renovations to accommodate mobility needs. Compensatory damages cover these costs, as well as the expenses associated with assistive devices like wheelchairs, braces, or communication aids.
    • Special Education and Educational Support: Children with birth injuries often require specialized education and support services to meet their unique needs. Compensation can be pursued to cover the costs of special education programs, tutors, individualized learning plans, and any additional educational resources necessary to ensure the child receives an adequate education despite his or her injury.
    By understanding the damages that can be recovered in a birth injury lawsuit, victims and their families can seek full and fair financial recovery. An experienced birth injury attorney with Ankin Law can guide you through the complexities of the legal system, fight for your rights, and help secure the compensation needed to provide the best possible care and support for your child’s future.

    How Long Do You Have to File a Birth Injury Lawsuit in Illinois?

    If your child has suffered a birth injury, time is of the essence when it comes to filing a lawsuit. The state imposes a statute of limitations, which determines the deadline within victims must bring their case. Failing to file within this timeframe can cause you to lose your right to seek compensation. 

    In Illinois, the statute of limitations for filing a birth injury lawsuit is generally eight years from the date the injury occurred. This means claimants have a limited window of opportunity to take legal action and pursue justice for their child’s birth injury. 

    Additionally, Illinois has a specific provision for medical malpractice cases involving minors. If the injured child is under the age of 18, the statute of limitations may be tolled or paused until the child reaches the age of majority. This means the eight-year time limit may not start counting down until the child turns 18. In these cases, victims of birth injuries can file a claim until their 22nd birthday.

    While exceptions exist, it is strongly encouraged to file a birth injury lawsuit as soon as possible. Delaying legal action can have serious consequences, including the loss of crucial evidence and potential challenges in gathering witness testimonies. Moreover, waiting until the last minute can lead to unnecessary stress and financial hardship during the formative years of your child’s life. Taking immediate action allows your birth injury lawyer to conduct a thorough investigation, gather evidence, consult with medical experts, and build a strong case on your behalf. It also ensures that your child’s rights are protected and his or her future needs are accounted for.

    If you believe your child has suffered a birth injury due to medical negligence or malpractice, don’t hesitate. Consult with an experienced birth injury attorney who can assess the details of your case, guide you through the legal process, and help you meet the necessary deadlines. The sooner you act, the better your chances of achieving a favorable outcome.

    Maternal Birth Injuries

    Childbirth can also carry risks for the mother. Maternal birth injuries encompass physical trauma or complications that occur during pregnancy, labor, or delivery. These serious injuries can have a profound impact on a mother’s physical and emotional well-being. In some cases, maternal birth injuries can change the course of an expectant mother’s life. When a maternal birth injury is sustained due to a healthcare provider’s negligence or malpractice, mothers can seek compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit.

     Injuries commonly sustained by mothers during pregnancy or delivery include:

    Perineal Tears:

    Perineal tears are a common birth injury during vaginal delivery. They occur when the area between the vagina and anus tears as the baby passes through the birth canal. Perineal tears are classified into four degrees, ranging from mild to severe. Proper medical care, including appropriate suturing and pain management, is crucial for healing and preventing long-term complications.


    An episiotomy is a surgical incision made in the perineum to widen the vaginal opening during delivery. While episiotomies were once routine, their use has decreased. However, when performed unnecessarily or without proper medical indication, episiotomies can lead to complications such as pain, infection, and extended recovery periods. Careful consideration of the need for an episiotomy and exploration of alternative methods of managing childbirth are essential in preventing unnecessary postpartum hardship to mothers.

    Pelvic Floor Disorders:

    Pelvic floor disorders are another common injury sustained from childbirth. These include pelvic organ prolapse, urinary incontinence, and fecal incontinence. The strain and pressure placed on the pelvic floor during delivery can weaken or damage the muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues supporting the pelvic organs. These disorders significantly impact a woman’s quality of life and require specialized treatment, including pelvic floor physical therapy or surgical interventions.

    Postpartum Hemorrhage:

    Postpartum hemorrhage refers to excessive bleeding after childbirth. It can occur due to retained placental tissue, lack of uterine contractions, or trauma during delivery. Prompt recognition, effective interventions, and ongoing monitoring are vital in managing this potentially life-threatening condition.

    Addressing maternal birth injuries involves comprehensive prenatal care, skilled healthcare providers, and improved awareness among expectant mothers. Clear communication between healthcare professionals and patients is essential to identify risk factors, discuss potential interventions, and develop personalized birth plans prioritizing the health and safety of both mother and child. When doctors, nurses, midwives, and other healthcare providers fail to properly monitor or treat symptoms of maternal birth injuries, the expectant mother may suffer adverse health conditions. 

    What Is the Difference Between a Birth Injury and a Birth Defect?

    Birth injuries and birth defects are two terms used to describe conditions that can affect newborns. While they may have similar outcomes, it is essential to understand the difference between the two to determine whether you have a claim against a negligent provider.

    Birth injuries occur during the process of labor and delivery, typically as trauma or harm caused to the infant. These injuries are often the result of medical negligence in the form of improper use of delivery tools, failure to monitor maternal or fetal health, or or other failures in healthcare during childbirth. Birth injuries are typically preventable and are caused by factors that occur during the birthing process.

    Birth defects are congenital conditions that are present at the time of birth. These abnormalities are sustained during pregnancy, often in the early stages of fetal development. Birth defects can affect various body systems and may be caused by genetic factors, exposure to environmental toxins, or maternal infections during pregnancy. Examples of birth defects include heart defects, cleft lip or palate, Down syndrome, and spina bifida. Unlike birth injuries, birth defects are not caused by medical negligence during labor and delivery.

    Birth injuries may give rise to medical malpractice claims, while birth defects are only compensable under special circumstances. Distinguishing between birth injuries and birth defects is important when it comes to understanding their causes, seeking appropriate medical care, and determining legal recourse.

    Common Causes of Birth Defects

    Birth defects can result from a variety of conditions. Maternal health factors, exposure to environmental toxins, and dangerous or defective drugs can have an adverse impact on fetal development. Common causes of birth defects include:

    Genetic Factors:

    Many birth defects are caused by genetic abnormalities or mutations. These abnormalities can be inherited or occur spontaneously during the development of the embryo or fetus. Examples include Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis, and sickle cell anemia.

    Environmental Exposure:

    Exposure to certain substances or environmental factors during pregnancy can increase the risk of birth defects. These may include medication, tobacco smoke, alcohol, recreational drugs, radiation, pesticides, and chemicals. When an expectant mother is given harmful medications, and the manufacturer or distributor knew about the potential harm to fetal development, victims may be able to sue for the costs incurred by the subsequent birth defect. If toxic environmental exposure was caused by the negligence of a liable party, victims can hold them accountable through a premises liability lawsuit.

    Maternal Health Conditions:

    Certain maternal health conditions can contribute to the development of birth defects. Chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and infections such as rubella, cytomegalovirus (CMV), and Zika virus can increase the risk of birth defects if not properly managed during pregnancy.

    Nutritional Factors:

    Inadequate nutrition, vitamin deficiencies, and poor maternal diet can also play a role in sustaining birth defects. 

    Chromosomal Abnormalities:

    Errors during chromosomal development can lead to birth defects. Examples include Turner syndrome, Klinefelter syndrome, and Edwards syndrome. These abnormalities typically occur spontaneously and are not influenced by external factors.

    In many cases, the exact cause of a birth defect may not be identifiable. Sometimes, multiple factors may contribute to their occurrence. Genetic counseling, prenatal screening, and regular prenatal care are vital in identifying and managing potential risk factors, promoting healthy pregnancies, and providing appropriate support and treatment for infants with birth defects.

    Can You Sue for a Birth Defect?

    Birth defects are typically considered natural occurrences, rather than grounds for legal action. Birth defects often result from genetic factors, chromosomal abnormalities, or other natural processes during fetal development. These occurrences are usually beyond the control of healthcare professionals or anyone else.

    However, there are exceptions where legal action may be pursued. If a birth defect can be attributed to medical negligence, such as a failure to diagnose or properly treat a condition during pregnancy, or if it can be proven that a medication or medical device caused the defect, a lawsuit may be possible. Such cases would involve demonstrating that the healthcare provider or manufacturer acted negligently or failed to provide appropriate care, resulting in harm to the child.

    Chicago birth injury attorneys who are familiar with product liability claims can evaluate your circumstances and determine the viability of your claim. 

    Who Can Be Held Liable in a Birth Injury Lawsuit?

    Multiple parties may be held liable for birth injury cases. The liable party in a birth injury claim depends on the cause of the injury. The following are some individuals or entities that could be held accountable:

    Healthcare Professionals:

    Obstetricians, nurses, midwives, anesthesiologists, and other medical professionals involved in prenatal care, labor, and delivery can be held liable if their actions or omissions deviated from the accepted standard of care. Examples of medical negligence may include failure to monitor the mother and baby, improper use of delivery tools, delayed emergency interventions, or medication errors.

    Hospitals or Medical Facilities:

    Hospitals or medical facilities may be held liable if their policies, procedures, or systemic failures contributed to the birth injury. For instance, inadequate staffing, lack of training, faulty equipment, or negligence in maintaining a safe and sterile environment could lead to a birth injury.

    Pharmaceutical Companies:

    In cases where a birth defect or injury is caused by a medication or drug, the pharmaceutical company responsible for manufacturing or distributing the medication may be held liable for failing to provide adequate warnings about potential risks during pregnancy.

    Medical Device Manufacturers:

     If a birth injury occurs due to a defective medical device used during pregnancy, labor, or delivery, the manufacturer or distributor of the device may be held liable for manufacturing a faulty product.

    In some instances, multiple parties may share liability for a birth injury. Determining liability requires a thorough investigation, review of medical records, expert opinions, and legal analysis. Consulting with a skilled birth injury attorney is crucial to identify the responsible parties and pursue a claim for compensation.

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