What Evidence Is Needed to File a Birth Injury Lawsuit?
When a hospital or birth center fails to adhere to obstetric standards of care, a baby can suffer severe birth injuries. One health professional’s negligence, or a combination of medical mistakes, can cause irreparable harm to both the child and mother.
Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit may be far from the minds of grieving parents. However, it is crucial to begin the evidence-gathering process as soon as possible after an infant death or injury, because memories quickly fade, and important evidence could be lost. While you have up to eight years to file a birth injury claim in Illinois, it takes months to gather the necessary evidence and prepare to file a claim.
Medical Records Review and Analysis
Medical errors, particularly a failure to recognize danger signs, can happen at any time before, during, or after labor and delivery. Therefore, your lawyer’s first job will be to obtain complete medical records for both mother and baby. These records will be the most important factor in your case.
The second most important factor in your case will be choosing the right medical expert to identify and testify about the medical error(s) made in your case that led to a birth injury or infant death. Before you can file a malpractice lawsuit in Illinois, state law (735 ILCS 5/2-622) requires your lawyer to engage a qualified expert to review your medical records. Your lawyer will have to file a sworn statement known as an affidavit with the court stating that this expert has reviewed your case and found reason to believe that medical error or negligence occurred.
The medical expert must be qualified as follows:
- Has practiced or taught within the last six years in the branch of medicine at issue, e.g., obstetrics.
- Is qualified by experience or demonstrated competence in the subject of the case, e.g., prenatal care and labor and delivery.
- Has knowledge relevant to the issues involved in your case, e.g., vaginal birth after cesarean or mothers with diabetes.
The medical expert must produce a written report stating that they have reviewed the medical records and explaining the reasons they believe that medical malpractice has occurred. They will scrutinize the actions of doctors, midwives, nurses, and other professionals involved in a mother’s prenatal care and in the labor and delivery process. They will compare these actions against the relevant clinical practice guidelines.
Consult an Orland Park Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If you believe your baby died or suffered severe injury as a result of medical mistakes made during your prenatal care or during labor and delivery, consult a knowledgeable Cook County birth injury attorney. Call Schwartz Injury Law at 815-723-7300 or 708-226-9000 for a free consultation.