During birth, complications may occur that may put both the child and the mother’s life at risk. If the attending physicians don’t act promptly, the child may suffer a birth injury such as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), and in a worst-case scenario, loss of life.
If your child suffered hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy at birth due to physician negligence, you can sue the hospital or the doctors for negligence and medical malpractice. An experienced HIE lawyer can help you claim maximum compensation to help with your child’s medical bills.
For a free legal consultation, call 1-800-222-9529
What to Do When Your Child Suffers HIE Due to Negligence
The first course of action when your child suffers brain injury is to ensure they get the medical care they require. You can also talk with the attending physicians and nurses to get a clear explanation of what caused your child’s injury.
If you suspect your child was hurt due to negligence, contact a hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy attorney in Illinois to evaluate your case and advise you on how to proceed. The lawyer can take up your case and represent you or refer you elsewhere.
Illinois Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy Lawyer Near Me 1-800-222-9529
Why You Need an Attorney for Your Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy Case
HIE cases are complex in nature and can drag on in court for several years, expending resources and causing you more emotional distress. The case requires an experienced HIE lawyer, knowledgeable in both law and medicine, and willing to dedicate their time and resources to fight for you and your child.
Your attorney will need to conduct an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the birth of your child by going through all the medical records and interviewing all medical personnel who were present at the time.
HIE can be caused by a number of factors and your Illinois hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy attorney will be tasked with proving that your child’s injury was due to negligence by the doctors, nurses or the hospital.
Legal Procedure in an HIE Case
The first thing your lawyer can do is gather evidence to support the negligence claim. For a case to have any merit, there must be evidence showing or at least alluding to the fact that an offense occurred. Your lawyer can then assess your damages to determine compensation and then proceed to file the paperwork.
Negotiation with the at-fault party’s insurance follows, where your lawyer presents some of the evidence they have and provides a settlement offer. The insurance company representative can either accept the offer, refuse or negotiate, depending on the weight of the evidence against them.
If they refuse to settle, your lawyer can take the case to court and represent you, where the final outcome may be decided by a judge or the jury.
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Proving Liability in an HIE Case
For a hospital to be charged with negligence in an HIE case, the plaintiff has to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the baby’s injuries were a result of negligence and that the “accident” could have been avoided if the physicians or nurses provided better care.
A hospital is liable for negligence in an HIE case in the following situations:
- Doctors failed to notice fetal distress
- Failure to recommend c-section on time
- Nurses ignored the mother’s complaints and distress warnings
It’s important to check the medical records at the time of the child’s birth to determine exactly what went on and if there were any indicators of encephalopathy, such as:
- Need for resuscitation
- Presence of seizures
- Cord and fetal gas pH levels
- Abnormality in the baby’s reflexes
What Is the Statute of Limitations on HIE in Illinois?
The statute of limitations for filing an HIE case in the state of Illinois is eight years from the date of the child’s injury. However, in certain cases, the effects of HIE don’t show until much later in the child’s life. In such cases under Illinois law, you can file a case till the child turns 22 years old.
Damages and Compensation in an Illinois HIE Case
If a judge or jury rules in favor of the plaintiff in an HIE case, compensation awarded will depend on two important factors, including:
- Economic damages.
- Non-economic damages.
Economic damages in an Illinois HIE case include the medical bills and long-term care bills for taking care of the child, i.e, physiotherapy and other treatment therapies.
Non-economic damages are awarded based on the victim’s level of pain and suffering. Children who suffered HIE at birth have to live with a disability for the rest of their lives, and their caregivers experience heavy emotional distress for taking care of them.
Controversial Non-Economic Damages Compensation in Illinois
According to Illinois laws, non-economic damages in personal injury cases were initially capped at $500,000. The initial cap was set in 1995 and overturned by the Supreme Court in 1997 as unconstitutional. This is because the cap was deemed unfair to victims whose damages exceeded the set cap.
The cap was again reinstated in 2005, back to $500,000 and an additional $500,000 for cases against hospitals. The cap was later overturned, and the decision left to judges and juries to determine the right amount of compensation for injured victims.
HIE lawsuits have been awarded compensation in the tens and sometimes hundreds of millions of dollars, depending on the severity of both economic and non-economic damages.
Punitive Damages in Illinois
There are no punitive damages awarded in medical malpractice cases in Illinois, including HIE cases. Punitive damages are only awarded in cases where the defendant was deemed to be acting with malice or extreme negligence.
Contact a Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy Lawyer in Illinois Today
If you suspect that your child suffered HIE before/during/post-birth, an experienced Illinois hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy lawyer at Birth Injury Lawyers Group can help you.
We understand how expensive and emotionally scarring the treatment and long-term care of your child can be. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.