Chicago, IL – There is always potential for a medical procedure to go wrong, and the time when a mother is giving birth is a sensitive time for the family. There is a special category of medical mistakes referred to as birth injuries that describe various mistakes from the time the mother goes into labor until the child leaves the hospital for the first time. In some cases, these injuries can permanently affect the child or cause severe injuries to the mother. Victims can file a medical malpractice lawsuit if they need to receive compensation to help pay for additional medical treatment and other losses caused by improper medical care during the birth procedure.
Affidavits of merit
Illinois is like many other states in the sense that a pre-lawsuit investigation needs to be completed before the victim can formally proceed with any kind of medical malpractice case. One of the ways this pre-lawsuit process is completed in Illinois is by filing a document called an affidavit of merit at the same time as the complaint.
This affidavit needs to show that the attorney for the plaintiff has been advised regarding the merits of the case from a healthcare professional who is familiar with the key medical issues present in the case. This professional must have actively practiced medicine or taught at an academic institution in a relevant specialty within six years of the date of the incident. The professional must also submit a statement with the affidavit that they have experience and knowledge of the subjects relevant to the case at hand.
There also needs to be an additional section of the affidavit in writing where the healthcare professional says that there is grounds for a lawsuit based on the information that they have reviewed with the attorney.
A medical malpractice lawsuit that is filed without this document attached will be dismissed. It can be filed at the same time as the pleading that initiates the civil case.
Prior limits on damages for pain and suffering
There used to be limits on the amount of non-economic damages for pain and suffering that a malpractice victim can collect in Illinois. If the defendant was an individual doctor or health professional, these damages were capped at $500,000. When the lawsuit was against a hospital or similar facility, the amount of non-economic damages available increased to $1,000,000. However, the state has abolished these limits through supreme court caselaw, so victims are more likely to be able to collect larger damage awards in serious cases.
Getting legal assistance with a lawsuit related to a birth injury
USAttorneys.com is a web directory that contains listings of birth injury lawyers in Chicago and lawyers all over the United States with various other practice areas. Anyone can use the listings to find a local lawyer in their state.