More than a million babies sustain some type of nonfatal injury due to accidents or negligence each year, according to data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Falls are the most common cause of infant injuries, but any injury can be serious when a child is involved. The following is an overview of laws that may apply to infant injuries in Illinois.
Determining the Cause of an Infant Injury
Before legal action is taken, it is important to determine the cause of a child’s injury. In Illinois, medical professionals are required by law to report any suspicious child injuries. Under certain circumstances, this may include involvement from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. Once any fault on the part of the parents or other parties has been eliminated, the next step is to determine what caused the child’s injury. If an individual believes negligence or medical malpractice may have been involved, they may be well-advised to contact a Chicago personal injury lawyer. Child injuries that often lead to legal action include:
- Dangerous products
- Dog bite attacks
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Neglect and child abuse
- Medical malpractice if mistakes were made during treatment
Injuries Resulting from Child Abuse or Negligence in Child Care
In Illinois, neglect can fall under the legal definition of child abuse. If an infant is injured as a result of neglect, the person or persons responsible should be reported to legal authorities. Specifically, suspected or known instances of infant neglect or abuse should be reported to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. State law requires an investigation of all child abuse charges. In addition to the possible criminal ramifications of children’s injuries that arise from neglect, civil law may provide remedies for children and parents of children who have been injured as a result of negligence in child care. Consulting with an Illinois attorney specializing in infant and child injuries may be a good option for parents who suspect or know that their child has been injured due to a caretaker’s carelessness, or worse.
Injuries from Faulty Products
Defective products cause thousands of injuries across the nation every year. If a child is injured as a result of a faulty product, this could give rise to a civil lawsuit in a Chicago court. The manufacturer is often the main party in such a legal action, but other parties along the distribution and retail chain can possibly be held responsible, as well. Indeed, a store that sells a defective product can also be held accountable in some cases. A Chicago personal injury attorney can guide parents or guardians through the process of taking legal action in defective products cases. Doctors’ reports and other documentation related to injuries from a defective product are often required to pursue legal action in Illinois.
Injuries from Malpractice
If an infant suffers an injury from improper medical treatment, parents and/or guardians should consult a Chicago lawyer specializing in medical malpractice. To prove malpractice in Illinois, documentation of all medical care is typically necessary. If parents believe that improper care, a delay in treatment, or some other sort of error by medical professionals resulted in injury to their child, they may take legal action against the negligent parties and facilities. However, in Illinois, punitive damages are not recoverable in medical malpractice cases.