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Birth Injuries – Keep Your Medical Records

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Chicago, ILOne of the largest areas of attorney Robert Clifford's practice deals with medical malpractice. A genial and clear spoken Chicago lawyer, Clifford has some sage advice for families who have had a child suffer a birth injury. He has represented dozens and dozens of families caught in these kinds of harrowing circumstances. "This is what I have seen over the years," says Clifford: "In the early years of coping with the challenges of the delivery, getting your life in order when you are faced with a child with birth injuries, litigation is the furthest thing from your mind, and rightfully so."

Robert CliffordPreserve the Evidence

The problem is that there may be a cause of action related to the birth injury and that the child may require some kind of financial assistance in the future that only compensation through litigation can provide. Even if the parents only suspect there is a problem, Clifford advises people to obtain every possible medical record available immediately. "If they suspect there is a problem, but don't know there is a problem, the best thing to do is create a file of your medical records," says Clifford.

Then later, when the shock and trauma of coping with a birth injury child begins to settle down, parents will have the information they need. "You can at least have your records in hand and you can take them to a qualified professional who can properly advise them about whether or not there is a basis to proceed," says Clifford.

Be Aware of Time Limits

There are legal limits to the length of time between the birth of an injured child and the ability to sue. It varies greatly from state to state. In the state of Illinois where Robert Clifford's firm is based, the limit is 8 years. Some states allow the child to sue for birth injuries when they are adults, if no action was taken on their behalf as children.

"If there is any suspicion about the quality of medical care, at a minimum parents should gather the information by way of medical records, which they are entitled to a copy of and keep for later reference," says Clifford. "That also preserves the opportunity for your child to proceed when they are of age and independent and capable of making the decision."

Keep Your Medical Records

Keeping your medical records may be as critical to your well being as proper medical care. If something does go wrong as a result of a medical procedure it is vitally important to have all the details on hand. Attorney Clifford says everyone who has any kind of treatment should always ask for a copy of the records.

"I for one," Clifford says, "advocate that people get medical records every time they get care at a hospital. No matter what the care is, whether it is children or adults, because somewhere down the line you made need those records."

More Birth Injury Cases Than Ever

Clifford predicts a continued increase in the number of birth injury cases, ironically because of better science. "You may see more cases nationally because with the advances made in medicine, the survival rate is higher," says Clifford. At the same time, however, the medical community is fighting harder than ever against these cases and has lobbied hard to see laws changed. "The medical community has done its level best to seek tort reform," he adds.

Robert A. Clifford is principal partner of Clifford Law Offices, a nationally recognized personal injury law firm in Chicago concentrating in aviation, transportation, personal injury, medical negligence and product liability law. He has been consistently recognized by his peers as one of Illinois' best lawyers.

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