Our Illinois birth injury lawyers are used to fending off criticisms that the settlements and jury verdicts in many of these lawsuits are excessive. For one thing, many of the critics are mistaken about the average settlement or verdict amount. Their opinions are skewed by news article headlines which selectively highlight only those cases where the plaintiff wins and the award is high. Many birth injury lawsuits result in absolutely no money being paid to victims, and the average settlements are far lower than the most ardent critics often suggest.
There is another line of criticism that argues that while harm caused to infants because of preventable medical malpractice at birth are tragic, there is little to be gained by awarding the victim large sums of money. These critics seem to concede that these cases have merit, but they argue that demanding accountability and providing victims with redress has little benefit.
We strongly disagree.
The truth is that while victims of birth injuries will face many unique challenges in their lives as a result of the injury, if they are given enough resources to reach their full potential, their accomplishments can be just as impressive as children who did not face similar challenges. Take the case of one thirty-three year old cerebral palsy victim who did not let his disability get him down. He is now the owner of a successful computer care business. The company has been in operation for the last seven years and has build up an impressive client base of over 200 individuals and businesses. As a story in the Middlebury Patch explained, the man was born three months prematurely and has been in a wheelchair his entire life. His disability makes it difficult for him to write. As a result he began using sophisticated computer systems to help from the age of five. By age six he had already written his first computer program. Throughout his entire life he has always been involved in the cutting edge of computers.
The man is able to drive, and has a wheelchair accessible van that helps him get to his clients. His parents have also been able to modify their home to make it completely wheelchair accessible. This includes changes to many basic layouts that make it easy to reach countertops, appliances, and the like. However, he admits that there remain some challenges. He explains that he has lost a few jobs because he was unable to access the computers in his chair. He noted that the problem was most pronounced in older buildings or places where he was not able to access the chair lift on his van.
This remarkable man is the perfect testament to what individuals who suffer from these disabilities can accomplish so long as they have the determination and access to the resources they need to maximize their potential. Unfortunately, many fellow victims of cerebral palsy will never have the same chance at success as this man, because they face day-to-day struggles to gain access to the resources they need. Many families struggle to provide even the basic life necessities for their children with disabilities, let alone provide the extra materials that could help them learn as much as possible. When the birth injury itself is caused by the negligence of another it is perfectly reasonable and appropriate for the negligent party to ensure that victim has access to the resources they need to reach their full potential.
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