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How Long Do You Have to Sue for a Birth Injury?

Apr 19, 2020

The birth of your child should be one of the happiest times of your life, but when complications during the delivery leave your child with injuries, what do you do?  Birth injuries can range from mild to severe in nature. Severe injuries can be devastating and result in a lifetime of pain, disability, special care and medical expenses.

In some cases, birth injuries are the result of a doctor or healthcare provider’s negligence, which means that you may be able to hold accountable the person or hospital responsible for the injuries. As with most lawsuits, there is a specific time frame within which a birth injury must be filed. If you wait too long, your case could be barred.  If you have a concern, or even just question if your child’s injury or disability may have been caused by medical mistakes or errors, you should contact the birth injury attorneys at Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer.

What Is a Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations is the time limitation period the law sets for filing a lawsuit. There are different time deadlines – or statutes of limitations- for different types of cases.  Cases filed after the applicable statute of limitations has expired will be dismissed, no matter how valid the claim or how serious the injury. For this reason, it is important to consult with qualified attorneys to investigate a potential claim as soon as you have reason to believe your child may have suffered a birth injury because of something done, or not done, by a health care provider.

Extended time on Statute of Limitations for Birth Injury:

Not all birth injuries are apparent at birth.  Many birth injuries take months or even years to fully manifest. For that and other reasons, most states have an extended statute of limitations for claims arising from a birth injury.  For instance, in Pennsylvania the statute of limitations for a standard medical malpractice case is two years -meaning the lawsuit must be filed within two years of the negligent medical care.  However, Pennsylvania law created an exception to that statute of limitations for birth injury claims, permitting a birth injury lawsuit to be filed up until the child’s 20th birthday.  Every state has different statute of limitations so it is important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible so they can investigate the claim in time to fully protect your and your child’s rights. While the state law may provide this special extension to the statute of limitations for a birth injury case, that should only be used if needed.  You should not wait to consult with a qualified attorney if you have concern that medical care injured your child.  The attorney will need time to secure the medical records of both the mother and child as well as the many test results and other documents and things necessary to review the care provided and then consult with multiple medical experts to properly investigate and prove the claim.   

Who can File a Lawsuit and what recovery can be made?

As a child cannot file a lawsuit, the parents, or legal guardians, would have the right to file a lawsuit for the child’s birth injury. The money damages that can be recovered in birth injury cases vary from state to state. Generally, the injured child can be awarded money to compensate him or her for things such as pain and suffering, disfigurement, future lifetime medical expenses and loss of future income if they have lost the ability to be fully employed in the future. The parents may also seek compensation for any physical injuries the mother may have suffered due to improper care in the delivery, and for the cost of medical equipment, care and other related expenses.

Does the Statute of Limitations for Birth Injury Vary by State?

Again, each state has its own Statute of Limitations specifying a specific limit for filing a lawsuit.  States may also have their own special Statute of Limitations that would apply to a birth injury claim.  It is important for families who are victims of birth injuries to connect with a lawyer as soon as possible so that they can successfully file a claim within the time limits. An attorney with experience in birth injury claims will act quickly based on your state’s rules.

How Can I Get Legal Help with My Birth Injury Claim?

Seeking legal advice may be the last thing on your mind, but in the case of a birth injury it is important to think about all options to protect your child’s future. If your child has needlessly suffered a birth injury due to medical error, they should be compensated. Your child may suffer their entire life with serious injuries and disability, and the physical, mental and financial expenses associated with those injuries can be astronomical. Your entire family may have to make significant lifestyle changes and sacrifices to take care of your child. Your child may also need help when you the parents are no longer alive, or physically capable of providing that care. It may then be too late to consider a lawsuit. In short, a big part of your injured child’s future may rely upon a thorough investigation of the cause of their birth injury being undertaken now.

Birth injury cases are very complex. It is very important that you seek the help of a lawyer who is experienced in representing children injured at birth. You and your child will need an attorney who has the resources and the knowledge to navigate the complex legal and medical issues involved in these cases. The birth injury attorneys at Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer are compassionate, dedicated, experienced and knowledgeable. We perform comprehensive reviews of all the medical records, and consult with well qualified medical professionals to answer the questions all parents in this situation have – Why did this happen to my child? When the investigation reveals that a lawsuit is warranted, we have the experience and courtroom skills to make sure your case has the best chance to succeed.

At Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer we will work hard to get you and your child the compensation you deserve. Fill out the contact form today, and someone from our team will be in contact with you about your potential case.

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Let me know if you have any questions.