Since birth injuries are a form of medical malpractice, their deadlines are based on malpractice statutes of limitations. However, each case is unique. How long you have to sue for a birth injury typically depends on three factors: when your child suffered the injury, when the injury was discovered, and the state in which your case is based.
What Was the Date of the Injury?
The date of your child’s injury often determines how long you have to file a birth injury lawsuit. Generally, the statute of limitations expires a few years after that date. Far from being arbitrary, these limitations serve many purposes, such as:
- Preserving crucial evidence from being lost or damaged
- Ensuring witnesses don’t forget important information
- Allowing for your child to reach maximum medical improvement
- Providing our team time to research your case
- Preventing negotiations from being dragged out
For example, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice in your state may be two years. During that period, the medical malpractice lawyers at Ben Crump Law, PLLC can interview healthcare staff, obtain medical records, and consult experts about your child’s prognosis. We use those two years to understand the injury’s consequences and apply that knowledge to settlement negotiations.
Insurance companies are sometimes quick to offer settlements, perhaps even before the reality of your child’s situation has sunk in. Knowing you have time to decide can lower the pressure. You do not have to accept sudden (often lowball) offers from the other side; our team can research your case while keeping an eye on the deadline to file a birth injury lawsuit.
Determining the Date of Your Child’s Birth Injury
Many birth injuries are obvious upon delivery, making it easier to pinpoint the date of the injury. Other birth injuries can occur earlier during pregnancy, though. Your case’s deadline could be calculated based on the date of the injury if your child suffered:
- Fractured collarbones
- Shoulder dystocia
- Some oxygen deprivation injuries
- Erb’s palsy
- Meconium aspiration
- Nerve injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
For example, if vacuum extraction was used when delivering your child, Mayo Clinic mentions the increased risk of shoulder dystocia. This complication can lead to a fractured collarbone or arm, an immediately noticeable injury. If your child suffered shoulder dystocia after vacuum extraction, you may have grounds for a birth injury lawsuit.
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When Was the Injury Discovered?
How long you have to sue for a birth injury can also be influenced by when you discovered the injury. In some cases, you may not realize your child has been injured until some time has passed, ranging from weeks to years.
If this happened to your family, you may still have an opportunity to pursue a lawsuit, even if years have passed since your child was born. The law allows you a certain amount of time from the date when the birth injury was discovered to take legal action.
Victims of negligence should not be penalized for injuries that manifest later down the road. If your child was just diagnosed with a condition stemming from negligence during pregnancy or delivery, you may still be able to pursue compensation. The team at Ben Crump Law, PLLC can explore your options.
Birth Injuries That May Appear Later On
Some injuries are unlikely to be identified until well after birth; some are not even possible to diagnose until later, including:
- Cerebral palsy
- Erb’s palsy
- Brain bleeds
- Brain injuries
- Oxygen deprivation injuries
- Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)
- Bacterial meningitis/GBS positive
Some conditions may take longer to diagnose than others. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that conditions like GBS can occur from a week to three months after birth. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, cerebral palsy typically isn’t diagnosed until a child is at least six months old. Knowing your child’s specific form of cerebral palsy can take longer.
Regardless, the date of discovery may allow you to pursue a case even if a significant amount of time has passed.
Each State Has Its Own Deadline
Earlier, we used the example of a two-year medical malpractice statute of limitations. However, the exact amount of time you have to pursue a birth injury lawsuit will vary by state.
For example, one state may allow birth injury victims three years from the injury or one year from discovery.
The birth injury attorneys at Ben Crump Law, PLLC can determine the statute of limitations in your state. We can also identify factors that may lengthen or shorten the amount of time we have to file.
Learn About Your Case’s Deadline Today
When your child’s care and future is at stake, you don’t want to have to worry about the deadline for justice. If you need information on how long you have to sue for a birth injury. The team at Ben Crump Law, PLLC can answer your questions with a free, personalized consultation. Call us today.