The birth of a child is a joyful event for many families. Unfortunately, when birth injuries occur, they can put the health of both the child and mother in danger. Some birth injuries take years to be identified, so it is critical to know how statutes of limitations may apply in these types of cases. If you believe a birth injury was caused by a health care provider’s negligence, seeking the counsel of good medical malpractice lawyers can help you understand the damages you may be entitled to recover on your child’s behalf and how statutes of limitations for bringing a claim may affect your case.
What is a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations is the time frame the law sets for filing a claim. Deadlines for filing birth injury claims vary by state and type of case. For example, the deadline for filing a medical malpractice claim in Pennsylvania is two years, but there is an exception that enables parents to file a birth injury claim until the child’s 20th birthday. It is important to note that this exception does not always apply, so if you suspect that a maternal injury or birth injury occurred due to the negligence of a hospital or health care provider, it is critical to contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
Why Are There Extended Statutes of Limitations in Birth Injury Cases?
In most medical malpractice cases and personal injury claims, the clock starts ticking from the moment an injury occurs. However, some types of birth injuries are not discovered until a child is older, for example, when the child does not hit important developmental milestones. Children affected by a birth injury may suffer from:
- Speech or language disorders
- Learning disabilities
- Behavioral issues
- Impaired motor skills
- Seizure disorders
- Sensory processing disorders
- Vision and hearing problems
- Cerebral palsy
In rare cases, some of these issues may not be identified until a child becomes a teenager. That is why many states have extended statutes of limitations for birth injury cases to the age of 20.
Causes of Birth Injury
Birth injuries can be caused by a number of factors, including trauma during childbirth, improper prenatal care, untreated maternal medical conditions during pregnancy, improper Neonatal/Newborn Intensive Care (NICU), and other factors. These cases are extremely complex and require the knowledge and experience of seasoned medical malpractice lawyers who are well-versed in handling birth injury claims.
How a Birth Injury Lawyer Can Help
If your child suffers from serious injuries, conditions, or disabilities, the physical, emotional, and financial costs can be overwhelming. It is also important to keep in mind that a child who has suffered a birth injury may require lifelong care, but if you wait to file a claim when they reach adulthood, it may be too late to recover compensation that could help improve your child’s and your family’s quality of life.
Regardless of your child’s age, if you bring a birth injury lawsuit against a health care provider on their behalf, your attorney will need to thoroughly investigate your claim. This may involve gathering medical records that span many years. Attorneys typically work with a number of medical experts to investigate and prove birth injury claims.
Contacting a medical malpractice attorney at an established personal injury law firm can help you protect your child’s health and financial future.