Statute of Limitations on Birth Injuries

lawA birth injury can be a very deceptive thing. You may learn that your child suffered some oxygen deprivation during delivery and that they are being monitored and treated for this injury, but the effects of that moment may not fully reveal them until the child is at a certain developmental stage. Sadly, by the time a child is speaking or interacting with peers, the statute of limitations may have run out, preventing you from pursuing damages for the birth injury that caused the current health issue. This tells us one thing: You must get in touch with a birth injury lawyer as soon as you discover your child has sustained any injuries during delivery.

Culpability is Always Culpability

If you speak with medical experts you would learn that almost any birth injury is avoidable. While there are always some conditions that come as a total surprise and which give no indications or warning signs, almost all of the birth injuries sustained are due to medical malpractice. This could be from carelessness or negligence, and even if the symptoms do not appear for years, the people or persons who caused the injury should be held accountable. All state laws tend to have statutes of limitations (which you can read as expiration dates on your legal claims); therefore it is of the utmost importance to establish guilt and to pursue damages as quickly as possible. As a simple example, if you have a baby in the state of Alabama, and during delivery the physician makes a mistake that leads to a birth injury, you have two years from the moment that injury is discovered to file a lawsuit. The law expands a bit more to include six months from the time of discovery, in case the injury is not actually noticed at the moment it happens. There are few other twists in the laws for the state, but you can see that generally you have only a few years in which to file the claim. The other states also have similar limitations ranging from two to three years, but some also feature expanded options based on the time of discovery. Alaska, as an example, has a ten-year window of time for the discovery of injury relating to some sort of negligence or medical failure during delivery.

Time Is of the Essence

What the term statute of limitations tells us is that any parents who discover that a birth injury has occurred must immediately get in touch with a birth injury lawyer to discuss their particular case. An experienced lawyer will be familiar with the many ways that birth injuries can manifest at a later time, the financial burdens this might create for the parents or child, and how best to proceed. While not all birth injuries create major and lifelong problems, such as cerebral palsy or brain damage, they often do cause developmental, cognitive, and physical disabilities. These may not reveal themselves for a long time, and yet if an attorney helps the parents to file a lawsuit and seek damages, it sets the stage for a discovered health issue. The discovery rule is what prevents the statute of limitations from impacting parents' abilities to make a case. If you learn that your child is the victim of negligence during delivery and has sustained a birth injury, do not wait to see what happens. If you do, the statute of limitations may pass before you discover that a medical issue has occurred. Instead, be as proactive as possible and explore what commonly occurs with children who sustain the same injuries and what sort of damages you should pursue through a valid birth injury lawsuit.  
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