The birth of a child should be a joyous experience. For thousands of parents, however, what should have been a day of celebration turns into a day of mourning after their child suffers a birth injury.
For every 1000 infants born in the United States, approximately 6 to 8 will be injured during birth. These injuries usually occur during a difficult labor or when the physician pulls or stretches the infant in an awkward or violent way. The use of forceps or other delivery tools may also injure the baby during birth.
It can be difficult to tell immediately if the baby has a childbirth injury, especially if the injury is neurological. It may take several years for signs of developmental delay to occur. If your child was injured at birth, you need to protect yourself and your baby by making sure you do not miss important deadlines and lose your right to file a lawsuit.
Statute of Limitations
In order to bring a lawsuit against a person or entity, you must file your claim within a certain period of time. This time limit, called the statute of limitations, ensures that cases do not become so old that the evidence or witnesses needed to prove a case do not disappear.
Usually, when a person is injured in California by medical malpractice, that person has three years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. Sometimes lawsuits can be brought later if the injury is not discovered until later. For example, if a surgical tool was left inside a person during surgery, and does not begin causing problems until ten years later, the person who was injured by that tool would have a year from the date the malpractice was discovered (or could reasonably have been discovered) to file a lawsuit.
Special Rules for Children
When a child is injured at birth by medical negligence, the statute of limitations is extended. Though children who are injured in other ways generally still have the three year limitation, children who are injured by medical malpractice before they turn six years old can either file a lawsuit within three years of the injury, or file a lawsuit before their eighth birthday. Whichever method provides the child with more time is the actual deadline.
Children who are injured at birth often face years of medical treatments and procedures. Parents whose infants were injured by a doctor’s negligence shouldn’t have to pay these costs on their own. If your child was injured at birth by medical malpractice, you and your child may have the right to sue for your costs and your pain and suffering.
At the Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq., our experienced staff of legal and medical professionals can evaluate your child’s medical malpractice case and help you understand your rights. If you would like to speak with a knowledgeable Los Angeles medical malpractice attorney, contact Bradley I. Kramer today by calling (310) 289-2600 or use our online case evaluation form to have your claim reviewed for free.