Is There a Deadline for Suing over a Birth Injury?
Bringing a new baby into your family can be one of life’s greatest joys. If your newborn was injured at birth as a result of medical malpractice, however, you’re likely going through an extremely difficult experience and probably can’t think too far beyond taking care of your injured infant. So worrying about a deadline to bring a lawsuit is not necessarily the top item on your mind. But it is important to understand the applicable time limits, as compensation from a birth injury lawsuit may be critical to ensuring that your injured child has everything needed to maximize their potential. Working closely with an experienced Ohio birth injury lawyer is the best way to make this happen.
Act Quickly if Possible
The short answer to the deadline question is YES, there is a time limit for bringing any lawsuit, including those involving medical malpractice and birth injuries. The statute of limitations refers to the period one has to file a lawsuit before it is barred. Filing suit after the expiration of the statute of limitations will almost always result in the suit being thrown out of court. As such, it is critical you act within the set timeframe to help ensure you can provide your child the best possible opportunities moving forward. In the State of Ohio, all of the following apply:
- In general, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice is one year from the date of the injury’s occurrence. This year can be extended by 180 days if the injured party provides written notice to the party accused of medical malpractice within that initial year. (This is an oversimplification. There are various nuances and exceptions to this one-year “rule,” so it is imperative to get advice from an experienced birth injury attorney.)
- The law understands that the situation is very different when a child suffers an injury due to medical negligence. The one-year period is “tolled” until the child turns 18 years old. Then, the one-year time limit begins running. So, in most situations, an injured child has until their 19th birthday to file suit. This does not mean that parents should wait that long to seek legal help, however, and you should contact a lawyer as soon after your child’s diagnosis as possible. This will enable the attorney to assist you in obtaining the necessary records before they are lost or “modified,” and it will enable the attorney to determine the best time to file suit.
- If the birth injury resulted in death, the wrongful death claim must be filed within two years of the baby’s death. This deadline cannot be extended.
The first year of any child’s life is filled with important milestones and firsts that make the year go by in a hurry. When a child suffers a birth injury, his or her first year is likely to be even more overwhelming, and the law recognizes this truth.
The fact is, however, that when it comes to raising a child with a birth injury, parents can have a difficult and time-consuming road ahead that can leave little time for exploring legal options. Don’t make the mistake of waiting to reach out to a dedicated birth injury attorney who will aggressively advocate on behalf of your child, while ensuring that your case proceeds in a timely manner that meets every legal requirement. When handled correctly, a birth injury claim should not be a substantial drain on a parent’s time or emotional resources and should not interfere significantly with the parent’s ability to work or to take care of their family.
Your Child’s Birth Injury
Not every birth injury is immediately recognizable. Such injuries sometimes reveal themselves slowly over time, as children exhibit delays in development. Birth injuries can significantly affect the trajectory of your child’s life, altering his or her future and sometimes requiring a lifetime of medical care. Don’t allow the passage of time to cheat your child out of his or her best chance for a healthy future.
Filing a birth injury suit early is often the best option. Over time, memories fade and key personnel might move away, making it harder to get important testimony from witnesses about what happened during your child’s delivery. Medical records can get lost or may be altered. And most importantly, with the compensation you receive, you can ensure that your child gets the medical care that they deserve and help them live life to the fullest. There are, however, situations in which the best strategy is to wait awhile (sometimes even a couple of years) before filing suit. Still, the best approach is to contact an experienced attorney early on, so that the attorney can work with you to determine the right approach for your individual case.
You Need an Experienced Ohio Birth Injury Attorney on Your Side
The dedicated and experienced birth injury attorneys at The Eisen Law Firm are committed to skillfully fighting for your child’s rights and for the compensation your child and your family deserve. Our legal team proudly serves the Cleveland area and the State of Ohio, so please don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us 216-687-0900 to learn more today.