Birth Injury Lawsuits: How Long After an Injury Can You Sue?

Posted in: Medical Malpractice | Dec 15,2022

A birth injury brings life-changing consequences for you, your child, and your family. Often caused by physical trauma, oxygen deprivation, or a professional’s failure to observe and respond to signs of distress, infection, or other risk factors, birth injuries can lead to physical or cognitive disabilities and are among the leading causes of infant fatalities. For suffering families, a birth injury lawsuit can result in much-needed answers, emotional relief, and financial compensation.

This post examines some of the most common birth injuries in newborns and offers guidance on the statute of limitations and timeline guidelines parents will need to know when trying to evaluate whether they have a labor and delivery malpractice case.


Causes of Birth Injuries

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, seven out of every 1,000 U.S. infants are born with a birth injury. Three out of every 1,000 are diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a common motor-function disability in children due to abnormal brain functions, most often due to brain damage during birth.

Families experiencing a cerebral palsy birth injury face enormous financial burdens in addition to physical and emotional distress. Adjusted for inflation, CDC estimates claim the lifetime cost of caring for an individual with cerebral palsy is more than $1.5 million.

The leading childbirth complications, such as broken bones, nerve damage, and brain injuries, can be painful and traumatic experiences for new parents. Parents should not have to pay for the mistakes or the recklessness of the doctors and hospitals they trust with their pregnancies and newborn baby’s care.


Indiana Birth Injury Lawsuit Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations defines the maximum amount of time individuals have to file a lawsuit following an incident or offense. After the statute of limitations has passed, the claim is effectively expired, and victims can’t bring future legal action.

In most personal injury cases in Indiana, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the injury. However, birth injuries and labor and delivery malpractice cases can be more complex.

While some birth injuries are immediately obvious following labor and in the first few hours or days of life, signs of a doctor or hospital’s negligence may not always be immediately apparent. 

For example, you may not become aware your child has a developmental disability until they start missing major physical or cognitive development milestones such as walking and talking.

Unfortunately, it may be years before your child receives a diagnosis for a condition caused by medical negligence during or leading up to their birth.

For this reason, some special rules apply to labor and delivery malpractice cases. Rather than on the date the injury occurred, the two-year statute of limitations in birth injury lawsuits begins on the date the condition is discovered or when the child turns six years old, whichever is later.

Cerebral palsy is one common birth injury likely to go undiscovered right away. Others include brachial plexus and Erb’s palsy, which include damage or paralysis to nerves through the neck and arms, as well as neonatal infections, strokes, and other brain damage.

Parents may pursue claims on behalf of a child age six or younger until the child reaches the age of eight. If a mother suffers an injury due to medical negligence while giving birth, she has two years from the date of injury, or the date of the injury’s discovery, to file legal action.


How soon should I contact a birth injury lawyer?

While the statute of limitations for birth injury cases is more flexible than with other types of personal injuries, it is never too early to seek legal advice.

If your baby suffered trauma during delivery, or if you have questions about the care you received causing lasting damage, an experienced medical malpractice lawyer can help you get important answers. It’s in your best interest to act quickly in order to give your representation as much time as possible to approach the birth injury lawsuit process.


How medical malpractice lawyers at Montross Miller can help

Childbirth injury cases can be challenging and nuanced. Compassionate and experienced legal representation is required to build your case. Montross Miller has a proven history of expertise with complex cases involving traditional birth injuries, c-section malpractice, and medical negligence. Reach out today to schedule a free case review with our team.