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What is the Time Frame for Pursuing a Birth Injury Claim?

Posted on January 1, 2012

What is the Time Frame for Pursuing a Birth Injury Claim?

If you or your infant are injured by the negligence or misconduct of a doctor or obstetric healthcare provider, you should know that a time limit called the “statute of limitations” controls when claims can be asserted against healthcare providers. The purpose behind the statute of limitations is to provide certainty to healthcare providers as to when claims can be asserted against them and to protect them from stale claims that can be difficult to defend. The important thing to know is that the statute of limitations on birth injury claims varies from state to state. For example, Pennsylvania and New Jersey are separated only by a river but have drastically different time limitations for birth injury claims. If you are contemplating such a claim you should consult with an experienced birth injury lawyer in the state where the child was born as soon as possible.

The Philadelphia Birth Injury Statute of Limitations

In the case of a Philadelphia birth injury, the statute of limitations requires that a lawsuit be filed for medical negligence suffered by the adult within two years of the date of the negligent act of injury. The statute of limitations is delayed for a minor until he or she reaches the age of majority (18 years of age in Pennsylvania). So, in Pennsylvania after the child reaches majority, the child still has two years to file suit. Each state has its own statute and you must check the state where the care was rendered. New Jersey, for example, unlike Pennsylvania has a 13 thirteen year limitation statute on birth injuries.

Medical negligence cases are complex and time-consuming to evaluate. If you suspect your child may have child suffered a birth injury due to negligence or wrongful conduct committed by healthcare professionals, it is in your child’s best interest to contact a Philadelphia birth injury attorney immediately. The passage of time makes it more difficult to obtain important evidence like pathology slides, locate critical records including electronic fetal monitoring strips and find important witnesses including resident physicians who have finished their training and left the hospital.

To pursue the filing of a birth injury claim, an extensive investigation is first necessary to determine that the injury was preventable and the result of medical malpractice. Once the appropriate medical support and evidence are prepared from your case-specific evaluation, your Philadelphia birth injury claim may be filed.

The importance of acting promptly

If you delay in consulting with an attorney about a birth injury—after the birth of your child and the accompanying medical malpractice incident—the evidence needed to establish the birth injury was from negligence or mismanagement of the delivery becomes more difficult to gather and the time allotted for you to file your own claim may be insufficient. You may be disappointed to find many Philadelphia birth injury lawyers unwilling to undertake a meaningful review your medical negligence case based on the soon-to-expire statute of limitations or the difficulty of investigating an old case.

In other words, while the tolling of the statute for a minor’s claim may make it seem like you have plenty of time to see a lawyer, you should not allow that illusion to lull you into complacency. You should contact a Philadelphia birth injury attorney as soon as possible.

Consulting with a Philadelphia birth injury lawyer can be a valuable first step toward recovering damages for the medical negligence that harmed your child. Doing so promptly after the incident can help ensure that the time necessary to complete a proper investigation is available to gather the medical support required to make your child’s case successful.

Contact us anytime to discuss your legal options.