How long you have to file an umbilical cord birth injury lawsuit depends on the jurisdiction of your case and other circumstances. Each state sets its statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), these generally range from one year to seven years.
However, many states have exceptions to their statute of limitations when the victim is a minor. In other cases, additional deadlines might apply as part of the malpractice claims process.
The most effective way to know for sure how long you have to take action in an umbilical cord birth injury case is by contacting a law firm that accepts birth injury cases near you. Their team should be able to assess the facts of your case and determine the deadlines that apply.
For a free legal consultation, call 1-800-222-9529
Understanding Statutes of Limitations on Malpractice Claims
Statutes of limitations are the laws that set a deadline in medical malpractice lawsuits. While there are exceptions, these laws generally apply to how long the victim has to file the initial paperwork to begin a civil suit.
This paperwork names the defendants in the case—usually a doctor or hospital—and outlines the allegations against them. If the victim does not file this paperwork in the appropriate civil court before the deadline arrives, they could lose the right to take the case to trial. The court could bar them from further legal action based on missing the statutory deadline.
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Some States Have Additional Deadlines You Must Meet
How long you have to file an umbilical cord birth injury lawsuit also depends on other state laws. States also establish the malpractice claims process by statute. Unlike many civil cases, which can go straight to court, there may be preliminary steps you must take first in a malpractice claim.
Often, this involves notifying those accused of medical negligence of your allegations and giving them time to investigate what happened. The goal of these statutes is to encourage out-of-court settlements and discourage baseless lawsuits.
There may be deadlines that apply in this process as well. You may need to notify them of your child’s injuries within a certain period following their diagnosis or give them a set time to consider their options following your allegations.
It is possible to settle with the malpractice insurance company following this step in many cases. They would rather settle outside of court than face an expensive trial.
There Are Frequently Exceptions To the Statute of Limitations
Because the victims of birth injuries are minors, there are often additional laws in place for tolling the statute of limitations in these cases. As the Legal Information Institute (LII) explains, tolling means the statute of limitations is effectively placed on hold for a specific period until:
- The child reaches a set age
- Several years pass from when the injury occurred
- The statute of repose takes effect, setting a firm deadline
Tolling the deadline may be helpful in your child’s umbilical cord birth injury case because serious complications from these injuries may not become evident until a year or more following their birth. Only once you have a good idea about your child’s health, prognosis, and future care needs should your lawyer file your claim.
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Building a Case for a Birth Injury Legal Claim Based on Your Child’s Injuries
Your legal team will take steps to assign liability and hold the negligent party or parties responsible for your child’s birth injuries and resulting conditions. Liable parties in an umbilical cord birth injury claim could include:
- The obstetrician monitoring the pregnancy
- The doctor attending the baby’s labor and delivery
- Another medical professional on the mother and baby’s care team, such as nurses or midwives
- The doctor’s medical practice or clinic
- The hospital where the baby was born
There are many ways a doctor or another caregiver’s actions can cause an umbilical cord birth injury or fail to prevent additional injuries because of an umbilical cord concern, including:
- Failing to monitor the mother and baby every step of the way.
- Failing to recognize and diagnose a potential problem or risk factor.
- Failing to act appropriately after discovering a problem.
- Failing to react correctly to an emergent umbilical cord issue during labor and delivery.
Get Help from a Birth Injury Attorney Near You Today
You can speak with the Birth Injury Lawyers Group for free today. We will review your case at no cost to your family. You can learn more about the strength of your case, your legal options, and the laws for pursuing a medical malpractice legal claim in your state.
Call (800) 222-9529 now to get started. We have someone standing by to assess your case and answer your questions.