Statute of Limitations in Birth Injury Cases
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
Any form of medical negligence can be a traumatic event. But perhaps no other event is as emotive or as devastating as an injury or death that occurs at birth.
When one of these awful scenarios happens, your first concern will always be for the well-being of your child, but you also have to consider the potential medical expenses that caring for the baby will bring as well as ensuring that the medical professional responsible is held accountable.
Types of Injuries
There are many types of birth injuries. Some of them are less serious and may only have short-term effects but many others may affect your child for the rest of their life. Some of the most common types of birth injury include:
- Cerebral palsy
- Swelling or bruising
- Erb’s palsy
- Varying degrees of brain damage
- Skull or other fractures
- Bleeding on the brain
- Spinal cord injuries
- Blood vessels in the eyes rupturing
How Do They Happen?
Most birth injuries occur due to some level of negligence by the medical staff. This negligence can occur before, during, or after birth. Negligence during pregnancy can include actions or inactions such as prescribing the wrong medications or failing to diagnose something that may threaten the fetus’s health.
During delivery, a very common cause of injury can be asphyxia (oxygen deprivation) which can lead to cerebral palsy, autism, and seizures. Another common birth injury during labor is a brachial plexus injury. This type of injury may lead to paralysis and is caused by the overuse of forceps. Once the baby is delivered, injuries may be caused by administering incorrect medications or failing to identify health issues.
Duty of Care
Many parents are initially reluctant to file a claim. But when they realize that the costs of medical treatment and potentially lifelong care they determine that a birth injury claim is the best way forward. Having an experienced birth injury lawyer with extensive experience in the area of medical malpractice can be essential when seeking damages for any injuries due to negligence.
At the heart of any medical malpractice lawsuit is the concept of “duty of care.” This states that once there is a doctor-patient relationship established, then that doctor (or another medical professional) owes you a duty of care. Once that duty of care is owed, then we can judge that individual on their level of competency and any negligence that led to what your child suffered.
Who is Responsible?
The attending doctor is the individual who will hold primary responsibility for any negligence that led to an injured child. They are responsible for supervising all aspects of your care while in hospital and that includes supervision of the staff working under them.
However, in some cases, there may also be a vicarious liability. This is where the hospital that employs the doctor is also held liable under the legal theory of “respondeat superior.” It may be the case that the law firm you engage files a lawsuit against more than one party where they feel liability can be proven.
As with all personal injury cases in Michigan, there are certain time limits that must be observed in filing a case on behalf of the injured person.
- You must file a birth injury claim within two years of the date of the injury or within two years of the injury being discovered and identified as being as a result of medical malpractice.
- In cases of wrongful death, a lawsuit must be filed within three years of the date of the child’s death.
Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. are one of the state’s leading law firms in the area of medical malpractice cases. Our experienced and empathic attorneys will deal with your case in a sympathetic and compassionate manner and will pursue your claim vigorously.
We offer an initial free consultation to discuss your particular circumstances and to advise you on the best way to progress. To schedule a complimentary case evaluation with us, please call us today at 866-MICH-LAW.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.