The birth of a child should be a time of celebration, but sometimes it can turn into a tragedy due to an injury to the infant. If that occurs because of the negligence of a medical provider, you may be able to get financial compensation that helps pay for your child’s care. While birth injury law is complicated, there are some basic things to keep in mind, including how much time you have to file.
The Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is the governing rule for whether a lawsuit is valid or not. This can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the situation, but it is a significant determining factor in whether or not your lawsuit can proceed. If the statute of limitations has passed and you file a lawsuit, it will most likely be dismissed.
In Pennsylvania, the standard statute of limitations for a medical malpractice lawsuit is two years from when the injury occurred. That doesn’t mean your lawsuit will be finished in that time frame, but it must be filed before two years have passed since the initial injury.
Birth Injury Exceptions
Legislators and judges in Pennsylvania have acknowledged that some birth injuries may take more than two years to become apparent, so there is a little more variance for those situations. Parents generally have seven years to file a birth injury lawsuit after the discovery of the injury, even if the injury was discovered after more than two years. That means that if a three-year-old child is believed to have a birth injury that was previously undiscovered, the parents still usually have time to file.
This statute lasts up until the child turns 20 years old. After the child turns 20, claims are generally subject to standard medical malpractice laws with a two-year statute of limitations.
How to Handle a Birth Injury
If you believe your child was injured at birth, the first thing to do is seek proper medical attention for any emergency issues or immediate concerns. Once you’ve done that, however, things get more complicated, and you may want to consider hiring an attorney to help you navigate the process.
If your family has suffered a birth injury in Pennsylvania, The Villari Firm can help. Heidi G. Villari is a birth injury attorney in Philadelphia who can help you understand your options during this difficult time. Call today to set up a consultation.