Parents must act quickly when a suspected birth injury occurs otherwise they may lose their right to pursue claims against negligent physicians and healthcare providers. Generally speaking, parents have up to eight years to file a medical malpractice claim for birth injuries. When the hospital or clinic that was negligent is federally funded, however, or the healthcare provider is a government employee, the deadline to file a claim is only two years under the Federal Tort Claims Act.
Nationwide, it is estimated that there are more than 28,000 birth injuries per year. These injuries can cause lifelong health issues for the child and can require considerable resources to treat and manage as the child ages. In more than half of instances, birth injuries are avoidable and are the result of negligent actions taken by members of the delivery team.
Common Signs of Birth Injuries
Common signs of birth injuries include visible bruising and marks from the forceps or bone fractures. Similarly, the baby may have lacerations or visible signs of facial paralysis, Brachial palsy, or cerebral palsy that are the result of nerve damage sustained during delivery.
Statute of Limitations
Under Illinois statutes, parents of children who experience birth injuries can file a claim up to eight years following the injury in most cases. This is because it may take that long for symptoms of the injury such as learning disabilities to manifest.
However, under the Federal Tort Claims Act, patients who experience negligence or medical malpractice within a federally funded clinic or hospital or by a federal employee must file their claim within two years.
Because the statutes of limitations vary widely, it is crucial for parents who suspect a birth injury to verify the employer of the responsible individuals and to consult with medical malpractice lawyers as soon as possible. In Illinois, a significant number of clinics receive federal funding and there is a considerable likelihood that the two-year statute of limitations will apply.
Parents should thoroughly document the members of the medical team who were present when the injury occurred. It is also crucial to record via video and photographs the impact of the injury and the effect it has on the child’s health and well-being. This evidence can help medical malpractice lawyers establish the presence of the injury and the physical, financial, and emotional effects the injury has caused.