If you or a family member was injured during pregnancy or delivery, you may choose to file a birth injury lawsuit. Birth injury claims address harm to the mother or child during pregnancy or delivery, including failing to control the mother’s post-delivery blood loss or to monitor the baby’s pre-and post-delivery oxygen intake.
How Long After a Birth Injury Can You Sue?
If you think you have a case, it’s crucial to hire a birth injury lawyer in your state as soon as possible. Delaying may impact your right to sue and potentially win compensation. That’s because birth injury cases are handled in state courts that have strict set deadlines — called statutes of limitations — for filing claims.
There are four factors that impact the statute of limitations for your birth injury lawsuit:
- Injury date, usually the day your baby was born or a day during pregnancy.
- The date when the injury was discovered or reasonably would have been discovered.
- The date a foreign object is discovered. Less than half of U.S. states have special provisions for these cases.
- Birth date of the injured person/s. Some states have different deadlines or suspend them if the person was less than 18 years old at the time of injury or death. This is called “tolling.” For example: There may be developmental delays that aren’t evident right away but become clear as a child grows up, such as cerebral palsy or brain damage from oxygen deprivation during the birthing process.
Birth Injury Lawsuit Statutes of Limitations by State
The statute of limitations is shortest in Kentucky, Louisiana and Tennessee (within 1 year of injury or death) as well as Ohio (within 1 year of injury and 2 years of death).
These states allow you to file suit within 2 years of either the date of injury or death:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
- Utah, Vermont
- West Virginia
These states extend the statute for death claims to three years since the date listed on the deceased’s death certificate:
The statute of limitations is 3 years for birth injury and 2 years for death in California, Maine, Nevada, North Carolina, and Washington, D.C. The statute for death claims extends to three years in Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wisconsin.
Which States Give You More Than Three Years to File Your Claim?
These states have the longest statutes of limitations for birth injury lawsuit claims:
- Minnesota (either 4 years from the date of injury, or 3 years from the date of death)
- Maryland (either 5 years from the date of injury, or 3 years from the date of death)
- Oklahoma (either 7 years of the date of injury, or 2 years from the date of death)
- Illinois (either 8 years of date of injury, or 2 years from date of death)
Don’t lose your chance at resolution and compensation because the statute of limitations for your birth injury lawsuit expires. Always speak with an experienced birth injury attorney in your state to review your options. Not sure how to find the right birth injury lawyer to handle your case? Here are 15 questions to ask during your free initial consultation.
Ready to see if you may qualify? Complete your free online birth injury case evaluation now!
Margot Lester is the CEO of The Word Factory, a content marketing agency based in North Carolina that provides services for international healthcare brands, tech companies and SaaS developers. An award-winning business and brand journalist, she writes for daily and weekly newspapers and business journals, national magazines, in-flight publications and leading websites. Margot is also an in-demand writing coach and organizational communications trainer, helping individuals and teams write more effectively. LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/margotlester.