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Keeping an Eye on the Date: Statutes of Limitations as They Apply to Birth Injuries

Posted on Sunday, February 24th, 2019 at 5:49 pm    

Statutes of limitations are imposed in many areas of law. They vary from state to state and may be quite complex, as is certainly the case where they apply to birth injury claims. Basically, when it comes to making a personal injury or medical malpractice claim, the state’s statute of limitations determines when you can no longer make a valid claim. The reasoning behind this is to prevent courts from being clogged up with claims made many years after an event was alleged to have taken place. Although there are exceptions, the longer a claim is made after a supposed event, the less likely it can be proven, making the claim less likely to succeed. This can prolong the claim process which can also prolong the time taken in court if it comes to that.

In most states, personal injury claims made against private individuals or organizations are two to three years after an injury has occurred. The statute of limitations for claims against government entities, like cities, states or the federal government are typically shorter, often as little as 6 months or a year and the claim process is often more complex as well.

Exceptions to the statutes of limitations when an injury or illness is discovered later in life

Most states recognize there are exceptions to the general rules about time limits. For example, if someone works in a particular industry and eventually becomes sick, they may not realize that their sickness resulted from a period working in the industry until much later in life. This is typical for many cancers and diseases like mesothelioma, for example. In these cases, the law generally allows what is called a toll or extension of the statute of limitations so that the claimant can be able to make their claim within a set number of years after the ‘discovery’ of the disease, rather than after the exact point at which the disease occurred. In most cases, this would not be possible anyway s the damage would have been done over a prolonged period of time.

A similar extension of the normal statute of limitations applies to birth injury claims as well. Theoretically, if a birth injury occurs due to the incompetence or poor medical procedures, then the family should be able to make a claim within two years of the birth in Texas. This period may be different in other states. However, that assumes that whatever happened to the baby at birth was immediately obvious. In some cases, the effects of poor procedures may not be apparent until much later in life. There may be no recognition of the effects of a birth injury, for example, until a child becomes a teenager. By that time, the statute of limitations has long passed and without an exception to the statute, it would become impossible for that child to receive compensation from the medical institution responsible for the injury.

Extension of the normal statute of limitations for some birth injury claims

In Texas, the statute is modified to take this into account in a modified version of the ‘discovery’ extension.’ A child has two years after they become 18 to make a birth injury claim a long as the claim is made against a privately owned and run medical facility or against a private individual medical professional.

Claims against a government medical facility

The law is different when it comes to birth injury claims against a government owned or run medical facility or a military hospital run by the federal government. The statute of limitations may be as little as one year after the discovery of the injury to file an administrative claim against the relevant agency.

As the statute of limitations is so important when it comes to making a personal injury claim or medical malpractice claim it is vital that you contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as a birth injury or other medical incident is recognized. You can contact a San Antonio Lawyer for professional and dedicated legal help at 833-210-4878.