Birth Injury and the Statute of Limitations
Birth injuries are not very common, but when they happen to your baby, they can be extremely traumatizing and concerning. While some birth injuries can be corrected, others may require lifelong care of your child. Contacting a birth injury lawyer can help you gather necessary documentation for your case and write your claim in such a way that it highlights the need for compensation for your child.
In Michigan, it’s important to understand the definition of a birth injury and the statute of limitations in which to file a claim. You may not receive a definitive diagnosis of your child’s birth-related injuries until some time has passed, but you still have rights to seek damages and medical-related expenses for your child.
What is a statute of limitations?
A statute of limitations is the time limit set on the period between when an injury occurs and when you can file a claim. Most crimes, except for murder, have a statute of limitations, and it varies from state to state. In Michigan, the statute of limitations for birth injuries is within two years of the incident or six months of diagnosis of the injury. For a wrongful death lawsuit, the claim must be filed within three years of the child’s death.
There is an exception to the statute. If reasonable medical efforts have been made to discover the cause of medical issues related to a birth injury, but the cause was discovered past the statute of limitations, many courts will take into account this rule of “discovery.”
Types of birth injuries
Birth injuries can occur in a variety of ways. Some injuries can take the form of broken bones, bruising, and contusions. These can usually be fixed but are very painful and may take time and surgery in order to heal. Some of these injuries are caused by forceps, a vacuum, or general pushing through the birth canal. They can result in cranial bruising, broken collarbones or arms, and bruising around the brachial plexus nerve.
Other, more serious injuries include lifelong issues such as tearing of the brachial plexus nerve, intracranial hemorrhage, and brain damage caused by a lack of oxygen. Brain asphyxia can lead to developmental delays and conditions such as Cerebral Palsy.
Causes of birth injuries
Birth injuries can occur due to prolonged or difficult labors; however, they can often be prevented by a doctor who has properly assessed the situation. A doctor who sees a baby in distress and does not immediately order a C-section may be at fault for contributing to the injuries a baby sustains during a difficult or prolonged birth. Other ways doctors or midwives can cause birth injuries include:
- Improper use of forceps or vacuum
- Delay in ordering a C-section
- Failure to note or ignoring fetal distress signals
- Failure to anticipate or address birth complications
- Improper care of the baby immediately after birth
- Failure to address bleeding in the mother
Through proper evaluation of the circumstances of your child’s delivery, an experienced medical attorney will be able to assess whether or not your child’s injuries are a result of medical malpractice. They will also take your case before an experienced doctor or team of doctors to assess the ins and outs of your case and approve it to move forward as a medical malpractice case, as outlined by Michigan state law.
If your child will experience lifelong complications from these birth injuries, you can advocate for those responsible to compensate you for your child’s care. Birth injuries, such as brain injuries, can often affect a child throughout their lives. Do not delay in taking your suspicions to a medical malpractice lawyer today to assess your case before the statute of limitations runs out.
Eileen Kroll is both a registered nurse and a knowledgeable attorney, lending her unique expertise to medical malpractice cases. If you are looking for an experienced medical malpractice lawyer, contact us today at 1-866-MICH-LAW (1-866-642-4529).