Among the most complicated and devastating medical malpractice cases are those involving birth injuries. Birth injury medical malpractice can have significant, truly life-altering consequences. Many infants that suffer birth injuries die as a result or have life-long consequences. The catastrophic nature of many of these types of cases raises the all-important question of when should you contact a birth injury lawyer. The financial cost and emotional toll that birth injuries have on families can be profound, and as discussed in greater detail in this article the fact is that if you have a child who’s suffered a birth injury, you should seek professional assistance from a birth injury attorney with all deliberate speed.
Essential Facts about Birth Injuries
Before diving deeper into when to contact a birth injury lawyer, understanding some essential facts about these types of damages is important. Nearly 30,000 infants suffer birth injuries each year in the United States. That equates to over 500 birth injuries weekly in the country.
Only a relatively small percentage of birth injuries are classified as minor. A full 80% of birth injuries are deemed moderate to severe. Birth injuries account for 20% of all infant deaths. This makes birth injuries the fourth leading cause of death among infants in the United States. Out of every 100,000 babies born, over 130 die as the result of some type of birth injury.
The stark reality about birth injuries is that the vast majority of these oftentimes deadly and frequently debilitating incidents are avoidable. They occur as the result of the negligence of a physician or some other healthcare provider.
Birth Injuries and the Statute of Limitations
Each state in the country has a set of laws known as statutes of limitations. These are laws that govern the timeframe within which a lawsuit must be filed. The failure to file a lawsuit within the time established by the statute of limitations has dire consequences. If you fail to meet this crucial deadline, you can be barred forever from taking legal action against the doctor or other healthcare professional believed to be responsible for causing a birth injury.
When it comes to birth injuries, two types of statutes of limitations come into play. These are the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice personal injury case and the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice wrongful death case.
You must bear in mind that every state establishes its own timeframe for bringing either a medical malpractice personal injury lawsuit or a medical malpractice wrongful death case. The timeframes for each of these two different types of medical malpractice lawsuits are the same in some jurisdictions. However, in many states, medical malpractice personal injury, and wrongful death lawsuits have different deadlines for filing a lawsuit.
The time allotted for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit typically runs from the date of the birth injury. There are some exceptions to this rule.
There are some types of birth injuries that are not immediately discoverable. In other words, some time may pass from the date of birth until symptoms of certain types of injuries begin to appear. For example, if a baby suffered a brain injury during birth, the fact that damage has occurred might not be immediately recognized.
In some cases, the statute of limitations in this type of case begins to run from the date the birth injury was discovered. This is the case if the discovery of a birth injury at a later point in time is deemed reasonable.
There is another caveat associated with a birth injury and the statute of limitations. States have laws on their books that permit a delay in filing a lawsuit until a point in time at which the injured party becomes an adult, reaches the majority. Laws do vary from state to state in this regard. Typically, a state permits the filing of a birth injury lawsuit within a certain time period after an injured party becomes an adult as an option to filing while that person is still a child.
The need to ensure that you meet the crucial deadline imposed by the statute of limitations underscores the need to be as proactive as possible in scheduling an initial consultation and case evaluation with a birth injury lawyer. One of the first steps a birth injury lawyer will take is to determine the specific timeline within which a lawsuit must be filed.
Birth Injuries and Insurance Companies
Insurance companies that provide professional liability coverage to physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare providers are among the most aggressive entities in the broader insurance industry. Medical malpractice insurers have developed reputations for ruthless tactics when it comes to dealing with people who file claims for injuries – including cases involving birth injuries.
When it comes to the question of when you should contact a birth injury lawyer, that connection should be made before you have any conversation with a representative of an insurance company.
If an insurance company reaches out to you and seeks to ask you questions, politely decline and advise that you are in the process of seeking legal representation. That statement by you legally requires a medical malpractice insurance company representative of any type of withdrawal and wait to hear from your birth injury attorney.
Having said that, when it comes to pursuing a claim for a birth injury, there are important deadlines that need to be met. These exist by operation of law and the terms of medical malpractice or professional liability insurance policy. The fact that these deadlines can approach quickly makes contacting legal counsel in a proactive manner all the more important.
In the final analysis, if your child has suffered a birth injury, or if you’ve become an adult and now desire to pursue a birth injury lawsuit as the law might permit, contact McGehee ☆ Chang, Landgraf, Feiler promptly. Our knowledge birth injury attorneys will schedule an initial consultation at no cost to you.