How much time you have to file a birth injury lawsuit depends on where you live
Thanks to modern medicine, pregnancy and childbirth are safer than ever before. Unfortunately, some children still sustain injuries during birth.
But like most legal matters, there is a limited window to sue. Learn more about the statute of limitations for birth injury cases in your state.
What is the statute of limitations?
Statute of limitations refers to a given timeframe within which you can file a lawsuit. These time restrictions apply to most lawsuits. A statute of limitations is put in place to ensure that legal matters are brought to court in a timely fashion and that a case is pursued while the physical evidence is still available and witness accounts are still fresh.
Usually, the clock starts ticking from the moment the negligence or malpractice is committed. While some injuries are discovered right away, others may take years to manifest. You may only realize your child suffered a birth injury later when they are school-aged.
Fortunately, many states recognize these extenuating circumstances and make exceptions. For instance, the statute of limitations for birth injury cases involving cerebral palsy is generally longer due to the discovery rule. This means the clock begins to countdown from the moment you learn of the injury, not when the injury occurred. Other common birth injury complications include infections, nerve damage, paralysis and death.
Statute of limitation by state
The birth injury statute of limitations varies from state to state. Some states give a longer period while others have a shorter window. The variations are due to different reasons. Generally, states with higher populations and higher medical malpractice cases have a shorter statute of limitations.
Although it’s your attorney’s job to know about your state’s statute of limitations, here is a breakdown of the laws in each state.*
Birth Injury Statute of Limitations By State
|Alabama||Two years from the injury or 6 months after discovery. No later than 4 years.|
|Alaska||Two years from the injury or discovery. Not valid after 10 years.|
|Arizona||Two years from the time of injury or date of discovery.|
|Arkansas||Two years from the date of injury or 3 years if the injury resulted in wrongful death.|
|California||Two years from the date of injury or 3 years if it led to death.|
|Colorado||Two years from the date of injury.|
|Connecticut||Three years from the date of injury or 2 years from the baby’s death.|
|Delaware||Maximum of 3 years, including discovery.|
|Florida||Two years from the date of injury and a maximum of 4 years for discovery.|
|Georgia||Two years after injury and a maximum of 5 years for the discovery.|
|Hawaii||Two years after injury and a maximum of 6 years for discovery.|
|Idaho||Two years from the date of injury or the baby’s death.|
|Illinois||Eight years from the injury. Not valid after 22nd birthday.|
|Indiana||Two years after injury or discovery. Claim invalid after 8 years.|
|Iowa||Two years from injury or discovery. Claim invalid after 10 years.|
|Kansas||Two years from the injury and a maximum of 4 years for discovery.|
|Kentucky||One year from the injury and 4 years for discovery.|
|Louisiana||One year from the injury and no more than 3 years for discovery.|
|Maine||Three years from the injury or before the 6th birthday.|
|Maryland||Five years from the injury and 3 years from the discovery. Claim invalid after the 11th birthday.|
|Massachusetts||Three years from the injury or discovery but before the 9th birthday.|
|Michigan||Two years of the injury or 6 months after discovery.|
|Minnesota||Four years from the injury.|
|Mississippi||Two years from the injury or discovery.|
|Missouri||Two years from the injury or discovery.|
|Montana||Three years from the injury or discovery but no later than 5 years.|
|Nebraska||Two years from the injury or 1 year from discovery.|
|Nevada||Three years from injury or discovery and 10 years for brain damage.|
|New Hampshire||Three years from injury or discovery.|
|New Jersey||Two years from injury or discovery.|
|New Mexico||Three years from the injury.|
|New York||Ten years after the discovery and 2 and a half years after turning 18.|
|North Carolina||Three years from injury or discovery.|
|North Dakota||Two years from injury or 3 years within the discovery.|
|Ohio||One year from injury.|
|Oklahoma||Seven years from injury.|
|Oregon||Two years from injury or discovery.|
|Pennsylvania||Two years from the discovery.|
|Rhode Island||Three years from injury or discovery.|
|South Carolina||Three years from injury or discovery.|
|South Dakota||Two years from injury or discovery.|
|Tennessee||One year from injury or discovery.|
|Texas||Two years from the injury or discovery.|
|Utah||Two years from injury or discovery.|
|Vermont||Three years from injury or 2 years from discovery.|
|Virginia||Two years from the injury.|
|Washington||Three years from injury or 1 year from discovery.|
|Washington, D.C.||Three years from injury or discovery.|
|West Virginia||Two years from the injury or discovery.|
|Wisconsin||Three years from the injury or 1 year from discovery.|
|Wyoming||Two years from the date of injury or discovery.|
*It’s important to note that these figures are subject to change. Contact birth injury attorney Laura Brown for more information.
Get help from an experienced birth injury lawyer
The importance of filing your lawsuit promptly cannot be overstated. While it might be tempting to wait until you know more, the window for filing a malpractice lawsuit might be closing. You should consult with an experienced birth injury lawyer as soon as you get a diagnosis. The sooner you file your lawsuit, the easier it will be to prove your birth injury case.
Don’t wait until it’s too late.
At Brown Trial Firm, we will fight for you and for your family to ensure that you are fairly compensated for preventable losses. If you suspect your child’s birth injury was caused by a preventable medical mistake, please contact our birth injury attorneys. Consultations are completely free and there is no obligation.