Understanding the Statute of Limitations for Birth Injury Lawsuits in MD
When a child suffers an injury during delivery, it can be an incredibly traumatic and stressful experience for the new parents, who may not know what to do next. When a physician or nurse caused that birth injury through negligence, however, you may be entitled to pursue compensation in the form of a lawsuit – and it’s important to file that lawsuit within the allotted time limit or “statute of limitations” for your state.
The statute of limitations for birth injury claims in Maryland means that you generally have three years within the date of the injury to seek compensation for your losses. Of course, while some birth injuries are immediately apparent, others may take years to surface: For example, if your child develops a learning disability due to mild brain damage, but appears normal in other ways during their infancy. To account for this fact, Maryland also allows parents to bring a birth injury lawsuit within three years after the “date of discovery” for an injury. Regardless of how the injury was discovered, the suit must be brought before the child’s 21st birthday as well.
It depends on who is suing, because in a situation of a birth injury, 1) the parents can sue for their personal losses and expenses related to the injury of the child, and 2) the parents can sue on behalf of the child for the child's losses. The lawsuit on behalf of the parents must be file three years from the date of the injury. The lawsuit on behalf of the child (which is usually far more substantial) can be filed up until the day before the child's 21st birthday. Why so long? It gives the child the same three-year deadline, but the clock doesn't start running until the child becomes an adult at 18 years of age.
The date of the injury can be subject to interpretation, so it's important to contact an attorney who specializes in birth injury cases, like Brown & Barron, as soon as possible when you suspect a preventable birth injury. Time is of the essence. Still, it's important to remember that the more substantial settlement and verdict is typically associated with the child's lawsuit, and even if considerable time has passed since the birth of your child, you might still have time to file.
In What Situations Can I Sue for Negligence?
Broadly defined, “negligence” means that someone has failed to live up to the “duty of care” owed to another person in a given situation. From the doctors who provide us with healthcare services to the other drivers on our roads, we can hold individuals and organizations accountable when they have been negligent with our safety. When it comes to birth injuries, these actions can impact not only our own lives, but also the lives of our children. By seeking compensation, you may be better able to provide care, resources, and support for your child in the future.
Here are a few of the most common injuries caused by physician negligence during birth:
- Fetal lacerations and cuts
- Birth trauma due to prolonged labor
- Infant brain damage
- Fetal acidosis (buildup of acid in the bloodstream)
- Preventable infections and sepsis
- Untreated jaundice
- Perinatal asphyxia (loss of oxygen)
- Bone and skull fractures
- Placental abruption
- Brachial plexus injuries (also may be called “shoulder dystocia”)
Aside from requiring immediate medical attention, these injuries may also result in the following long-term disabilities and conditions:
- Cerebral palsy (CP) – A severe motor disability typically caused by brain damage from pregnancy infections, asphyxia, or untreated jaundice.
- Erb’s palsy: Erb-Duchenne palsy or “Erb’s palsy” occurs due to shoulder dystocia or brachial plexus injury – and it leads to permanent damage in the baby’s shoulder, arms, and hands.
- Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE): Caused by lack of oxygen or birth asphyxia, babies with HIE may develop epilepsy, motor disabilities, and developmental problems.
- Cephalohematoma: A medical condition where blood collects and develops on the surface of the baby’s skull, leading to motor disabilities like cerebral palsy and other developmental delays.
Contact Brown & Barron, LLC today at (410) 698-1717 for a free consultation on your birth injury case. We are available to help clients in Baltimore and beyond.shutter