Is There a Statute of Limitations That Guides Birth Injury Attorneys?

Jun 30, 2017 | Firm News

Birth injury attorneys must always be aware of the statute of limitations

Birth injury attorneys know they have a deadline for bringing a civil lawsuit as a result of an individual suffering a birth injury. The exact length of time a birth injury victim has to file a lawsuit will depend on several factors, such as when the injured individual (or his or her guardian) discovers the injury and the applicable statute of limitations.

What Is a Statute of Limitations?

A statute of limitations states that certain lawsuits must begin within a certain amount of time after the alleged injury. For instance, personal injuries, like birth injuries, will usually have a different statute of limitations than a breach of contract cause of action.

The specific statute of limitation that will apply depends on the specific state’s statute of limitations law; every state has its own statute of limitations. For example, in Georgia, the statute of limitation for a personal injury that is the result of medical malpractice is two years. But this time limit can go to up to a maximum of five years if the injury is not immediately discovered.

Can Anything Extend the Statute of Limitations?

Certain situations can pause or stop the statute of limitations “clock” from running. This is often referred to as “tolling” the statute of limitations. Each state will have its own specific rules and laws about how tolling works. Under Georgia law, the two year clock for a personal injury will not usually start until the child turns 18 years of age. But this rule has its own exception. This special tolling of the statute of limitations does not apply if the birth injury is the result of medical malpractice, which if often the case.

Therefore, the absolute latest a birth injury attorney can bring a lawsuit for a birth injury which is due to the medical malpractice of a medical professional will be the child’s fifth birthday.

What Happens If I Miss the Deadline?

For the most part, if the child is five years and a day old, it will be too late to bring a birth injury lawsuit, no matter how severe the injuries sustained by the child are or how clear it is that a medical professional caused the injuries. And even then, the deadline could be sooner if the birth injury was clear at the time of birth. In that case, the deadline may be the child’s second birthday.

Regardless of which statute of limitations deadline applies, missing the deadline to file a lawsuit can be devastating and add insult to injury. That’s why the moment you suspect a birth injury exists, you should contact a birth injury attorney.

Do You Have a Birth Injury Claim?

Do you have questions about whether you should consult with one of the many birth injury attorneys available? If so, contact the Wilbanks Law Firm, P.C. online.