Who Can Sue for a Birth Injury and What are the Time Limitations?

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An individual’s ability to bring a lawsuit before a court is known as “standing.” It requires that you have a significant connection to the harm that has been caused to give rise to the legal right to seek compensation. The unique circumstances of a birth injury case can make the issue of who has the legal standing to sue challenging.

Who has standing to file suit:

  • Parents generally have standing to sue in a birth injury medical malpractice claim. They must sue on behalf of their injured child because the child is legally unable to bring a legal claim due to age minority, brain injury or both. Parents may also sue to recover their own specific damages, such as out-of-pocket medical expenses.
  • The mother individually. If the mother is injured during the birthing process, she may be able to sue for her specific damages.
  • The father individually. If the mother’s life is lost as a result of the birthing error, the father of the child will have standing to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the child for the death of the mother. The father will also have standing for his own wrongful death claim if he and the mother were legally married.
  • A guardian. If an injured baby is under the care of a guardian or third party, that individual can generally bring suit to recover damages on behalf of the child.

The statute of limitations creates time restraints

Along with limitations on who can sue for birth injuries, the law also places limitations on the amount of time a person has to institute the proceeding in court. These time frames vary depending on the laws of the state, so it is best to consult an experienced medical malpractice lawyer for a clear explanation of your specific case.

The state of Maryland allows plaintiffs five years from the date of the injury or three years from discovery of potential malpractice to file a lawsuit, whichever time frame is shorter. In cases of infant death, the lawsuit must be filed within three years of the death. If the injury is not discovered until later, the adult plaintiff suing individually or on behalf of the child has three years from the date of discovery to initiate a lawsuit, but no more than five years from the actual treatment. Under either situation, the state mandates that the suit must be brought before the child’s 21st birthday. Remember, parents must sue for a minor child within the adult statute of limitation in order to recover for all economic loss up to the child’s age of majority.

In the District of Columbia court system, plaintiffs are given two years to bring suit in the case of an infant death to bring a wrongful death claim for any provable lost economic support and three years from the date of an injury for personal injury or a survival action to claim pain and suffering. If the injury is discovered later, the statute of limitations is three years from the date of discovery.

Trust knowledgeable, award-winning malpractice attorneys in Washington D.C. and Baltimore to guide you through the lawsuit process

Time is of the essence in a birth injury claim. The right information is vital to a successful outcome. With offices in Washington D.C. and Baltimore, the attorneys of Schochor, Federico and Staton, P.A. serve local clients, as well as national clients.  Contact their office today at (888) 234-0001 to arrange a consultation.