John J. Hopkins & Associates

Do I have time to file my birth injury lawsuit?

If you follow this blog, you know that many medical errors are preventable. This is hard to think about in terms of birth injuries. Medical negligence during the birthing process can alter life forever. It's hard to imagine that one small mistake can drive an unfavorable destiny for a human being. Unfortunately, this happens all the time.

If you believe your child was the victim of labor-related medical negligence, take the time to read this post. You may have a viable claim against the medical professionals involved in your delivery. However, birth injury claims do have a statute of limitations or time limit. After this statutory period, a claim cannot be filed. Therefore, it is important to take action as soon as you discover a birth defect or injury.

When a child suffers a birth injury, the symptoms may not become immediately discoverable. It can take months before a birth defect is uncovered or diagnosed. Once it becomes apparent that your baby was the victim of medical negligence, initiate the legal process right away.

How long do I have to file my birth injury claim?

The answer to this question depends on your circumstances. In Illinois, three possible laws can apply to start the clock on the statute of limitations in birth injury cases. They are as follows:

  • Two years: Any lawsuit against a medical professional or health care provider must be filed within two years of the injury or the date that you should have reasonably known about the injury. However, the timeframe to file any claim is four years after the act or omission that caused the birth injury.
  • Minors: Malpractice actions must be initiated within eight years of the negligent act or omission resulting in the birth injury when victim was less than 18. However, the lawsuit must be commenced before the victim reaches 22 years old. There is no medical malpractice remedy after this period.
  • Disabilities: In these cases, the statutory clock starts running when the victim's disability is no longer present. In other words, the claim is always ripe in such cases until the plaintiff recovers from the disability. Once the plaintiff has recuperated from the incident, the statute of limitations begins. Because many birth injuries, such as cerebral palsy, can cause permanent mental disabilities, it is possible that the birth injury claim would never be barred by time.

These are the general time limit rules for birth injury cases. Note that infant wrongful death must be filed within two years from the date of death.

If you are faced with a birth injury issue after delivery, get the help you need. A lawyer can walk you through the next steps before the time runs out.

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ALTON —Like any successful trial lawyer, John Hopkins knows the importance of preparation. But he usually doesn’t write out the questions he plans to ask witnesses in depositions or in court.

“I like to react to what the witness is saying—not only what they’re saying, but how they’re saying it,” Hopkins says.

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John J. Hopkins & Associates
500 6th Street
Alton, IL 62002

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