Statute of Limitations on Birth Injuries

As with most other types of lawsuits, birth injury cases must be filed within a certain time frame according to each state’s statute of limitations. It’s important to know what your state’s statutes of limitations are so that your claim and potential compensation is not affected.

What Exactly is Statute of Limitations?

Statute of limitations is defined as a time period in which you can legally file your birth injury claim. Statute of limitations, however, as mentioned earlier, apply to most types of lawsuits, and will vary according to the type of case being filed and the state that you live in. Regardless of the type of case being filed, however, if you fail to file your lawsuit within your state’s given deadline, it will not be allowed.

With medical malpractice cases, such as birth injury lawsuits, there may be a specific statute of limitations is in place known as the discovery rule, meaning the time starts ticking from the time the injury was discovered. In some instances, this may be several years or more after the injury occurred as the injury may not be discovered until certain symptoms start to appear.

Keep in mind that even if your state allows you a few years to file your lawsuit, it’s recommended to start the process as soon as possible. Waiting and prolonging the case heightens the risk of losing evidence.

What is the Statute of Limitations on a Birth Injury Case?

If you contact a lawyer immediately after your child’s birth injury is diagnosed, you shouldn’t need to worry about a statute of limitations regarding a birth injury case. Your lawyer will take care of the details and file the necessary paperwork before the due date. However, there are different extenuating circumstances regarding a birth injury case. Sometimes the injury is mild and isn’t diagnosed until the child reaches the school age.

When Do the Statute of Limitations Begin?

Since the case in question is a birth injury, the statute of limitations begins when the child experiences the injury, which is at birth. However, circumstances may make it impossible to determine the injury until years later. Many states, as previously mentioned, take this into account and offer the discovery rule.

Birth Injury Lawsuit Statute of Limitations by State

The following are the statute of limitations for all 50 states in the United States:

Alabama

All birth injury cases must be filed within two years of the time of the injury or within six months from the time of the discovery of the injury (if the initial two years have passed). However, the lawsuit cannot be filed after four years from the time of the injury, if the child is over four years of age. If the child is under four years of age, the claim must be filed by his/her eighth birthday. In the even that the infant passes away, the lawsuit must be filed within two years from the date of death.

Alaska

Alaska requires that lawsuits must be filed within two years of the injury. However, Alaska honors the discovery rule, which means the two-year statute of limitations begins when the injury was discovered. However, if the injury has not been discovered within 10 years from the time it happened, the statute runs out and all claims filed will be rejected. Infant wrongful death cases must be filed within two years from the date of death.

Arizona

All medical malpractice claims, including birth injury cases and wrongful death cases, must be filed within two years from the time of the injury or the date of death.

Arkansas

Birth injury cases must be filed within two years from the time of the injury. However, in the event of foreign objects being left in an infant’s body, such as after surgery, the statute of limitations is one year from the time the object is discovered (should it not be found within the initial two-year period). Infant wrongful death claims must be filed within three years from the date of the death.

California

Birth injury lawsuits must be filed within three years from the time of the injury. The exception to this rule is when the case regards foreign objects left in the body. In these cases, the three-year rule begins when the foreign object is discovered or should have been reasonably discovered. Infant wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within two years of the date of death.

Connecticut

Although in special circumstances, Connecticut allows birth injury lawsuits three years to be filed, most cases must be filed within two years from the time of the injury. No cases will be allowed after three years. Infant wrongful death cases must be filed within two years from the time of the baby’s death.

Delaware

Delaware allows two years for birth injury lawsuits to be filed. Delaware also honors the discovery rule, which states that if the injury was not known within the two-year statute of limitations, plaintiffs are allowed up to three years to file the claim. However, no claims can be filed after three years. Infant wrongful death cases must be filed within two years from the date of the death.

Florida

You must file your birth injury case within two years of the time of the injury or within two years of the time the injury should be reasonably discovered. However, birth injury lawsuits must be filed within four years of the injury no matter what, under Florida’s discovery rule. Infant wrongful death must be filed within two years of the date of death.

Georgia

Georgia allows two years from the time of the injury to file a birth injury lawsuit. If the injury is not discovered within two years, the statute of limitations is extended to until up to five years. After five years, you can no longer file the claim. These limitations apply to all birth injury cases in which children under five years of age are involved. In other words, when the child’s 5th birthday is reached, you are no longer eligible to file a birth injury claim. Infant wrongful death claims must be filed within two years from the date of death.

Hawaii

Birth injury cases must be filed within two years from the time of the injury. If the injury has not been discovered within two years, the statute of limitations extends until six years. Infant wrongful death lawsuits need to be filed within two years of the death date.

Idaho

Birth injury lawsuits must be filed within two years of the injury, except cases that involve foreign objects left in the body. If foreign objects are found in the body, plaintiffs have two years from the time the foreign object is found to file a claim. Infant wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within two years of the baby’s date of death.

Illinois

Illinois statute of limitations mandate that medical malpractice cases must be filed within two years of the injury, but no more than four years if the injury has not yet been discovered within the two-year limit. However, with birth injury claims, the lawsuit must be filed within eight years of the child’s injury. No claims can be made after the child’s 22nd birthday. Infant wrongful death must be filed within two years from the date of death.

Indiana

Birth injury lawsuits must be filed within two years of injury or when the injury should have been reasonably discovered. For children under six years of age, the lawsuit must be filed before his/her eighth birthday. A two-year statute of limitations is in place for infant wrongful death.

Iowa

Birth injury claims must be filed within two years of the injury, or within two years from the date that the injury was discovered. The case, however, cannot be filed after the child’s 10th birthday, even if the injury was not discovered until then. Infant wrongful death claims must be filed within two years of the death.

Kansas

Kansas mandates that birth injury claims be filed within two years from the time the injury occurred. If the injury has not been discovered within two years, plaintiffs have up to fours years total to file the claim. For infant wrongful death lawsuits, a two-year statute of limitations is in place.

Kentucky

Kentucky allows only one year from the date of the injury for a birth injury lawsuit to be filed. However, if the injury has not been discovered within a year, plaintiffs have up, but no more than, five years to make the discovery and file the claim. Infant wrongful death claims must be filed within one year from the date of death.

Louisiana

Birth injury claims must be filed within one year of the injury. If the injury is not discovered within a year, no more than three years is allowed for filing the lawsuit. Infant wrongful death claims must be filed within a year of the date of the death.

Maine

Maine allows three years from the time of the injury to file the birth injury lawsuit. If the injury is not discovered within a year, it must be filed before the child’s sixth birthday or within three years from the time the child reaches age 18 (whichever comes first). For foreign objects in the body, the three-year statute of limitation begins on the date the the object was discovered. Infant wrongful death must be filed within two years of the date of the baby’s death.

Maryland

Plaintiffs have five years from the time of the injury to file the birth injury, or three years from the time the injury was discovered. Either way, the lawsuit must be filed before the child’s 11th birthday. Infant wrongful death must be filed within three years from the date of the death.

Massachusetts

Birth injury lawsuits must be filed within three years from the time of the injury or within three years from the discovery of the injury. The case must be filed before the child’s 9th birthday. Infant wrongful death claims must be filed within three years from the date of the death.

Michigan

Per Michigan law, birth injury claims must be filed within two years of the injury, or within six months of discovering the injury, whichever is greater. Infant wrongful death cases must be filed within three years from the date of the baby’s death.

Minnesota

Birth injury claims must be filed within four years from the time of the injury. Infant wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within three years from the date of death.

Mississippi

Birth injury lawsuits must be filed within two years of the injury or within two years from the time the injury was discovered. In cases in which a foreign object was discovered in the body, the statute of limitations begin from the time the object was found. Infant wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within three years from the date of death.

Missouri

Missouri law mandates that birth injury cases must be filed within within two years from the date of the injury or within two years from the date of the discovery, up until a 10-year time period. Children who were victims of a birth injury can file a lawsuit on their own behalf once they are of age, but it must be done before their 20th birthday.

Montana

Birth injury lawsuits must be filed within three years of the date of the baby’s injury or within three years of discovering the injury. However, the time limit to file can never go beyond five years from the time the injury occurred. Infant wrongful death claims must be filed within three years from the date of death.

Nebraska

Per Nebraska law, birth injury lawsuits must be filed within two years from the date of the injury, or within one year from the date the injury was discovered, whichever comes earliest. In the case of infant wrongful death, the lawsuit must be filed within two years from the time of the death.

Nevada

Birth injury lawsuits must be filed within three years from the time of the injury or within three years from the time the discovery of the injury. Nevada laws state that parents are responsible for bringing on lawsuits for minor children within the given time period, unless the infant suffers from brain damage or from a birth defect. In these instances, parents have until the child’s 10th birthday to file the lawsuit. Infant wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within two years from the date of the baby’s death.

New Hampshire

Birth injury lawsuits must be filed within three years from the time of the injury or within three years from the time that the injury was discovered or should have been reasonably discovered. Infant wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within three years from the date of the baby’s death.

New Jersey

New Jersey law states that birth injury cases must be filed within two from the date of the injury or within two years from the date the injury should have been reasonably discovered. For infant wrongful death cases, New Jersey law mandates that the lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of death.

New York

Birth injury cases must be filed within two years and six months from the time of the injury. Infant wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within two years from the date of the baby’s death.

North Carolina

Per North Carolina law, birth injury lawsuits must be filed within three years of the injury or within three years of the time the injury should have been reasonably discovered. No one can bring a birth injury lawsuit after four years from the time of the injury has passed. Infant wrongful death cases must be filed within two years from the time of the infant’s death.

North Dakota

North Dakota law mandates that birth injury claims must be filed within two years of the date of the injury or within two years of discovery of the injury. However, if more than six years passes from the time of the injury, you cannot file the lawsuit. Infant wrongful death cases must be filed within two years of the date of death.

Ohio

Birth injury lawsuits must be filed within one year from the time of the injury or within 180 days after the plaintiff gives written notice to the defendant that a lawsuit will be filed. No birth injury lawsuits will be honored after four years have passed from the time of the injury. Infant wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within two years from the date of the baby’s death.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma law states that birth injury cases must be filed within seven years of the time the injury occurred, for minors under 12 years of age. All other medical malpractice cases must be filed within two years from the time of the injury. Infant wrongful death cases must be filed within two years from the date of death.

Oregon

Oregon statute of limitations for birth injury lawsuits mandate that claims must be filed within two years of the date of the injury or within two years from the time the injury should have been reasonably discovered. Infant wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within three years from the date of death.

Pennsylvania

Birth injury claims must be filed within two years from the time of the injury. However, under Pennsylvania’s discovery rule, the time does not begin until the discovery of the injury. Infant wrongful death injuries must be filed within two years from the date of the baby’s death.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island law states that birth injury cases must be filed within three years of the injury or within three years from the time the injury should have been reasonably discovered. Infant wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within three years from the time of the baby’s death.

South Carolina

Birth injury lawsuits must be filed within three years from the time of the injury or within three years from the time the injury was discovered. However, if this time period exceeds six years from the time the injury occurs, you cannot file the claim. Infant wrongful death claims must be filed within three years from the date of death.

South Dakota

South Dakota mandates that birth injury cases must be filed within two years from the time that the injury happened. Infant wrongful death claims must be filed within two years from the date of the baby’s death.

Tennessee

Tennessee law states that birth injury claims must be filed within a year of the injury or within a year of discovering the injury. Birth injury lawsuits cannot be filed after three years from the time of the injury has passed. Infant wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within a year from the date of death.

Texas

For birth injury and medical malpractice lawsuits, minors under the age of 12 have until their 14th birthday to file a claim. Parents filing a claim on behalf of the child have two years from the time of the injury or two years within the time the injury should have been reasonably discovered. Infant wrongful death cases must be filed within two years of the baby’s death.

Utah

Utah statute of limitations mandate that birth injury claims are to be filed within two years of the injury or within two years of reasonable discovery of the injury. No birth injury claims can be filed after four years from the date of the injury. For infant wrongful death lawsuits, claims must be filed within two years from the exact date of the baby’s death.

Vermont

Birth injury claims must be filed within three years from the time of the injury or within two years from the time the injury was discovered. However, no birth injury claims will be allowed if they are filed after seven years from the day of the injury. Infant wrongful death claims need to be filed within two years of the date of the death.

Virginia

Virginia statute of limitations in birth injury cases mandate that the lawsuit must be filed within two years from the date of the injury. Minors under eight years of age, however, have until their 10th birthday to file. Infant wrongful death claims must be filed within two years of the baby’s death.

Washington

Washington state law mandates that all birth injury lawsuits must be filed within three years from the date of the injury or within a year after the injury was discovered. The exception to this rule applies to fraudulent concealment of evidence or foreign objects stuck in the body. In these instances, plaintiffs have eight years to file. In Washington, parents must file on behalf of injured children. However, if the parents do not file a claim, the child is eligible to file a lawsuit once he/she turns 18. Statute of limitations in these cases begin the day after the 18th birthday. Infant wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within three years of the death.

Washington D.C.

Plaintiffs have three years from the date of the injury to file a birth injury claim, or three years from the date of the discovery of the injury. Infant wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within two years from the date of the infant’s death.

West Virginia

West Virginia statute of limitations mandate that birth injury cases must be filed within two years of the injury or within two years of the discovery of the injury. Infant wrongful death claims must be filed within two years from the exact date of the infant’s death.

Wisconsin

Birth injury lawsuits in Wisconsin must be filed within three years from the date of the injury or within one year from the date of the discovery of the injury. Infant wrongful death claims must be made within three years from the date of the baby’s death.

Wyoming

Wyoming law states that the statute of limitations for birth injury cases is two years from the time of the injury or two years from the time the injury was discovered, or should have been reasonably discovered. Infant wrongful death cases must be filed within two years from the date of the baby’s death.

When Should I Contact a Lawyer?

It’s important to contact a lawyer as soon as your child has been diagnosed with a birth injury. Some parents want to wait until they know how much money to ask for and how much the bills will cost, but this is wholly unrealistic. While it’s important to make sure that your child gets care for his or her birth injury immediately, it’s best not to wait before you contact a lawyer. Additionally, you’ll find that a hospital representative or the representative from the insurance company will try to talk you into either dropping your claim or settling for an amount much less than you deserve. Often, the offered amount is not the amount that will match the expense of your child’s care.