If a child was deprived of a fair start at life from birth, there are ways to seek justice. Parents can file a birth injury claim up to two years from the day of diagnosis, while the child can file for a claim until two years following their 18th birthday. Since not all birth injuries are preventable, it is best to go over the case with a qualified lawyer to discuss a viable legal path.
Birth Injury Statute of Limitations
Statute of limitations defines the timeframe within which victims can file a lawsuit against an injustice they suffered. This limit, however, is different between states. In Texas, the law is particularly complex regarding birth injuries. While both parents and the child can file for a claim, their legal action is subjected to a different set of time limits.
The clock on filing a lawsuit generally starts at the time of the incident or its due discovery. While the general statute of limitations for personal injuries and wrongful death cases in Texas is two years, birth injuries fall somewhat outside this standard frame.
If the victim was a minor when the incident in question occurred, then the two-year deadline starts only after the victim’s 18th birthday. This means that the statute of limitations for personal injuries usually extends until the child’s 20th birthday.
Therefore, the deadline depends greatly on who is filing the lawsuit. If the parents file a claim on behalf of the child, they have two years to do so from the day of diagnosis. However, if the child files for a lawsuit, they usually have until their 20th birthday.
The Discovery Rule
The discovery rule is essential in discussions about statutes of limitations. Based on this, the time doesn’t actually start ticking at the time of the event but rather when it was brought to the victim’s knowledge (or in the case of birth injuries, when parents were made aware of the condition). The discovery rule mainly depends on the victim’s awareness of the injury and if it is due to the wrongful act or negligence of another.
This is extremely valuable for birth injury cases since the symptoms may be discovered only later on as the child develops. For example, cerebral palsy, the most common birth injury, may often be diagnosed only later in life. While the first signs tend to appear in the first months of life, the condition is usually accurately diagnosed around the age of two.
Build a Convincing Case
If you decide to take legal action, start collecting all documents that relate in any way to the case. Your file can include, but should not be limited to the following:
- Medical bills and receipts
- Test results
- Doctors’ statements
- Medical records
These documents are crucial to the success of your case. Therefore, make sure to always have a copy of these. Start building a file as soon as you learn of the diagnosis, and do not worry about adding documents that may not be relevant. Your lawyer will go over these and advise you on what else to include.
What Happens if the Deadline Is Not Met
Parents of children who were diagnosed with a birth injury face a challenging legal road ahead. It is crucial to respect the statute of limitations for filing a birth injury lawsuit. If the deadline is not met, the case will be deemed time-barred, and it will not proceed to court.
To learn more about how to take legal action based on the specifics of your case, contact a cerebral palsy attorney in Dallas. They can help determine appropriate legal action and make sure that all deadlines that may apply are met.
For help in navigating through the complex issue of statute of limitations, contact an experienced birth injury attorney. With their knowledge and expertise, they can guide your case through the legal framework and help you receive compensation.