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What is a Birth Injury and How Long Do I have to File a Lawsuit?

| Mar 30, 2015 | Firm News

A birth injury or trauma is an injury that occurs before or during the course of a child’s birth. These injuries can be devastating. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center some of the more common birth injuries or traumas are; swelling or bruising of the head, bleeding underneath one of the cranial bones, breakage of small blood vessels in the eyes of the baby, facial nerve injuries, injuries to the nerves in the arms or hands and fractures of the collarbones.

The outcome of these injuries can lead to long-term injuries to the child. Among these long-term injuries are Erb’s Palsy; Cerebral Palsy; Brachial Palsy; brain injuries; spinal cord injuries; paralysis; shoulder dystocia; and many other injuries.

A recent study published in the medical journal Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, found that birth trauma occurs in 29 per 1000 births. This study also found that the three most common forms of birth trauma were (1) injuries to the scalp; (2) injuries to the skeleton and (3) fractures of the collarbone.

If your baby has suffered a birth injury or trauma, then you may be able to file a lawsuit. In California, for the purposes of personal injury, a child that has been conceived, is deemed an existing person in relation to that child’s interests in the event of the birth. This basically means that an unborn child can assert their personal injury rights if and when they are born. The law recognizes the unborn child as having these rights. Thus, if a doctor, nurse or medical technician is responsible for the injuries which occur to the child prior to birth, then that child is able to file a lawsuit against that party.

In California there are two different time periods which may apply to filing a lawsuit after a birth injury. The first scenario is the more general statute, which requires that any action on behalf of a minor for injuries suffered before or during the course of birth, must be filed within six years of the birth.

A second time period applies to causes which are a result of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice is an action against a health care provider or doctor for professional negligence.  A medical malpractice suit claims the health care provider fell below the accepted standard of practice in the field. In relation to these claims brought on behalf of an injured child (under the age of 6), the action must occur within three years of the injury or before the child’s eighth birthday, whichever provides a longer period.

If your child has suffered injuries or trauma related to pre-birth or birth, then please contact the San Diego birth injury lawyers at Martinez & Schill LLP for a free consultation. The experienced lawyers at Martinez & Schill offer free consultations and are not paid unless you recover. Contact our San Diego office: 619-512-5995 or Riverside office: 951-200-4630.