Receiving news that your newborn child sustained an injury during delivery can be devastating. Whether you receive this news immediately or several years later from another provider, you and your family can be left with many questions. One of those questions may be, “How long after birth can you sue for malpractice?”
Not every birth injury is avoidable, but your delivery team has a duty to provide you and your newborn with reasonably professional care before, during, and after birth. In Florida, you may have the right to file a birth injury medical malpractice claim against the medical providers involved in your care and delivery.
Why Is Time of the Essence in Birth Injury Cases?
One of the primary reasons why you want to act quickly following a suspected birth injury is the potential loss of your legal rights. Although you are afforded some time to investigate a potential birth injury to your child and prepare a medical malpractice case, this right is not present forever.
If you exceed the time period given to you by law to file your birth injury claim, you could completely lose your right to recover damages.
There are other practical reasons why it is best to pursue your legal rights as quickly as possible, including the following:
Recovery of Damages
First, the sooner you file a claim for damages, the sooner that claim can be heard and resolved. This means that the faster you begin to pursue damages, the more likely it is that you will receive any compensation you are due sooner rather than later. This can be of benefit to you and your family if you are struggling financially.
Availability of Witnesses and Records
The more time that passes between when your child’s birth injury happens and when you file a medical malpractice claim, the greater the chance that you could face difficulties supporting your claim.
Witnesses like doctors and medical staff can move away and be difficult to locate. Their memories may fade, and they might forget crucial details essential to the success of your case.
Similarly, medical records that could be helpful to your case can become lost or destroyed with the passage of time. There may be no way to replace these documents if this were to happen, and your claim’s chances of success could suffer as a result.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Birth Injuries in Florida?
In general, medical malpractice claims must be filed within two years of the date that the doctor’s negligent act occurred. Thus, if your child was injured during delivery on December 1, 2023, you would have until December 1, 2025, to file your claim for damages under this statute of limitations.
Not all birth injuries are immediately apparent, though. Even when there are indications of injury, your child’s symptoms may be nonspecific, and it can take time to identify a birth injury as the cause of them.
For this reason, Florida passed Tony’s Law in 1996. This law gives parents until their child’s eighth birthday to file a medical malpractice lawsuit based on their child’s birth injury.
How an Attorney Can Help You to File Your Case in a Timely Manner
Turning to a medical malpractice attorney as soon as you suspect a birth injury occurred is the best way to protect against the statute of limitations. A skilled lawyer will know the precise answers to questions like, “How long after birth can you sue for malpractice?” and can take the necessary steps to investigate your case quickly.
Not only can an experienced lawyer efficiently investigate your case and determine whether negligence caused your child’s injuries, but they can also file and pursue your claim for damages.
These damages could compensate you and your family for your child’s past and future medical needs, your lost income from having to care for your child, and any assistive devices or therapies your child may need.
FAQs About Birth Injuries
What if I Do Not Discover My Child Has a Birth-Related Injury Until They Are an Adolescent?
Tony’s Law provides you with eight years to discover a birth injury and file suit. It may be possible to file a suit beyond this time limit, but you would need to show that there was no way you could have reasonably known about the birth injury earlier.
It is highly recommended that you speak with a medical malpractice attorney about your situation immediately.
Does Tony’s Law Give Me Eight Years to File a Claim?
Tony’s Law gives some parents until their child’s eighth birthday to file a lawsuit seeking damages against a negligent provider involved in their child’s delivery. However, this law may not apply in every situation. It is best to get your case on file as soon as you can, and that process begins with speaking to an attorney.
What Happens If I Suffered an Injury During Delivery?
As the child’s mother, if you sustained an injury during delivery, you may also have legal rights to compensation. However, Tony’s Law would not apply to your situation. You would only have two years from the date of delivery to bring a claim for damages.
Turn to the Seasoned Team at Ratzan Weissman & Boldt Today
How long after birth can you sue for malpractice in Florida? It depends on the unique details of your case. If you suspect your child sustained a birth injury, it is vital to speak to a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.
At Ratzan Weissman & Boldt, we believe that medical professionals should be held accountable for the impact their careless mistakes create. As a boutique firm highly selective about the cases we take on, we take pride in providing exceptional, personalized service to each of our clients.
Contact us today to speak with an experienced Miami birth injury lawyer.