Strict time limits apply to claims for medical malpractice, personal injury, and infant wrongful death in the State of Indiana.
If your family is facing a birth injury or pregnancy-related injury, our hearts go out to you. Welcoming a new child into this world should be a time of joy and celebration, not anxiety, sadness, or suffering.
Too often, birth injuries happen because of medical negligence — careless errors, oversights, or missed diagnoses on the part of a physician, nurse, midwife, or hospital.
If that has happened to your family, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your damages or losses. But as with most personal injury claims, there is a strict time limit for claiming compensation after a birth injury in Indiana.
This time limit is referred to as a statute of limitations, and there are a few things you should know about it.
What Is a Statute of Limitations, Generally Speaking?
A statute of limitations is a law that sets a maximum time period during which one can take legal action on a given claim or offense.
You’ve probably heard people talk about statutes of limitations concerning high-profile criminal cases in the news. While it is true that criminal cases are subject to certain time limits, it’s important to understand that a statute of limitations will apply to most civil law claims too, including birth injuries in Indiana.
Each state sets its own statute of limitations. Different time limits may apply to different types of claims. In Indiana, for example, you generally have six years to sue for fraud, but only two years to sue for property damage.
Perhaps the most important thing to understand about a statute of limitations is that once it expires, you permanently lose the right to file a lawsuit for that claim.
With very few exceptions, statutes of limitation are strictly enforced in Indiana, so it’s something that every accident victim and injured party should keep in mind.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Birth Injuries in Indiana?
There is no easy answer to this question, nor is there a one-size-fits-all time window for bringing a birth injury claim in the State of Indiana.
The general statute of limitations for personal injuries in Indiana is two years from the date of the injury, and that limit will generally apply to claims brought on behalf of a parent for the parent’s individual damages (though certain exceptions apply).
However, a special statute of limitations applies to medical malpractice claims brought on behalf of a minor child who is under the age of six at the time of the injury. (Such claims typically represent the most significant damage claims in a birth injury case.) In those cases, the two-year statute of limitations does not begin to run until the child turns six. Accordingly, these claims can generally be brought up until the child’s 8th birthday. (Please note that this particular limit is specific to medical malpractice claims where the victim is a minor; a different statute of limitations applies to most other personal injury claims by a minor.)
In stating these general rules, we must emphasize that calculating the statute of limitations for birth injury, medical malpractice, or infant wrongful death claims in Indiana is extremely complicated. Specific circumstances can extend the statute of limitations. Moreover, there may be a dispute as to which date controls for the purposes of calculating the statute of limitations. (For example, if an injury cannot reasonably be discovered until a later date — because symptoms do not appear until later, for example — a court may be willing to extend the period for filing a claim.)
Please never make an assumption about the applicable statute of limitations in your situation. Instead, as soon as you suspect that something might have gone wrong at the time of your child’s birth (for example, if your child is showing signs of developmental delays and you suspect that a birth injury might have been responsible), please contact an experienced Indiana birth injury lawyer at Doehrman Buba for a free consultation.
If I Have a Period of Time for Filing a Claim, Why Take Action Now?
If your family is in the throes of tragedy or heartache, we understand that legal action might be the last thing on your mind.
It is important to understand, however, that injury claims take time to prepare.
The statute of limitations for birth injuries in Indiana refers to the filing of a formal claim (i.e. lawsuit or, in some cases, a Proposed Complaint). But such filings typically follow a protracted period of research, investigation, and negotiation. Many claims are successfully resolved through private settlement agreements during this time. Accordingly, it may be in your family’s best interest to allow plenty of time for that process to unfold.
You may have more time for filing a claim than you realize or, alternatively, less time than you believe. Rather than making assumptions that could permanently affect your legal rights, please call our office to talk about the options you might have. We’re here to help.
Talk to an Indiana Birth Injury Lawyer at Doehrman Buba
If you or your newborn baby has suffered an injury related to pregnancy or childbirth in Indiana, and if you believe medical negligence might have played a part, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your damages.
Before you accept a settlement from a hospital or insurance company, we urge you to contact our office to talk about your options. You may be entitled to more than you realize. But as we’ve just seen, there is a strict statute of limitations for birth injuries in Indiana. Please don’t delay.
We will not charge you a fee unless we are successful in recovering compensation for your claim. To learn more, please contact Doehrman Buba and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today.