Statute of Limitations on Birth Injury Claims
Birth injury claims are considered a type of medical malpractice in Kentucky. Like all states, Kentucky has a statute of limitations on these claims. Families who wish to file a claim for birth injuries have only one year to make their claim.
If claims are not filed before this one-year time period expires, those injured and their family members are barred from receiving compensation.
There are, however, exceptions to this statute of limitations that are particularly relevant in birth injury claims:
- The first exception is when a child is injured before his or her 18th birthday. In these cases, if the child wishes to file a claim later in life, the child can do so after turning 18 years of age. When this is the case, the young person has one year from the date of that 18th birthday to file a claim.
- The other exception to the statute of limitations is when injuries are not discovered right away. This is often the case in birth injuries that affect a child because the injuries are not always noticeable right after birth. When this is the case, families have one year from the date they discovered the injury to file a claim.
No matter what your family’s situation, you should speak with a knowledgeable birth injury attorney as soon as possible. Our lawyers are always here to answer your questions and help you decide what’s best for your family.
Contact us now for your free consultation.
Common Types of Birth Injuries
Sadly, there are many different types of birth injuries that can happen in the labor and delivery room. Some of the most common of these include:
- Cerebral palsy: Cerebral palsy is a disorder that affects the brain and results in motor deficiency, affecting a child’s motor skills. The disorder can be a result of improper prenatal care or because the child suffers from a lack of oxygen during childbirth. The condition typically stays with a child for life.
- Broken bones and fractures: Many different infant bones can become broken during the birthing process. The thighbone can be broken if it is twisted awkwardly during delivery. The clavicle can become injured if it becomes stuck in the birth canal and a doctor uses too much force when delivering the child.
- Caput succedaneum: This injury refers to the swelling, or edema, of the child’s scalp. It is typically caused by undue pressure placed on the infant’s head during delivery.
- Cephalohematoma: This condition occurs when a hematoma develops underneath the skin in the skull. It damages blood vessels and can cause blood to pool between the skull and inner layers of the skin. Children are more at risk for this injury when birth-assisting tools are used during delivery.
- Facial paralysis: Facial paralysis is caused when the facial nerves become damaged during delivery. This type of birth injury typically occurs when forceps are used.
- Brachial plexus injuries: The brachial plexus is a complex network of nerves between the neck and shoulders. When these become injured during delivery, children often cannot move their hands, fingers, shoulders, or elbows. Some infants recover from this injury, but others never do.
- Hypoxic ischemic injury: These injuries are a result of the brain not receiving enough oxygen. It is an extremely dangerous condition that can occur for a number of reasons. Preeclampsia, low maternal blood pressure, infections, and severe prematurity are just a few of the causes.
- Brain injuries: Another type of injury that can remain with a child their entire life, brain injuries are one of the most serious types of birth injuries. These can occur due to decreased oxygen during the birthing process or decreased blood flow to the baby’s brain.
- Bruising and lacerations: The birth process is exhausting and extremely difficult for both the mother and child. Some bruises are natural afterwards, but they can also be an indicator of more serious injuries. These include caput succedaneum, forceps trauma, and shoulder dystocia. Birth-assisting tools, such as forceps and vacuum extractors, could also cause lacerations if they are not used properly.
- Stillbirth and neonatal death: The most devastating type of birth injury, a stillbirth is when a baby is born and has already passed away. This is sometimes also called neonatal death. There are a number of reasons for this type of tragic birth injury. These include misplaced umbilical cords, infections, and other types of improper care.
These are just a few of the common types of birth injuries our firm has seen. Any time a child suffers from a birth injury, or a mother is injured during the birthing process, families should speak to a Kentucky birth injury lawyer about their legal rights.
Your family is going to need courage to get through this difficult time. Our attorneys are here to provide the Kentucky Courage you need.
Birth Injuries to Mothers
Unfortunately, it’s not only infants who suffer from birth injuries. There are a number of injuries the mother can suffer during labor and delivery, as well. These include:
- Vaginal tears: Most women experience some form of tearing during the delivery process. When doctors do not perform procedures to reduce this tearing when necessary, such as episiotomies, it can worsen the tears and cause extreme pain and immobility for women. Health care professionals should also identify and repair tears following childbirth.
- Postpartum hemorrhage: Some blood loss is normal after birth. Sometimes, though, mothers bleed excessively after birth, losing as much as four pints of blood. Health care professionals must be able to identify when a mother is at high risk of postpartum hemorrhage and take the necessary steps to reduce the chances of this happening, or prevent it altogether.
- Ruptured uterus: This is a very serious complication during pregnancy. It is life-threatening to both the mother and the child. When it occurs, the walls of the uterus tear. Health care professionals must identify this risk as soon as possible and perform an emergency caesarean section, repair the uterus, perform a blood transfusion, and administer antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection.
- Prolapsed uterus: When this happens, one or more of the pelvic organs bulges into the vagina. This condition typically is not life-threatening, but it can negatively affect a woman for the rest of her life. Health care professionals should treat this condition through pelvic floor exercises, a hysterectomy when the condition is severe, or surgical repair of the pelvic floor muscles.
- PTSD: Post-traumatic stress disorder is quite common following childbirth, and it can be particularly harsh when the birth process did not go as planned. Following the birth, health care professionals should recognize the symptoms of this disorder and treat the woman as soon as possible.
The day a child is born should be the happiest day of a woman’s life. These serious maternal injuries can greatly overshadow the excitement of the day, and even strip away the joy women and the rest of the family should be feeling.
It is important that all family members understand that when these injuries happen, either to the mother or the infant, help is available.