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How Much Time To File A Malpractice Claim After A Birth Injury?

The amount of time to file a medical malpractice claim is limited. The law puts a limit on how long someone can file an injury lawsuit but there are exceptions. For children who suffer a birth injury, the statute of limitations generally does not begin to run until they turn 18. 

In Pennsylvania, there is a 2-year statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims. The injury victim has 2-years from the date of the accident or injury to file a lawsuit. Filing a claim even one day late could mean that the injury victim is not able to recover damages. 

If a child suffers an injury after medical malpractice, the clock does not begin to run until the child turns 18. Generally, this means a child who suffers from a malpractice injury has until age 20 to file a medical malpractice claim. This may seem like a long time. Unfortunately, some injuries may not be discovered until after the child becomes an adult. 

NFL Prospect Learns of Medical Condition Since Birth

“I was shocked.” That was Clemson football coach’s reaction to finding out their star receiver, Justyn Ross, had been suffering from a spinal condition since birth. Ross is expected to be a top pick in the NFL draft next year and recently learned that he had a congenital syndrome that could pose a risk of spinal cord injury. 

Although it was not caused by a birth injury, Klippel-Feil syndrome is a congenital fusion of 2 or more cervical vertebrae. Individuals with Klippel-Feil syndrome may be at an increased risk for spinal cord injuries after minor injuries. Those with the syndrome should be made aware of their increased risk of spinal cord injury caused by minor trauma. 

Spinal cord injury after minor trauma is a risky prospect for football players, especially at the college and professional levels. For Justyn Ross, discovering a congenital spinal cord issue at age 20 came as a surprise. According to an ESPN article, Ross suffered a “stinger” during practice. The next day, doctors said X-rays showed a spinal injury that Ross had since birth, without being aware of it. 

Importance of the Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims 

The statute of limitations can mean the difference between recovering hundreds of thousands of dollars and recovering nothing. Doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies want to reduce the statute of limitations so they don’t have to pay out for medical mistakes. 

Fortunately, minors can use their youth to extend the time limit to file a malpractice claim. If an adult suffers a surgical injury, the adult generally has 2 years to file a lawsuit. No one expects an infant who suffers a birth injury to file a lawsuit. The victim of a birth injury may be able to file a medical malpractice claim until age 20.  

Philadelphia Birth Injury Lawyers

If your child suffered an injury during labor caused by the doctor’s negligence, it’s critical to speak with a medical malpractice attorney who has experience with cases involving birth injuries. To discuss your child’s injury with a member of our legal team, fill out an online case evaluation form or call (800) 529-6162 today. 

About the Author

Briggs Bedigian
Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm’s litigation practice.  Briggs’ legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 


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