Women who go to the hospital to give birth to their child do not expect that their child will be injured due to medical malpractice during labor. However, this does occur. In these cases, parents of the injured child need to be aware of the statute of limitations in medical malpractice cases, so that they do not lose their claim because time has run out.
The statute of limitations in New York for filing a medical malpractice claim is normally 2.5 years from the date the malpractice allegedly occurred. In cases of birth injuries, this date is the date of birth. These time limits apply to adults when they file medical malpractice actions as well as to the claims for parents when they sue for their damages that they suffered due to the injuries of the child.
However, there are some exceptions to the statute of limitations in cases of birth injuries when it comes to the claims of infants. An infant is defined as a person under the age of18. Under the law, an infant does not have the capacity to make informed decisions with regards to pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit. Therefore the law provides for the "tolling" of the statute of limitations until the child reaches the age of majority. This means that the statute of limitations stops running until the child turns 18 after which the statute of limitations begins to run.
In New York, the tolling statute is a little more complicated for medical malpractice claims. Under usual circumstances the time limit for an infant to file a medical malpractice lawsuit would be 2.5 years after turning 18 (or 20.5 years old). However, another law limits the maximum amount time the statute of limitations can be tolled in medical malpractice cases to 10 years. Therefore, an infant’s birth injury claim must be filed prior to the child turning 10 years old.
These time limits may sound like a lot of time, but when your claim is being investigated, the time goes by very quickly. Due to this it is very important to speak to an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.
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