Since they may result in permanent disabilities or disfigurement right at the start of a child’s life, birth injuries can be uniquely tragic. In St. Augustine, birth injuries often require a lifetime of additional care and medical expenses that may seem patently unfair—especially when a birth injury was caused by the negligence of another person.
While a lawsuit cannot turn back the clock or restore a newborn child’s health, legal action may be able to provide compensation to assist with additional expenses and protect that child’s future. So, if your child has suffered a birth injury, it may be worthwhile to meet with a knowledgeable St. Augustine birth injury lawyer. A skilled personal injury attorney could evaluate the facts of your case and tell you about your options for seeking compensation.
Time to File a Claim is Limited by Law
Lawsuits seeking recovery for birth injuries must be filed within a certain time period, or they may be barred by the Florida statute of limitations. The limitation period differs depending on the circumstances of a case.
In many situations, a claim must be filed within two years of the birth or two years after the injury should have been discovered. However, even if the injury could have reasonably gone undiscovered for years, the law specifies that a claim must be filed within four years of the birth. An exception is made in some circumstances allowing a suit to be brought up to eight years after birth.
A seasoned St. Augustine birth injury attorney could work to determine the applicable limitations period for a particular situation. Even if there appears to be no need to hurry when filing a lawsuit, there often is an incentive to take early action to collect and preserve evidence. As time passes, it can be increasingly difficult to obtain vital evidence.
Establishing Liability in a Birth Injury Case
Cases involving birth injuries are usually treated as medical malpractice cases in Florida courts. This means that the child, as represented by their parents or legal guardians and a birth injury lawyer in St. Augustine, must prove that a doctor or other medical professional acted negligently and that the negligence caused measurable harm.
Negligence is generally defined as a failure to live up the reasonable standard of care expected in a particular situation. In Florida, medical professionals are expected to provide “that level of care, skill, and treatment which, in light of all relevant surrounding circumstances, is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent similar health care providers,” according to Florida Statutes §766.102.
When they fail to provide such care and do not act as reasonably careful doctors would in similar situations, healthcare providers may be held liable for the harm caused by their negligence. This harm may include not just the initial injury but also long-term effects such as learning disabilities, deficiencies in growth, and other such negative consequences.
Contacting a St. Augustine Birth Injury Attorney
Any medical malpractice case can be challenging in Florida, but those involving birth injuries are often especially complex. Still, because children suffering birth injuries often require additional care throughout their lives, it is particularly important to fight for their rights and work to secure an appropriate amount of compensation to provide for their future.
If you know or suspect your child may have suffered a preventable injury shortly before, during or after birth, a St. Augustine birth injury lawyer could be a strong ally both in and out of court. Call today to schedule a consultation.