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Did Your Newborn Suffer Cerebral
Palsy or Another Brain Injury Before
or During Labor and Delivery?

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Our Birth Brain Injury Resource Guide

the guide

Get a FREE guide of resources available throughout Ohio to children and families of children who were born with brain injuries.

Our guide can help you build a foundation of knowledge and tools that will help you help your child
now and in the future.

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Ohio Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice/Personal Injury Cases

Parents of babies who suffered brain injuries at birth are facing an extremely difficult and traumatic time. While the health and well-being of the infant is of utmost importance, families need to begin to think about the financial consequences ahead.

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The baby could already have had significant medical treatment such as surgery, diagnostic testing, neonatal cooling therapy and care in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit just in the first few days of life.

Additional care and treatment will likely be needed. The family may wonder where they will get the money needed to pay for expensive ongoing care and treatment. A lawsuit is often necessary in cases where the infant was injured because of medical malpractice. These cases can be complex. Although the family may be concentrating on the immediate care of their newborn it is necessary to take legal action within the statutory time limits.

What is the Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations is a time period during which you can file particular types of lawsuits. Different statutes apply to various types of cases. Failing to file a lawsuit within the statutory limit in your state will prevent you from taking action. The time limit must therefore be strictly adhered to in order to be able to file a claim. These time limits are generally in place to ensure that the evidence, documents, witnesses, and other information are available for the case. The laws vary from state to state.

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Time Limits to File Ohio Personal Injury Cases

The Ohio statute of limitations for standard medical malpractice cases is one year from the date of occurrence. Individuals can extend the limit by providing written notice of intent to take action. This extends the time by 180 days provided the notice was given within the one year time limit. The law recognizes that birth injuries are different than other types of injuries. The time limit to file cases involving infants is four years from the date of occurrence. Wrongful death lawsuits have to be filed no later than two years after the date of the infant’s death.

Birth Injuries

Birth injures are often not considered the same as injuries to adults. Birth injuries can result in cognitive and physical delays which will not be immediately known. This is especially true in cases where the child suffers a mild to moderate pediatric brain injury. Only once the child begins to miss important milestones does it become apparent that the child is suffering the results of a birth injury. Therefore, tolling the clock may apply.

Tolling the clock, or stopping the clock, means that the time limit to file a claim is basically on hold. For this reason, the law allows an extension of the statute of limitations to a period of four years. In general, the clock for the time period to file a case may not begin until the child’s injury is diagnosed. This is because the correct diagnosis may not be available until symptoms develop as the child grows. The law provides that a child be diagnosed by the time he or she reaches school age, four years old.

Birth Injury Lawsuits

A birth injury lawsuit is brought against the negligent party on behalf of the injured child, usually by the parents. If a brain injury is suspected it is advisable to seek guidance from a qualified attorney as soon as possible. The attorney will begin to investigate the details of the injury and it’s best if this is done as quickly as possible. This makes it easier to gather the necessary information and documentation while it is still available.

Witnesses such as nurses or other medical personnel may need to be interviewed regarding the events that occurred at the time of labor or delivery. This is more easily accomplished as close to the time of the injury as possible. Doctors, nursing staff and medical team members could be more difficult to locate and their memories of the incident are not likely to be as clear if time passes after the injury.

Parents often need financial assistance for the high costs associated with the care and treatment of a disabled child. Lawsuits can take some time to get resolved. In some instances a negotiation will lead to a settlement that provides enough money to properly care for the child now and in the future. If a settlement is not possible, the matter will be handled through a trial. Although these actions can be lengthy, the outcome is often very favorable for families of children who suffered brain injuries at birth.