Newborn baby with birth injury receiving treatment in NICU | Colombo Law

No family should have to suffer the consequences of birth injuries in West Virginia. Sometimes a birth injury occurs as a result of negligence on the part of one or more health care providers, leading to significant damages for the family.

Negligent medical professionals and institutions should be held accountable for these damages. It is important to understand your rights, as well as the rules around pursuing compensation for birth injuries in West Virginia. This includes knowing how much time you have to take legal action, which is known as the statute of limitations.

If your child was injured at birth and you suspect medical negligence was a factor, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the West Virginia birth injury attorneys at Colombo Law. Call us at 304-599-4229 today for a FREE case review.

What Is a Birth Injury?

Birth injuries refer to a wide range of injuries caused by adverse events before, during, or immediately after birth. In some cases, these injuries are caused by negligence on the part of medical professionals who fail to uphold an appropriate standard of care.

Some of the most common birth injuries include:

  • Bone fractures
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Paralysis
  • Erb’s palsy
  • Brachial palsy

These and other birth injuries may happen through no fault or negligence on the part of medical professionals. Unfortunately, there are times when the birth injury was completely avoidable.

Some of the ways doctors, nurses, and other health care providers cause birth injuries include:

  • Forced delivery
  • Improperly administered epidurals or drugs
  • Failure to properly monitor vital signs
  • Mismanagement of the umbilical cord
  • Misuse of medical equipment, such as forceps or vacuum extraction devices
  • Failure to properly account for a high-risk pregnancy 
  • Errors in the inducement process, including the negligent use of drugs

You and your family may be entitled to compensation if a professional entrusted with your baby’s care (such as a doctor) behaves negligently and causes the birth injury. It is critical to be aware of the relevant time limits for birth injuries in West Virginia to ensure you do not lose your opportunity to make a claim.

Read More: Did Your Child Suffer a Birth Injury?

General Statute of Limitations for Health Care Injury

In West Virginia, the statute of limitations for health care injuries (also known as medical malpractice) is generally 2 years from the date of injury. The statute of limitations may be extended if the injury is not discovered or “with the exercise of reasonable diligence, should have [been] discovered” within 2 years (see West Virginia Code §55-7B-4).

There is a maximum of 10 years for filing a lawsuit for medical malpractice, except in situations where “the health care provider or its representative has committed fraud or collusion by concealing or misrepresenting material facts about the injury.” In these situations the statute of limitations is “tolled,” meaning the clock stops until the fraud or collusion is discovered.

What If the Victim Is a Minor?

When a minor under the age of 10 is the victim of a health care injury, a lawsuit may be brought (a) within two years of the date of the injury or (b) prior to the child’s 12th birthday, whichever comes later.

So, for example, if the child is injured at 2 years of age, his or her parents would have until the child is 12 to file a lawsuit. However, if the child is 11 when injured, they have until the child turns 13 to pursue legal action.

How Long Do I Have to Sue for Birth Injuries in West Virginia?

The rules for minors outlined above apply to claims for birth injuries in West Virginia. Families have 2 years to file a lawsuit from the date the injury occurred or before the child’s 12th birthday.

This is an important distinction for birth injuries, since they are not always discovered until the child has reached a certain age. For example, many children are not diagnosed with cerebral palsy, one of the most serious birth injuries, until they are 2 years old, according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

While this may still seem like plenty of time to file a lawsuit for a birth injury, it is important to understand that birth injuries tend to be highly complex cases that can take significant time to investigate and prepare. If you suspect your child has suffered a birth injury, we recommend getting in touch with a birth injury lawyer as soon as possible to begin the process.

Contact a West Virginia Birth Injury Attorney Today

At Colombo Law, we understand the pain and heartbreak that can come with managing the consequences of a birth injury. That is why we are committed to holding health care professionals and organizations accountable when their negligence causes birth injuries in West Virginia.

Our goal is to make the process as easy for you as possible so you can focus on your family’s health and well-being. That is why we always offer FREE consultations and will not charge you a penny unless and until we win compensation for you and your loved ones.

Attorneys at Colombo Law serve clients in Morgantown and throughout West Virginia. Contact us today.

by Colombo Law
Last updated on - Originally published on