What Are the Statute of Limitations for Cerebral Palsy?
With cerebral palsy lawsuits, time is of the essence. It is imperative that you file your case within the statute of limitations. Unfortunately, these deadlines vary considerably from one state to the next. Understanding your state’s statute of limitations could spell the difference between filing a successful case or coming away from your legal efforts empty-handed.
What Are Statutes Of Limitation?
Statutes of limitations prevent plaintiffs from initiating legal proceedings after a particular date. In personal injury (including medical malpractice) cases, that date typically occurs a certain number of years following the negligence-based injury or its discovery.
Why impose such limits? Accurate evidence is critical in medical malpractice cases, but witness testimony and other key substantiation may become less reliable over time. Additionally, statutes of limitation prevent parties from continually threatening litigation but never acting on those threats. Eventually, would-be plaintiffs are forced to either act or put the issue to rest.
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Statutes of Limitations for Cerebral Palsy Cases by State
In Alabama, cerebral palsy cases must be filed within two years of the condition’s manifestation. If the condition is not evident until years later, the statute of limitations is six months following discovery.
As in many states, Alaska’s statute of limitations is two years. Additionally, Alaska honors the discovery rule: if cerebral palsy is diagnosed over two years after malpractice occurs, you are allowed to file your lawsuit within two years of discovering the condition.
In Arizona, cerebral palsy cases must be filed within two years of the condition’s diagnosis, or two years after the injury’s discovery. State law refers to the time that passes between discovery and the statute of limitations deadline as “accruing.”
The Arkansas statute of limitations is outlined in 16-114-203 of the Arkansas Code. This section mandates that plaintiffs file malpractice lawsuits (such as cerebral palsy cases) within two years of the date of malpractice.
Cerebral palsy cases in California must be filed within three years of the date of injury. If the condition first becomes evident more than three years after the date of injury, the statute of limitations limits filing to within one year of discovery.
In Colorado, cerebral palsy lawsuits can be filed within two years of the injury’s date — or two years after the plaintiff could reasonably be expected to discover the condition.
Victims of medical malpractice (including cerebral palsy cases) in Connecticut must file lawsuits within two years of the injury being sustained or discovered. However, the General Statutes of Connecticut section 52-584 also stipulates that medical malpractice lawsuits can only be launched within three years of the incident’s occurrence.
In Delaware, plaintiffs must file not only medical malpractice lawsuits but also affidavits of merit from expert witnesses within two years. In most cases, the countdown for the statute of limitations begins the date of the medical error. However, for cases in which the injury could not have reasonably been discovered within that timeframe, the deadline may be extended to a full three years.
Florida law requires plaintiffs to file cerebral palsy cases within two years of the date the malpractice was discovered. This deadline extends to four years when factoring in the date the malpractice actually occurred. If the fraudulent behavior is found to have taken place to conceal malpractice, an additional two years from the time the malpractice was discovered may be granted. Additionally, any lawsuit brought on behalf of a child under the age of eight must be presented to the court before the child’s eighth birthday.
In Georgia, the statute of limitations can extend up to five years for select cases. For example, if a medical professional’s failure to diagnose a condition contributed to a child’s later cerebral palsy diagnosis, the statute of limitations might be extended. Otherwise, the standard statute of limitations in Georgia is two years, as in many other states.
Like many states, Hawaii maintains a statute of limitations of two years for most medical malpractice cases, including those involving cerebral palsy. However, Hawaii’s statute of limitations may extend up to six years if the disorder is not discovered within two years of the responsible accident.
Idaho’s statute of limitations is one of the most simple: cerebral palsy cases must be filed within two years of the injury that led to the disorder. The statute’s ‘clock’ may begin to run later if the malpractice was purposefully concealed by the perpetrator.
According to the Illinois Complied Statutes, medical malpractice cases — including those involving cerebral palsy or birth injuries — must be filed within two years of the date on which the plaintiff knew about the injury or can reasonably be expected to have known. Under no circumstances can a malpractice case be brought to trial more than four years following the date of injury. With cases involving minors, however, filing can occur within eight years of the date of malpractice (up until the victim’s 22nd birthday).
The medical malpractice process looks a lot different in Indiana than it does in other states. State law requires injured patients (or, for minors, their parents) to file complaints with an approved medical review panel consisting of one attorney and three medical professionals. After hearing testimony and examining evidence, the panel issues a decision within 180 days.
Following Indiana’s mandated review process, the patient can file a lawsuit — but the panel’s review remains admissible in court. The statute of limitations remains two years unless the patient or patient’s parent can prove that he or she was unaware of the injury.
The Iowa Code section 614.1 stipulates that medical malpractice cases be filed within two years of when the plaintiff discovered or should have discovered the injury. Means of discovery could include written notice of the injury. The state also maintains a statute of repose requiring that all cases be filed within six years of the injury occurring, regardless of when the plaintiff knew of the incident.
The Kansas Statutes section 60-513 outlines the statute of limitations for birth injuries and other cases involving negligence in a healthcare setting. In most cases, medical malpractice proceedings should be filed within two years of the circumstances that led to the injury. In select circumstances this limit can be extended — but never beyond four years of the date of injury.
Kentucky’s medical malpractice laws are relatively simple: suits can be filed within one year of the date of discovery. A five-year overarching deadline applies — no matter when the malpractice was discovered.
Louisiana allows just one year for filing following an injury’s discovery. The state’s statute of repose mandates that cerebral palsy cases be filed within three years of the date of the malpractice, regardless of discovery date.
In Maine, medical malpractice lawsuits should be filed three years “after the cause of action accrues.” In a typical malpractice case involving an adult, this would mean that the plaintiff could file three years after the cause of the injury occurred. Good news for parents: Maine provides an extension for cases involving minors. If a child was under the age of 18 at the time malpractice occurs, the case can be filed six years after the action responsible for the injury occurs — or within three years of the minor becoming a legal adult.
In Maryland, cerebral palsy lawsuits must be filed within five years of the injury occurring, or three years following its discovery — whichever date arrives first.
Patients in Massachusetts receive three years from the date of injury to launch lawsuits. The ‘clock’ on such cases doesn’t run until the date in which the patient or next of kin becomes aware of the injury. Regardless of discovery, no case can be filed over seven years after the injury.
In Michigan, it’s possible to file a cerebral palsy lawsuit two years after the date of injury or six months after said injury is discovered — whichever arrives later. The six-month discovery rule comes with the stipulation that the plaintiff proves he or she did not discover (nor could have reasonably discovered) the injury previously. Michigan’s statute of repose is six years.
Minnesota patients must file cerebral palsy lawsuits within four years of the date of accrual — when the cause of the lawsuit occurred. For minors, however, the statute doesn’t run until age 18 — but the deadline cannot be extended for more than seven years.
As in many states, Mississippi requires that cerebral palsy cases be launched within two years of the date of injury or two years after the injury may have been discovered with “reasonable diligence.” Mississippi’s statute of repose applies after seven years.
Missouri law requires cerebral palsy plaintiffs to file affidavits indicating that they’ve secured written opinions from qualified health care providers. Such lawsuits must be filed within two years of the injury’s occurrence or discovery, with a total limit of ten years.
In Montana, all medical malpractice cases (including birth injuries) must be filed within two years of the date of injury. Additionally, plaintiffs have two years from the date in which the malpractice was reasonably discovered in which to file a suit.
Nebraska’s statute of limitations occurs two years following the injury or one year after its discovery — whichever occurs sooner. Thus, if you were immediately aware of your child’s birth injury, it’s imperative that you take prompt action. Additionally, Nebraska mandates a statute of repose in which all medical malpractice cases must be filed within ten years of the negligent act occurring.
In Nevada, cerebral palsy lawsuits can be filed within three years of the injury or one year after its discovery. Nevada requires plaintiffs to not only file before this deadline but to also provide a sworn affidavit from an expert witness. However, the statute of limitation can be ‘tolled’ or halted if it the defendant health care professional willfully concealed errors on which the lawsuit was originally based. This tolling continues as long as the concealment continues.
The state of New Hampshire’s Revised Statutes Annotated section 508:4 provides three years in which to file a cerebral palsy lawsuit. One exception: cases in which there is no reasonable belief that the malpractice that took place could have been discovered within that time period.
New Jersey’s statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice suit is fairly standard: two years from the date in which the incident occurred. However, this could be extended to two years from the date in which the malpractice was discovered, depending on the specifics of the case. Birth-related medical malpractice cases must be brought to the court before the child’s 13th birthday.
Malpractice claims in New Mexico should be filed within three years of the date of injury. For cerebral palsy cases involving young children, this deadline can be extended for up to six years or until the child’s 9th birthday.
While many states maintain statutes of limitations of two years, New York extends this another six months, leaving plaintiffs a total of two and half years to file malpractice lawsuits. For injuries resulting from a continuing course of treatment, the clock doesn’t start running until the treatment’s conclusion.
Plaintiffs in North Carolina have three years from the date of the incident in which to file cerebral palsy lawsuits. If the discovery of malpractice isn’t readily apparent until after this deadline, patients receive an additional year for filing.
North Dakota’s statute of limitations for medical malpractice is simple: two years from the date in which the malpractice occurred or two years from the date of the injury’s discovery. However, the state’s statute of repose limits the filing period to six years from the date the injury occurred.
Plaintiffs in Ohio only receive one year following the injury or its discovery to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, as a child who grew up with cerebral palsy, you may be in luck: you can file your lawsuit as soon as you turn 18. Once you become a legal adult, you also have one year to initiate legal proceedings.
Oklahoma’s statute of limitations is unusually generous for cases involving children under the age of 12. Hence, plaintiffs in all birth injury cases can file lawsuits within seven years of the injury’s occurrence.
At the latest, cerebral palsy cases in Oregon should be filed two years after the disorder is discovered. The right to file disappears five years following the date of injury. If fraud is used to cover up the malpractice, the date on which the clock begins running may be delayed.
In Pennsylvania, cerebral palsy cases should be filed two years after the plaintiff becomes aware of the condition, or, at most, seven years following the date of the action that resulted in injury.
Most Rhode Island cerebral palsy cases should be filed within three years of the medical error occurring. If the error was not immediately discoverable, the clock begins to run whenever it is deemed the plaintiff should have known of the injury.
South Carolina cerebral palsy lawsuits should be filed within three years of the occasion that gave rise to the condition — or within three years of the reasonable state of discovery. The absolute deadline for filing occurs six years following the date of malpractice.
Actions against health care workers can only be taken within two years of the alleged malpractice. In select cases, however, it’s possible to ‘stop the clock’ on the statute of limitations until the date of discovery.
Tennessee only allows plaintiffs one year to file cerebral palsy cases. Occasionally, it’s possible to defer filing based on the date of discovery. Either way, the case must be filed within three years of the accident deemed malpractice.
The Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code mandates that cerebral palsy lawsuits be initiated within two years of the action thought to be malpractice. This deadline may be delayed if the issue occurred due to ongoing treatment. If a child younger than 12 years is the plaintiff, the lawsuit must be filed by his or her 14th birthday.
Medical malpractice victims in Utah have two years in which to file a suit regardless of whether it’s from the date the malpractice occurred or the date it was discovered. Utah’s statute of repose limits the filing period to four years unless the medical provider attempted to conceal the malpractice through fraudulent means.
Vermont’s statute of limitations uses a fairly standard system: plaintiffs can file a suit within three years of the date the malpractice occurred or two years from the date in which it was discovered. No firm statute of limitations exists in cases in which the medical provider attempted to cover up malpractice via fraud.
In the state of Virginia, suits should be filed within two years of the malpractice taking place or one year after discovery. The state also imposes a ten-year statute of repose.
Washington’s statute of limitations for filing a cerebral palsy lawsuit is three years from the date of the malpractice or one year from the date of malpractice discovery The state’s statute of repose caps the deadline for filing malpractice lawsuits at eight years.
Plaintiffs in West Virginia must file within two years of the injury occurring — or two years after the condition is discovered. The state’s statute of repose mandates that no more than ten years can pass before filing a lawsuit.
In Wisconsin, it’s possible to file a birth injury lawsuit within three years of the incident responsible for the disorder. Additionally, plaintiffs are granted one year following a disorder’s discovery (or one year after the injury should have been discovered in the ‘exercise of reasonable diligence’).
Wyoming cerebral palsy cases must be filed within two years of the injury occurring. However, if the injury was not reasonably discoverable within that timeframe, the case must be filed within two years of the date of discovery.