Infant Forceps Birth Injury: When to Sue?

Infant forceps injuries, sadly, still occur from time to time during the birthing process. The use of forceps has been disfavored except for when medically necessary due to the risks of injury. Unfortunately, forceps are sometimes needed to move an infant when they are in a bad position for birth.

When an infant is injured during the delivery, parents often don’t know what to do. The experience can be such an emotional rollercoaster of highs and lows. Finding out how or why is often secondary to figuring out how to move forward and care for an injured infant or child. However, if an injury was caused due to the use of forceps, speaking with an experienced medical malpractice attorney early on may be a good decision.

Child’s Right to Sue

Generally, when an injury occurs to a child, the right to sue is held by the child. Under the law, children must have a guardian appointed to represent their interests in a civil court. In most states, this guardian is called a Guardian Ad Litem, and the individual must be approved by the court. When a settlement or verdict is obtained on behalf of a child, how the money is handled usually will have to be approved by a court. Frequently, a special needs trust, or an annuity, or some other account will be set up solely for the benefit of the child, and will require court or special approval for even the child’s parents to access.

Parents often choose to sue on behalf of their children in order to receive money to help care for their child during childhood. However, if parents do not do so, a minor will be able to file a lawsuit on their own once they are 18 years old, as statute of limitations apply differently for minors.

Parents’ Rights to Sue

When parents sue on behalf of their children, they sometimes will include claims of their own individual emotional distress, injury, and life disruption. Generally, a parent’s individual claim must be brought within a state’s injury statute of limitations. Depending on state law, the parent of an injured child may have an independent claim for damages.

Related Resources: