New York Court of Appeals Clarifies Statute of Limitations in "Wrongful Birth" Cases

In New York, a medical malpractice action for “Wrongful Birth” has been recognized since the New York Court of Appeals rendered their 1978 decision in the case Becker v. Schwartz. This cause of action allows parents to recover monetary damages from a negligent physician for the extraordinary care and treatment expenses of a child with a congenital disability resulting from the failure of their doctor to properly warn of their risk of conceiving or giving birth to a child with serious genetic or congenital abnormalities.

There have been a variety of issues surrounding this rather unique cause of action. One of these issues dealt with the accrual date of the applicable Statute of Limitations period for such an action. Negligent physicians would argue that the 2 1/2 year Limitations period began on the date of the medical malpractice, which usually occurred months before the delivery date. In an opinion released today, the Court of Appeals clarified that the statute of limitations for the claim of the parents begins to run on the date of the child’s birth, not on the date that the malpractice occurred. The Decision can be found in the case B.F. v. Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York, LLP. This Decision marks a fair and balanced approach to the analysis and helps parents secure justice for their disabled child and the extraordinary expenses associated therewith.

The value of birth injury lawsuit can vary from case to case. Compensation for a birth injury can range from several thousand dollars to well over $1 million. The cost of medical bills, effect on future earning potential, and extent of pain and suffering caused by the injury are some of the factors that go into determining how much a medical malpractice lawsuit may be worth.

If your child was suffered an injury before, during, or shortly after birth, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. For a free consultation, call 212-406-1700 or contact us online. Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool will review your case to see how we may be able to help you.