Visitor Question

Statute of Limitations for Shoulder Dystocia?

Submitted By: Angel (Los Angeles, California)

At childbirth I fell victim to Shoulder Dystocia. I did not realize however until now that there is an actual name and cause for this condition. I would like to know whether there is a statute of limitation on these types cases? Is there anything I can do?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Angel,


Not being entirely familiar with Shoulder Dystocia we did some research.

Shoulder Dystocia is a specific case of Dystocia whereby after the delivery of the head, the shoulder of the infant cannot be delivered properly or requires significant manipulation to be delivered. It happens when the shoulders fail to come out shortly after the baby’s head. Shoulder dystocia is considered an obstetrical emergency, and if the baby isn’t delivered quickly there is a possibility that she might not live through the delivery.

Regrettably in the State of California there exists a 2 year “Statute of Limitations” for injuries sustained at childbirth. Statute of Limitations is a fancy way of saying “Time Period.” You may ask how in the heck you were supposed to file a lawsuit when you were an infant or even as a minor growing up. Well of course you couldn’t. Let’s explain…

In the State of California a lawsuit for injuries to a minor (a person under the age of 18) must be filed within 2 years after the injured person’s 18th birthday.

From the facts you present we are unable to determine your age. If 2 years have not passed since your 18th birthday you are within the prescribed Statute of Limitations and can file suit against the physicians if they are still living. If they have passed you would have a legal right to sue their estate if the corpus, or body, of their estate has not already been transferred to the physicians’ heirs.

You would also have a right to sue the hospital. Your lawsuit could include your claim for damages which may include Pain and Suffering. Pain and Suffering can include the embarrassment, if any, your condition has caused; any employment difficulties, including failure to be hired, promoted, or being terminated as a result of your condition; and any other difficulties or problems you may have encountered, AND may encounter into the future.

It’s also important to know that your parents also had a claim for past medical expenses they paid as well as an additional amount a court (a Judge) felt would be sufficient to cover any medical bills they probably would have to pay until you turned 18. Ironically their claim, or lawsuit would have had to be filed within 2 years from the date you were born.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: July 7, 2011

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