Cerebral Palsy: Lawsuit Process

Step-by-step guidance on filing a cerebral palsy medical malpractice lawsuit

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Filing a Lawsuit: Eligibility and Qualifications

A birth injury lawsuit must prove that the healthcare provider did not adhere to acceptable standards of care and that this deviation directly resulted in the birth injury. The medical negligence that caused the condition could have occurred at any point during pregnancy, labor, delivery, or after the birth.

You’ll want to consult with a birth injury lawyer to assess the claim and determine if you should proceed with a birth injury lawsuit.

Statute of Limitations for a Birth Injury Lawsuit

There are statutes of limitations, or time limits, in which you can file a birth injury lawsuit. These vary from state to state. For example, in Kentucky and Louisiana, you have just one year to file from the time of injury, whereas in Maryland, you have five years. Your birth injury lawyer will know the statute of limitations for your specific jurisdiction.

Additionally, 29 states have enacted reforms that cap the amount of damages that can be paid out in a medical malpractice lawsuit. For example, Colorado caps noneconomic damages (i.e., pain and suffering) at $300,000 and total damages at $1 million, while Louisiana caps total damages at $500,000 plus the cost of future medical expenses. Again, this is information your birth injury lawyer will communicate to you to ensure you understand what to expect as you move forward in the lawsuit process.

Legal Representation from a Birth Injury Lawyer

The importance of retaining a qualified, experienced birth injury lawyer cannot be overstated. You’ll want to do some homework on potential attorneys to ensure they meet your criteria:

  • Birth injury specialists. They should have experience in birth injury and medical malpractice lawsuits with the knowledge of the challenges you and your child will face in the years to come.
  • Proven track record. They should be able to point to previous cases similar to your own in which they successfully negotiated settlements or litigated cases in court.
  • Experience working with medical experts. Your birth injury lawyer should have medical experts in their professional network with whom they’ve worked in the past.
  • Good, responsive communicators. A birth injury lawyer should be sympathetic and a good listener, responding to your needs in a timely and respectful manner.
  • Transparent about costs. Most birth injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, meaning they get paid a percentage of your settlement if and when it’s awarded. A good attorney will be transparent up front about the percentage that will be due them once you receive your award.

Gathering Evidence

Once you’ve retained a birth injury lawyer, they will begin collecting evidence. This includes interviewing you and any witnesses, as well as gathering medical records that support the charge of medical malpractice. The records they examine will encompass medical care administered during pregnancy, childbirth, and after the child was born, including the diagnosis of cerebral palsy.

Expert Witnesses

Once the birth injury lawyer has gathered their evidence, they will consult with a medical expert. The medical expert will review the evidence and confer with your attorney on the matter. The medical expert can provide an affidavit or even serve as an expert witness at trial.

Filing a Lawsuit

If the medical expert believes there is sufficient evidence to support your claim, your birth injury lawyer will then file a complaint with the court. At that time, the defendant will receive notification that they are being sued.

Discovery Phase

During the discovery phase, the attorneys for both parties will request and receive additional information and evidence from one another. They may also depose you, any witnesses, and the defendant at this time.

Negotiations for Cerebral Palsy Settlements

Once both parties have received and reviewed all of the evidence your attorney may access assistance from a life care planner. This professional can help determine the potential costs you will incur for your child’s care over the span of their lifetime. With that information, your attorney will begin negotiating a settlement with the defendant’s attorney.

Trial Preparation for Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit

While most birth injury lawsuits are settled outside of court, you and your attorney should be prepared to go to trial should settlement negotiations break down.

Going to Trial

If your cerebral palsy lawsuit does go to trial, you can expect that both sides will present their evidence and arguments to a judge and jury. They in turn will determine whether your case has merit and the amount of compensation you should receive.

Verdict and Compensation for Cerebral Palsy Malpractice

There are four possible outcomes if your cerebral palsy case goes to trial:

  • Favorable verdict for you, the plaintiff. In this scenario, the court may award compensatory damages, non-economic damages (i.e., for pain and suffering), and in some cases, punitive damages if the negligence was particularly egregious.
  • Partial verdict for you, the plaintiff. In this case, the court may find both you and the defendant share some liability for the birth injury. If this is the determination, you may receive a limited damages award.
  • Favorable verdict for the defendant. If the verdict is favorable for the defendant, it means that the court has found the defendant did not deviate from the standard of care and you will not receive any compensation.
  • Negotiated settlement. At any point during the trial, the two parties can negotiate a settlement. At that point, the trial ends.

Appeals and Further Legal Action in a Birth Injury Lawsuit

It’s important to understand that should your case go to trial, either party can appeal the verdict.

Pursue Legal Action with Pintas & Mullins

Pintas & Mullins Law Firm has years of experience with cerebral palsy lawsuits. We have worked with thousands of parents, fighting on behalf of them and their injured child. We provide a free assessment of your case and accept cases nationwide. Call or text 800-934-6555 or complete our Free Case Evaluation form online to move forward today.

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Yes. Please have an attorney, paralegal, or staff member from Pintas & Mullins law firm or their co-counsel contact me as soon as possible to discuss my questions. They may contact me by email or telephone (including phone calls, text messages, autodialed / auto-selected or pre-recorded calls). I understand that message and data rates may apply and that consent to such contact is not required for use of these services. I also agree to the Privacy Policy, Anti Fraud Policy and online Terms, including its mandatory arbitration provision.
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