What Causes Cerebral Palsy?
The CDC estimates that 80%-90% of brain damage injuries leading to cerebral palsy take place during or before birth (2018). Approximately 10 – 15% of all children born with cerebral palsy have the condition due to medical malpractice or negligence. Failure to diagnose likely delivery risks, failure to deliver a baby despite signs of stress, and failure to treat congenital disorders after birth can all cause cerebral palsy. In these cases, filing lawsuits may help compensate the children and their families.
Why File a Lawsuit?
Cerebral palsy can cost those afflicted and their families a significant amount over their lifetimes. There are the immediate costs of medical treatments and in-home care, as well as lost income and punitive damages.
Legal compensation can significantly ease the financial burden of living with cerebral palsy or raising someone with the condition. Obstetrical claims are some of the largest in the United States, with several reaching more than $200 million, according to some estimates. Consider how much a sum like this could help your life and the lives of people you love with cerebral palsy.
However, a desire for financial compensation or gain isn’t the only reason people decide to file medical malpractice lawsuits. People also file medical malpractice claims because they want to:
- Prevent a similar incident impacting another person or family.
- Receive an explanation for how and why the incident occurred.
- Hold the doctors involved accountable for their actions.
People suing for medical malpractice concerning cerebral palsy may have just one or many of these motivations for filing a lawsuit.
Why Is It Worth It?
Filing a lawsuit is worthwhile because damages can help compensate for costs incurred as a result of the condition. In addition, you may be eligible for additional monies for mental anguish as well as pain and suffering.
An attorney experienced in cases like yours can help file a lawsuit, build your case, and receive the compensation you deserve. Your lawyer will review all details of your case, by interviewing you and your loved ones and assessing relevant medical records, to determine the cause of the medical malpractice and your chances of a positive case outcome.
In the United States, contingent fee arrangements are the standard for medical malpractice claims. This means that lawyers claim a percentage of the compensation rather than up-front fees.
It’s also likely that you’ll never need to face a trial. More than 90% of medical malpractice cases settle out of court.
What to Expect in a Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit
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Before lodging a lawsuit to claim damages for cerebral palsy, it’s a good idea to know what to expect. Filing the lawsuit with the court is the first part of the legal process. Once a medical malpractice suit is filed, the physician you’re suing receives a notice of your intent to sue. The physician must then notify the insurance carrier of the suit.
After filing the lawsuit, the discovery process follows. During this process, each party collects documents and relevant information from various sources, including one another and witnesses. The information collected during discovery may include:
- Interrogatories – Written questions one party has for the other
- Requests for disclosure – Requests for the disclosure of information related to the case.
- Requests for production – Requests for written documents.
- Requests for admissions – Requests for the other party to admit or deny facts and contentions related to the case.
- Experts reports – Written reports containing the opinions of relevant experts.
- Depositions – Questions and answer sessions with witnesses. These are usually requested after the lawyer has assessed written discovery information.
Any requests for information that’s deemed “discoverable” must be answered.
Following the discovery period, the court will usually order mediation. Typically, this is an attempt to settle the case before trial. During mediation, an independent third party, called a mediator, adjudicates proceedings and attempts to help the parties resolve their issues. The mediator does not impose a judgment on the case.
If the parties do not resolve their issues during mediation, the matter will go to trial. It may take one or more years before the court hears your suit. Once your case reaches court, your attorney must use information gathered during the discovery phase to convince the jury your physician was negligent. Medical malpractice cases do not need to be proven “beyond reasonable doubt.” Instead, the attorney must only prove it’s “more likely than not” that the physician’s actions caused the cerebral palsy.
Your lawyer will be your partner throughout your cerebral palsy lawsuit. Your lawyer can help you understand which stage your case is in and how the case is progressing.
Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is a law which prohibits legal claims made a set period of time after the offense or incident in question occurred.
The statutes of limitation for medical malpractice lawsuits, including those concerning cerebral palsy, vary from state to state. An attorney licensed in your state can advise you of the statute of limitations in your local area, or the one where the medical malpractice occurred.
It should be noted that some situations may alter the statute of limitations. Depending on the state, the statute of limitation may be altered if:
- You or your lawyer files a notice letter requesting an extension.
- You were a minor when the medical malpractice occurred. In these cases, the statute of limitations period will typically begin after you turn 18.
- Your lawyer cannot reasonably discover the basis of the lawsuit within the statute of limitations.
Get Help Now
If you believe someone’s mistakes or negligence has caused the cerebral palsy of your child, there’s no time to waste. Consult a lawyer today to determine whether or not you can successfully sue for compensation.
Sources Used in This Article
- ISFMA – Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit: The Doctor was Negligent
- Cornell University Law School – Statue of Limitaitons
- Medical Malpractice and Compensation in Global Perspective
- NIH – The Physician’s Guide to Medical Malpractice
- NIH – Cerebral Palsy Litigation
- NIH – An Introduction to Medical Malpractice in the United States