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Illinois families can rely on an excellent legal team to help them get justice and even compensation to cover the lifelong costs of care for a child born with cerebral palsy. Too often, this disability is triggered by a medical mistake made during pregnancy or delivery or soon after a baby is born. You can hold the doctor, hospital, or other medical staff accountable, but it requires legal finesse and expertise.
An Illinois cerebral palsy lawyer is the expert you need, someone who understands the complicated state laws governing medical malpractice lawsuits. Find the right lawyer to work with your family, and you can get justice for your child, ensure his or her access to equal opportunities, and recover damages the provide your child with the best care possible.
Who Needs an Illinois Cerebral Palsy Lawyer?
Families who may need a cerebral palsy lawyer in Illinois are residents whose child was born with or shortly after birth developed this condition. Cerebral palsy is a neurological condition that causes permanent disabilities ranging from minor muscle problems to complete paralysis, as well as many associated disorders.
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Brain damage causes cerebral palsy, and medical mistakes are sometimes the cause of brain damage. For instance, if a doctor misuses forceps or fails to monitor fetal health correctly, a baby can suffer damage that leads to cerebral palsy. If you even suspect an error or negligence caused your child’s disabilities, you need a lawyer.
Later in life, your child may struggle with discrimination or being denied access to free and fair education at school. State and federal laws protecting people with disabilities are in place to prevent this, and legal action may be required to ensure your child gets what he or she needs.
The Benefits of Working with an Illinois Cerebral Palsy Lawyer
Without an Illinois cerebral palsy lawyer on your side, you will either not take legal action, or you will try to but run the grave risk of failing to get justice for your child. Laws regarding medical malpractice and disability rights are complicated and going up against large legal teams defending hospitals, and other institutions are nearly impossible without the right representation.
One of the most important benefits of working with the right lawyer is that you will significantly improve your chances of winning for your child. There is a lot at stake: justice, holding responsible parties accountable, ensuring equal rights and educational services, and compensation to cover the high costs of care for a disabled child. In other words, your child’s future is at stake.
A lawyer can also benefit you by providing expert guidance on what kind of legal action to take, what compensation to seek, whether to settle or go to trial, and other big decisions. Finally, working with a lawyer will give you the benefit of peace of mind and of knowing you are doing everything you can to help your child.
How to Find the Right Lawyer for Your Child
Working with just any lawyer is not enough. You need an Illinois cerebral palsy lawyer or law firm that has expert knowledge in medical malpractice laws or disability rights, proven wins for similar clients, and experience fighting for the rights of disabled children.
Search for lawyers through the state’s bar association or ask for references from other parents in a similar situation or community organizations for disabled people.
When you look for a lawyer to represent your child and family, be sure to select someone with proven expertise and experience in your type of case. Also, interview lawyers to find one that you like and who makes you feel comfortable. This is a big decision, and it should be made carefully.
Medical Malpractice Cases in Illinois
As the parent of a disabled child whose condition may have been caused by malpractice, you need to have some understanding of the laws and your right to seek justice. These laws vary by state and can be complicated, but knowing the basics and having the right lawyer will help you make better decisions for your child.
A fundamental law to know is the statute of limitations because it limits the time you have to take legal action against those responsible. In Illinois, you have two years from the time of the negligent medical error, or from when it should have reasonably discovered, to file a lawsuit. 
There may be some exceptions, but no case can be filed more than eight years after the incident occurred with a minor. This means you need to take action relatively quickly.
In 2005 Illinois legislators capped the amount of non-economic damages victims can recover in medical malpractice cases at $500,000. This type of damages refers to anything that is not an actual, monetary cost, like pain or emotional suffering. The state’s Supreme Court overturned that cap in 2010, declaring it unconstitutional. 
Disability Rights in Illinois
Your child with disabilities is protected by federal laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act and state laws, including the Illinois Human Rights Act.  These and several other federal laws ensure your child is not discriminated against, have access to public spaces, and have access to a free and appropriate education.
A disabled child could face discrimination at school. Public schools must provide your child with special education services, technology, assistive devices, and anything else needed for the same education other children receive, within reason. If you believe your child is not being given everything necessary, you can take legal action under these laws.
Cases Won by Illinois Cerebral Palsy Lawyers
There are several examples in Illinois of successful claims winning justice and compensation for children with cerebral palsy. One of these went to the Illinois Supreme Court and helped overturn the non-economic damages cap.
The family of a girl brought the case against Gottlieb Memorial hospital and two staff members after she suffered numerous injuries during delivery and ended up with severe cerebral palsy. The mother challenged the cap on the damages she could recover, and the Supreme Court agreed that she was entitled to more than the cap allowed.
In a case that went to trial in Cook County, a jury awarded a young boy and his family $53 million in damages. More than half of that was considered necessary for the lifelong home care for the severely disabled boy. 
The lawyer in the case was able to prove that medical professionals made at least 20 errors in his delivery that led to brain damage and cerebral palsy. These included failure to monitor the mom and the baby, failure to perform a C-section on time, and failure to detect an abnormal fetal heart rate.
Cerebral palsy doesn’t always occur during childbirth. Another Illinois case involved a six-year-old boy who suffered brain damage and cerebral palsy as a result of surgery. He was born with a damaged esophagus and required several surgeries. During one of these, the surgeon severed his pulmonary artery.
The surgeon was found to be negligent in the action, and a jury awarded the family $30 million.
These cases are big ones, but they illustrate how important it is for families to have an Illinois cerebral palsy lawyer on their side. The right lawyer will fight for your child’s rights, for justice, and for much-needed compensation that will provide care and treatment for years.
- Medical liability/Malpractice statutes of limitation. (2014, March 20). Legislative News, Studies and Analysis | National Conference of State Legislatures.
Retrieved from: https://www.ncsl.org/research/financial-services-and-commerce/medical-liability-malpractice-statutes-of-limitation.aspx
- Nelson L , et al. (n.d.). Lebron v. Gottlieb memorial hospital: Capping medical practice reform in Illinois. - PubMed - NCBI. National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21639016
- 775 ILCS 5/ Illinois Human Rights Act. (n.d.). Illinois General Assembly Home Page.
Retrieved from: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2266&ChapterID=64
- Yerak, B. (2016, June 30). Jury hits U. of C. hospital with $53 million malpractice verdict.
Retrieved from: https://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-u-of-c-malpractice-verdict-0701-biz-20160630-story.html