Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit
This article has been fact checked by an experienced birth injury attorney. Sources of information for the article are listed at the bottom.
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Cerebral palsy is a lifelong condition that causes permanent disabilities and complications. Although the severity varies from one child to the next, this is a condition that requires lifelong medical treatment and care.
In too many cases, cerebral palsy results from brain damage caused by medical negligence. If your baby developed cerebral palsy this way, you have the right to file a cerebral palsy lawsuit.
Do I Have a Valid Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit?
Medical negligence that causes an infant to develop cerebral palsy typically occurs during pregnancy or during or shortly after labor and delivery. Some of the most common preventable medical errors that can lead to cerebral palsy are:
- Failure to perform a C-section at all, or performing it too late.
- Inadequate monitoring of fetal vital signs and distress, or failure to act on monitored distress.
- Failure to treat jaundice, which can trigger kernicterus, a type of brain damage.
- Excessive force with birth-assisting tools, like forceps.
- Failure to diagnose and treat infections in the mother or to monitor her health during pregnancy.
- Not delivering an infant in a timely manner, resulting in oxygen deprivation.
- Mistakes in anesthesia administration.
- Surgical errors during a C-section.
If you feel your baby is now disabled because of medical errors, contact an experienced and reputable lawyer specializing in medical malpractice. An attorney who has worked with families of children with cerebral palsy can help.
The Costs of a Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit
With the right lawyer, a lawsuit won’t cost you anything unless and until you win your cerebral palsy lawsuit and recover damages from the defendants.
Most cerebral palsy attorneys file the lawsuit on your behalf. They then work with you on a contingency basis. You only pay a percentage of the compensation if and when you win the lawsuit.
Typical contingency fees for a lawyer in a medical malpractice case are between 15 to 40 percent of the money you receive from the defendants. Always talk about fees before hiring a legal team.
When Cerebral Palsy Lawsuits Go to Trial
Most of these lawsuits end in a settlement, which takes place in lieu of a trial. But the defense may refuse to admit wrongdoing or to settle for an amount your lawyer feels is fair. You may also decide not to settle for the amount offered, in which case you can go to trial.
Steps in a Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit
Once you file your lawsuit, your lawyer will start investigating the incident to find evidence to prove medical negligence. You can help by providing all of your medical records. This includes prenatal care, your baby’s medical care during pregnancy, and the childbirth records.
- Filing a Lawsuit. With all of the information gathered, your lawyer file the lawsuit, sending a copy, known as the complaint, to the defendants. They will have a certain amount of time to respond tot he complaint, usually 30 days.
- The Discovery Period. This begins once the defendant has responded to the complaint. During the discovery phase both sides’ legal teams prepare documents, evidence, and depositions to prove their side of the lawsuit. Both sides can exchange information during this period.
- Negotiations and Settlement. Your lawyer will try to resolve your case with a settlement negotiation. This is when your lawyer will lay out the evidence against the defendant in order to negotiate a settlement amount for your family. The goal is to settle now instead of going through a lengthy trial.
- Trial. Most defendants agree to settle out of court in medical malpractice cases, even if they are unwilling to admit negligence. It is usually less expensive because juries tend to award larger amounts. If your cerebral palsy lawsuit goes to trial, your attorney will present the evidence before a jury. The jury decides if the defendants are negligent and the amount of any monetary award you are entitled to receive.
When Should I File a Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit?
If a medical professional’s mistakes caused your baby harm, take legal action as soon as possible. Each state has a statute of limitations that sets a time period after which it is too late to file.
Since many children with cerebral palsy aren’t diagnosed until several years later, you may have extra time to file your case. Your attorney will be able to explain the laws in your state. Because your child needs therapy and treatment, which can be costly, it’s a good idea to get started on a case as soon as possible.
For cerebral palsy lawsuit information specific to your state, see our list below:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia