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Parents of children diagnosed with cerebral palsy often take legal actions to recover damages that will help pay for treatment and care and ensure access to public spaces, education accommodations, and other opportunities. If you have a child with cerebral palsy, don’t let the complexity of the Arizona lawsuit filing process stop you from seeking justice and compensation. The right lawyer can explain the process to you, help you make decisions, and give you the best chance of success.
What Kind of Lawsuit Can I File?
The first kind of lawsuit you may find it necessary to file on behalf of your child is a malpractice lawsuit. Medical malpractice is when a doctor or other medical professional causes harm to a patient by failing to provide an adequate standard of care.
A child with cerebral palsy may be entitled to recover damages from a hospital or doctor for malpractice. If your doctor or other caregiver made some careless mistakes during your pregnancy or labor and delivery, it might have caused your child’s condition. A lawsuit will help you hold them accountable and recover damages.
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When your child grows older, discrimination may be an issue. State and federal laws prohibit discrimination based on disability, and if your child experiences it, you can take legal action. You may need to submit a complaint to a state or federal agency or file a lawsuit against the person or organization responsible.
Do I Need an Arizona Cerebral Palsy Lawyer?
The process of filing a cerebral palsy lawsuit in Arizona can be complicated, and without expert legal guidance, you have little chance of success. You need the right Arizona cerebral palsy lawyer for many reasons:
- A lawyer will have expertise in state laws that you do not have.
- The right lawyer also has experience working on cases like yours and can bring that experience to bear on your outcome.
- Laws regarding medical malpractice often favor doctors and are challenging to win. Your lawyer will be able to make a strong case and present the right evidence to prove your child was harmed.
- With a lawyer on your side, you will better understand your options for legal action.
- A lawyer can help you recover damages that you’ll need for the costs of treatment, care, therapies, and other expenses associated with cerebral palsy.
In looking for a lawyer to help you get through the filing process to the result, choose someone who has worked on these kinds of cases. A general practice lawyer will not have the expertise you need.
How Do I File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit for My Child’s Cerebral Palsy?
The process of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit varies by state. Arizona has unique laws that govern these cases. They address everything from when you can file to what kind of experts you need to prove your case in court.
- Statute of limitations. It’s essential first to understand the time limit you’re under when filing a malpractice lawsuit. Arizona law limits you to two years from when the malpractice occurred or two years from when you discovered it.
- File a complaint. As long as you are within the statute of limitations, your next step is to have your lawyer file a claim. This should detail the incident, where and when it happened, who the defendants are, and exactly how their mistakes caused your child harm.
- Submit an affidavit if necessary. Arizona law does not require every claimant to submit an affidavit, a document signed by a medical expert that validates your claim of negligence. Your lawyer will know if you need to submit this document.
- Defendant response. The defendants have a certain amount of time to respond. They will likely deny any liability but may agree to settlement negotiations.
- Settlement negotiations. Your lawyer will try to settle with the defendants. Whether they are willing to admit liability, most defendants will try to settle. It’s usually less costly for them than going to trial. You and your lawyer should consider how much you hope to recover in damages during this time. Luckily, there is no cap on how much you can get in Arizona, even for non-economic damages.
- The trial in court. If your lawyer and the other side cannot agree on a settlement amount, your lawsuit will go to trial. Here both sides will argue their case. Your lawyer will present evidence and interview expert witnesses and doctors who can determine if your care was substandard. A jury will make a decision and award any damages.
How Do I File for Disability Rights?
In addition to a medical malpractice lawsuit, you may need to file a complaint on behalf of your child for discrimination or denial of rights. Arizona has civil rights laws, but federal laws, like the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act, may also apply to your child’s situation.
To file a complaint of discrimination with the state, you will use an online form submitted to the Arizona Civil Rights Advisory Board. The Board will then contact you for an interview and to complete the process of investigating your complaint and trying to come up with a resolution.
In some cases, it might make more sense for you to file a lawsuit alleging discrimination and harm to your child. For instance, if your local school district has repeatedly failed to provide necessary accommodations, your lawyer can help you start a lawsuit to get what your child needs for free and appropriate education.
Filing a lawsuit can be a complicated, lengthy, and frustrating process. If you don’t have experience in legal matters, you may be tempted to give up and throw in the towel. But your child deserves justice and compensation from those who caused harm and disabilities.
Let a good Arizona lawyer guide you through the process and give you a better chance of a positive outcome for your child’s future.
- Medical Liability/Malpractice Statutes of Limitation. (2014, March 20). National Conference of State Legistlatures.
Retrieved from: https://www.ncsl.org/research/financial-services-and-commerce/medical-liability-malpractice-statutes-of-limitation.aspx