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A child living with cerebral palsy faces several challenges. Parents of these disabled children have expenses for treatment, travel, home care, and more. A disabled child may even grow up to face discrimination and violations of rights.
If you have reason to take legal action to protect or seek justice for your child, you should understand the Arkansas cerebral palsy lawsuit filing process. With a little information about the process and the right lawyer by your side, you have a better chance of a successful outcome and getting compensation to help care for your child.
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Types of Lawsuits You May Need to File for Cerebral Palsy
In Arkansas and other states, there are a couple of kinds of legal actions that may become important for the parents of children with cerebral palsy. Know your options and let an Arkansas cerebral palsy lawyer help you decide what legal steps to take next.
Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
A medical malpractice case is brought when a medical professional or organization has harmed a patient. If your child’s cerebral palsy resulted from a mistake that your doctor or another caregiver made, you could have a valid case.
To prove it, you must show that the defendant failed to provide an adequate standard of care. In these cases, you can recover damages for economic and non-economic costs resulting from the negligence.
Disability Rights and Discrimination Cases
A child with disabilities may face discrimination, even though there are laws that guarantee disability rights. Arkansas’s Civil Rights Act and federal laws protect the disabled from discrimination. Usually, these cases begin with filing a complaint to the appropriate government agency, but sometimes a lawsuit becomes necessary.
How to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Arkansas
Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit may be necessary if you believe your child was harmed by medical negligence and mistakes that could have been prevented. These mistakes resulted in a lifelong disability and the many costs that go along with it.
Understand the Statute of Limitations
Every state sets a limit on when you can file this kind of lawsuit. You need to be aware of it so that you do not miss the chance to seek justice for your child. In Arkansas, the statute of limitations on medical malpractice cases is two years after the negligence occurred or one year after you discovered it. For children, the limit can be extended to their eleventh birthday.
File a Complaint
The first step, as long as you are within the statute of limitations, is to file a complaint. This is a detailed description of the allegations you are bringing against the defendant or defendants. Unlike in many states, Arkansas does not require that you include an expert opinion at this stage. You have to notify the defendants and explain the incident.
Investigate the Allegations
Your legal team and that of the defendants will investigate the incident to collect evidence and expert opinions. Your lawyer will need evidence from your medical records and the views of qualified medical experts to prove that your child suffered from medical malpractice. The defendant’s legal team will do the same in an attempt to disprove your claim.
Negotiate a Settlement
Most defendants in this situation will respond to the complaint with a denial of liability. The next step your lawyer will want to take is to try to negotiate a settlement for fair compensation. Both sides will get together and try to come to a resolution. Even if the defendants don’t admit liability, they may agree to negotiate and settle.
Go to Trial
The defendants may not want to settle, or both sides may fail to reach an agreeable amount of compensation. If this is the case, your lawyer will take your case to trial to present evidence to a judge and jury. During a trial, the jury will decide if malpractice occurred and if it did, they’ll help decide what you’re owed in economic and non-economic damages.
Filing a Discrimination Claim in Arkansas
The Arkansas Civil Rights Act of 1993 protects people with disabilities from discrimination and ensures access to accommodations in public and education, to fair housing, and other rights. If your child experiences discrimination, is not given the right accommodations at school or is denied access to public spaces, you may need to file a complaint.
Your lawyer can help you with this process, but it begins with filing a complaint with the appropriate government agency. For instance, if the situation occurs at school, you’ll contact Arkansas’s Division of Elementary and Secondary Education. They will walk you through the process of investigating the incident and trying to resolve it.
If you are not satisfied with the results of the complaint you file, you may feel it is necessary to file a lawsuit. This process will be similar to that for a medical malpractice case, beginning with filing a complaint, waiting for the response, attempting to negotiate, and going to court if necessary for a resolution.
How to Find an Arkansas Lawyer to Help File a Lawsuit
The laws that govern medical malpractice cases, in particular, can be very confusing, and the process of filing any lawsuit is lengthy and full of pitfalls. For the best possible outcome for your family and your child, you do need an experienced Arkansas lawyer to guide your steps and provide you with expert advice.
Look for a lawyer or law firm that specializes in the kind of legal action you need to take. You will need a lawyer who takes on medical malpractice cases only, and if possible, someone who handles matters related to disabled children. An Arkansas cerebral palsy lawyer will have the experience and knowledge necessary to help you make your case.
As you search for the right lawyer for your family, be sure to ask questions, request references, and get proof that they have fought for and won for similar families. Don’t settle for a lawyer who takes on all kinds of cases or has limited experience working with disabled children.
The time you take now in choosing the right lawyer and taking legal action will pay off for your child. The lawsuit filing process can be intimidating, complicated, and confusing, but the result means justice and compensation that will help you provide your child with the best care.