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Children with cerebral palsy face lifelong disabilities. As a parent of a child with this condition, you’ll have to make some significant financial and legal decisions, including whether or not to file lawsuits to seek justice, to fight for your child’s rights, or to collect damages from medical malpractice.
A Colorado cerebral palsy lawsuit filing process can be complicated and confusing, especially if you are not a lawyer. But the results are worth the efforts. Learn more about the steps you need to take to file and follow through with a lawsuit. Also, find a lawyer with experience, expertise, and knowledge of Colorado laws that can guide you along the way.
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Do I Need a Lawyer?
Yes, if you have a child born with cerebral palsy, whether or not you are sure you will need to file a lawsuit, you do need a Colorado cerebral palsy lawyer to help you. The right lawyer knows all the laws that apply to your situation and can help you understand what your legal options and rights are.
Trying to get through the lawsuit filing process without a lawyer is extremely challenging and is unlikely to result in an outcome favorable for your child. Similarly, relying on a lawyer without the right experience and knowledge will not give you the best results.
As you contemplate beginning a lawsuit for your child, look for a lawyer or law firm in Colorado that specializes in these kinds of cases. You need someone with experience helping disabled children and dealing with medical malpractice lawsuits related to birth injuries and cerebral palsy.
What Kind of Lawsuit Do I file in Colorado?
In any state, you may face a couple of different situations as the parent of a child with cerebral palsy that can lead to a lawsuit:
- A medical malpractice lawsuit. If your child suffered and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a result of a mistake made by a medical professional, you may have a reason to file this kind of lawsuit. Colorado law governs how these cases are presented and how the process goes forward, including the establishment of patient and doctor relationship.  A lawyer can help you get started.
- A discrimination or disability rights lawsuit. Your child may be denied rights, such as access to free and appropriate education or experience discrimination as they get older. In these cases, a lawyer can help you file a complaint with the appropriate agency, or if necessary, begin the process of a lawsuit.
Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
There are several steps to take in filing and proceeding with a medical malpractice lawsuit in Colorado. The process can be confusing and lengthy, but don’t let that stop you from seeking the justice and compensation your child deserves.
Statute of Limitations
First, understand that there is a time limit on these cases. In Colorado, you cannot file a medical malpractice lawsuit more than two years after you realized there was a negligent mistake made that harmed your child. This can be no more than three years from when that incident occurred. 
Discuss Damages with Your Lawyer
One big reason for going through the filing process is to recover damages for your child. Your lawyer will need to see your medical records and records of all expenses related to your child’s disability. Colorado law states that total damages cannot exceed $1 million, and non-economic costs cannot be more than $300,000. 
File Complaint and Certificate of Review
The first concrete step in the process is when your lawyer files a complaint to notify the defendants of legal action. The complaint outlines the accusations and details about the incident. In Colorado, this must also include a certificate or review that certifies your lawyer consulted with a medical professional to ensure your allegations are justified.
Attempt to Settle
Once the defendants respond to the complaint, each side will investigate the incident and most likely try to settle the lawsuit out of court. Your lawyer will work with the legal team on the other side to try to come up with an amount of compensation that is fair for you and your child.
Go to Trial
If the negotiations fail, or the defendants refuse to negotiate at all, your case will go to trial. Both sides will continue investigations and will present evidence and expert witnesses before the jury. The jury has the ultimate decision to award damages.
Filing Process for Discrimination in Colorado
When your child gets to school age, you may begin to experience discrimination over disabilities. Federal and Colorado state laws protect against discrimination and ensure rights and access.  If these rights are violated or your child experiences discrimination, you can take legal action based on these laws.
Filing a Complaint
The first step in the process is to complain of the appropriate agency. Your lawyer will know if that should be the U.S. Department of Justice based on federal law or the state. In many cases, you’ll file a complaint with the Colorado Division of Civil Rights through the agency’s website.
Response and Rebuttal
The Division will then notify the person or organization against which you are filing the complaint and wait for an answer. This takes between 10 and 30 days. With that response, you have the opportunity to submit a rebuttal. Both sides may need to share information, and you have to decide whether or not to continue the process. Ultimately this will end in a determination by the Division Director.
Appeal or Sue if Necessary
If you are not happy with the report or outcome, you can let the Division know you will be stopping your complaint and filing a lawsuit against the responsible party. Another option you have is to appeal the determination if it did not come out the way you expected.
Your lawyer will help you with every step of this process and ensure you don’t miss any of Colorado’s deadlines for these kinds of cases. If you decide to start a lawsuit, your lawyer can take you through that process as well.
Working with a good Colorado cerebral palsy lawyer is essential as you go through the process of filing either type of lawsuit. The state laws can be confusing, and if you don’t have that expert guidance, the outcome is not likely to be in your favor. Find the right lawyer to help you so that your child has the best chance of getting justice and recovering any damages owed.
- When is a patient-physician relationship established? (n.d.). Journal of Ethics | American Medical Association.
Retrieved from: https://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/article/when-patient-physician-relationship-established/2012-05
- 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
- Caps on damages. (2017). American Medical Association | AMA. Advocacy Resource Center
Retrieved from: https://www.ama-assn.org/sites/ama-assn.org/files/corp/media-browser/premium/arc/caps-on-damages_0.pdf
- What is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)? (n.d.). ADA National Network | Information, Guidance and Training on the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Retrieved from: https://adata.org/learn-about-ada