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If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, you may be wondering what your legal options are. There is a chance that your child’s condition and disabilities are the results of negligence, and a medical malpractice lawsuit may be necessary to recover damages.
The process of filing this kind of suit in Connecticut depends on state-specific laws. Make sure you have a basic understanding of the process of following through with a cerebral palsy lawsuit before you get started.
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Types of Lawsuits to File over Cerebral Palsy in Connecticut
The discovery that your child has cerebral palsy and lifelong disabilities can be devastating and overwhelming. But there are steps you can take to make sure your child has the best life possible with resources, treatment, and access to the same opportunities as other children. To ensure your child has these things, you may need to file a lawsuit.
Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
One type of lawsuit you may want to file on behalf of your child is a malpractice case. This is a lawsuit that is filed against medical professionals you believe caused or contributed to the cerebral palsy diagnosis by failing to provide an adequate standard of care.
For instance, failing to order a Cesarean section when it was clear there were signs of fetal distress that ultimately led to brain damage, and disabilities could be considered malpractice. This kind of lawsuit can help you recover damages for your child.
Discrimination or Disability Rights in Connecticut
If your child is being discriminated against or is being denied rights ensured by state or federal law, you may need to file a complaint with a government agency. That agency, along with your lawyer, will help try to resolve the incident, but if the outcome is not satisfactory, you can file a lawsuit to get what your child needs or to recover damages.
How to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Connecticut
State laws define the Connecticut cerebral palsy lawsuit filing process for medical malpractice. Every state has its laws that govern malpractice cases. This starts with the statute of limitations, which in Connecticut is two years from the incident or when you discovered it occurred, but no longer than three years. 
As long as you are within the statute of limitations, you can begin the process of filing a lawsuit against those responsible for your child’s disabilities:
- File the lawsuit with a good faith certificate. The first step in the process of a medical malpractice lawsuit is to file the lawsuit. Your lawyer can do this, but it is not as simple as submitting a document outlining what happened to your child and how it contributed to cerebral palsy. Connecticut law also requires that you include a certificate proving your lawyer consulted with an appropriate and qualified medical expert. This expert must believe that you do have evidence of medical negligence.
- Discuss damages with your lawyer. Once you have submitted the above documents and the defendants have been notified, you will need to talk to your lawyer about the goals of the lawsuit. Provide your lawyer with records of all the expenses associated with your child’s condition, including medical bills, home care, and travel costs for getting treatments. Connecticut law does not cap damages, so your lawyer can ask for any amount you believe is fair and that your child is owed.
- Attempt to settle with the defendants. The defendants will have a certain amount of time to respond to the complaint, and while they will probably deny liability, they will also likely be willing to try to settle out of court. During negotiations, your lawyer will present the evidence you have that negligence occurred to try to get a fair settlement.
- Go to trial if necessary. If the negotiations do not work out, you will have to go to court if you want to pursue legal action and recover damages. Leading up to the trial, your lawyer and the defendant’s legal team will collect more evidence, investigate, and work with expert witnesses for testimony. After presenting all this in court, it will be up to a jury to determine if the defendants are guilty of malpractice and what damages you are owed if they are. Either side can appeal the decision, but these cases often end here.
How to Start the Process of Fighting Discrimination in Connecticut
With a disabled child, a case over malpractice may be the first battle you have to fight in the legal arena. Connecticut state laws prohibit discrimination and denial of access in housing and public accommodations based on disability.  Federal law prohibits discrimination in education, but these things unfortunately still happen. Your child may face denial of services at school, for instance, or be unable to access the bus in your community.
Your lawyer can help you determine which laws, federal or state, apply in your particular situation as well as which agency you’ll go to file a complaint. Under state laws, you will file a complaint with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. The process includes the following steps:
- Filing a claim. Start with submitting a request to the Commission over the phone or in person.
- Getting a response. The person or organization against which you are filing must respond within 30 days.
- The 60-day review. The Commission then has 60 days to review the complaint and the response.
- Mediation. If the Commission decides there is enough evidence to back up your complaint and decides not to dismiss the charge, you will have to participate in arbitration with a neutral mediator.
- Investigation. If the mediation fails to resolve the situation, the Commission may decide to conduct a comprehensive research of the incident.
- Legal intervention. At this point, you can also request a judicial response. A legitimate division will determine if your complaint should go before a public hearing.
- The determination. The commission ultimately decides if you have experienced discrimination or if your complaint should be dismissed. If it is not rejected, it will go before a public hearing.
In Connecticut, you also have a right to file a lawsuit against those responsible for discrimination against your child. Your lawyer can help you go through this process.
The best way to proceed with any lawsuit involving your child and their condition is to find and work with an experienced cerebral palsy lawyer. The process of going through a lawsuit can be complicated and confusing if you don’t have the best lawyer advocating for you. But with sound advice and guidance, you can win these cases for your child.
- 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
- Federal and State anti-discrimination laws. (n.d.). CT.GOV-Connecticut's Official State Website.
Retrieved from: https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/DRS/Affirmative_Action_Plans/Anti-discriminationLaws.pdf?la=en