This article has been fact checked by an experienced birth injury attorney. Sources of information for the article are listed at the bottom.
For any content issues please Contact Us.
The Illinois cerebral palsy filing process can be overwhelming, especially for parents with a child recently diagnosed with the disorder. Legal action, however, can help you get justice if you feel medical mistakes caused your child’s condition. An Illinois cerebral palsy lawyer can help guide you through the legal process for the best outcome.
Types of Cerebral Palsy Lawsuits to File
There are several situations you may face having a child with cerebral palsy that require legal action to get justice and ensure your child’s rights:
Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
File a cerebral palsy medical malpractice lawsuit if you know or strongly believe that your child’s condition was caused by medical negligence. This type of negligence means that a medical professional(s) failed to provide you or your child an adequate standard of care, which resulted in harm.
Get Matched with a Leading Birth Injury Attorney in Your AreaGet Help Now
Discrimination Lawsuit or Complaint
Both Illinois and federal laws protect disabled individuals from discrimination in education, housing, and public accommodations. 
You may need to file a complaint under federal law or state law, depending on the situation.
For instance, if your child is being denied appropriate special education services, your lawyer may invoke the federal Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act.
A case of discrimination in housing for your family may fall under state law and require you to file a complaint with the state or a civil lawsuit for a resolution.
The Process of Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Illinois
A cerebral palsy lawsuit over medical malpractice can be complicated and a lengthy process. Having an experienced lawyer on your team will make the process go more smoothly and will ensure you don’t make mistakes that jeopardize your chance to win justice and recover damages.
- Statute of limitations. Don’t let the statute of limitations run out before you have time to start the filing process. Illinois law allows for medical malpractice cases to be filed within two years of the incident or when it should reasonably have been discovered. Minors get eight years to file. 
- Damages. Also, discuss damages with your lawyer before filing. The state capped non-economic damages in malpractice cases, but that cap was overturned and found unconstitutional. Provide your lawyer with all the necessary information, medical records, and bills to help determine what you are owed in compensation.
- Affidavit of merit. Next, file an affidavit of merit along with the complaint that details the negligence incident and notifies defendants. The oath is required by Illinois law and is a document signed by a qualified medical expert.  It states that your case is not frivolous. Your lawyer will be able to find the right expert for the job.
- Discovery. Once the defendants have been notified and have responded, both sides will engage in discovery. Your lawyer and the defendants’ lawyers will investigate, hold depositions, gather information, and find medical experts for testimony.
- Settlement negotiations. Before going to trial, it is typical to seek to settle out of court. Both sides come together to negotiate a fair award for your child.
- Trial. If negotiations are not successful, your lawyer will argue your case in court. Presenting evidence and experts for testimony, your lawyer will try to convince the jury to rule in your favor and assign a certain amount in damages. Both sides can appeal the ruling.
The Process of Filling a Discrimination Case in Illinois
As your child gets older, you may find that discrimination is an issue and that you have to fight for your child’s rights. Your lawyer can help you decide whether federal or Illinois laws best apply in your situation. Under state law, you’ll file a charge with the Illinois Department of Human Rights.
The process includes:
- Intake, providing information about the incident or situation
- Mediation to try to resolve it, which is optional
- An investigation by the Department
- A determination made by the Department
- A legal review
If you are not satisfied with the results or if you want to recover more damages, you can also file a civil lawsuit. Your lawyer can guide you through this process as well.
How to Find a Lawyer for Filing an Illinois Lawsuit
You don’t technically have to have a lawyer to file a lawsuit, but the process is much more likely to go in your favor if you do. Look for an Illinois lawyer or law firm with specific expertise and experience in the type of case you have.
For instance, hire a lawyer specializing in medical malpractice to hold accountable to the hospital or doctors that delivered your child and triggered disabilities.
Start the search with the state bar association to find a lawyer with the right experience and in good standing.
Also, check with parents you know who have disabled children or with a local group that advocates for disabled community members.
Ask questions before hiring a lawyer, ask about past cases, and get references from past clients.
When you hire the right lawyer in Illinois to help you with the process of filing a cerebral palsy lawsuit, you have a much better chance of success.
The process and the laws are confusing, but with the right guidance, you can win justice for your child and recover the damages that will cover the costs of care and treatment for life.
- 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
- 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
- Medical liability/Malpractice merit affidavits and expert witnesses. (2014, June 24). Legislative News, Studies and Analysis | National Conference of State Legislatures.
Retrieved from: https://www.ncsl.org/research/financial-services-and-commerce/medical-liability-malpractice-merit-affidavits-and-expert-witnesses.aspx