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Your child living with cerebral palsy will face challenges because of disabilities and even discrimination. There are options for taking legal actions to get justice for your child and to recover damages to help cover the ongoing costs of care and treatment.
The Iowa cerebral palsy lawsuit filing process may seem intimidating and overly complicated, but it is possible to go through it and to have a good result at the end. Whether you feel you need to file a lawsuit over medical negligence or discrimination, let an Iowa lawyer with experience with these kinds of cases explain the process to you and take you through the steps.
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What Kind of Lawsuit Can I File for My Child’s Cerebral Palsy?
In Iowa, you can file a lawsuit over the medical negligence you believe caused or contributed to your child’s condition or over any discrimination your child has faced in school, in public access, or housing for your family.
If your child was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, you might have reason to believe the diagnosis resulted from a doctor’s mistakes. If any medical professional bound to provide you or your childcare made a mistake that contributed to cerebral palsy, you could file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
The process of filing includes proving that the medical professional failed to provide an adequate standard of care and that this failure resulted in disabilities.
Discrimination and Disability Rights
Disabilities present children and adults with challenges, but discrimination or denial of rights should not be among them. Federal laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act and Iowa state laws outlaw discrimination by disability in housing, education, and public access.  If your child is being discriminated against because of a disability, you can file a complaint with the right state or federal agency or file a civil lawsuit.
Filing a Cerebral Palsy Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Iowa
Understanding the process and the steps for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Iowa can make you feel better about going forward:
- Statute of limitations. First, understand that there is a time limit at work in these cases. In Iowa, you cannot file a medical malpractice lawsuit more than two years after you discovered a medical professional was negligent and no more than six years after the incident happened. There may be some exceptions to this for minors. 
- Damages. Before filing, you should discuss damages with your lawyers. This will help you get an understanding of how much compensation you may be able to get for your child. Iowa caps non-economic damages, but for economic losses, you can refer to all past, current, and future expenses related to your child’s condition.
- Affidavit of merit. In Iowa, you must file an affidavit of merit before proceeding with a malpractice lawsuit. This is a document signed by a medical expert that certifies your case has value and is not frivolous. 
- You are filing the complaint. Once your lawyer has sent in the affidavit, you can begin the actual lawsuit. Your lawyer will now send a detailed complaint to the defendants. This contains all the information about the negligent incident. Defendants must respond to it in a certain amount of time.
- Investigations. With all sides notified, both your lawyer and the defendants’ lawyers will investigate the incident, collect information and evidence, find expert witnesses, and conduct depositions.
- Settlement negotiations. With investigations concluded, your lawyer will meet with the other legal team and try to negotiate a settlement on your behalf. If this process fails, you will go to trial.
- Trial in court. If you do have to go to court, it will be up to a jury to determine if negligence occurred, and if so, how much you are owed in damages. Your lawyer will present all the evidence and make a case for awarding damages for your child.
Filing a Cerebral Palsy Discrimination Case in Iowa
Iowa allows for both private legal action, that is filing a lawsuit, and the complaints process through government agencies as ways to resolve situations involving discrimination. Your lawyer can help you decide what process to begin if your child is struggling because of discrimination or a violation of rights based on disability.
Most cases will go through the Iowa Civil Rights Commission (ICRC). The ICRC takes complaints relating to discrimination in education, housing, public accommodations, employment, and credit.  Your child and family may face issues with the first three.
To begin the process, you must file a complaint with the ICRC. Your lawyer and officials there will be able to help you go through all the steps of trying to come to a resolution with the person or organization discriminating.
You may not ultimately be happy with the decision of the ICRC, which is a neutral law enforcement agency. If not, you can file a private lawsuit and go through the process of trying to recover damages that way.
How to Find an Iowa Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit for the Filing Process
Filing a lawsuit for any reason is difficult if you don’t have a law degree. While anyone has the right to represent themselves, to make the process more comfortable, and to have a better chance of a successful outcome for your child, let an experienced Iowa lawyer help you.
What you need in legal representation is a lawyer or a law firm specializing in the kind of case you want to file, for instance, medical malpractice or disability rights. You can check with the state bar association to find someone in good standing and with the right area of specialty.
Also, consider asking around with other parents of disabled children and local groups that work with and advocate for disabled community members.
As you search for the right Iowa cerebral palsy lawyer to work with your family, keep in mind that this is the professional who will guide you for many months or even years. Make sure you feel comfortable with the lawyer you choose and that he or she is compassionate and understands how to work with families like yours.
With this lawyer guiding you, the process of filing and following through with a lawsuit will be a lot easier.
- 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
- Home | File a complaint. (n.d.). Iowa Civil Rights Commission.
Retrieved from: https://icrc.iowa.gov/file-complaint