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The process of filing a cerebral palsy lawsuit in any state can be intricate. Louisiana state laws govern how you submit the case and how it proceeds, step by step. If you have a child living with cerebral palsy, you can learn more about the process before you take legal action.
A lawyer in Louisiana who specializes in cases related to disabilities and cerebral palsy can also be a big help. Whether you want to file over medical malpractice or to resolve an issue with discrimination, the right cerebral palsy lawyer will help you make it through the process and get to a positive outcome.
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Lawsuit Types You Can File in Louisiana for Your Child with Cerebral Palsy
A child diagnosed with cerebral palsy will live with a lifelong disorder and resulting challenges. As a parent, you have legal options to seek justice for your child, to get the compensation that will help provide treatments, and to resolve any issues with discrimination or a denial of rights.
Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
A medical malpractice lawsuit is filed to hold medical professionals and/or hospitals responsible for harm caused to patients. Malpractice occurs when there is some negligent action, mistake, or inaction that harms a patient.
When filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Louisiana, you have the burden of proving that your doctor or caregiver negligently failed to provide an adequate standard of care for you or your child and that this resulted in the cerebral palsy diagnosis.
Discrimination Complaints and Lawsuits
If your child experiences discrimination because of disabilities, you can take legal action through a complaint filed to the appropriate government agency or a lawsuit. With a claim, you may be able to resolve the situation, but Louisiana also allows you to take private action, suing those that discriminated against to recover damages.
The Process of Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Louisiana
Before you begin the process of filing, be aware of the statute of limitations. This is a state law that limits when you can file a medical malpractice lawsuit. Louisiana restricts filing to one year from the incident or one year from when you realized it happened. 
You cannot file any later than three years after the incident occurred. If you are within those limits, you’ll take these steps when filing:
Go before the medical review panel.
Louisiana law requires anyone filing a medical malpractice lawsuit to present their information and evidence to a review panel first. The panel of medical experts reviews cases to make sure they are not frivolous before the plaintiff can proceed. 
The panel also writes an opinion on this case, which is not binding. Whether the group finds in your favor or not, you can proceed with filing once it has decided. The opinion can also be used as evidence in court.
Discuss damages with your lawyer.
Once you make it through the review process, you can proceed with the lawsuit. To make sure your lawyer fights for enough compensation for your child’s needs, discuss damages first. The state of Louisiana has put a controversial cap of $500,000 on total damages, including those related to real expenses, like medical bills.
File the complaint to begin the lawsuit officially.
Your lawyer will begin the lawsuit by filing a complaint. This outlines the incident and how it contributed to your child’s condition and disabilities. It notifies the defendants and allows both sides to begin or continue gathering evidence and investigating. Your lawyer will collect evidence, conduct depositions, and find expert witnesses to testify on your behalf.
Try to negotiate a settlement.
Many medical malpractice lawsuits end in a settlement without ever going to trial. Most defendants are willing to try at least to settle because it can cost less than going through a trial. Your lawyer represents you in these discussions, but you will have the opportunity to accept or reject any offers of compensation.
Go to trial before a jury.
If the defendants won’t negotiate or if settlement talks fail, you can move on to a trial by jury. This can take time, and ultimately the decision comes down to the jury in your case. Your lawyer presents information and evidence, calls on expert witnesses, and does everything possible to prove to the jury that your child suffered from medical negligence.
The Process of Filing Discrimination Complaints in Louisiana
In Louisiana, the agency that takes complaints about discrimination and denial of rights based on disabilities is the Louisiana Commission on Human Rights (LCHR). In some cases, federal law may be more appropriate to your situation, in which case your lawyer can help you figure out how and where to file.
You or your lawyer acting on your behalf can file a complaint with the LCHR online, by mail, over the phone, or in-person in Baton Rouge.  The Commission will look at your complaint to make sure it meets guidelines and assign you an investigator.
The investigator will decide about your complaint and recommend action. A copy of the decision goes to you and the respondent. If the LCHR finds that no law has been violated, you will be allowed to proceed with a civil lawsuit if you choose.
Finding a Louisiana Cerebral Palsy Lawyer to Help you File Your Case
Regardless of whether you are filing a medical malpractice lawsuit or an LCHR complaint, you need a good lawyer to guide your steps. Even with some basic knowledge of the process, it can be challenging to get through these steps and easy to make mistakes that will damage your case.
Find a lawyer with the right expertise, someone who specializes in medical malpractice, disability rights, or birth injuries. This kind of lawyer will have the knowledge and experience necessary to get you the best outcome in your case. A lawyer without this experience will not be good enough to ensure your success.
If you have a child with cerebral palsy, it is vital to consider taking legal action. A lawsuit can help you get justice for the harm caused as well as damages that your child needs for the future.
The Louisiana cerebral palsy lawsuit filing process can seem daunting, but you can get through it, especially with a lawyer to help you.
- 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
- Filing a complaint with LCHR. (n.d.). Office of Governor John Bel Edwards. Louisiana Commission on Human Rights
Retrieved from: https://gov.louisiana.gov/page/filing-a-complaint-with-lchr