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In Maryland, filing a cerebral palsy lawsuit is governed by state laws in most cases. The process includes several steps and can get confusing without legal expertise. Whether you need to file for medical malpractice or you need to understand the process of filing a complaint about discrimination, a Maryland cerebral palsy lawyer is your best guide and advocate.
What Kind of Lawsuit Do I Need to File for Cerebral Palsy?
A child living with cerebral palsy faces some lifelong challenges. Treatments are costly, and depending on the severity of the limitations, your child may need ongoing supportive care. Many people with disabilities face discrimination, even though it is outlawed. To help give your child a better life, you may need to take one or two types of legal action:
- Medical malpractice lawsuits. This is the kind of suit you file if you suspect a mistake made by medical professionals contributed to or caused cerebral palsy in your child. A medical malpractice lawsuit means you have to prove that a doctor or other medical professional failed to provide care up to an approved standard and that the failure led to the injury.
- Discrimination complaints and lawsuits. If your child or your family experience discrimination based on disabilities, you should file a complaint with a state agency or a lawsuit against those responsible. For children, bias is most likely to be in school, in public spaces, or in housing.
How to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit for Cerebral Palsy in Maryland
The filing process may seem overwhelming, but it is vital to take legal action if you believe someone is responsible for your child’s disabilities.
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Legal action holds doctors and hospitals accountable, helps prevent future harm, and can result in compensation to help care for your child.
- Know the statute of limitations. Maryland, like other states, puts a time limit on when you can file. Maryland gives you five years from the time of the negligent medical incident or three years from when you realized it happened to file. 
- Help your lawyer determine civil damages. You’ll also need to consider how much you hope to recover in damages in your lawsuit. Your lawyer is best suited to make this estimation. Still, you will need to provide them with the relevant information, such as medical bills and records and receipts for all expenses related to your child’s disabilities and illnesses. Maryland caps non-economic damages, but not economic damages.
- Get a certificate of a qualified expert. Maryland law attempts to cut down on frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits by requiring this step before you can file and begin the process.  Your lawyer will find a qualified medical expert to review your case. This expert will sign a statement indicating your case has merit and that there is a good chance the defendants failed to provide an adequate standard of care.
- File the complaint. Now your lawyer can file the lawsuit, sending a detailed complaint to defendants who must respond within a specific period.
- Go through arbitration if necessary. Most medical malpractice cases proceed from the complaint to settlement negotiations where your lawyer attempts to get you a fair settlement amount without going to trial. In Maryland, the law states that the court system can force both sides into arbitration for dispute resolution.
- Take your case to court. If arbitration is not required in your case, if the other side refuses to negotiate, or if negotiations for a settlement fail, your lawsuit can proceed to a trial by jury. Here your lawyer presents evidence and offers expert testimony to prove your allegations. The jury makes the final decision about negligence and any damages to be awarded.
How to File a Discrimination Complaint in Maryland
As your child gets older, your family may experience discrimination based on disabilities.
For instance, at school, your child may not be given everything needed for education as required by law. Or, your family may be denied housing because of your child’s unique needs. These situations can be resolved by filing a complaint with the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights.
The filing process begins with the complaint, which your lawyer can help you submit.  If the commission believes your case has merit, you will be assigned an investigator to look into the incident. If that investigator believes you have probable cause, they will try to resolve the situation.
If you are told you don’t have probable cause or the situation cannot be resolved to your satisfaction, your lawyer can help you file a civil lawsuit.
Do I Need a Lawyer for the Lawsuit Filing Process?
Technically you can represent yourself in all these cases, but it’s not recommended.
In medical malpractice cases, the other side will generally have a high-powered legal team fighting back against allegations. The process of going through a lawsuit is also complicated. Without guidance, you can easily make a mistake that jeopardizes your case.
To get the best advice and to have an advocate for your child, hire a lawyer with experience working with similar clients on the same kinds of cases.
You need someone who specializes in these areas of the law, with in-depth knowledge and expertise that will give you the best chance of a positive outcome.
Going up against defendants, in any case, is daunting. For cerebral palsy lawsuits in Maryland, you will be fighting for justice and damages for your child, to give them a better life. Let an experienced lawyer help guide you through the process and make it a little easier.
- 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
- File a complaint. (n.d.). State of Maryland Commission on Civil Rights.
Retrieved from: https://mccr.maryland.gov/Pages/Intake.aspx