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 Massachusetts cerebral palsy lawsuit filing process can be confusing for parents. It involves estimating damages, meeting deadlines, and going through a tribunal. If your child developed cerebral palsy after medical mistakes or if your child has been discriminated against, an experienced Massachusetts cerebral palsy lawyer can help.
Types of Lawsuits You May File in Massachusetts for Cerebral Palsy
For a child with cerebral palsy, there are several lifelong challenges, including disabilities, health conditions, and even discrimination. These challenges can be made a little easier if you take legal action. There are two main types of cases you may need to start on your child’s behalf.
A medical malpractice lawsuit can be filed when a patient is harmed by medical negligence. In the case of cerebral palsy, a doctor or other medical professional must have failed to provide an adequate standard of care as determined by qualified experts.
Get Matched with a Leading Birth Injury Attorney in Your AreaGet Help Now
If this failure leads to significant harm, such as a cerebral palsy diagnosis, you can have the right to sue for damages.
Discrimination and Disability Rights
As your baby with cerebral palsy gets older, discrimination can become an issue.
Discrimination or violation of rights by disability may occur in school by denial of services, in housing if your family is turned away for rentals, or in public access if your child is not accommodated in public spaces.
The Massachusetts Commission against Discrimination resolves most incidents.
Finding a Lawyer for Filing a Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit
There are several reasons to take some time to find the right cerebral palsy lawyer in Massachusetts to guide you through the filing process:
- Medical malpractice laws are confusing, and the process is complicated. A lawyer will help you understand them.
- With the right lawyer, every decision will be easier to make.
- A lawyer with experience in these cases has the in-depth knowledge needed to take each necessary filing step without jeopardizing your lawsuit.
- Working with a lawyer gives you a better chance of a successful outcome.
- With a lawyer, you are likely to recover more in damages.
- Lawyers have access to the medical experts you’ll need for testimony.
Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Massachusetts
Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit for cerebral palsy can be particularly daunting.
You’re facing going up against entire legal teams representing doctors’ insurance companies. Understanding the process and the Massachusetts laws that govern it can make this a little easier.
Statute of Limitations in Massachusetts
You won’t be able to file at all if you miss the statute of limitations.
Massachusetts requires that you begin the filing process for medical malpractice within three years of when the incident occurred or when you discovered it. You cannot file more than seven years from the actual episode in the latter case.
An important part of the process is determining how much you will seek in damages with your lawyer.
Provide your lawyer with all relevant information and documents to help make this determination: medical records, medical bills, and receipts. Know that Massachusetts caps non-economic but not economic damages.
Filing a Complaint
Once your lawyer has discussed the process with you, the next step is to present the complaint. This document details the medical malpractice incident and notifies the defendants of your lawsuit against them.
Medical Malpractice Tribunal
The next step you’ll take in the filing process is to go before the state’s medical malpractice tribunal. This is a panel made up of a lawyer, Superior Court justice, and medical professional.
The defendants will respond to your complaint, after which your lawyer submits evidence to the tribunal.
If you have a valid case, you can begin your lawsuit. If the tribunal says your case is invalid, filing is still possible, but to do so, you must submit a bond of $6,000.
Most malpractice cases proceed to negotiations for a fair settlement, but Massachusetts provides a unique opportunity for settling. Both sides can agree to a settlement discussion in an attempt to resolve the case.
Trial by Jury
If all attempts up to this point fail to resolve the issue or provide you with what you believe is a fair settlement, you can take your lawsuit to trial.
With the evidence presented and expert testimony, the jury will decide the case and award any damages.
Filing a Discrimination Complaint or Lawsuit
Whether or not your situation falls under state or federal law is something your lawyer can help you determine. Most cases of discrimination fall under the Massachusetts Commission against Discrimination (MCAD), and this is where you’ll file a complaint going through these steps:
- File a claim and wait for a response. The first step in the process is to file a claim through the MCAD. You will then hear from the respondent, who has the chance to submit a position statement.
- MCAD investigation. If the MCAD decides your complaint has merit, it will investigate. The investigator assigned to your case will collect evidence and information, talk to witnesses, and in some cases, interview the respondent.
- MCAD determination. After investigating, the MCAD decides on either probable cause, meaning there is evidence to support your allegation, or lack of probable cause, saying there is not.
- Public hearing. If there is probable cause, your case goes to a public hearing. Witnesses testify, and evidence is presented. The MCAD commissioner makes the final decision.
- Appeal. If you are not satisfied with the determination of a lack of probable cause, you can appeal. A preliminary hearing gives you a chance to make your case and change the Commission’s mind.
- File a lawsuit. Massachusetts law may also allow you to file a civil lawsuit depending on the situation. Your lawyer can help you determine if you have this right and get started in the process.
When you’re ready to begin filing a lawsuit over cerebral palsy in Massachusetts, rely on the right lawyer to guide your steps. The process is long, complicated, and confusing, and it’s easy to make mistakes without the right advocate.
With the right cerebral palsy lawyer, you can give your child a better future with a successful lawsuit.
- File a complaint of discrimination. (n.d.). Mass.gov. Massachusetts Commission against Discrimination
Retrieved from: https://www.mass.gov/file-a-complaint-of-discrimination
- 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
- A medical malpractice tribunal experience. (2007, September 1). Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law.
Retrieved from: http://jaapl.org/content/35/3/286