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If you have a child with cerebral palsy, taking legal action could be crucial in getting justice for medical mistakes or discrimination. The process of filing a cerebral palsy lawsuit in Minnesota or any state can be intimidating and complicated. Yet, when you do file a lawsuit, you give your child a chance at a better life by potentially recovering damages.
Do I Need a Lawyer in Minnesota for Filing a Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit?
You absolutely should hire a Minnesota cerebral palsy lawyer to help you file, even if it isn’t technically required. The filing process can be complicated, and there are many opportunities for error. Mistakes, like missing the deadline to file, can jeopardize your child’s chances of getting compensation or justice for the harm caused by someone who should be held responsible.
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Look for a lawyer who specializes in cases related to disabilities, cerebral palsy and other birth injuries, medical malpractice, and discrimination and disability rights.
A lawyer without this specialized expertise will not be able to give you the best advice and guidance. You need someone who has worked on these types of cases before. You need a reliable attorney who has helped similar clients and has a deep understanding of the Minnesota laws related to disabilities and malpractice.
What Kind of Lawsuit Should I File for My Child with Cerebral Palsy?
There are a couple of situations that may arise for your child with cerebral palsy that where legal action would be appropriate.
For instance, if you believe your child’s condition wouldn’t have occurred if it weren’t for a medical error, or if you think your child’s school isn’t providing everything needed for accommodations, you can take legal steps to help remedy the situation.
Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Early on in your child’s life, you may need to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. Malpractice occurs when a medical professional fails to provide an adequate standard of care for a patient resulting in harm to that patient.
A mistake made by anyone during your pregnancy or labor and delivery that harmed your child and led to disabilities could be proven to be medical malpractice. Establishing it in a lawsuit can give you peace of mind and compensation for your child’s care and treatment.
Discrimination Complaints and Lawsuits
If your child experiences discrimination, you can fight back by filing a complaint or lawsuit. A complaint typically goes through a government agency and may be resolved with that agency’s assistance.
If the Minnesota Department of Human Rights or the relevant federal agency doesn’t solve the situation to your satisfaction, your lawyer can help you file a civil lawsuit. This can help you get access, accommodations, education or government services, or even damages for your child.
How to Start the Process of Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Minnesota
To file a cerebral palsy lawsuit for malpractice in Minnesota, you’ll want to start by hiring the right lawyer. But it also helps to understand the laws and the process for filing. First, know that there is a time limit on filing.
The Minnesota statute of limitations on these cases is four years after the negligent incident. A minor can have until the age of majority as long as that is no more than seven years after the incident. 
File a Complaint
The first step in filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, as long as you are still within the statute of limitations, is to file a complaint. Your lawyer will draft this document, which outlines what happened to your child and identifies the defendants. This must go to the defendants for notification.
File a Certificate of Merit
The complaint must also be accompanied by a certificate of merit, according to Minnesota law. This is a statement signed by one or more qualified medical experts.  It states that they agree your case has value and that medical negligence likely occurred. The certificate must name all experts you’ll use for testimony in your case.
Attempt to Negotiate a Settlement
The next step is not required, but most cases go to a settlement negotiation. Typically both sides agree to this negotiation, during which your lawyer will argue for a fair settlement. You, as the plaintiff, have an ultimate say in accepting any offer of compensation. Both parties must mutually agree before a settlement can be brought forth.
Take Your Case to a Minnesota Court
If your case can’t be settled out of court, you will go to trial in front of a jury. Both sides present evidence and expert testimony, and the jury decides if negligence occurred. If the jury decides in your favor, it will also determine how much you should be awarded in damages.
How to Start the Process of Filing a Discrimination Case in Minnesota
If your child has suffered from discrimination over a disability, you will most likely take your allegations to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR). If your lawyer believes a federal law is more appropriate to the situation, you will file with a federal agency. Filing with the MDHR includes a multi-step process :
- Intake. Your complaint describing the situation goes to the MDHR. They decide if your case is relevant to state civil rights laws.
- Investigation. An MDHR investigator conducts a neutral investigation of the incident.
- Mediation. This is optional, but if both sides agree, the MDHR will mediate talks to help you resolve the situation.
- Determination. The MDHR decides that you have either probable cause or no probable cause for your claim of discrimination.
- Conciliation. Based on a determination of probable cause, the MDHR will help both sides agree to a settlement.
If the conciliation fails, you can file a civil lawsuit with the help of your lawyer. Alternatively, the Minnesota Attorney General’s office may decide to argue your case on your behalf.
Filing a cerebral palsy lawsuit can be a daunting task for a parent taking care of a disabled child, but it is often the best thing you can do for that child. A lawsuit can help you recover damages for their care and win justice in the face 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
- 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
- Complaint_inquiry / Minnesota.gov. (n.d.). Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR).
Retrieved from: https://mn.gov/mdhr/intake/consultationinquiryform/