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A lawsuit may be the last thing on your mind after hearing that your child has cerebral palsy, but taking legal action is an important step if your child was negligently harmed. In Nebraska, there are a couple of ways you can file a lawsuit that will benefit your child living with disabilities.
The processes can be daunting for someone who isn’t a lawyer, but the results of filing an include justice for your child, recovered damages, and resolution for situations of discrimination. It’s well worth the effort, although you should not begin the filing process without a Nebraska cerebral palsy lawyer by your side.
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Why Should I File a Lawsuit for My Child with Cerebral Palsy?
Legal action may not be the obvious first choice of what to do for your disabled child. But there are a couple of situations that may harm your child and that you can fight with a lawsuit:
- Medical malpractice. If you believe that a mistake, poor choice, or neglect in care by a doctor or other medical professional contributed to or caused cerebral palsy in your child, you may have a case for medical malpractice. In filing this lawsuit, you will need to prove that someone failed to provide an adequate standard of medical care and that this harmed your child.
- Discrimination. Discrimination based on disabilities illegal under federal law.  Your child may be denied access or services in school, be limited to access to certain public places, or face discrimination as your family seeks housing. A complaint or lawsuit can resolve the situation.
How to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit for Cerebral Palsy in Nebraska
Medical malpractice cases are notoriously difficult for plaintiffs, even the most innocent victims, like children with cerebral palsy. Nebraska laws outline the process you need to follow to make your case, to seek justice for the harm caused by doctors and others, and to recover damages for your child’s care.
Statute of Limitations
The Nebraska law that limits when you can file a medical malpractice lawsuit is known as the statute of limitations. The state gives you until your child’s 21st birthday to present. This is an exception for minors, as generally the law only allows for one year from the time a negligent incident was discovered. 
If you are within the statute of limitations, your lawyer will discuss expectations in recovering damages. However, no lawyer can tell you exactly how much you’ll get. Provide all necessary information and documentation so that your lawyer can determine a fair amount to seek.
Documentations include medical records and bills, and receipts for anything related to your child’s condition, such as mobility devices or travel costs for getting treatments. Nebraska caps total damages that can be awarded, so be sure you understand what to expect.
Filing and Medical Panel Review
In Nebraska, state law requires that you send the complaint to a medical panel review.  You must include all the details of your allegations. The defendants will also be notified. The panel will decide whether it believes medical negligence did or did not occur. The result is not binding, but it can be used as evidence in court.
If possible, your lawyer will next try to negotiate a settlement on your behalf. This occurs through talks with the lawyers on both sides. You get the final say in whether or not to accept any last offer of compensation. If negotiations fail, you can proceed to court.
Trial in Court
In court, your case will likely go in front of a jury. Your lawyer presents all the evidence, talks to expert witnesses, questions witnesses for the other side, and argues your case. The jury decides on whether or not medical malpractice occurred. If selected in your favor, the jury also determines a damages award.
How to File a Discrimination Complaint or Lawsuit in Nebraska
Nebraska’s Equal Opportunity Commission enforces several state laws that prohibit discrimination in housing, public accommodations, or employment.  If your child has experienced discrimination in school, such as a denial of appropriate accommodations, access, inclusion, or special education services, you may need to file with a federal agency.
In Nebraska, the process for filing a complaint with the state agency begins with a written, online, or in-person filing that details the incident or situation. From there, you will be assigned an investigator and given an appointment for a more formal interview. You and the respondent will be given a chance to try to resolve the situation with mediation and a settlement.
If there is no resolution by mediation, your case will be investigated. A determination will then be made as to whether or not discrimination occurred. If the finding is in your favor, the agency will decide what actions should be taken.
A conciliation procedure will begin to help both sides agree. If this fails, you can request a public hearing for a final determination and resolution. You can also choose to sue, and your lawyer will help you file the lawsuit to begin that process.
How to Find a Lawyer to Help You File
The long and often complicated process of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit or discrimination complaint is best done with a good lawyer to guide you. Look for a lawyer with specific expertise in discrimination, disabilities, cerebral palsy and birth injuries, and medical malpractice.
Keep in mind that someone who does not have experience specifically in medical malpractice cases will not be able to give you the best advice or best chance of winning your case.
To choose the right lawyer, take some time to research. Look for a lawyer or firm that can prove it has won cases like yours in the past, and someone willing to give references from past clients. Don’t settle for less than the best lawyer to represent your family in this challenging process.
Filing a lawsuit in Nebraska for your child with cerebral palsy is not something to be done lightly. Rely on an expert lawyer, learn more about the process, and take all the necessary steps to provide your child with a win and the compensation that will help provide care.
- 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
- Eliminating discrimination in Nebraska. Complaint process. (n.d.). Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission (NEOC).
Retrieved from: https://neoc.nebraska.gov/complaint/complaint.html