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A New Hampshire parent with a child newly diagnosed with cerebral palsy may not find the idea of filing a lawsuit an immediate concern. However, winning justice for a child negligently harmed by a medical professional can help you pay for your child’s treatment and ongoing care.
The process of filing a cerebral palsy lawsuit in New Hampshire can be confusing and intimidating. With an experienced lawyer as your legal advocate, though, you can get through the process without missing any steps and with the best chance of success. Find out a little more about the filing process to help you decide what to do next.
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Lawsuits to File in New Hampshire for a Child with Cerebral Palsy
The most immediate reason to file a lawsuit on your child’s behalf is likely to be for medical malpractice. Later, as your child is older and going to school, discrimination may be a problem that requires you to take legal action.
Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Medical malpractice is defined as harm caused to a patient because of the failure of a medical professional to provide an adequate standard of care. The established medical community has standards of care expected for a variety of specialties and situations. If a doctor responsible for your or your child’s care doesn’t meet that standard, and it resulted in your child’s cerebral palsy, you can sue for damages.
It is illegal to discriminate based on disability in housing, employment, and public accommodations, according to New Hampshire law.  Federal law is similar but also includes protections for the disabled in education. 
If your child has experienced discrimination, you can file with the state agency responsible for enforcing human rights laws or the appropriate federal agency. The goal is to resolve the situation and get your child the services or accommodations needed.
Do I Need a New Hampshire Lawyer to File Cerebral Palsy Lawsuits?
Yes, you do need a lawyer and not just anyone, but a New Hampshire cerebral palsy lawyer with a deep understanding of the state laws that relate to your case. There are several reasons you need a lawyer by your side.
- The lawsuit filing process is complicated, with a lot of room for mistakes. You may make errors that jeopardize your chances of winning justice and compensation without the right lawyer.
- A cerebral palsy lawyer understands the laws and the process and can explain everything to you and help you make better decisions.
- The right lawyer will have access to qualified medical experts for testimony in your case.
- Your lawyer will know which agency, state, or federal, applies in a case of discrimination.
- With a lawyer, you have a better chance of a good outcome for your child.
Rather than settling for any lawyer or someone with a general practice, hire only a lawyer with relevant experience and who specializes in cerebral palsy, disabilities, and medical malpractice. You need that expertise to file correctly.
Filing a Medical Malpractice Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit in New Hampshire
To file a medical malpractice lawsuit in New Hampshire, you must follow concrete steps and procedures based on the state laws:
- File within the statute of limitations. First, you have to be sure you are still within the New Hampshire statute of limitations for filing. State law gives you three years from when the negligent action occurred or three years from when you were reasonably able to discover it happened and contributed to your child’s condition. 
- Discuss damages with your lawyer. Also, before filing, you’ll want to discuss what you can expect to recover in damages. Give your lawyer all the information needed to estimate what you’re owed: medical records and bills, estimations of future expenses, and any related fees, like transportation. New Hampshire does not limit how much you can recover in these cases.
- File with a screening panel. Before you can begin a lawsuit or go to court, New Hampshire law requires that you start with a screening panel.  The panel has six months to review all the information you provide about your allegations.  The defendants will also be notified. If both sides agree, the board can be waived, or it can be made binding, which means you would resolve the case there and not go to trial.
- Negotiate a settlement. If the screening panel leaves the situation unresolved or both sides waive it, you may choose to try to settle with the defendants. Your lawyer will negotiate with the defendants’ lawyers to get you a fair amount of compensation.
- Go in front of a jury. If negotiations fail, your lawsuit may go to trial. Both sides get to argue their cases, present evidence and call on witnesses in front of a jury. A jury will make the final decision.
Filing a Disability Discrimination Complaint in New Hampshire
New Hampshire state law does not allow for private legal action discrimination cases. However, you can take action by filing a complaint with the appropriate government agency. For instances of discrimination in housing or public accommodation for your child, you will file with the New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights.
The filing process begins with a complaint, or charge, which gets sent to the respondent, the person you are alleging committed discrimination. An investigator then neutrally investigates your allegation. At any time moving forward, both sides can agree to let the Commission help them mediate and resolve the situation.
If there is no resolution, the Commission will rule that there is either probable or no probable cause for discrimination. With probable cause, your case goes to a public hearing for a resolution. If you are not happy with the result, you have a right to appeal.
Your child may have been discriminated against in school or may not receive services as guaranteed by law. Your lawyer can help you file a complaint through the appropriate federal agency to get the situation resolved.
Filing medical malpractice or discrimination lawsuit over cerebral palsy is a big deal. There are many steps to take and difficult decisions to make. The result, though, can be a significant benefit for your child. Take the time to hire the right lawyer to make the filing process more comfortable, quicker, and more successful.
- New Hampshire commission for human rights. (n.d.). NH.gov - The Official Web Site of New Hampshire State Government.
Retrieved from: https://www.nh.gov/hrc/disability/dd.html
- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). (n.d.). Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. U.S. Department of Education.
Retrieved from: https://sites.ed.gov/idea/
- 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