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The New Mexico cerebral palsy lawsuit filing process is necessary to seek justice for your child. If your child’s condition was caused by medical negligence or if you are experiencing discrimination, a lawsuit can likely bring about a resolution and potential compensation. It’s important to not only find an experienced cerebral palsy lawyer but also to understand the basic legal steps.
Lawsuits You May File for Cerebral Palsy in New Mexico
Your child with cerebral palsy will face lifelong challenges. The process of filing a lawsuit may seem like the last thing you should be spending time on, but it can benefit your child and lessen those challenges.
A successful lawsuit can provide justice, accountability, better access and services, and recovered damages to pay for treatment.
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Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
You might have a case for medical malpractice if a doctor or other medical caregiver failed in providing care to you or your child, resulting in or contributing to the diagnosis of cerebral palsy.
However, you’ll need to prove that a medical mistake happened and that an established standard was not met.
If your child experiences discrimination in public places or your family is discriminated against in housing because of your child’s disabilities, you can file a complaint under the New Mexico Human Rights Act. For education discrimination, federal law applies.
Your lawyer can determine where you should file, but it will likely be with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.
Hiring a Lawyer to File a Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit in New Mexico
Filing a cerebral palsy lawsuit is not always straightforward. You may be at a loss as to where to start, and while learning more about the process can help, for the best outcome, you need a good lawyer.
Don’t settle for a general lawyer or someone with expertise in another area. You need a New Mexico lawyer specializing in cerebral palsy, birth injuries, disabilities, discrimination, or medical malpractice.
Search for the right lawyer for your family by asking for referrals from other parents with disabled children or from local organizations that work for disabled community members.
You may also want to check with the state bar association to find law firms and lawyers with the right area of expertise.
How to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit for Cerebral Palsy in New Mexico
Even with a good lawyer to guide your steps, you should understand more about the process of filing a lawsuit so that you can make more informed choices for your child:
- Know the statute of limitations. Before filing, it’s essential to understand that there is a time limit. New Mexico law gives you just three years to file for a negligent medical incident. Exceptions are made for minors so that you may have until your child’s ninth birthday.
- Discuss damages with your lawyer. Also important to be aware of before filing is that you will be seeking to recover damages, costs associated with your child’s condition. New Mexico capped non-economic damages for things like pain and suffering, but it was ruled unconstitutional. You can seek as much as seems fair for all costs. Discuss this with your lawyer and provide all relevant medical records and bills to come up with the right amount.
- Go before the medical review commission. New Mexico law requires that before officially beginning a medical malpractice lawsuit, you go before a medical review commission. The panel reviews your evidence and medical records and determines if it is likely medical negligence occurred, and if so, whether or not it harmed your child. The decision of the panel is not binding.
- Begin the lawsuit and try to settle. Regardless of the panel’s decision, once you have gotten through that step, you can proceed to begin the lawsuit. The likely first action will be for your lawyer to negotiate a settlement with the defendants. If successful, you will recover damages sooner.
- Go to trial. If the settlement discussion is unsuccessful, you can take your case to court. You may be able to win a more substantial monetary award, but it will take longer. Both sides present evidence and expert witnesses to the jury. The jury then makes the final decision and awards any damages.
How to File a Cerebral Palsy Discrimination Complaint in New Mexico
Your child’s disabilities may lead to discriminatory actions in the future. For instance, schools may not provide adequate services as guaranteed by federal laws. Or, a local landlord may refuse to rent to your family because of accommodation needs. For housing or public accommodations, you’ll file a complaint with the state.
To file with the New Mexico Human Rights Bureau, you must submit an official complaint within 300 days of the incident. The Bureau will send a copy to the person or organization you are alleging committed discrimination.
The Bureau will then investigate the incident without favoring one side or the other.
The investigation will lead to a decision, either dismissing your case because of no probable cause or attempting a resolution if there is probable cause.
If the Bureau cannot successfully negotiate a resolution to the situation, it will go to a public hearing to decide whether or not discrimination occurred.
New Mexico also allows you to take private action and file a civil lawsuit if you are not satisfied with the outcome.
If your complaint of discrimination is related to schools and education, your lawyer can help you file a claim through the federal government.
Filing a lawsuit for medical malpractice or discrimination can be a daunting task. It can also lead to a resolution, a sense of justice, and a monetary award to make your child’s life better.
- New Mexico Discrimination: What you need to know. (n.d.). BLR.com.
Retrieved from: https://www.blr.com/HR-Employment/Discrimination/Discrimination-in-New-Mexico
- 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
- 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/