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A child born with cerebral palsy, or diagnosed with cerebral palsy shortly after birth, will face several challenges throughout life. As the parent of a disabled child, there are things you can do to ensure they have a better future, which may include filing a lawsuit.
Understanding the cerebral palsy lawsuit filing process in Oregon will help with the best chances of a successful outcome. Above all, work with an experienced and reputable Oregon cerebral palsy lawyer, someone who knows the state laws and who specializes in these kinds of cases, to give your child the best start in life.
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What Kind of Lawsuit Can I File for My Child with Cerebral Palsy?
Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
The first situation that may arise and make legal action necessary is medical negligence that causes or contributes to cerebral palsy. When a medical professional harms a patient by failing to provide an adequate standard of care, it is considered medical malpractice. A successful lawsuit can force the recognition of mistakes made and lead to compensation for your child.
Discrimination Complaints and Lawsuits
As your child gets older, you may face issues with discrimination, which is not allowed under Oregon and federal laws.  Taking legal action gets justice, resolves the situation, improves access and opportunities for your child, and may result in damages as well. To file, you may need to submit a complaint to a state or federal agency or file a lawsuit against those responsible.
Do I Need an Oregon Cerebral Palsy Lawyer for this Process?
Yes, you do need a lawyer, but not just any lawyer. Find an Oregon attorney with a deep understanding of the laws related to disability rights, birth injuries, and medical malpractice. Don’t settle for a lawyer without relevant experience.
You can find the right lawyer in many ways, but you may want to start with the state bar association or a comprehensive online search of cerebral palsy lawyers. Other good sources are local groups that work with disabled citizens and parents you may know in your community in similar situations with their children.
As you do your search, in addition to experience and area of specialty, be sure to select a lawyer, you feel comfortable working with on your case. You should be able to ask and get answers to all your questions, contact the lawyer is compassionate, and have the opportunity to pay on a contingency basis.
How Do I File a Cerebral Palsy Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Oregon?
Your lawyer will start the lawsuit and work throughout the entire process. It still helps, though, to have a basic understanding of the Oregon laws that govern this process, and how it works, step by step:
- Statute of Limitations. Before you file, you need to know that you haven’t missed the opportunity. Oregon’s statute of limitations on medical malpractice cases is two years from the incident or two years from when you discovered it occurred and harmed your child. Minors can take five years to file. 
- Damages. You may also want to consider discussing damages with your lawyer before you begin. Provide medical records and bills and any other relevant information so they can estimate what you may request in damages. This will give you a better sense of what to expect. Unlike many states, Oregon does not cap damages in medical malpractice cases, so you can seek as much as you feel is fair.
- Mediation. Unless both sides sign an agreement to waive it, Oregon law requires that defendants and plaintiffs get together to try to mediate and resolve the situation before a lawsuit is officially filed. During mediation, your lawyer will try to reach a settlement agreement that provides you with fair compensation. You have a right to reject any offer.
- The Complaint. If the mediation fails or you do not agree to mediate, you can officially file the lawsuit. This means your lawyer will file a detailed document that outlines the negligent incident and names all the defendants. This serves as notification and gives both sides a chance to investigate and collect evidence and expert witnesses for testimony.
- The Trial. If you have been unable to reach a settlement agreement with the defendants, your lawsuit can end in court. Your lawyer takes the collected evidence and presents it to a jury to make your case. You will also have witnesses and expert testimony to back up your allegations. The jury will decide in your or the defendants’ favor. Either side may appeal the decision and continue the case in a higher court.
How Do I File a Discrimination Complaint about My Child?
Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) is responsible for taking complaints related to any discrimination your child may face in housing for your family or in public accommodations.  For issues in education and at school, you can file with the U.S. Department of Education.  The process for filing with the state includes:
- Completing a questionnaire and complaint. To officially register and make sure your case is going to the right agency, you’ll first fill out a questionnaire.
- An investigation. If your case is relevant to BOLI, the Bureau will begin an investigation of the incident.
- The fact-finding conference. You may be required to participate in an investigative discussion during the investigation process. This can potentially result in a settlement between both sides.
- If your case has merit, you can participate in a conciliation process. BOLI will lead this and try to get a positive outcome that both sides agree on.
- Administrative hearing. The hearing will take place if the case is not resolved earlier in the process. An Administrative Law Judge makes a final decision on the matter, which may include specific actions to remedy the situation.
If you are not happy with the decision or the outcome, you can also file a lawsuit against those responsible for the discrimination. Your lawyer will help you through this process.
The cerebral palsy lawsuit filing process can be complicated and confusing. State laws dictate the steps you must take, and it’s easy to make mistakes along the way.
Rely on the right Oregon cerebral palsy lawyer to ensure you are getting the best chance of a positive outcome.
- 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
- Civil rights division. Boli's civil rights complaint process. (n.d.). State of Oregon : Oregon.gov Home Page : State of Oregon.
Retrieved from: https://www.oregon.gov/boli/CRD/Pages/C_Crcompl.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/