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In Pennsylvania, the process of filing a lawsuit for a child with cerebral palsy may seem intimidating. The steps you need to take are based on state and federal laws, and understanding the rules will help you make the right choices for your child.
A successful lawsuit can win your disabled child justice and recover damages that will pay for care and treatment. Rely on a Pennsylvania cerebral palsy lawyer to get you smoothly through the filing process.
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Types of Lawsuits to File over Cerebral Palsy in Pennsylvania
There are two main types you may need to file based on how your child developed this condition and how disabilities may lead to discrimination in the future.
Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Medical malpractice is a legal scenario in which a doctor or other medical professional is held to account for failing to provide an adequate standard of care for a patient resulting in harm to that patient.
If you believe that someone made a mistake during your pregnancy or labor or in the care of your newborn that led to the diagnosis of cerebral palsy, you may consider filing this kind of lawsuit for the justice and to recover damages.
Discrimination and Disability Rights Cases
Filing a cerebral palsy lawsuit over discrimination may not be necessary, because state and federal agencies have processes for filing a complaint to resolve these incidents. Your lawyer can help you decide if a claim is a right strategy, or if you should file a lawsuit to sue the individual or group responsible.
In either case, you can look forward to a resolution of the situation, remediation, and possibly a recovery of damages.
Hiring the Right Lawyer for Filing a Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit
Before you begin either filing process, find the right lawyer to guide you. The method of filing and following through with a lawsuit to the end is complex. It’s easy to make mistakes if you don’t have a deep understanding of the relevant laws and experience with these kinds of cases.
Don’t choose just any lawyer. Choose a highly-qualified attorney who specializes in helping clients with disabilities and cerebral palsy, and someone with experience handling malpractice cases.
Search online for an attorney who specializes in medical malpractice and birth injury lawsuits. Also, check with the state bar association and with local community groups who advocate for disabled people.
If you know any other parents of children with cerebral palsy or other disabilities, they may also be able to give you a referral for a lawyer they know and trust.
Filing a Cerebral Palsy Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Pennsylvania
Medical malpractice laws vary by state, so the process you follow to file will depend on the specific Pennsylvania laws. It helps to understand these laws, the process, and the steps you’ll take so that your decisions along the way are better and more informed.
- Know the time limit. You can’t file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Pennsylvania whenever you feel like it. There is a time limit based on a law known as the statute of limitations. You only have two years from the incident to file. You can extend that time to two years from when you discovered the incident occurred that harmed your child as long as it is no more than seven years from when it happened. 
- Talk about damages. An important reason to file a medical malpractice lawsuit cerebral palsy care is expensive. A successful trial can lead to the recovery of damages that will cover your child’s medical costs and much more. Pennsylvania does not limit how much you can recover. Talk to your lawyer about your expenses so you can determine a fair and adequate amount to seek in your lawsuit.
- Submit a certificate of merit and file. Pennsylvania law does require that before you can officially file the lawsuit that you submit this certificate. It must detail the incident and be signed by a qualified medical expert to confirm that your case has merit and is not frivolous.  With this done, you can file and notify the defendants to begin the lawsuit.
- Attempt to settle. Once notified, the defendants will most likely agree to try to solve the case out of court. Even if they don’t admit liability, settling will be faster and less costly. Your lawyer will negotiate on your behalf and try to get you a fair amount of money. You can say no to any offer and must agree before any final agreement is reached.
- Go to trial if necessary. If the negotiations fail, you can take your case to court with your lawyer there to present evidence and argue on your behalf. The jury will decide if negligence occurred and if you are owed damages.
Filing a Cerebral Palsy Discrimination Complaint or Lawsuit
Filing a lawsuit over discrimination is a straightforward practice your lawyer can guide you through. This will be a private, civil action suing those responsible. The benefits are that you may be able to recover damages and get a resolution to the situation. For instance, you may sue a landlord for failing to provide disabled accommodations. A successful lawsuit can get you what you need.
The same outcome may be possible with the filing of a complaint to the Pennsylvania Human Rights Commission.  Your lawyer can help you determine which process is better for your situation. Pennsylvania law protects against discrimination in housing, education, and public accommodations.
The process begins with filing an official complaint with the Commission within 180 days of the incident. It then goes to the respondent who must respond. An investigator will look into the event, collecting information for a fact-finding conference.
The conference may or may not be necessary, depending on your specific situation. The investigation and the discussion will lead to an official finding by the Commission, either probable cause or no probable cause for discrimination.
To resolve the situation, if the finding is probable cause, the Commission will try to conciliate, guiding an agreement between both sides. If that fails, your case will go to a public hearing for a final determination of whether or not discrimination occurred, and if so, what actions need to be taken to resolve it.
Dealing with discrimination or medical malpractice may be necessary if you have a child with cerebral palsy. The processes can be confusing and overwhelming, but if you have the right lawyer by your side, you can get through it to the benefit of your child.
- 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
- About filing a complaint. (n.d.). Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. An Official Pennsylvania Government Website.
Retrieved from: https://www.phrc.pa.gov/File-A-Complaint/Pages/About-Filing-A-Complaint.aspx