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A child diagnosed with cerebral palsy may need legal action taken on their behalf if they were injured due to medical negligence. To get started, learn about the basics of the Rhode Island lawsuit filing process. Let a lawyer experienced with cerebral palsy and disabled clients help you guide your decisions, whether you need to file a medical malpractice lawsuit or file a discrimination complaint.
What Kind of Lawsuit Should I File in Rhode Island for my Child with Cerebral Palsy?
A cerebral palsy lawsuit may be one of two main types:
- Medical malpractice. If you believe your child’s doctor or other caregiver contributed to or caused cerebral palsy because of a mistake, you may have a medical malpractice case. Medical professionals are obligated to provide care up to an agreed-upon standard. If they don’t you can sue to recover damages.
- Discrimination and disability rights violations. If your child or your family is being discriminated against, you also have a right to take legal action. A complaint filed with the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights or a lawsuit filed against those responsible can help you resolve the situation and possibly recover damages.
Do I Need a Lawyer to File a Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit in Rhode Island?
Technically, you can represent yourself, but this is strongly discouraged. Instead, you should choose a qualified Rhode Island cerebral palsy lawyer to help you through the process. There are some significant reasons to find and hire the right lawyer with relevant experience and expertise, including, in part:
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- The right lawyer can give you the best guidance, helping you understand the filing process.
- A lawyer can give you advice as you make the best decisions for your child.
- With a lawyer, you are less likely to make mistakes that could jeopardize your chances of winning a case.
- Your lawyer will improve your chances of a positive outcome.
- With the right lawyer, you are more likely to recover more monetary damage.
How Do I File a Cerebral Palsy Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Rhode Island?
State laws dictate the process, and although you should rely on a lawyer to guide you through it, you’ll make better choices if you have some understanding of the laws and steps.
The good news is that Rhode Island has less restrictive rules for medical malpractice cases than most states.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations in Rhode Island is three years from when the negligence medical incident occurred. If it wasn’t immediately apparent a mistake was made, you can have three years from when it should have reasonably been discovered. 
Unlike many states, Rhode Island does not cap the amount in damages you can recover. Economic losses are based on what the disorder has cost you and will cost you in the future. Non-economic damages are harder to estimate but are higher the more severe the harm caused to your child.
Economic losses compensate for things like pain, emotional suffering, and the fact that your child can never live independently.
Your lawyer will file the complaint to get the lawsuit started, which is a document that notifies the defendants of the allegations and outlines the details of what you believe happened. The defendants have to respond to the complaint, and then both sides investigate and gather evidence.
The defendants will likely be prepared to try to negotiate a settlement. Most malpractice cases end here, with a solution out of court. It’s better for both sides because it takes less time than a trial, and for the defendants, it usually costs less.
If you cannot agree to a settlement amount, you can go to trial with your lawsuit. The jury decides as to whether or not negligence occurred and the defendants owe you damages.
How Do I File a Discrimination Complaint or Lawsuit in Rhode Island over Cerebral Palsy?
Both state and federal laws protect your child from discrimination.  If you have experienced discrimination in housing or your child has been denied access or services in public places or schools, you can file a charge or lawsuit.
You’ll start the process by filing a charge with the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights.  The Commission may file with the federal agency on your behalf, if necessary. Your charge will be assigned an investigator who will look into the allegations, collect evidence, and speak to witnesses.
The Commission will try to resolve the situation, ideally with an agreement between you and the respondent. There may need to be a public hearing to determine it, and if you choose to do so, your lawyer can help you file a civil lawsuit.
Filing a lawsuit over cerebral palsy in Rhode Island can be complicated and intimidating. Your child benefits, though, when you fight for their rights and to get compensation to cover the costs of care. Let the right lawyer guide your steps, and you should have a good outcome.
- 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
- 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
- How to file a charge. (n.d.). Home- Rhode Island -Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights.
Retrieved from: http://www.richr.ri.gov/filecharge/index.php