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A cerebral palsy diagnosis for your child can be devastating. You only want the best life for your child, and your focus will likely be on care and treatment. If your child’s condition was caused by medical mistakes, you should also consider filing a lawsuit to hold the negligent parties responsible.
The lawsuit filing process in Virginia can be confusing. It’s easy to make mistakes. If you learn a little more about the filing process, however, and rely on an experienced Virginia cerebral palsy lawyer for guidance and advice, you’ll have a good chance at getting justice for your baby.
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Types of Cerebral Palsy Lawsuits You Can File in Virginia
In Virginia, some laws guide the process of filing and the types of lawsuits you can start on behalf of your child with cerebral palsy:
- Medical malpractice. Medical professionals must provide care up to a certain standard, as defined by the industry. If they fail to meet that standard, and a patient is harmed. As a result, it is considered negligence. If you know of or suspect neglect in causing your child’s cerebral palsy diagnosis, you can file a lawsuit for medical malpractice. Doing so holds responsible individuals accountable for their mistakes and helps you recover damages to cover your child’s care and treatment costs.
- Discrimination. Both U.S. and Virginia laws prohibit discrimination based on disability.  You may experience discrimination in your child’s school, in public places, or in securing housing for your family. In any of these instances, you can file a complaint with the government or a lawsuit to resolve the situation and get what your child needs. A lawsuit over discrimination may also provide monetary damages.
Hire a Virginia Cerebral Palsy Lawyer for the Filing Process
You may be wondering about your options, how to file, and what steps to take next, and this is where a lawyer can help you. Don’t try to present a cerebral palsy lawsuit alone or with a general lawyer. You need someone who specializes in these cases. Here’s why:
- The laws related to these kinds of situations vary by state, so you need someone expert in Virginia law.
- Filing a cerebral palsy lawsuit can be complicated and requires multiple steps. It’s easy to make a mistake without expert knowledge.
- If you do make a mistake filing, you can jeopardize your chances of recovering damages for your child.
- A lawyer with relevant experience has worked with clients like you and your child and understands your unique needs.
- An experienced lawyer can get you more compensation if the lawsuit is successful.
Filing a Medical Malpractice Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit in Virginia
The medical malpractice lawsuit filing process is based on state laws. Virginia has its laws governing these cases, and that outlines the steps you need to take. For the best possible outcome, make sure you rely on your lawyer and also have at least a basic understanding of the laws.
The Statute of Limitations
In Virginia, you cannot file more than two years after a negligent medical incident. This is restrictive, but for minors, exceptions can be made as long as it has not been more than 10 years since the event. 
You should also try to define your expectations for recovering damages before you begin a lawsuit. This is an important reason to file because damages can provide future care for your child.
Virginia law puts a cap on total damages recoverable in malpractice cases. It was initially set at $750,000 in 1976 but has increased every year.  By 2030 it will be $2.95 million.
Complaint and Certificate of Merit
When your lawyer files the complaint, the official document to begin the lawsuit, it must include a certificate of merit according to state laws.  The certificate has to be signed by a qualified medical expert who reviewed your case and determined that it is not frivolous and that negligence likely occurred and harmed your child.
The certificate of merit, along with the complaint that details the allegations and notifies defendants, will start of investigations into the case.
At this point, either side can request a hearing with a review panel, which typically consists of two lawyers, two medical professionals, and a judge. The decision of the panel is not binding, but if your case is strong, your lawyer may want to do this so that you can call on a member of the panel to testify on your behalf in a trial.
If possible, your lawyer will try to negotiate a settlement on your behalf. The defendants must agree to negotiate, but they generally do if your case against them is strong. You have the final decision on accepting or rejecting an offer.
If a settlement cannot be agreed upon, a trial is next. Your lawyer and the lawyers for the defendants will present evidence and call witnesses to prove or disprove the negligence allegations. If the jury decides in your favor, you’ll learn what damages you’re entitled to.
Filing a Discrimination Complaint or Lawsuit in Virginia
The Virginia Division of Human Rights takes complaints of discrimination , which your lawyer can help you file. The process that follows consists of several steps:
- Intake and notification of those you are accusing
- Mediation is an attempt to resolve the situation
- A neutral investigation of the incident if mediation fails
- A determination based on the investigation
- A public hearing if the determination is a probable cause of discrimination and conciliation efforts fail
Judgments of no probable cause can be appealed, but you can also file a lawsuit for civil action. This can help you get a better resolution for your child and even recover damages.
Consider filing a cerebral palsy lawsuit if you have a child with this condition. The process of filing in Virginia can be intimidating, long, and complicated, but the rewards are potentially significant.
Let the right lawyer help you through all the steps and give you the best chance of a good outcome.
- 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
- Code of Virginia code - Chapter 21.1. Medical malpractice. (n.d.). Virginia State Law Portal.
Retrieved from: https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title8.01/chapter21.1/
- 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
- Virginia Human Rights Act. (n.d.). Virginia State Law Portal.
Retrieved from: https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacodepopularnames/virginia-human-rights-act/