How Do I Find Cerebral Palsy Lawyers Attorneys Near Me?
If your child has received a diagnosis of cerebral palsy, you are likely worried about their future and whether they will be able to become independent and live a fulfilling life. While cerebral palsy is a lifelong condition, it is not progressive. This means that your child’s condition will not worsen with time. If you also make sure your child receives early treatment and intervention, their treatment and therapy can help to improve their functioning and ability to live independently so that their future will be brighter. All of the therapy, medical appointments, orthotic devices, and potential home modifications that might be needed can quickly build in costs, however. The thought of a lifetime of expenses and costs involved with getting your child the help they need might be daunting.
Some cases of cerebral palsy result from birth injuries during pregnancy, labor, delivery, or shortly following birth. Birth injuries that result in brain damage might be the result of medical mistakes made by a doctor, midwife, nurse, or another healthcare professional. If your child’s cerebral palsy was caused by the medical negligence of a medical provider, you might have grounds to pursue a medical malpractice claim. Through a lawsuit, you might recover compensation to pay for all of your expenses related to your child’s condition and ensure they will be taken care of throughout their life.
It is a good idea for your to talk to a lawyer for cerebral palsy as soon as possible once you learn about your child’s diagnosis. Cerebral palsy law firms work with families of people whose conditions were caused by medical malpractice to help them recover the compensation they deserve. Here is some information from the cerebral palsy attorneys at Raynes & Lawn about how to find the right cerebral palsy attorneys to handle your case.
What Is a Lawyer for Cerebral Palsy?
A lawyer for cerebral palsy is an attorney who focuses on birth injury cases in which negligent medical professionals cause birth injuries that result in the development of cerebral palsy and other similar conditions. Cerebral palsy lawyers are dedicated to helping families and individuals who have been harmed by medical malpractice pursue justice and recover compensation for their injuries and losses. By getting help from an experienced cerebral palsy lawyer, you might recover monetary compensation to pay for all of your child’s treatment and therapy while also covering other associated expenses and losses.
Some of the types of expenses that financial compensation from a cerebral palsy lawsuit might cover include the following:
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Speech therapy
- Communication devices
- Mobility aids
- Home modifications
- Wheelchair-accessible vehicles
In addition to your pecuniary losses, compensation from a cerebral palsy lawsuit might also cover your non-economic losses, including the following:
- Your child’s physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Reduction in the quality of life
The birth injury attorneys at Raynes & Lawn have broad resources and extensive experience handling cerebral palsy malpractice claims and are prepared to help you in your pursuit of justice.
Our lawyers handle cases involving all forms of cerebral palsy, including the following:
- Spastic diplegic CP
- Spastic hemiplegic CP
- Spastic quadriplegic CP
- Ataxic CP
- Athetoid CP
- Mixed-type CP
When you retain a birth injury lawyer, your attorney will be responsible for investigating your case, working with experts, and presenting your child’s case to the insurance company during negotiations and in court if a settlement is not reached. These types of cases are complex and can take months or years, meaning you will be working closely with your attorney for a long time. As you identify cerebral palsy law firms in your area, you must choose an attorney who is experienced in handling cerebral palsy malpractice lawsuits and is someone you trust to handle your case.
While many attorneys advertise that they accept personal injury and medical malpractice cases, you should choose a law firm with attorneys who have specific, verifiable experience handling cerebral palsy lawsuits. Lawyers who are experienced in this niche area of the law might be better equipped to handle your case and provide effective representation to you throughout the litigation process. This might give you a better chance at succeeding with your claim and recovering full compensation for all of your child’s current and future needs.
When Should I Retain a Lawyer for Cerebral Palsy?
All states have statutes of limitations, which are laws that establish deadlines for when different types of legal claims must be filed. In Pennsylvania, the relevant statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits is found in 42 Pa.C.S. § 5524(2). Under this law, you have two years to file a lawsuit against the negligent medical professionals who caused your child’s birth injury and resulting cerebral palsy.
While the statute might seem clear, there are some important caveats to understand. First, the limitations period does not begin to run until the date you discover your child’s cerebral palsy was caused by medical malpractice or the date you reasonably should have discovered it. The limitations period is tolled until the discovery date because Pennsylvania has adopted a discovery rule. This means you have two years from the discovery date to file a lawsuit.
Pennsylvania used to follow a statute of repose for medical malpractice lawsuits under the state’s Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error (MCARE) Act. The statute of repose provided that a lawsuit could not be filed any later than seven years after the date the medical provider’s negligence occurred regardless of whether it was discovered or could reasonably have been discovered before that time. However, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court found that the statute of repose was unconstitutional in Yanakos v. UPMC, 218 A.3d 1214 (2019). Since the statute of repose was found to be unconstitutional, there is currently no outside limit on when a cerebral palsy lawsuit can be filed as long as the underlying malpractice could not have reasonably been discovered.
If you don’t file a lawsuit on your child’s behalf while they are still a minor, the statute of limitations will be tolled until your child turns 18. Your child will then have two years to file a lawsuit against the responsible medical providers.
While you might think that the statute of limitations gives you ample time to think about filing a lawsuit, there are several reasons why you should contact an experienced lawyer as soon as possible once you learn about your child’s diagnosis. Determining the appropriate statute of limitations can be complex. While you might think you don’t have an outside limit on when you can file a lawsuit, you only have two years to file from the date you knew or should reasonably have known that your child’s condition was the result of medical errors.
Another reason you should talk to an attorney as soon as possible is that determining the cause of cerebral palsy is not easy. An experienced lawyer for cerebral palsy at Raynes & Lawn can review all of the medical records together with a medical expert to figure out whether the medical provider’s care met the applicable standard or if it deviated from it and amounted to medical negligence. A lawyer can then work to determine whether a provider’s negligence at or near the time of birth was the direct or proximate cause of your child’s birth injury and resulting cerebral palsy.
If you wait too long to contact a lawyer, some of the important medical records might be lost. Witnesses who could support your claim might move away or forget some important details about what happened. By retaining a lawyer as soon as you learn your child’s diagnosis, you will make it easier to determine whether your child’s condition likely resulted from malpractice and gather all of the critical evidence before it can be lost with time.
Finally, getting help early might help you pay for the treatment your child will need during early childhood and beyond. Therapy and treatment for cerebral palsy can be prohibitively expensive. If you win your lawsuit, you will have the financial means to cover your child’s expenses while gaining peace of mind about their future well-being.
Factors to Consider When Searching for a Cerebral Palsy Lawyer
When you are searching for a cerebral palsy attorney, you need to consider multiple factors. As you begin your search, ask for recommendations from acquaintances, friends, family members, and trusted professionals. However, make sure any lawyer who is recommended to you practices in the area of medical malpractice. An attorney who focuses on other areas of the law will be unlikely to have the type of experience and resources needed to build a strong case.
Once you have a list of potential attorneys, check online reviews, their websites, and attorney rating sites such as Martindale-Hubbell. This can give you an overall idea of the reputation, experience, and track record of the cerebral palsy law firms you are considering. You can use this information to pare down your list. However, online reviews, attorney websites, and attorney rating sites are not enough to make a hiring decision. Instead, you will want to interview the leading firms on your list before moving forward.
Fortunately, most medical malpractice law firms offer free consultations. You can use your free consultation as an opportunity to interview a prospective attorney. You need to find someone you are comfortable with and whom you feel you can trust to handle your case with competence. Here are some factors to consider as you meet with each prospective attorney and firm.
1. Experience Handling Cerebral Palsy Cases
Cerebral palsy cases are among the most complex types of medical malpractice lawsuits. Because of the substantial potential medical and other expenses involved, malpractice insurers and doctors defend against these types of cases vigorously and hire teams of highly skilled defense lawyers and experts to dispute them.
You will want to ask questions about the attorney’s access to medical experts and whether they have the financial resources to handle a complex case. You should also ask about their experience handling cerebral palsy cases. A good attorney will have broad access to well-known medical experts who have experience in the various types of standards of care and birth injuries that can result in cerebral palsy.
Ask the lawyers you interview about the results they have achieved on behalf of their clients in cerebral palsy lawsuits. Question them about any recognitions and awards they have earned based on their legal experience, ethics, and case record.
You should also ask the lawyer about their experience handling cases similar to your child’s. The attorney should be able to speak confidently about your child’s particular type of cerebral palsy and explain related legal terms in easy-to-understand language.
A prospective attorney should also ask you questions during your consultation to gain information about your child’s condition and the events that occurred during pregnancy, labor, delivery, and shortly after birth. These initial questions are designed to gather as much information as possible about whether your child’s condition might have been preventable. They can later gather medical records and documents to support your claim.
2. Solid Track Record
The attorney and law firm you choose should also have a long track record of success in winning birth injury and cerebral palsy lawsuits on behalf of their clients. While an attorney’s or firm’s past results can’t guarantee you will receive a similar outcome, they can indicate whether a lawyer has the skills needed to win lawsuits for their clients. Attorneys and law firms with a long track record of successful results might have the necessary skills to present your case in the most favorable light possible to help you recover fair compensation.
3. Contingency Fee Arrangement
Most cerebral palsy law firms offer contingent fee arrangements to their clients. A contingent fee arrangement means you will not have to pay the attorney’s fees unless your lawyer recovers compensation for you through a successful settlement negotiation or a jury trial.
The lawyer you choose should not require you to pay upfront fees or costs even if you do not win. If an attorney asks you to pay the costs upfront, this might indicate that the firm does not have the necessary resources to handle your case or that the attorney is not confident in their ability to succeed. Choosing a law firm that works on a contingent-fee basis can help you avoid added financial burdens while your lawsuit is pending.
4. The Attorney’s Communication Style
When you retain a cerebral palsy attorney, you will be working with them for months. You should ensure the firm you choose has a good communication style. Ask about how the firm will communicate with you about your case and who you will speak with if you have any questions. Ask about the people at the firm who will work on your case and whether you can meet them. During your consultation, pay attention to the lawyer’s manner of speaking and whether they listen to your questions. A good attorney should avoid interrupting you and explain things to you in a straightforward, honest way. Finally, a lawyer should never guarantee the results they will achieve for you. If an attorney makes guarantees, you should avoid hiring them since doing so is unethical.
What to Expect When You Make Your Decision
Once you have interviewed a few attorneys and have selected the one you want to retain, the firm will go over the fee agreement with you. Make sure you understand how the fees are structured and whether you will be responsible for paying any costs upfront. While most firms offer contingent fees for their attorneys’ services, some charge clients during the case for other costs, including expert witness fees. Make sure you understand whether the firm you choose charges costs during the case. You might want to find a firm that has the financial resources to cover these types of costs while your case is pending and only subtract them later when and if they win a settlement or verdict for you.
After you sign a fee agreement to retain a firm, you will have an initial meeting with your attorney. At this appointment, make sure you bring as much information with you as possible. If you can get copies of your child’s medical records in advance of this appointment, bring them with you. If you can’t, your attorney will get copies for you.
Your attorney will handle everything involved with your medical malpractice claim and will work hard to secure full compensation for you and your child. The initial step will involve your attorney working with a medical expert to review all of the medical documents to determine liability and the value of your case. Once the investigation and analysis are completed, the lawyer will evaluate the strength of your case.
A cerebral palsy lawyer will handle all aspects of your case, including expert consultations, investigations, document preparation, filing, negotiations, and more. When you have an attorney, you can focus on providing the care your child needs rather than worrying about negotiating with the insurance company.
Once a lawyer determines the merits of your case and forms an attorney-client relationship with you, your lawsuit will commence. Your attorney should keep in contact with you during the entire process and provide updates as new things occur.
Stages of a Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit
Once the investigation is complete, and you have retained a law firm to handle your case, you can expect it to go through the following stages:
1. Claim Filing
Your attorney will file a civil complaint with the court on your behalf. This document will then be served on the defendant or defendants, who will have a specific time to file their response.
After both the complaint and answer have been filed, the case will move to the discovery phase. This is generally the longest part of a lawsuit and can take many months. During this period, both sides will have to exchange evidence with each other. Discovery might involve interrogatories and depositions as the attorneys gather more information about the relative strengths of their cases and the witnesses.
Many cases go to mediation. This is an out-of-court process used to try to facilitate a settlement short of going to trial. At mediation, a neutral third party will meet with both parties to try to help them reach a resolution. If a settlement is reached through mediation, your case will end once you sign a settlement agreement. If you don’t reach a fair settlement agreement, you can go to trial. Your attorney will evaluate any settlement offer you might receive and help you understand whether you should accept or decline it.
Most cases resolve through settlements short of trial. If you have a strong case, the defendant will likely make a settlement offer to avoid the risk of a potential loss at trial.
If your case isn’t resolved through mediation or settlement negotiations, it will go to trial. Both you and the defendant will be able to present your cases, call witnesses, present evidence and expert testimony, and argue before the finder of fact. The jury or judge will then determine whether to award a verdict in your favor or the favor of the defendant.
Once a trial is over, the losing party can file an appeal. If the decision is overturned, the case will be sent back to the trial court for further proceedings. For this reason, reaching an out-of-court settlement is the most common way people resolve their claims. They might significantly reduce how much time a lawsuit takes and when you might receive compensation. However, a settlement might not provide you with as much compensation as a trial verdict. Your attorney should help you understand the pros and cons of settling your case versus taking it to trial.
Find Cerebral Palsy Lawyers Near Me
If you are searching for an experienced cerebral palsy law firm, you should talk to Raynes & Lawn. Our attorneys have fought for the victims of medical malpractice for more than 50 years and have recovered billions of dollars in financial compensation on their behalf. To learn more about your case and the help we can offer, call us today for a free consultation at 1-800-535-1797.
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