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  • FAQs for Cerebral Palsy

Frequently Asked Questions about Cerebral Palsy

The Malpractice Law Firm Jack H. Olender & Associates, PC in Washington, D.C. focuses on helping cerebral palsy victims and their families.

Our firm won the nation’s first multi-million dollar obstetric malpractice verdict, and we have obtained, through trial or settlement, awards in excess of $1 million in each of more than 200 cases.

Please see our answers to commonly asked cerebral palsy questions. Do not hesitate to contact us for additional information. 

Please see our answer within the Frequently Asked Questions about medical malpractice (How long do I have to bring suit?) for the general time limits commencing legal action which can be complicated and technical.  The best way to determine the time limits for your unique case is to consult promptly with experienced malpractice counsel--one size does not fit all.

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At Jack H. Olender & Associates, PC, every case is approached as a team. Our attorneys’ combined 200 years of malpractice and injury law experience produce an indomitable resource for victims of avoidable tragedies.

Contact us to see the difference our exceptional medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury attorneys can make in your case and in your life.

The firm generally works on a contingent (percentage) fee arrangement, so no legal fees are paid if money is not recovered on your behalf. We advance the costs of prosecuting your case. We practice in District of Columbia and Maryland courts.

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How long will a cerebral palsy case take?

It depends. The time is generally about the same in D.C. and Maryland. Usually it takes several months to gather all the necessary medical records and obtain expert opinions from specialists willing to testify under oath. Then, if the extent of the injuries is fairly obvious, at that point, notice of claim must be given. In Maryland, an expert’s report and certificate must also be filed. Once the notice is filed in D.C., a lawsuit cannot be filed until 90 days has expired. In Maryland, suit can be filed once the expert’s reports(s) and certificate(s) have been filed. In the very rare case where the malpractice is very clear, settlement may occur before the suit proceeds very far; usually, mediation with an impartial mediator acceptable to both sides is used.

If there is no prompt settlement, the court gives a scheduling order and “discovery” begins. This means the parties provide documents to one another, answer written interrogatories under oath and take “depositions”– oral questioning under oath of parties, fact witnesses and expert witnesses by the lawyers before a “court reporter” who produces a written (and usually electronic) transcript, plus video may be used. Then, under D.C. rules, a compulsory mediation is held to try to settle the case. In Maryland, a mediation is usually held, but usually not compulsory. If not settled, a pretrial hearing before the judge is held and then the trial. Either side can file post-trial motions to seek a different result than the jury’s verdict, and either side can file an appeal to a higher court.

So how much time does this take? Our experience is that if the case is not settled before suit, it will take about 18 months to two years to go from the time suit is filed until trial. The time can be a little more or a little less. Our experience is that most of our cases usually settle somewhere along the way to trial. We believe the reasons we are able to settle—which eliminates the considerable gamble of a jury trial—are that we evaluate and select our cases carefully and we work them up and prepare them carefully so the defendants are willing to pay to eliminate their gamble.

Do all medical malpractice cases require expert testimony?

Expert testimony is almost always required to prove negligence and causation of damages. Licensed physicians who are familiar with the standard of accepted medical care for the type of specialty are required as witnesses to prove the case. The experts can establish what the standards were and how the defendant violated them and what damage was caused by the substandard care.

What about other types of experts?

We consult with experts in areas including pediatric neurology, perinatology, life care planning, therapy, physical medicine and rehabilitation, vocational rehabilitation, renovations to accommodate disabled person, and economics. Experts in disciplines other than medicine help us outline and recover all of your child’s current and future losses.
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How do birth injuries occur?

Many birth injuries, such as cerebral palsy, occur when a doctor, nurse, midwife or other health care professional fails to adequately assess or respond to conditions and complications during a woman's pregnancy or delivery.

The most common causes of birth injuries include:

  • Oxygen deprivation
  • Improper epidural
  • Use of excessive force during delivery
  • Delay in performing a necessary Cesarean section
  • Failure to have neonatologist at delivery for resuscitation
  • Improper monitoring and assessment of fetal monitor tracings and contractions
  • Failure to take vital signs
  • General lack of proper medical care
  • Giving the wrong drugs
  • Failure to consult with specialists when pregnancy is high-risk

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How can I tell whether a doctor is responsible for my child's cerebral palsy?

The only way to know is to contact a qualified cerebral palsy attorney who, along with medical experts, can thoroughly review your case and advise you.

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