How Did This Happen to My Child?®
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Who Will Take Care of My Child When I’m Gone?®
Not every child will qualify for Lifetime Benefits. But, for those who do, Lifetime Benefits can represent a life-altering opportunity for parent and child. When medical malpractice results in cerebral palsy, the law recognizes that a child’s life is changed forever. The law also recognizes the undue burdens and financial strain placed on the child’s family. A child impacted by medical malpractice, and his or her family, should be entitled to pursue compensation through Lifetime Benefits.
Not all children will qualify for Lifetime Benefits; only when it can be proven in court that impairment was caused by negligence or medical malpractice is a child eligible. Even for those who do qualify, a limited time, “window of opportunity,” called the statute of limitations, exists in which to pursue Lifetime Benefits. The statute of limitations also varies state to state.
For Help and Hope That Will Change Your Life™
To determine whether your child qualifies for Lifetime Benefits, call Ken Stern and his law firm, Stern Law Group, PLLC at for more information.
Even if your child does not qualify for Lifetime Benefits, other non-legal resources, information and opportunities may still available for the child and family. Call MyChild™ for those details, as well.
What are Lifetime Benefits?
Lifetime Benefits include financial compensation to ease the costs associated with caring for a child harmed by negligence or malpractice. The amount of compensation is determined by a variety of factors, including the child’s anticipated life span, his or her impairments and abilities, expenses, loss of the ability to work or to care for themselves, and other damage.
The total Lifetime Benefits award to a child is unique and customized to his or her individual circumstances. Some children, for instance, will require and benefit from extensive specialized therapies, while others may not. Some may be able to perform limited work as they age, while others may not. Some may require complete assistance with daily living, while others may be more independent. Lifetime benefits can ultimately be quite substantial. One child may be awarded $2,500,000 while another may receive $5 million, or more. Some settlements have been reported as high as $18 million. These are merely sample results, however, and every situation is unique and evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Past performance or success never guaranties a similar result in your case, and so it remains important to quickly consult with experienced legal counsel to increase the likelihood of your success.
When awarded, Lifetime Benefits are usually placed into an investment instrument, such as an annuity, which is designed to accept funds and safely grow the investment over time for the purpose of providing a steady, monthly stream of cash flow during the child’s anticipated life expectancy. Structured appropriately, an annuity may also provide tax advantages to the child and family. Experienced legal counsel will guide you through these important details which can have significant impact on you and your child.
In the case of cerebral palsy caused by medical malpractice, Lifetime Benefits provide regular funding for a parent or legal guardian to use for the child’s care, such as medical expenses, therapy, assistive technology, home care, and home/automobile modifications.
Parents may be entitled to separate compensation for the care and services they’ve provided, or for other losses. Some parents create a special needs trust to protect the child’s assets, property, and access to governmental funding programs. Tax advantages may be available.
Ken Stern, and his law firm, Stern Law Group, PLLC, together with an affiliated law firm, tax advisor, estate planner, or financial planner, will determine the best strategy to address the needs of the child and family receiving Lifetime Benefits.
Why Choose Ken Stern, and His Law Firm, Stern Law Group, PLLC, for Lifetime Benefits?
- We provide the comprehensive solution you really need. You’ll finally receive the help you need and the benefits your child deserves according to the law, including:
- compensation for care, expenses and other damages when your child’s been injured by medical malpractice;
- planning for your child’s future;
- assistance when the school system fails or refuses to provide required therapies and education for your child;
- Social Security, Medicaid and other governmental benefits;
- specialized doctors, hospitals, therapists, support groups and respite care; and
- information about medications, hygiene, nutrition, mechanical devices, specialized modifications for the home or car/van and breakthrough medical and therapy treatments
Thank you for letting us help you and your child.
What is the Process to Obtain Lifetime Benefits?
To pursue Lifetime Benefits, a complaint is usually filed in a court of law against the person(s) and entity alleged to be responsible for the child’s cerebral palsy. The person(s) or entity is not deemed responsible until proven in a court of law. Each party to the complaint is afforded due process, and judicial proceedings are designed to safeguard a person’s individual rights in a court of law. The parent or legal guardian has a right to pursue compensatory damages if the child is harmed, and the accused has the right to defend his or her actions from accusation.
To obtain a verdict in the child’s favor, legal guidelines require the following be proven by a preponderance of evidence or, generally, more likely than not, to either a jury or judge’s satisfaction:
- Defendant – establish the defendant(s) are at fault
- Duty – establish the defendant(s) had a duty
- Breach of duty – establish the duty was breached by the defendant(s)
- Cause – establish the negligence or substandard care responsible
- Harm – establish harm and/or injury
- Damages – establish monetary damages due to harm or injury
Pursuing Lifetime Benefits requires time and the experience of your lawyers. At times, it may seem frustrating, confusing and complicated. Ken Stern, his law firm, Stern Law Group, PLLC, and/or their affiliated law firms can help. Ken focuses on medical malpractice matters and, though MyChild™ provides non-legal resources important to caring for a child with cerebral palsy. MyChild™ also provides information, resources, referrals and inspiration to help embrace life with cerebral palsy and to overcome challenges. The first step to determine whether your child may qualify for Lifetime Benefits is as simple as a phone call to Ken at 1-800-692-4493.
If you would like to learn more about the process required to be considered for lifetime benefits, visit or click on a specific step, below:
Do You Have to Sue Your Child’s Doctor to Receive Lifetime Benefits?
If the Medical Legal Review indicates that your child has been harmed by medical malpractice, litigation is usually necessary to obtain Lifetime Benefits. Taking legal action becomes necessary because it’s rare that any doctor or hospital will admit to wrongdoing and volunteer to assist by providing care or compensation without a lawsuit. However, keep in mind that a lawsuit is typically brought against a doctor or hospital who subscribe to specialized insurance, intended to compensate any patients they may harm through care provided. The benefits that will be awarded, therefore, are usually paid in whole or in part by the insurance, which is maintained by the doctor and hospital for this very purpose.
It’s also safe to assume that most parents never intend to sue a child’s doctor or hospital. On the other hand, it’s equally true that most parents never anticipate the need to care for a child with cerebral palsy. Hopes and dreams are much the same for all expectant parents; a healthy child and nothing more. Yet, through negligence and malpractice, mistakes occur and harm often results. Taking legal action to protect the rights of a child harmed by medical malpractice is a fundamental right available in every state, subject to certain limitations.
The healthcare system is changing. In this age of managed care, HMOs and PPOs, many babies are now delivered by less experienced interns, residents and even midwives. As a result, the risk of errors that can harm a child is real and, in the opinion of some, increasing. Mistakes can and do happen, even with the finest physicians, or at the best hospitals.
It’s often said that to err is human and everyone is capable of making mistakes; even a revered physician or hospital that made a mistake and thereby caused the patient harm. When a child is the victim of a medical mistake or malpractice, the law recognizes that child will incur a life different than had it not occurred; because of the error, and that the wrongdoer – not society – should compensate for that wrongdoing and resulting damage.
The law also recognizes a child’s right to be compensated for medical malpractice, as it places an undue financial burden on a child and family. Whether intentional or not, the family would not have this financial burden if the medical negligence had not occurred. In some cases, with limited finances and no health insurance, the child’s access to needed treatment is limited, or nonexistent.
Parents should not be reluctant to first seek the truth about what really went wrong. Once the facts are established it may be easier for parents to decide what, if anything, to do about it. Having assisted many parents and caregivers, Ken Stern can report, sadly, that many parents are reluctant to make that first call, some because they’re intimidated by the process, but more commonly because many parents – mothers in particular – haven’t been told the truth about the cause of their child’s impairment. Shameful as it may be, many mothers, we’ve observed, have been misinformed, deceived or even lied to about the real cause of their child’s cerebral palsy. This happens because of the desire and the need for some doctors, whether because of arrogance or the need to protect their insurance and reputation, to conceal wrongdoing and prevent a mother from taking action to protect her child. Inflicting lifelong guilt by blaming a distraught mother for her child’s cerebral palsy – suggesting it occurred as a result of something she ate or drank during pregnancy, for example – is an unspeakable tragedy, which occurs far too often in our experience. If a child was harmed by negligence or malpractice, parents can turn to Ken Stern, his law firm, Stern Law Group, PLLC, and/or their affiliated law firms for help achieving a better understanding of the real cause of the child’s condition. When a child develops cerebral palsy due to medical negligence, his or her life will be irrevocably changed. Lifetime Benefits may be available and when they are, it can be life altering for you and your child.
Cerebral Palsy can be mild, moderate, severe, or in some cases, fatal. It usually involves impairment in one, or a combination of, the following:
- Muscle tone
- Movement coordination and control
- Fine motor function
- Gross motor function
- Oral motor function
Associative conditions (such as intellectual impairment, epileptic seizures, hearing impairment, or vision impairment) that are not a result of the same brain injury that causes cerebral palsy, are common in those with cerebral palsy. These conditions can lead to secondary conditions such as problems with sensory perception, drooling, incontinence, breathing, chewing, aspiration, pneumonia, learning, and other challenges that require some combination of ongoing treatment.
Depending on the extent, location, and severity of the impairment, these conditions may require a team of medical specialists, health care providers, educational experts, and therapists.. The child will likely require adaptive equipment, assistive technologies, or communication devices. Home and automobiles may need to be modified. An individual’s ability to earn a living, secure retirement, provide companionship, achieve a college education, or live independently may be dramatically altered.
The physical impairment that results from cerebral palsy can affect activities of daily living, social interactions, independence, self-care, mobility and quality-of-life.
A diagnosis of cerebral palsy is truly a life-changing event for not only the individual directly affected, but for those charged with his or her care and protection. Changes in family dynamics, relationships, household income, and future financial security can impact the entire family and the lifestyle the family is able to maintain.
Lifetime Benefits provide the financial compensation a family needs, and a child deserves.
Can You Settle Out-of-Court Once a Complaint is Filed?
Yes. In fact, the overwhelming majority of lawsuits involving children harmed by medical negligence or malpractice, usually result in out of court settlements before or early during trial. Most cases handled by Ken Stern, his law firm, Stern Law Group, PLLC, and/or their affiliated law firms are settled out of court, sometimes prior to a formal complaint ever being filed. If filed, the likelihood, while not guaranteed, remains for an amicable out-of-court settlement before a trial becomes necessary. At any time – before a lawsuit is filed or before a verdict is determined –– parties can begin to negotiate, arbitrate, or mediate an amicable case settlement.
When settlement talks arise (whether negotiated, arbitrated, or mediated), they should be conducted with the participation of a lawyer who is focused on and knowledgeable about medical malpractice and birth injury cases. Too much is at stake to go without proper legal representation. A child harmed at birth by medical negligence has already received less medical care than was required under the circumstances. It’s vital the child not be deprived of the proper legal attention. A knowledgeable and experienced lawyer will help to ensure the child’s best interests are provided for during talks, in written agreements, and when annuities or a special needs trust is considered.
Settlement talks usually begin in three ways:
- At birth or at time of diagnosis - On very rare occasions, when the health condition is so severe or the medical error so blatant, the hospital or practitioner’s risk management representative, board of directors or legal team may present options to you for an amicable, or out of court resolution. A parent or legal guardian should not feel rushed to decide or to provide a reply. An attorney should be contacted to represent the rights of the child. This is often a very difficult and overwhelming time for the family, and you should insist that an experienced attorney respond on behalf of you and your child.
- Demand letters – Demand letters are sometimes issued by lawyers as a last resort before a formal complaint is filed. A lawyer drafts a letter stating the complaint and outlines the history and evidence supporting the case. The letter includes a date by which a reply or resolution is requested. Demand letters can begin discussions between parties to attempt to settle a dispute, prior to trial.
- Settlement talks during trial period – When a lawsuit is initiated, discovery, depositions, and evidence collection begins. The review of evidence and the totality of the allegations can propel the disputing parties to be receptive to a legally-binding remedy that would be agreeable to all involved parties. A settlement agreement may be reached prior to a trial verdict being approved in court.
There are three other strategies often utilized to provoke settlement talks:
- Negotiation – The parties meet to negotiate a settlement or proper resolution. Negotiating does not require a lawyer, however it is highly recommended that Ken Stern, his law firm, Stern Law Group, PLLC, and/or their affiliated law firms represent the child’s interests through this process.
- Mediation – Mediation is sometimes sought when negotiations break down. Mediations are non-binding as the mediator does not decide the outcome; he/she only attempts to mediate it. Mediators are trained in the art of negotiation and dispute resolution. They are usually lawyers, retired judges or outside professionals knowledgeable in law and the art of negotiation. They are skilled at identifying the finer points to be addressed and help to resolve disagreements. They facilitate discussion and compromise. Mediation can be legally binding if both sides agree.
- Abitration – Unlike mediation, arbitration is usually defined as a binding procedure as the arbitrator makes a decision on the outcome after hearing both sides of the case. The arbitrator is an independent, neutral person, or three member panel, that acts much like a judge. They focus on the legal aspects of the case and the evidence being presented. Arbitrators provide a written opinion that can be legally binding if both sides agree. Arbitration is generally faster, less expensive, private, and more informal than litigating a case in the court of law. Because of the potential for a binding decision, however, and the risk of an unsatisfactory award, many lawyers decline arbitration, preferring instead to have a jury determine the appropriate award. Agreeing to arbitrate is a serious decision which involves giving up a fundamental right protected by the U.S. Constitution: the right to a trial by jury. Always consult with a lawyer before sacrificing this important right.
Although these steps do not require legal representation, we strongly recommend that all forms of settlement be pursued under the guidance of Ken Stern. A qualified medical malpractice lawyer should be:
- Astute at presenting evidence
- Versed in establishing monetary damages</li>
- Experienced in negotiating resolution
The benefits of legal representation during settlement talks can be profound. For instance, lawyers should:
- Negotiate annuities with tax advantages
- Secure special needs trusts that protect government funding opportunities
- Provide for contingencies in how disbursements will be made in the unfortunate event your child or the legal guardian should pass or become incapacitated
To be legally binding, all settlement agreements should be in writing, submitted and approved by the court. An appearance before a judge may be necessary. At that time, a judge may appoint an independent party to represent the child’s interests by reviewing the documents prior to court approval.
A lawyer, with client approval and knowledge, typically welcomes the opportunity to enter into settlement talks while still preparing your case for trial. These types of talks are common in medical malpractice cases. Entering into settlement talks does not guaranty a settlement will occur. Lawyers will proceed with full client disclosure, communication and seek your approval. Clients should always provide lawyers with their opinions and preferences.
If You Wait, Could You Lose the Opportunity to Pursue Lifetime Benefits?
Yes. One important consideration that varies by state is the statute of limitations—the time frame of the guiding state in which a family can pursue litigation for harm to their child. States differ on the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases involving children, varying from one year after birth to 21-years-of age, or more in certain circumstances. A Medical Legal Review will determine whether the parent or legal guardian may still pursue Lifetime Benefits for the child. If the time allowed for litigation within the appropriate jurisdiction has passed, it is likely the opportunity to pursue litigation has been irrevocably lost.
If interested in a free Medical Legal Review, call Ken Stern at today!
Can You Afford Not to Pursue Lifetime Benefits?
Ultimately, the choice is yours.
Ken Stern believes it is critical for families to quickly learn as much as possible about the circumstances surrounding the cause of the child’s cerebral palsy.
If the Medical Legal Review reveals that the child qualifies for Lifetime Benefits, the choice to file for those benefits ultimately lies with the child’s parent or legal guardian. In the event the parent chooses not to pursue Lifetime Benefits, or if it is determined through the Medical Legal Review that the statute of limitations has passed, the information obtained from a Medical Legal Review can still lead to beneficial information, resources, experts, and funding sources.
Some parents may express hesitation in pursuing Lifetime Benefits because they feel they cannot afford a lawyer’s services. Ken Stern, his law firm, Stern Law Group, PLLC, and/or their affiliated law firms provide litigation services on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee agreement usually means there is no expense for the family during the process of litigation, but instead the expenses and lawyer’s contingent fee is deducted from an award upon the successful completion of the case. This contingent fee arrangement is a significant benefit to families that cannot afford the lengthy and expensive litigation process. The expenses to investigate and litigate a medical malpractice case can exceed $75,000, not including legal fees. However, if Ken Stern, his law firm, Stern Law Group, PLLC, and/or their affiliated law firms believe the case has merit, and the parent or legal guardian decides to pursue Lifetime Benefits, both parties will need to agree on a contingent fee agreement. The fee arrangement will be within legal guidelines for the jurisdiction in which the case is to be filed. A contingency fee agreement allows families whom otherwise felt they could not afford to pursue Lifetime Benefits, to move forward without any upfront expense. To formally contract a lawyer’s services, the following documents are usually required:
- Retainer agreement
- Fee agreement
- Medical records release
To learn more, call Ken Stern at today!
Lifetime Benefits: Still Unsure?
Parents who would like to learn more about the circumstances surrounding the cause of their child’s cerebral palsy, and whether the child’s circumstances may qualify the family to pursue Lifetime Benefits, should call Ken Stern today, at . Ken concentrates in medical malpractice, birth injury and cases of negligence.
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