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West Palm Beach Intellectual Disabilities Attorney

While it is not usually a result in itself of medical malpractice, very often a doctor’s malpractice will cause a condition that lists intellectual disability (ID) as a symptom. While ID usually does not cause physical consequences, it can make life more difficult for parents and children nonetheless. If your child’s intellectual disability was caused by a doctor’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.

Intellectual vs. Developmental Disabilities

Intellectual disability is a disability that encompasses cognitive functions and may reduce the ability of a person to cope or behave in accordance with social mores. Many people conflate ID with developmental disabilities (DDs), but developmental disability is a wider category. Developmental disabilities can be cognitive or physical in nature, while IDs usually have no physical component. One may have both an ID and a DD, but they are not the same.

Generally speaking, intellectual disability usually has three diagnostic components: (1) intellectual functioning difficulties; (2) issues with adaptive behavior or coping mechanisms, and (3) onset before the age of 18. This can cover a host of conditions, some of which require less support than others. Examples include cerebral palsy and autism.

There are specific causes of intellectual disability related to malpractice, most of which involve oxygen deprivation at birth. Oxygen deprivation is a cause of cerebral palsy, and it can also play a role in certain types of brain damage. There are several possible causes of oxygen deprivation, most of which occur during labor. If a medical professional fails to act quickly enough, or misdiagnoses symptoms during labor, ID is likely to occur.

Legal Issues

Intellectual disabilities can be difficult to bring suit over, because IDs occur on a spectrum. What appears as mild symptoms early in life may manifest far more strongly at a later date – but the statute of limitations mandates a quick filing. The Florida statute of limitations in particular is strict – only two years for medical malpractice

If you can manage to file before the statute expires, you must prove four elements in order to prevail in your case. They are:

  • That your doctor owed you a duty of care. This relationship is often established by law.
  • That your doctor breached that duty of care by not adhering to an appropriate standard of care. An “appropriate” standard of care is one that would be observed by a physician of similar skill and experience.
  • That your doctor’s negligence or breach of duty was the direct cause of the harm you suffered.
  • That you suffered a harm that could be redressed with appropriate damages.

It can be difficult to prove harm, especially if symptoms are mild. However, the relevant fact that many attorneys miss is that your doctor still breached his duty of care, even if the result was not as catastrophic as it could have been. Your attorney should focus on the harm done to you, and how it may manifest itself in the future.

Contact An Intellectual Disability Attorney

Even if you or your child may not need much in the way of support or services, incurring an intellectual disability due to someone’s malpractice is a wrong that should be compensated. The firm of Gary Roberts & Associates has the knowledge and experience to be able to attack problems of this nature in the right way, and hopefully obtain the results you deserve. Our West Palm Beach office can accommodate Spanish speakers, and we can work around your schedule by offering appointments at flexible hours. Contact us for a free consultation today.

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