2018 Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit News: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 85% – 90% of brain damage leading to cerebral palsy occurs before or during birth. If your baby’s cerebral palsy was caused by a birth injury, you may be eligible for compensation to pay for medical bills. Talk to a birth injury lawyer today.
While most cerebral palsy cases are congenital, many children develop the motor disorder as a result of injury, infection, or another form of medical malpractice at birth or shortly after. While many parents understandably want to focus on medical help for their child in the early days of infancy, it is equally important to seek counsel from a cerebral palsy lawyer who can provide guidance about what financial help may be available for your family.
If your child has experienced birth trauma leading to a diagnosis of cerebral palsy or another form of neurological disorder impairing their movement and coordination, filing a cerebral palsy lawsuit can help you receive compensation to pay for treatments, long-term care, and other associated medical expenses.
Could your child's cerebral palsy have been avoided?Talk to a cerebral palsy attorney now
Why Are Parents Filing Cerebral Palsy Lawsuits?
Unlike other forms of paralysis and motor dysfunction, such as Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy, cerebral palsy does not have one specific cause. In fact, the term “cerebral palsy” is most commonly used as an umbrella for more specific forms of impairment.
At a high level, cerebral palsy occurs when a child’s brain is damaged or develops abnormally, either during pregnancy or within approximately the first month after birth. The most common symptoms can include delays in development, motor skill problems, abnormal development of muscle tone, stiff or slow muscle movements, and seizures. Although there are a wide variety of circumstances that could lead to abnormal development or brain injury, parents often take legal action when the injury was sustained at birth.
Common Causes of Cerebral Palsy
- Viral infection
- Bacterial meningitis
- Hydrocephalus (“water on the brain”)
- Blood clot or stroke
- Bleeding in the brain (intracranial hemorrhage)
- Decreased blood flow to the brain (hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy)
- Oxygen deprivation (asphyxia) leading to the death of white matter (periventricular leukomalacia)
- Abnormal development (cerebral dysgenesis)
- Head trauma
- Lead poisoning
Cerebral Palsy and Medical Malpractice
Obstetricians, physicians’ assistants, nurses, and other medical professionals are highly skilled and trained to look out for potential problems that could result in a birth injury. When they fail to recognize dangerous conditions – or worse, cause those conditions themselves – they are committing a form of medical malpractice.
Due to the many possible causes of cerebral palsy, there are several types of medical malpractice that could lead to it. Broadly speaking, these include using the wrong instruments, failing to recognize a dangerous situation, or actively harming the infant during or immediately after childbirth.
Common Reasons for Medical Mistakes
- Causing damage to the head, skull, or brain during delivery
- Causing a situation where the baby receives low or no oxygen (such as a prolapsed umbilical cord)
- Failing to properly treat or identify an infection
- Failing to prevent pre-term delivery
- Failing to order an emergency c-section when necessary
- Using tools that increase the risk of birth injury, such as forceps or a vacuum extraction
In addition to filing a cerebral palsy lawsuit against an individual doctor, families may consider having legal representation and filing a claim against the hospital or medical facility where their child was born. Hospitals are required to ensure the appropriate policies, procedures, staffing, and training are in place to keep their patients safe and healthy, without causing further harm. Failing to achieve the standards required by laws and regulations, professional association guidelines, and common practice could make the hospital a liable party for injuries sustained during birth.
How a Cerebral Palsy Lawyer Can Help
Birth and personal injury lawyers try to help relieve financial burdens for parents whose child has been affected by cerebral palsy or another birth injury. Because cerebral palsy covers a wide range of motor function disorders, each of which present different symptoms, treatment needs can vary significantly. In most cases, medical treatments are limited to managing symptoms or providing aids for everyday needs, such as mobility devices. There are several ways that filing a cerebral palsy lawsuit may be able to help your child and your family:
- Provide money for treatments that might otherwise be inaccessible to you
- Obtain resources for long-term care that your child might need as he or she ages
- Hold the staff, administrators, facility, or other responsible party accountable for medical negligence
Experienced cerebral palsy lawyers can provide a free case review to help you receive compensation for your child’s injury and potentially alleviate some financial burdens.
Cerebral Palsy Settlements and Verdicts
Medical malpractice cases can be reached by a settlement or a verdict. Settlements are often considered “out-of-court settlements,” and involves a monetary payment, along with other conditions and stipulations agreed upon by both parties. In a verdict, such as the ones seen below, there will be a verdict either in favor of the plaintiff (the family who filed the cerebral palsy lawsuit) or the defendant (the doctor and/or medical center being sued). The plaintiff is typically awarded damages for pain, suffering, medical treatment, and ongoing care.
Antonio Craig – Michigan
Antonio Craig, an adult, suffers from cerebral palsy that his mother, Kimberly Craig, claims was a result of medical malpractice and negligence during her labor. Henry Ford Hospital and Ajit Kittur, M.D were said to be at fault for using an excessive amount of labor-inducing drugs during the delivery, causing fetal distress to the infant. Proper care was not issued, as fetal monitoring devices were not used to detect the problem and furthered a malpractice claim. Craig noticed a large ridge on her son’s forehead, and childhood photos show him gazing to the right and holding his left hand in a cortical position, which indicates an acute brain injury. Craig was awarded $21 million in the case, and the hospital was found liable for the birth injury.
Brandon Cox – Michigan
Brandon Cox was born prematurely at 27 weeks, and while in the neonatal intensive care unit at Hurley Medical Center, an umbilical arterial catheter (UAC) was inserted to monitor his health. A nurse drew blood from the site, repositioned the infant, and he was later found with the catheter dislodged and suffered a significant amount of blood loss. As a result of losing half his blood supply, he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. It was argued that there may not have been significant evidence to prove that it was the UAC caused cerebral palsy, as it may have been the result of his premature birth. The jury found that the standard of care was not fulfilled and Teresa Cox, Brandon’s mother, was awarded $2.4 million as a result of medical malpractice.
Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit FAQs
Is My Family Eligible to File a Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit?
While experiences vary from case to case, and some cases of cerebral palsy are congenital, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit if you meet the following criteria:
- Your child’s cerebral palsy is the result of an injury sustained during childbirth
- The statute of limitations in your state is still current for the case
An experienced birth injury lawyer can help you gather evidence to prove that the injury was sustained during birth, and can also help you understand what you may be eligible to receive.
What Compensation Is Eligible for Cerebral Palsy Lawsuits?
Medical malpractice cases typically end with either a settlement or verdict. Compensation related to malpractice and birth injury lawsuits differ from state to state, but out-of-pocket costs, necessary treatment for the future, and pain and suffering are taken into account.
Cerebral Palsy Compensation Factors
Compensation for cerebral palsy lawsuits usually includes considerations for:
- Pain and suffering experienced by the child (physical and mental anguish)
- Medical costs for treating the condition
- Expenses related to future ongoing medical care, including equipment, treatments, in-home care, and even needed improvements to the family’s house
- Loss of income for the parent if they need to remain home with their child
- Funds for special educational needs, such as speech therapy or tutors to help with learning disabilities
Note that different states have different rules when it comes to the maximum amount of compensation allowed for medical malpractice lawsuits. It is best to talk with an experienced attorney who handles medical malpractice cases and can provide you with a realistic amount you could potentially receive.
How Can I Pay for a Cerebral Palsy Lawyer?
Experienced and reputable injury attorneys will offer a free case evaluation up front. During this review, you will be able to explain your family’s situation, ask questions about the legal process, and establish an attorney-client relationship. At the end, the lawyer will be able to give you a realistic assessment of how your birth injury case could fare.
If you choose to move forward, your lawyer will take your case on a commission basis. This means you will not have to pay anything up front, and the law firm will only receive payment once they obtain a verdict, settlement, or another form of compensation for you. Working in this way gives you the freedom to pursue a legal claim that could help your child without putting you in debt or having to worry about coming up with payments along the way.
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