Cerebral palsy (CP) is a neurological disorder caused by brain injury that occurs while a child’s brain is under development—before, during, or shortly after birth. It can cause a wide range of symptoms, such as lack of coordination and muscle stiffness, learning problems, seizures, and visual and hearing impairments.

Physical injury to the brain, untreated infections, significant medical conditions prior to birth, and oxygen deprivation can all result in CP. While only a small number of CP cases are attributable to medical negligence, those cases are particularly tragic, because medical professionals are entrusted by parents to help bring their children into the world safely and with the utmost care.

If you suspect your child’s cerebral palsy was a result of medical malpractice, you have a right to seek legal help. Finding a Des Moines CP lawyer can mean all the difference in the care of an individual with CP and the quality of life they and their family experience.

How Negligence Can Lead to Cerebral Palsy

A large number of factors before, during, and after birth can be responsible for CP in an individual. Those include:

  • Physical injury during birth, such as by inappropriate or overly forceful use of forceps, vacuum, and other medical instruments
  • Infections in the mother or unborn child that go unnoticed and untreated, or are not treated correctly or in a timely manner
  • Lack of oxygen during birth, often resulting from improper monitoring of the fetus during labor and childbirth, or failure by nurses or midwives to report the situation to an attending doctor
  • Premature birth that could have been prevented by adequate prenatal care and monitoring
  • Certain conditions that resulted in reduced blood flow to the brain left untreated or improperly treated

The Impacts of CP

Cerebral palsy affects the individuals with the condition as well as everyone in their immediate family, who must adjust their lives due to the special care that person is likely to need. People with CP may not have full use of their limbs due to muscle stiffness and lack of coordination. They may also not be able to see or hear, and they may have seizures. All of these require that people always be nearby to assist. In addition, many people with CP require much more than daily care, including expensive medications, therapy, and procedures.

All those things can take a devastating emotional, mental, and financial toll on families. What’s worse, because CP is a lifelong condition, the care of someone with CP is incredibly expensive, requiring families to seek out sources of financial assistance. Plus, people with CP may never be able to earn a single dollar of income, and parents may need to stop working to stay home and be full-time caregivers.

There’s also the fact that many people with CP, as well as their familial caregivers, can suffer from mental health conditions such as depression as a result of the CP. All of these things add to the level of devastation that a CP diagnosis can cause.

Who Can Be Held Liable for a Birth Injury?

Every medical professional and hospital that plays a role in an individual’s entry into the world has a duty to ensure their safety. That includes midwives, nurses, doctors, OBGYNs, and anesthesiologists at every step of the process, from pre- to postnatal stages of care.

Sometimes, it can be easy to tell when negligence played a role in the development of CP in an infant, such as a visually obvious head injury during delivery. Most likely, though, the negligence is harder to spot. It can include:

  • Inadequate monitoring of the mother or baby before, during, and after delivery
  • Lack of communication of a condition necessitating intervention quickly enough by medical staff to delivery doctors
  • Delay in taking action when a fetus is distressed, such as the umbilical cord wrapped around the head
  • Improper use of medical instruments or medication

In the chaos of a delivery, it can be difficult for parents to understand where negligence might have occurred. An experienced Des Moines cerebral palsy attorney can investigate the specifics of your situation, securing medical records, seeking testimony from medical experts, and asking targeted questions.

What’s at Stake in a CP Case?

To understand exactly what’s at stake in a CP lawsuit, it’s important to understand the costs associated with the condition, particularly when it’s severe. A lifetime of doctors’ appointments, therapies, surgeries, medications, and personal care add up.

A legal win can mean that all of these costs are provided for. It may also mean that the individual with CP will be compensated for the loss of future income if they are never able to be gainfully employed. It may additionally provide for a parent who can no longer work because they must stay at home and care for their child with CP. Because a CP diagnosis can often lead to mental health issues—for both the individual and their immediate family members—CP attorneys often factor in the emotional toll when fighting for financial compensation for their clients.

Finding Legal Advocacy for Your Child’s CP

A cerebral palsy lawyer in Des Moines, IA, who understands the extreme impact of a CP diagnosis on individuals and their families is critical. Families of children with CP have enough to worry about, including doctor’s appointments, caregiving responsibilities, and dealing with the emotions that can come with learning that a child has CP.

The Cerebral Palsy Family Lawyers at Janet, Janet & Suggs have over 40 years of experience representing individuals with CP and their families. A CP diagnosis can be profoundly disorienting for everyone involved, and the team at JJS understands what you’re facing. They put families first, and they bring to the table the compassion and experience needed to represent people in cases involving negligence as a cause of CP. That means that you can focus on what’s most important—caring for your child with CP and making the needed adjustments to your daily life and long-term plans.

JJS has recovered millions for families, won record-breaking CP verdicts, and negotiated record-breaking CP settlements. The Des Moines CP attorneys at JJS, which include a board-certified OBGYN, understand that CP can be a huge financial burden on families, and they don’t add to that burden. They offer free, no-obligation case evaluations, and they only charge clients if they recover compensation for them.

However daunting seeking legal help may feel, it’s a decision that can positively impact your child’s life, and your own, for many years to come. Contact JJS today to see if a negligence case may provide relief for your child and family.

Was Your Child's CP Preventable?