Cerebral Palsy Lawsuits
While most parents may never know the exact cause of their child’s cerebral palsy, some cases can be directly connected to medically negligent prenatal or neonatal care or even a birth injury. If you believe an error in the healthcare you or your baby received may be responsible for causing your child’s cerebral palsy, the law allows you to seek financial compensation for the harm that was caused. Read on to learn more about cerebral palsy lawsuits.
Understanding the Causes of CP
Cerebral palsy refers to a group of permanent motor disability disorders that are often accompanied by one or more of the following related conditions and developmental problems:
- Intellectual disability
- Vision or hearing deficiencies
- Speech impediments or delays
- Spinal issues, such as scoliosis
- Joint problems
The severity of CP varies and can require a lifetime of supportive care. It can take months or even years for the scope of the disorder to become clear enough to make a confirmed diagnosis. As your child progresses through the developmental stages, continued screening and monitoring will help your child’s healthcare team members develop treatment and intervention plans.
However, treatment for CP can be costly, and it can be lifelong. So, when CP results from medical negligence, seeking legal recourse may be the best option to ensure that you have the necessary financial resources.
What Are the Effects of Cerebral Palsy on Children and Their Families?
Children with special needs often require a lifetime of medical treatment and other therapeutic interventions. The earlier treatment and intervention begins, the greater the chance your child will have of reaching their full potential.
Cerebral palsy looks very different from one person to the next, but the conditions related to the early disturbance of neurological development do generally result in a lifetime of symptoms. While a diagnosis of cerebral palsy does not narrowly define your child’s future abilities, experiences, and quality of life, understanding the full scope of early developmental brain injuries or interference can help you better understand your child’s development—and developmental needs.
The daily experience of caring for children with CP is often initially daunting to caregivers, but global studies show that families of children with CP express overwhelming positivity, including an increased closeness to extended family and spiritual communities. Often, the increase in stress levels experienced by families is connected to economic concerns related to the need for long-term caregiving and additional medical expenses.
While the severity of your child’s cerebral palsy itself will not change, the conditions associated with the disorder can lead to medical problems that may worsen over time:
- Progressive hearing or vision loss
- Osteoporosis from inactivity
- Respiratory conditions
- Nutritional problems
- Kidney stones
Managing and treating these conditions is possible, and some with CP can live very long, happy lives that are fulfilling professionally and personally. Sometimes, though, the severity of the disorder means that your child may not live a fully independent life. Whatever the future holds, raising a child with cerebral palsy presents many challenges, often at a significant financial cost to you. One way to get some much-needed relief from these costs is to fight for fair compensation from those who made medical errors and caused your child’s CP.
How Can Medical Malpractice Result in CP?
Expectant parents trust their healthcare professional to help them make the best, most informed decisions about their own and their baby’s health. When that trust is violated by medical malpractice, the consequences can be devastating.
Negligent actions of medical professionals that could cause cerebral palsy include:
- Not detecting and treating prenatal infections and illnesses early
- Failing to properly monitor your baby’s heart rate during childbirth
- Delaying an essential C-section
- Incorrectly using forceps and other birth-assisting tools
- Missing problems with the umbilical cord and placenta
- Failing to quickly clear breathing passageways shortly after birth
If any of the above actions—or other concerning actions on the part of your doctor—occurred in your situation, you may have a case for a cerebral palsy lawsuit.
What Can an Experienced Attorney Do to Help?
When your child has been newly diagnosed with cerebral palsy, you may not know what to do next, yet you likely feel overwhelmed with the number of decisions that need to be made. Because the statute of limitations—the window of time you have to file a lawsuit—can be relatively small, it is important to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. The Cerebral Palsy Family Lawyers at Janet, Janet & Suggs have decades of experience, as well as the legal and medical knowledge, to help you understand your options.
In order to qualify for filing a claim, you must:
- Have a medical relationship with the healthcare provider you’re suing for medical negligence.
- Prove that the medical provider violated the standards of professional care.
- Prove that those violations are directly responsible for your child’s cerebral palsy.
- An experienced attorney can help you understand if the circumstances of your case might qualify.
What’s the Process Once You Decide to File a Suit?
If after speaking with an attorney you decide to move forward with pursuing your case in order to recover compensation, understanding the process of a cerebral palsy suit may help you feel more confident. Here are the steps generally involved in bringing a suit.
- Case evaluation. A case evaluation is a meeting with a lawyer to discuss what may have caused your child’s cerebral palsy and whether you have a strong case, which is typically a free service.
- Case preparation. Once you select a law firm to handle your case, your attorney and their team will then prepare your case. An experienced team will manage the work, including collecting and reviewing medical records and securing medical experts to testify on your behalf during the case.
- Filing the suit. Your lawyer will complete any required legal procedures, then file the suit with the appropriate court.
- Discovery. The case then proceeds to the “discovery” period, where the attorneys will investigate the case further, review additional documents, and take depositions.
- Negotiations. Depending on the defendants’ response to the case, you may decide to settle your case out of court or take it to trial.
- Trial. Cases that aren’t settled out of court will go before a judge and jury.
- Verdict. Finally, you’ll learn whether your claim is successful and whether you will receive compensation.
Many people are concerned that a medical malpractice suit makes them look greedy or as if they don’t accept their child just the way they are. However, the law supports fair and just compensation when healthcare professionals are careless or reckless, and often the costs are too much to handle on your own.
If you think it’s possible that medical malpractice caused your child’s cerebral palsy, contact the Cerebral Palsy Family Lawyers at Janet, Janet & Suggs.