What to Know About Legal Compensation and Claims for Cerebral Palsy

Birth Injury, Legal Help

Physician holding stethoscope with arms crossed in defensive posture

Many cerebral palsy cases have no known cause, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, some cases may stem from inadequate professional prenatal or neonatal care, or incidents during labor and delivery. If you suspect medical negligence caused cerebral palsy in your child, you may have a case for compensation. Read on to learn about legal compensation and claims for cerebral palsy.

What is a Cerebral Palsy Compensation Claim?

A cerebral palsy compensation claim is a type of legal action used to seek compensation for medical negligence. People file this claim for compensation from the person or organization that they suspect caused a child’s cerebral palsy.

You must meet the following criteria to lodge your cerebral palsy compensation claim:

  • Have a medical relationship with the health care 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 the cerebral palsy.

Many factors may result in a baby developing cerebral palsy. In some instances, there is no apparent or clear cause. For a successful claim, you must establish that your child’s cerebral palsy resulted from medical negligence.

Parents and guardians usually file cerebral palsy compensation claims on behalf of their child. However, some states allow adults with cerebral palsy to file their own claims.

When Can I File a Cerebral Palsy Compensation Claim For My Child?

You can file a cerebral palsy compensation claim if you feel the actions of the people caring for your baby triggered their cerebral palsy. Some of the things medical professionals may do that could cause cerebral palsy include:

  • Not detecting and treating prenatal infections and illnesses early
  • Failing to properly monitor your child’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
  • Delivering your baby too slowly, which causes oxygen loss
  • Failing to quickly clear breathing passageways shortly after birth

If you believe you have a case for compensation, it’s important to file your cerebral palsy compensation claim as soon after your child’s diagnosis as possible. The sooner you file, the sooner the compensation can help your child. Each U.S. state also has its own statute of limitations. This is the window after the event that caused your child’s cerebral palsy or their diagnosis that you may file a legal claim. Statutes of limitations can vary significantly, but filing your claim as soon as you can will ensure your state limits don’t prohibit you from seeking compensation.

Some entities, particularly state-owned facilities (including hospitals affiliated with public universities), must also be notified about a potential claim before a suit may be filed. The deadline is do so is often much shorter than the relevant statute of limitations. If a birth injury was caused by a federal agency, such as a military hospital, it may be possible to file a case under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). This option also has its own notice and timeline requirements. Filing a claim with all these variables can be difficult and confusing. Your best chance of success begins with reaching out to an attorney to help you navigate this process as soon as possible.

Note that states that award adult cerebral palsy compensation have a separate statute of limitations for these claims. This statute of limitations begins from the time the person with cerebral palsy turns 18, not their time of diagnosis.

What Sort of Compensation Could I Receive?

A trial will usually determine what compensation, if any, you deserve. You may also be able to negotiate a settlement for your child’s and your damages and losses outside of court. Your level of compensation will depend on the extent of medical negligence, how severe your child’s cerebral palsy is, and your family’s needs. It may also depend on your state’s laws. Some states cap the payable amount of non-economic damages.

You may be eligible for some or all of these types of compensation:

  • Lost wages
  • Past, present, and estimated future medical expenses
  • Therapy and rehabilitation expenses
  • Special education expenses
  • Accommodation expenses
  • Family counseling expenses
  • Pain and suffering

All these types of compensation could ease your family’s financial burden and help you afford necessary treatments and therapies. Discuss your financial situation with your lawyer so they can advocate for the right level of compensation.

What Is the Process for Cerebral Palsy Compensation Claims?

Understanding the process for filing a cerebral palsy compensation claim may help you feel more confident in pursuing your case.

  • Case evaluation. A case evaluation is a meeting with a potential lawyer to discuss what may have caused your child’s cerebral palsy and whether you have a strong case. Most lawyers offer this service for free.
  • Case preparation. Once you select a law firm, your attorney and their team will then prepare your case. They will manage most of the work, including collecting and reviewing medical records and securing medical experts to testify during the case.
  • Filing the suit. Your lawyer will complete any pre-suit procedures, then file the suit.
  • 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 settle out of court or go to trial.
  • Trial. Cases that aren’t settled out of court go before a judge and jury. You may testify during this process.
  • Verdict. Finally, you’ll learn whether your claim is successful and receive any compensation.

Despite the wide array of treatments available, cerebral palsy can be a challenging disorder for a family to face. The continued expenses for care may feel insurmountable. But if you think your child’s cerebral palsy developed due to medical malpractice, you may have a case.

If you believe you are due legal compensation because of medical negligence, contact the Cerebral Palsy Family Lawyers at Janet, Janet & Suggs, LLC. Our team has years of experience as well as the legal and medical expertise to help you pursue your case. We are here for you.

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