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Posted in: Medical Malpractice
Cerebral palsy is a complex and painful diagnosis. Whether a child receives a diagnosis prenatally, shortly after birth, or early in life, parents have many questions when they hear “cerebral palsy.” What type of life will their child lead, and how much independence will they have? Will they be in pain? Will they be able to attend school?
While cerebral palsy can occur on its own, there are instances where cerebral palsy is the direct result of medical negligence. When that happens, families can seek compensation to help with the costs of raising a child with cerebral palsy. For more information on your legal options after a cerebral palsy diagnosis, call Kisling, Nestico & Redick at 1-800-HURT-NOW. We offer free consultations, where KNR will explain your rights and how to get max compensation.
Cerebral palsy occurs when a baby or young toddler suffers brain damage before age two. It generally occurs in the womb, during birth, or in a child’s early life. When the brain is deprived of oxygen, it develops abnormally and affects how an individual controls their muscles. The result is difficulties with movement, stability, and posture.
There are several known causes of cerebral palsy, according to the CDC. They include:
Per the CDC, cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability that affects children, with worldwide rates ranging from one to almost four diagnoses per 1,000 births. In the United States, our rate is about three per 1,000 children.
While CP is more common among children with moderately low or very low birth weight, the prevalence of diagnoses among that group has started to decline. Most children diagnosed with cerebral palsy have the spastic type. Nearly 60% of children diagnosed with CP can walk independently, and almost 10% can walk with the assistance of a mobility device.
Early diagnosis can help children get the necessary cerebral palsy treatment and interventions. Some of the most common signs of cerebral palsy you may see include:
Liable parties vary, depending on how the disorder developed. In most cases, doctors claim that there is no clear reason as to why cerebral palsy occurred. It’s simply the result of something in the womb that can’t be further identified. When this happens, there is usually no liable party.
If cerebral palsy happens during birth, one of the mother’s caregivers may be liable. For example, suppose a mother shows clear signs of uterine rupture, and the doctor fails to identify it until the baby has already suffered significant brain damage. In that case, the doctor could be liable for the subsequent CP diagnosis.
In cases after birth, also known as acquired cerebral palsy, multiple liable parties may exist. If CP occurs because of an infection, and the treating doctor could have reasonably been expected to identify the infection sooner, they could be liable. Also, if a child develops cerebral palsy due to Shaken Baby Syndrome, the offending person would likely be liable.
Knowing that your child’s cerebral palsy results from someone’s negligence can be devastating. It’s painful for parents to watch their children struggle, knowing that better medical care could have prevented it.
In certain circumstances, a medical provider may be at fault. Several birth complications, including uterine rupture, a detached placenta, and a true umbilical cord knot, can cause CP. On their own, these complications do not constitute malpractice. They may be the result of underlying health issues or simply bad luck. However, the way a doctor responds to these issues could be neglect.
If a patient shows classic signs of placental detachment and the doctor does not think to check for it until much later, this could be malpractice.
In cases where a child develops an infection and is subsequently diagnosed with cerebral palsy, there may or may not be a negligent provider involved. The infection itself may have been unpreventable. On the other hand, when a physician ignores a parent’s report of symptoms, fails to test for infection, or delays treatment, their negligence may be the cause.
When your child is diagnosed with cerebral palsy, it can affect nearly every area of your life. Prompt intervention is key—the Cerebral Palsy Research Network notes that the earlier a child begins receiving early interventions, the better their outcomes are. This means frequent trips to doctors, occupational therapists, and physical therapists. This can get very expensive, and it requires one parent to have a flexible work schedule or be a stay-at-home parent.
As your child grows, they may need more assistance as they get ready for school. Again, this means more meetings, time, and money. For some parents, a CP diagnosis means completely reworking a house or purchasing a new one. Making a dwelling wheelchair-accessible or finding a home that is already accessible is a significant expenditure.
You must prove negligence to seek compensation if someone else is liable for your child’s CP diagnosis.
To demonstrate a care provider’s negligence, you must establish that:
When you file a cerebral palsy malpractice lawsuit against a negligent care provider, you must also submit an Affidavit of Merit. This is an official document provided by an expert witness who agrees that:
To determine whether or not malpractice occurred, a court will look at what a care provider with standard training and experience would do when faced with the circumstances of your injury. If your care provider made wildly different choices from what others in their field would have done, you might have a malpractice claim.
Your attorney will discuss your claim with expert witnesses, look at training provided to those in OB/GYN and neonatal care, and speak with medical professionals who have handled similar cases.
The costs associated with cerebral palsy can be extraordinarily high. The CDC claims that medical costs for children born with CP and intellectual disabilities are 26 times higher than costs for children without either diagnosis. As a parent, you may be able to ask for compensation related to:
This is just part of what a fair cerebral palsy insurance settlement or court award may contain. Through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit, KNR will fight hard for you to recover your:
Medical malpractice claims are extremely complex. They’re based on an in-depth understanding of medical care, different diagnoses, and the standard of care across different specialties.
Parents who pursue cerebral palsy compensation on their own are generally going up against medical systems with massive legal teams. These teams often have the time and money to drag out cerebral palsy claims long enough for frustrated parents to give up and absorb the costs themselves. If you want a fair shot at compensation for your child’s injury, you must choose a medical malpractice lawyer with experience in CP cases.
At KNR, we thoroughly understand the medical industry, the insurance process, and what it takes to illustrate the harm you and your child endured after a cerebral palsy diagnosis.
We use every available resource so you can recover physically and financially from the harm done by medical negligence.
You have one year from the date of injury to file a lawsuit. If the injury is not immediately noticeable, you have one year from the date you discovered it.
A lot depends on the extent of the care provider’s negligence and the severity of your child’s cerebral palsy. In Ohio, there is no cap on economic damages, which includes medical expenses, lost income, and lost earning capacity. However, there is a cap on noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering. The state caps your noneconomic award at $250,000 or three times your economic damages, capped at $350,000—whichever is higher.
Get copies of all of your medical reports and set up a consultation with our team immediately. We’ll help you seek an independent medical evaluation and start working on establishing the elements of a medical malpractice claim right away.
We know how hard it is to see your child struggle, and we know that money cannot give back what you and your child have lost. However, if someone caused your child’s injury, you deserve compensation to help them live life to the fullest. Our experienced and dedicated lawyers will advise you, review all your legal options, and fight to secure the maximum amount of compensation possible
Get your free, no-risk consultation. Call 1-800-HURT-NOW today.