What Is a Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit?
A cerebral palsy lawsuit is a legal claim filed on behalf of a person whose cerebral palsy is believed to have been preventable.
Some cerebral palsy causes — such as a premature birth or a difficult delivery — are beyond the control of mothers and doctors. Other complications, however, may be avoided with proper care. In cases of negligence or malpractice, a cerebral palsy lawsuit may help bring justice and financial compensation to patients and caregivers.
Examples of medical malpractice may include:
- Improperly responding to infant distress
- Improperly handling the baby during delivery
- Failing to properly respond to problems with the placenta and umbilical cord
- Failing to perform a C-section in a timely manner
- Improperly responding to a medical emergency during delivery
- Using excessive force with delivery tools, such as forceps or vacuum extractors
Why Should I File a Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit?
In the tragic event that a medical mistake leads to cerebral palsy, parents or caregivers may have the right to file a cerebral palsy lawsuit.
There are several reasons people seek legal help, but perhaps the biggest reason is that cerebral palsy lawsuit settlements can help families afford treatment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), lifetime care for a child with cerebral palsy costs ten times more than those without the condition.
Depending on the severity of the cerebral palsy, a child may need:
- Nursing and special care
- Occupational therapy
- Physical therapy
- Speech and language therapy
- A classroom aide or paraprofessional
- Specialized assistive devices
Financial compensation from a lawsuit can help pay for quality medical care and therapies, which helps keep children with cerebral palsy comfortable and healthy.
Do you suspect your child’s birth injury was caused by medical malpractice?
Cerebral palsy can impact your child’s entire life. Depending on the severity of their condition, your child may not be able to move, walk, talk, eat, or speak without help.
Many parents feel negligent health care professionals and facilities should be held accountable for their actions. A cerebral palsy lawsuit may help to provide a sense of closure.
Help Other Families
Some people choose to file a cerebral palsy lawsuit to help other families. A lawsuit can make people aware of a negligent doctor or hospital so they can be avoided.
Additionally, other families who have suffered from the same injustice may be encouraged to file their own cerebral palsy lawsuit to get the compensation they’re due.
How to File a Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit
If you wish to file a cerebral palsy lawsuit, the first thing you will need to do is to speak with a lawyer. This initial consultation may come at no cost to you. While each cerebral palsy lawsuit will result differently depending on the case, some general steps are as follows.
Before your lawyer files the cerebral palsy lawsuit, they will ask you questions to perform an initial assessment of your claim. This will include evaluating the strength and possible value of your case. If the lawyer believes your claim has merit, you may decide to enter into an attorney-client relationship.
Your legal team will need to determine the extent of treatment your child will need. They will usually create a Life Care Plan for you that documents how much your child’s care will cost throughout their lifetime.
Once the plan is created, the cerebral palsy lawsuit process begins with the goal of seeking money for the expenses listed in your personalized plan.
2. Gathering Evidence
Your lawyer will then gather the information and evidence they need to show that your child’s cerebral palsy was caused by negligence or malpractice.
This information may include:
- Medical history that outlines risk factors or issues suffered during pregnancy
- Medical records from obstetricians that may show fetal distress, abnormal heart rate, or injury to the baby’s brain
- Documentation that shows the exact series of events that happened before and after the birth
- Health complications your child suffers from caused by cerebral palsy
3. Filing the Lawsuit
Your attorneys will then file your birth injury lawsuit against the defendants, who are usually the doctors and/or hospital involved. The defendants are allowed a certain amount of time to respond to your complaint, typically 30 days. Additionally, the court will issue a schedule to be followed throughout your cerebral palsy case.
Once the defendants respond to the complaint, your lawyer will gather more evidence to support your case. At the same time, the legal team for the defendants will gather evidence to prove their side. Typically, the judge decides how long the discovery period will last by issuing a scheduling order that sets discovery deadlines.
5. Settlement vs Trial
Once the discovery period ends, your cerebral palsy lawsuit may continue in one of two ways:
- Cerebral palsy settlements: Most birth injury cases settle out of court. Defendants may prefer a settlement because it helps prevent bad publicity and avoids court cases that can be expensive and time-consuming.
- Cerebral palsy case verdicts: If the defendants’ legal team believes they can successfully defend the case, it may go to a jury trial. The jury will decide if you are awarded compensation and the amount you will receive.
If the defendants want to settle out of court, your lawyer will help you decide whether it is in your best interest to do so. You may decide that settling out of court is right for you since it gets you the money faster than taking the case to trial.
There is no guarantee that cerebral palsy lawsuit verdicts will result in a higher compensation amount than settling out of court.
6. Verdict and Reward
If your cerebral palsy lawsuit goes to court, all evidence will be heard, and each side will deliver its closing arguments.
The judge or jury will then determine if the defendants are responsible. If the cerebral palsy lawsuit verdict is decided in your favor, you will be awarded compensation. The amount of money you receive will be decided by the judge or jury.
Average Cerebral Palsy Settlements and Verdicts
The amount of money you receive through either a cerebral palsy lawsuit verdict or cerebral palsy lawsuit settlement will depend on the details of your individual case.
Some families receive millions of dollars, especially in cases of a birth injury that will require a lifetime of expensive care.
It is important to understand how much your case is worth but it is tough to predict this until all of the information regarding your case has been carefully evaluated.
Factors that may impact a cerebral palsy case value include:
- The cost of your child’s medical bills and medical expenses
- Lost income and wages
- Severity of the cerebral palsy, brain injury, or brain damage
- Extent of medical care that will be needed
- State limits on cerebral palsy lawsuit awards
- Lawyer fees incurred
Working with an experienced cerebral palsy lawyer is the best way to predict how much your case may be worth.
Recent Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit Settlements and Verdicts
- $229.6 Million verdict in Maryland: The amount was decided by a jury for a woman who had severe preeclampsia and declined a cesarean section delivery based on doctors’ erroneous advice. The woman’s daughter was born with lasting brain injuries.
- $14.5 Million verdict in Ohio: The amount was decided by a jury after lawyers argued a doctor gave Pitocin to speed up a baby’s birth, which left the child unable to breathe properly.
- $12 Million settlement in Illinois: The amount was settled out of court for the family of a baby with an irregular fetal heart rate that went unresponded to. The lawyer argued a Cesarean section was delayed and caused the injury.
- $10 Million settlement in Tennessee: The amount was agreed upon after a judge originally awarded $15.1 million for a 15-year-old boy who developed cerebral palsy due to severe oxygen deprivation at birth in a military base hospital.
Do you suspect your child’s birth injury was caused by medical malpractice?
Common Questions About Cerebral Palsy Cases
Can you sue for cerebral palsy?
You may be able to sue for cerebral palsy if you believe the condition could have been prevented. However, it must be proven that a medical professional or a medical facility demonstrated neglect or malpractice that resulted in cerebral palsy.
Negligence or medical malpractice is caused when medical personnel do not uphold an established standard of care. This means that the medical staff or facility did not handle a situation in the correct way they were trained to do so, resulting in complications at birth.
How long do cerebral palsy lawsuits take?
The amount of time cerebral palsy cases take depends on several factors. One of the biggest factors is whether your cerebral palsy lawsuit reaches a settlement out of court or if it goes to trial.
On average, trials take longer than settlements. Your cerebral palsy lawyer will help you understand the likely timing of your case.
How much does it cost to file a cerebral palsy lawsuit?
Medical malpractice cases are generally handled under a contingency fee agreement. This means you do not pay legal fees unless your cerebral palsy lawsuit is successful. When your case is resolved, you will pay your lawyer a percentage of the money that you are awarded.
You should always talk with your lawyer about what types of legal fees will be incurred during your case.
When should I contact a lawyer?
The best course of action is to contact a cerebral palsy lawyer immediately after you suspect there was medical malpractice. This is because a law called a statute of limitations places a limit on the amount of time people are given to start a legal case.
While the deadline varies by state, a cerebral palsy lawsuit statute of limitations usually starts running on the date when the medical malpractice occurred. It is crucial to be aware of the statute of limitations, or else your right to sue may be lost forever.
An experienced cerebral palsy lawyer both fully understands and carefully monitors any deadlines pertaining to your case, such as its statute of limitations, giving you peace of mind.
Do I need a cerebral palsy attorney to handle a cerebral palsy lawsuit?
It is best to work with a lawyer who has experience — and success — with cerebral palsy medical malpractice lawsuits.
Cerebral palsy cases can be highly complex and difficult to prove in court. A seasoned lawyer with experience handling cerebral palsy lawsuits works tirelessly to establish proof of wrongdoing and will fight aggressively to recover the largest amount of money possible to pay for care.
Additionally, qualified cerebral palsy lawyers have access to expert witnesses to testify on your behalf. They will not be intimidated by insurance companies who are looking to settle your cerebral palsy lawsuit for as little money as possible.
An experienced cerebral palsy lawyer will handle the legal heavy lifting for you so you only have to focus on caring for your child.
Find Out If You Qualify for Compensation
If your child has cerebral palsy that you believe was caused by medical malpractice or medical negligence, consider seeking legal help. Even if you do not decide to go forward with a cerebral palsy lawsuit, there is no harm in getting a free confidential consultation.
An experienced cerebral palsy law firm will understand the fears you have regarding your child’s future and your finances. Working with an experienced legal team to handle your cerebral palsy lawsuit can help ensure your child has resources needed to receive the best care.
If you are interested in seeking compensation to help pay for quality medical treatment and therapies related to your child’s cerebral palsy, get a free legal case review today.