What Is Cerebral Palsy Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, hospital, or other medical professional causes injury to a patient through a negligent act, according to the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys (ABPLA).
Medical malpractice during childbirth can lead to serious birth injuries that may affect newborns for the rest of their lives. For example, a serious birth injury can cause brain damage that leads to cerebral palsy.
The most common cause of cerebral palsy is damage to the baby’s brain during the birthing process.
Medical errors that may be considered cerebral palsy medical malpractice include:
- Excessively pulling on a child’s head, neck, shoulder, or arm
- Failing to detect and/or properly treat maternal infections
- Failing to detect fetal distress such as lack of oxygen (hypoxia)
- Failing to detect umbilical cord issues
- Failing to perform a needed cesarean section (C-section)
- Improperly using delivery tools such as vacuum extractors and forceps
Health care professionals are expected to uphold a high standard of care during the birthing process. If you believe the medical professionals that delivered your child were negligent and caused your child’s cerebral palsy, you may be able to file a lawsuit and pursue financial compensation.
Do I Have a Case?
The best and only way to know if you are eligible to file a lawsuit is to contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer.
Even if your child does not have a diagnosis, an attorney with experience and expertise in cerebral palsy malpractice cases will give you a free consultation to see if you are eligible for financial compensation.
If you believe that your child’s injury was a result of negligent care, contact a birth injury attorney to learn more about your legal options.
Symptoms and Effects of Cerebral Palsy
The most common cause of cerebral palsy is brain damage that occurs before, during, or shortly after childbirth. This brain damage can greatly affect a child physically and mentally for the rest of their lives.
There are several types of cerebral palsy that have different symptoms depending on the location of brain damage. These symptoms will not vary whether medical malpractice caused the injury or not.
Some common symptoms of cerebral palsy caused by medical malpractice include:
- Arched back while crying
- Delays in sitting up, crawling, sitting, or walking
- Delay in speech
- Difficulty walking
- Difficulty sucking, eating, or swallowing
- Excessive drooling
- Excessive sleepiness
- High-pitched crying
- Floppy muscles
- Lack of fine motor skills
- Stiff muscles
Other notable symptoms of cerebral palsy include developmental delays and intellectual disabilities. Those with cerebral palsy may also suffer from co-occurring conditions like epilepsy, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, blindness, deafness, and more.
Treatments for Cerebral Palsy Caused by Malpractice
There is currently no cure for cerebral palsy, and the condition will affect children for the rest of their lives. Thankfully, there are several treatment methods available for cerebral palsy. Specialists can create individualized treatment plans to help treat your child’s specific condition and symptoms.
Some treatments for cerebral palsy caused by medical malpractice include:
- Medication: Prescribed to treat spasticity, involuntary movement, seizures, and secondary conditions such as incontinence, behavioral disorders, and more.
- Occupational therapy: Helps children refine their motor skills to complete daily tasks such as eating, grooming, cleaning and more to gain independence.
- Physical therapy: Focuses on relieving pain, muscle stiffness/floppiness, and improving overall mobility to help children move freely.
- Speech therapy: Improves children’s ability to communicate, eat, and swallow by focusing on oral muscle control.
- Surgery: Used to correct contractures, deformities, movement, alignment, muscle stiffness/floppiness, and more to help children move independently.
However, many families struggle to pay the high cost of cerebral palsy treatment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average lifetime cost to care for a child with cerebral palsy is nearly $1 million. Further, a study conducted by Massachusetts General Hospital found that 40% of families of children with special health care needs experience a financial burden due to their child’s condition.
Thankfully, there may be options for financial assistance to help your family pay for your child’s treatment. If you believe your child could have developed cerebral palsy due to medical malpractice during childbirth, you may be eligible for financial compensation through a legal claim.
Proving Hospital and Doctor Negligence in Cerebral Palsy
In order to secure compensation through a cerebral palsy lawsuit, your legal team must prove that the healthcare provider that delivered your child was negligent with their care and caused your child’s condition.
A cerebral palsy medical malpractice case must show:
- The mother was a patient of the doctor and was under their care
- How the doctor being sued was negligent
- How the doctor’s medical negligence harmed the child
- The damages resulting from the injury (such as medical bills, loss of income, pain and suffering, etc.)
An experienced birth injury attorney will be able to gather evidence such as medical records, witness accounts, expert testimonies, and more to strengthen your cerebral palsy claim.
Filing a Cerebral Palsy Malpractice Claim
Working with an experienced medical malpractice attorney is the best way to file your cerebral palsy claim. Cerebral palsy lawyers have the experience and expertise to help your family win life-changing financial compensation to pay for your child’s medical expenses.
Compensation from a cerebral palsy medical malpractice claim can pay for:
- Assistive devices
- Lost wages if parents had to quit job to provide full-time care
- Mobility aids
- Transportation equipment
It is important to contact a cerebral palsy medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. Each state has a statute of limitations that puts a time limit on how long you have to file your cerebral palsy claim. You may lose your right to sue forever if you do not file within the time allotted.
Working with a birth injury lawyer with experience in cerebral palsy cases can help to ensure your lawsuit is filed in a timely manner. This can also help you get your financial compensation faster.
Find Out if You Have a Case Today
Medical professionals are expected to uphold a high standard of medical care in the delivery room. If they do not, they could make medical mistakes that cause your child to develop brain damage and cerebral palsy.
You should not have to pay for your child’s cerebral palsy treatment – especially if it was preventable. Thankfully, there are financial support options available to help you and your family.
Filing a cerebral palsy claim can help your family access financial compensation to help pay for your child’s treatment. A claim can also help you find peace of mind — you’ll be able to hold those responsible for your child’s condition accountable.
Get a free case review today to see if you are eligible to file a cerebral palsy medical malpractice lawsuit.
Cerebral Palsy Medical Malpractice FAQs
Can you sue for cerebral palsy?
Yes. If your child’s cerebral palsy was caused by a preventable error during the birthing process, you may be eligible to file a cerebral palsy claim.
Doctors are expected to provide the best care possible for the mother and baby during childbirth. There’s never an excuse when a doctor makes a mistake that causes a child to develop cerebral palsy. When these cases do occur, it may be considered cerebral palsy medical malpractice. Get a free case review now to learn your legal options.
Can doctors cause cerebral palsy?
Yes. Doctors that make negligent mistakes during childbirth may cause brain injuries that result in cerebral palsy. If you think your doctor caused your child’s cerebral palsy, you may be able to file a lawsuit.
What is the average medical malpractice payout?
According to a study from the TDC Group, the average medical malpractice payout for children under one month old is almost $1 million.
This is good news for families impacted by cerebral palsy medical malpractice, as the CDC found it costs around $1 million to care for someone affected by this condition throughout their life.
How long do you have to sue for cerebral palsy?
The time limit to file a cerebral palsy lawsuit varies by state, but you typically have several years to do so. To make sure that you file your case within the set deadlines, work with a lawyer as soon as possible.
An experienced cerebral palsy attorney can help determine the statutes of limitations in your state and make sure your case is filed in time.