What Is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is a group of movement disorders that start at birth. 764,000 people in the U.S. have one or more symptoms.
Symptoms of cerebral palsy include but are not limited to:
- Delayed development or growth
- Limb weakness
- Irregular or uncontrolled movements
- Muscle spasms
- Balance and coordination issues
- Learning disabilities
- Behavioral problems
- Walking with a limp
- Excessive drooling
- Vision or hearing issues
Some people with cerebral palsy only experience minor symptoms. In other cases, cerebral palsy can be severe and significantly impact day-to-day life.
Causes of Cerebral Palsy
Although the body is most affected, cerebral palsy develops in the brain. It is a result of brain damage during or just before birth. Since different areas of the brain have unique functions, damage to one area can cause different symptoms of cerebral palsy than damage to another.
There are various reasons for brain damage in an infant. However, some of the main causes of cerebral palsy include:
- Fetal or maternal infections during pregnancy
- Fetal stroke
- Traumatic head injury in the womb
- Lack of oxygen
- Complications from a premature birth
Cerebral Palsy May Be Caused by Medical Malpractice
Another unfortunate cause of cerebral palsy is medical malpractice. This occurs when a doctor or medical provider fails to uphold their duty of care. If precautions are not taken, there can be disastrous consequences.
Common acts of medical negligence that may lead to cerebral palsy include:
- Aggressively taking the baby out of the birth canal
- Improperly monitoring vital signs
- Misuse of tools, such as forceps or vacuums
- Failure to perform necessary emergency procedures
- Failure to diagnose or treat infections
If you and your baby are victims of medical malpractice, you can choose to take action against the responsible party. Luckily, there are legal options available.
Legal Options for Pursuing a Cerebral Palsy Medical Malpractice Claim
To pursue a cerebral palsy medical malpractice claim, you must prove elements of negligence. You have to show that your medical professional failed to do what a similarly trained peer would have done. Nurses, doctors, midwives, anesthesiologists, and others may be responsible for a birth injury.
There are four elements—the “four Ds”—needed to prove negligence. These are:
- Duty – The medical professional owed the patient a standard duty of care
- Dereliction – The medical professional failed to perform said duty
- Direct cause – The injury was directly caused by this breach of duty
- Damages – The injury resulted in damages or losses
Everyone makes mistakes from time to time, including those we rely on for health care. But that doesn’t mean you can’t hold medical practitioners accountable for their errors.
Your cerebral palsy lawyer can help you prove negligence. They can also help collect evidence, such as medical records, to confirm the severity of your child’s cerebral palsy. This can be crucial in earning the full compensation you deserve.
Possible Compensation in a Cerebral Palsy Case
Different factors go into calculating compensation. For cerebral palsy cases, the extent of your child’s disability can affect your compensation.
There are three types of damages you can recover in cerebral palsy cases. These are economic, non-economic, and wrongful death/survival damages.
Economic damages are past and future expenses, such as medical bills. Non-economic damages are losses that are not tangible, such as pain and suffering.
If your child died due to complications from cerebral palsy, you may be entitled to wrongful death and survival damages. This can cover expenses for a funeral, support for loved ones, and more.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
In most states, you must file a claim within a specific window after the injury. This is called the statute of limitations. Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations allows two years for a claim to be filed from the date of the injury, with limited exceptions.
You must act fast in filing a Pennsylvania medical malpractice claim. This can be difficult due to the nature of cerebral palsy since your child might not receive a diagnosis until later. However, if you know your baby has a birth injury, do not wait. Contact an experienced lawyer to see if you can file a medical malpractice claim as soon as possible.
Contact a PA Cerebral Palsy Lawyer Today
Contact Atlee Hall immediately if your child has cerebral palsy from a birth injury. Our team of compassionate Pennsylvania birth injury lawyers will provide support and help you through your medical malpractice claim.