What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy (CP) encompasses a range of conditions impacting an individual's mobility, balance, and posture. The most common motor disability one can develop in childhood, it can range from mild to severe. CP is a lifelong condition, and individuals with CP may require varying degrees of assistance with daily living activities. 

Person cupping their hands over their face

Cerebral Palsy as a birth injury

CP can occur when damage occurs to the developing brain, either in the womb or shortly after birth. While some cases of CP are due to factors such as infections or genetic conditions, others are the result of preventable birth injuries. These injuries can happen while the mother is in labor, as the baby's brain may be deprived of oxygen or experience trauma. It's important to note that not all cases of CP are attributable to medical malpractice, but some are.

How and why Cerebral Palsy occurs

Lack of Oxygen During Birth: One of the leading causes of CP is hypoxia or anoxia during birth, where the baby's brain doesn't receive enough oxygen. This can happen due to complications like umbilical cord problems, placental abruption, or problems with the baby's airway during delivery.

Birth Trauma: Physical injury to the baby's head during delivery, especially when using forceps or vacuum extraction, can damage the brain and lead to CP.

Infections During Pregnancy: Infections like rubella, cytomegalovirus, or severe jaundice in the baby can increase the risk of CP.

Premature Birth: Babies born prematurely are at a higher risk of CP because their brains may not have had enough time to fully develop.

Blood Type Incompatibility: If there's a significant difference in blood type between the mother and the baby, it can lead to jaundice and CP if not promptly treated.

Legal action for Cerebral Palsy birth injuries

Families who believe their child's cerebral palsy resulted from medical negligence during childbirth may have legal recourse. Taking legal action can help families secure the financial resources needed to provide the best care and support for their child. Here are some key considerations:

Establishing Medical Negligence: To succeed in a birth injury lawsuit, it's essential to demonstrate that the healthcare provider's actions or lack thereof fell below the accepted standard of care. Expert testimony is often required to prove this.

Statute of Limitations: Statutes of limitations vary by state and can be quite short in some cases. It's crucial to consult with an attorney promptly to ensure you don't miss any filing deadlines.

Compensation for Damages: Successful legal action can result in compensation to cover medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, future care, pain and suffering, and lost earning capacity, among other damages.

Structured Settlements: In some cases, families may choose to receive compensation in the form of a structured settlement, which provides regular payments over time to cover ongoing care costs.

Legal Experts: Consulting an experienced attorney who specializes in birth injury cases is crucial. These attorneys have the knowledge and resources to thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding the birth and build a strong case.

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