About 8000 children are diagnosed with cerebral palsy every year. Cerebral palsy is incurable and requires comprehensive lifelong treatment. Treatment and care is expensive and time consuming, so parents and families lives’ are forever altered when a child is born with cerebral palsy. In many cases, cerebral palsy is caused by errors on the part of physicians and staff during the process of labor. If malpractice was the cause of cerebral palsy, children and families may be able to receive compensation through cerebral palsy lawsuits.
Cerebral Palsy Malpractice Lawsuits
If there is reason to believe that cerebral palsy was caused by medical errors or negligence during pregnancy, labor, or immediately following labor, an experienced malpractice attorney may be able to help determine whether it will be possible to file a cerebral palsy lawsuit. A difficult labor followed by a cerebral palsy diagnosis does not automatically constitute malpractice, as some birth complications are unavoidable by even the most competent medical professionals. An attorney that is has experience handling cerebral palsy lawsuits can help parents to determine whether the condition was preventable and understand what steps to take next.
Establishing and Proving Malpractice
In order to establish that cerebral palsy was caused by malpractice, it is necessary to identify specific actions or oversights that caused birth trauma or injury that contributed to the development of cerebral palsy. The actions or oversights must show a deviation from the normal course of action that would be taken by competent medical staff in the same situation. Medical experts are often consulted in order to make these determinations and provide testimony during cerebral palsy lawsuit proceedings.
Cerebral Palsy Claims
Cerebral palsy claims are subject to the same laws that govern other types of malpractice claims, so there is often a time limitation that is specified by the state’s Statute of Limitations laws. It may take time to compile the evidence necessary to prove malpractice and to calculate the amount of compensation that parents should receive, so it is important that parents contact an attorney as soon as possible following a cerebral palsy diagnosis. To help determine the amount of compensation that should be paid by the parties responsible for birth injuries, attorneys will review all medical bills and treatment costs and attempt to estimate the future costs of care.
Cerebral Palsy Expenses
It is estimated that the lifetime cost of care for a person with cerebral palsy is typically about $931,000 over and above regular living expenses. A small part of this expense is the cost of doctor visits and medication. Modifications to homes, vehicles, special education costs, and other costs related to living with cerebral palsy daily, make up another portion of these costs. The inability of the patient to obtain gainful employment in order to support living expenses and care must also be considered in future costs of care.
Cerebral Palsy Causes
There are many different instances of malpractice which may cause or contribute to the development of cerebral palsy, including:
- Failure to order a timely cesarean section after prolonged labor
- Failure to diagnose pregnancy complications
- Delayed diagnosis of umbilical cord prolapse, knots, or stricture
- Delayed diagnosis of nuchal cord
- Poor prenatal recommendations contributing to risk factors
- Use of excessive force by the delivering physician
- Poor monitoring of fetal vital signs
- Delayed reaction to shoulder dystocia during labor
Cerebral Palsy Malpractice Compensation
If it is determined that malpractice was the cause of injuries leading to the development of cerebral palsy symptoms, any parties responsible for the malpractice may be required to compensate victims. Nurses, physicians, medical staff, and the hospital may all be held liable in a cerebral palsy lawsuit. The compensation that is awarded may not help to correct the damage that has been done, but it can help parents to ensure that the child will receive the best care possible for life. Compensation may help to reduce financial hardships resulting from cerebral palsy and ensure that the child obtains the best treatments, therapy, and education to achieve the highest quality of life possible.
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“Cerebral Palsy.” Medline Plus. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 12 Jan. 2015. Web. 4 Feb. 2015. <http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000716.htm>
“What You Need to Know About Cerebral Palsy.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3 Mar. 2014. Web. 4 Feb. 2015. <http://www.cdc.gov/Features/CerebralPalsy/index.html>