Yes, in some cases, cerebral palsy can be caused by mistakes made by your medical providers during pregnancy, or during birth. Adequate fetal monitoring should be carried out while you are pregnant. This should detect signs of fetal distress and oxygen deprivation.
Due care and attention also needs to be given during the birth. Your medical provider should ensure that fetal distress is detected and dealt with immediately. This may mean converting you to a c-section in a timely manner or deciding a forced delivery is necessary. Delays in making decisions like this can lead to preventable problems such as cerebral palsy, brain damage, and Erb’s palsy.
If you are concerned that your child has suffered a preventable birth injury, you may be entitled to pursue compensation and the recovery of any damages that you or your child may have suffered as a result.
Here at Peter Angelos Law, we offer a free consultation and free case evaluation to all clients. We will examine the details surrounding your child’s birth injury and evaluate whether it was likely caused by medical malpractice or not.
Call today to discuss your case at 410-705-2405.
What Is Cerebral Palsy Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice happens when your medical providers act in a negligent manner while owing you and your child a duty of care. All medical providers assume a duty of care to their patients, and this duty demands that they follow the standard medical practices they have been taught to follow and that they act with the due care and attention necessary to care for their charges.
If they deviate from the standard medical practices, or they fail to act with all due care and attention, and they cause an injury by doing so, this injury could have been prevented. Preventable medical mistakes caused by a medical provider are classed as medical malpractice.
Injuries caused by birth-related medical malpractice can result in serious impairments, developmental problems, and disabilities that stay with a child for life.
Causes of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is often caused by either oxygen deprivation during birth or pregnancy or by damage to the brain caused during the actual birth.
Medical errors that may be considered cerebral palsy medical malpractice include:
- A brain injury caused by excessive pulling on a child’s head, neck, shoulder, or arm
- Failing to detect issues with the umbilical cord
- Failing to convert to cesarean section (C-section) in a timely manner
- Improper use of forced delivery tools such as vacuum extractors and forceps
- Failing to detect and/or properly treat maternal infections
- Failing to detect fetal distress, such as lack of oxygen (hypoxia). Around 10% of cerebral palsy cases are a result of lack of oxygen at birth
Your medical providers should be held to the highest possible standards, and this means that when they act negligently, they should be held accountable. You deserve to pursue compensation for their incompetence, and you may be entitled to recover all past and future damages.
Do I Have a Case?
Giving birth always carries some level of risk, and birth injuries are common. In order to have a medical malpractice claim, the at-fault medical provider must have acted negligently during either your pregnancy or the birth.
If they have deviated from the standard medical practices they have been taught to adhere to or acted without due care and attention, and your child has been injured, you may have a claim.
If, however, they followed all of the standard medical practices and acted diligently and with care and caution, and your child suffered a birth injury that was not preventable, you may not have a claim.
If you are unsure if your child’s injury could have been preventable, we recommend getting in touch with one of our team and arranging a free consultation. We will evaluate your case, and will advise you if we think your claim is a valid one.
Symptoms and Effects of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy often occurs due to brain damage from a lack of oxygen. This can occur during the pregnancy, or it can occur during the birthing process. The brain does not have the same ability to regenerate and heal as most of the rest of the body does. This means the damage can be permanent and can not be repaired.
This brain damage can lead to developmental problems, movement, and motor function problems and, in the most severe cases, can lead to a serious disability.
Some common symptoms of cerebral palsy caused by medical malpractice include:
- Drooling too much
- Sleeping too much
- Arched back while crying
- Difficulty sucking, eating, or swallowing
- Delays in sitting up, crawling, sitting, or walking
- Delay in speech development
- Difficulty moving, crawling, walking
- High-pitched crying
- Floppy muscles
- Problems with motor skills
- Stiff muscles
Besides these symptoms, cerebral palsy can lead to learning difficulties and other conditions such as ADHD, autism, blindness, deafness, and epilepsy.
Treatments for Cerebral Palsy Caused by Malpractice
Unfortunately, as the brain cannot repair from oxygen deprivation-related brain damage, it means that cerebral palsy is a lifelong condition. There is no current cure or treatment that will reverse the brain damage suffered.
However, there is a range of treatments and therapies designed to help children with cerebral palsy to live normal lives with their conditions. The best thing to do is to speak to a dedicated cerebral palsy specialist so they can evaluate your child and provide the best plan of action.
There is a range of therapies and treatments for cerebral palsy caused by medical malpractice, including:
If your child suffers from spasticity, involuntary movement, or seizures, medication may be necessary to control these symptoms. They can prevent seizures and allow the child more control over their movements.
Occupational therapy can be used to help your child refine their motor skills. They may be given daily tasks to carry out that will enable them to develop the skills necessary for independence.
They may also be given physical therapy, which can help relieve muscle pain and stiffness or improve the range of motion of floppy muscles. This can allow them to move more freely.
Cerebral palsy can often have an effect on a child’s ability to communicate, and speech therapy may give them better control over their speech and ability to eat and swallow.
Covering the Cost of Treatment
Unfortunately, the average cost for raising a child with cerebral palsy is estimated to be around $1 million dollars according to the CDC, and 40% of all families who have a special needs child suffer from financial and emotional burdens due to the child’s condition.
If you believe that your child’s cerebral palsy was caused by a preventable birth injury, then you should not be left out of pocket for these damages. Financial compensation can help you pay for your child’s cerebral palsy treatment.
Proving Medical Provider Negligence in Cerebral Palsy
When it comes to securing compensation and the recovery of your damages in a medical malpractice claim, your attorney will need to prove four important elements. By proving these four elements, they will ensure that your case is a valid one and that medical malpractice did indeed occur.
The four elements are:
Duty of Care
The first thing to prove in any negligence case is that there was a duty of care owed at the time of the incident. A duty of care is a legal obligation to act in a way that protects the health and well-being of another individual.
There are numerous legal reasons why a duty of care may be assumed. You assume a duty of care to other road users whenever you get behind the wheel of a car. Product manufacturers owe a duty of care to their customers to ensure there are no harmful defects and a store owner has a duty of care to warn customers of wet floors or ongoing construction work in the store.
All medical providers owe their patients a duty of care, so in this case, the first element is already proven.
Breaching the Duty of Care
The next element to prove is that the duty of care was breached by the negligent behavior of the at-fault party. To breach this duty of care, they must act in an unreasonable way. If any other medical provider in the same situation would have acted differently, in a reasonable manner, then they have acted negligently. Failing to monitor the fetus correctly or failing to convert to c-section in a timely manner are both examples of negligence that breaches the duty of care.
Third, you will need to prove that the negligent behavior directly caused the injuries that your child has suffered.
Finally, you will need to prove that those injuries have led to the damages you seek.
An experienced birth injury attorney will investigate on your behalf, discovering evidence such as medical records, witness accounts, expert testimonies, and whatever else is necessary to prove medical negligence occurred.
Calculating and Recovering Your Damages
When it comes to medical malpractice claims involving children, your attorney will assist you in calculating the damages you have suffered as a parent, as well as the damages your child has suffered so that you can recover them from the at-fault party.
Here are the damages they may consider:
If you have had to take time off due to the birth injury your child has suffered, you may be entitled to recover all of your lost wages from the at-fault party.
If the injuries your child has suffered mean they will have a reduced capacity for work in the future, your attorney may work with experts to gauge what a life-time of lost earning potential may look like so they can pursue it from the other party.
If your child is going to require treatment or therapy in the future, your attorney will look to medical experts to gauge what compensation will cover this future treatment.
Your attorney may also look to recover all medical bills you have suffered so far.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering damages compensate you for the pain and suffering you have been through, and for the pain and suffering your child has been through or will go through.
If your child has suffered injuries that mean they may not be able to play sports, throw a ball or ride a bike, for example, then they should be compensated for this loss of enjoyment of life they might suffer in the future.
Filing a Cerebral Palsy Malpractice Claim in Maryland
Here in Maryland, when medical malpractice occurs, you should speak to an attorney about raising your claim. They will be knowledgeable in the steps necessary and will work with and for you to put forward the most compelling case.
You will be raising a claim against the medical providers responsible, and that means you will be fighting against an insurance company that employs aggressive, capable attorneys to defend their clients. Medical malpractice claims have historically been substantial, and for this reason, medical insurance companies now use the strongest teams they can find to reduce their liability. It is their sole job to reduce their liability and compensation they have to pay out.
Statute of Limitations
Medical malpractice claims are time sensitive in two ways and you are always better off raising your case as soon as possible.
The first reason to act quickly is to improve your chances of a successful claim. Evidence is always gathered easiest when you involve your attorney immediately. They will have more time to investigate and more time to build the best possible case on your behalf. It will also give them more time to accurately gauge and calculate your damages.
Secondly, all Maryland birth injury lawyers should inform their clients about the state’s statute of limitations. These place a legal time limit to raise a malpractice claim. After its time has elapsed, your case will most likely be thrown out in any courtroom you raise it in.
Maryland’s statute of limitations states you have:
- Three years from the date the malpractice injury or error occurred.
- If, in rare cases, you do not discover the injury until a later date, you may have a longer period, but your time will never exceed five years from the date the injury occurred or three years from the date the injury was discovered.
Is Cerebral Palsy Preventable Medical Malpractice FAQs
Can you sue for cerebral palsy?
In Maryland, if your child’s cerebral palsy was preventable, and the medical provider caused your child to suffer due to their negligence, you are entitled to sue them.
Your medical providers are held to a high standard and should be expected to take every possible precaution and act with every due care and attention to avoid preventable injuries.
There’s never a good reason when a medical provider makes a mistake that causes a child to develop cerebral palsy.
Can your medical providers cause cerebral palsy?
Yes, when your attending medical providers or the medical providers responsible for monitoring you during your pregnancy make mistakes, those mistakes can lead to your child developing cerebral palsy.
How long do you have to sue following a birth injury?
A cerebral palsy lawsuit must be raised within the state’s statute of limitations. In Maryland, that means you have three years from birth to raise a claim. However, you should never wait this long. The sooner you raise your claim, the stronger your chances of seeking the compensation that may be owed to you and your child.
An experienced cerebral palsy attorney can help determine the statutes of limitations in your state and make sure your case is filed in time.
Contact Peter Angelos Law Today!
Your medical providers are meant to be the ones who ensure you and your child make it through the pregnancy and birth with no complications. When they act without due care and attention or deviate from the medical practices, they can cause preventable birth injuries that affect the rest of your child’s life.
You shouldn’t be responsible for paying for your medical bills and the future treatment of your child when the injury was preventable, and with our help, you can pursue compensation to allow you to seek the best care for your child in the future.
Our attorneys are well known for their prowess in medical malpractice cases, and our law firm has been responsible for settlements as large as $4.5 billion.
When it comes to filing your cerebral palsy claim, we have experience and a long history of success in similar cases.
Call us today at 410-705-2405.