My Child Has Cerebral Palsy – Do I Have a Case?
Cerebral palsy ranks as one of the most debilitating birth injuries that a child can suffer. Cerebral palsy affects between one and four children out of every thousand births. In many cases, a child’s cerebral palsy is the result of medical malpractice committed by the physicians and medical professionals attending the delivery and caring for the child immediately after birth.
The impact of cerebral palsy can range from mild and unnoticeable to severely disabling. When your child has suffered cerebral palsy due to medical malpractice, your child and your family may be entitled to compensation for the losses and expenses your child and your family have incurred and will incur into the future.
What Causes Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy occurs during pregnancy, or more frequently during or immediately after birth, typically due to either a lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain (hypoxia or anoxia) or traumatic force or injury imparted on the child’s head or brain.
Although cerebral palsy may result from natural complications during pregnancy or childbirth, in many cases it is caused by negligence or mistakes by doctors and nurses during delivery. Examples of negligence that can cause cerebral palsy include:
- Failing to diagnose a mother’s infection that inflicts brain injury on a child
- Failing to monitor fetal heart rate during delivery, which might indicate a lack of blood flow and oxygen to the brain
- Errors committed during a cesarean section
- Failing to identify or respond to umbilical cord issues (which can asphyxiate a child during labor)
- Erroneous use of labor-assisting tools such as vacuums or forceps
In some cases, it may be possible to treat or limit the damage that leads to cerebral palsy if medical providers identify an issue and act quickly. Failure to do so in the circumstances when other providers would have correctly and promptly acted may also lead to a claim of medical malpractice.
Liability for Cerebral Palsy
You may be entitled to hold medical providers liable for your child’s cerebral palsy if you can establish each of the four legal elements of medical malpractice:
- The existence of a provider-patient relationship (this is usually straightforward in most medical malpractice cases)
- The provider’s failure to provide treatment in accordance with the applicable standard of care, which is often defined as the actions and treatment decisions that another provider of similar training and experience would undertake in the same circumstances
- How the failure to comply with the standard of care directly and proximately caused your child to suffer cerebral palsy
- The financial expenses and losses that your family and your child have incurred and/or may be reasonably expected to incur into the future
What Compensation Might My Family Be Entitled To?
The compensation your family might receive from a medical malpractice lawsuit falls into two basic categories:
- Economic damages, including past, ongoing, and future medical expenses, therapy, and rehabilitation, specialized educational and care services for your child, disability accommodations in your home, and your child’s lost potential earnings
- Non-economic damages, including physical pain, emotional and mental distress, loss of enjoyment or quality of life, physical disability and disfigurement, or reduced life expectancy
How Long Do I Have to File a Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit?
A medical malpractice claim alleging that your child suffered cerebral palsy due to negligence must be filed by your child’s 13th birthday.
Contact a Red Bank Medical Malpractice Attorney for a Consultation About Your Birth Injury Case in New Jersey
Was your loved one injured due to a birth injury in New Jersey? Then you need to talk to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible for guidance on how to proceed. The birth injuries attorneys at Drazin & Warshaw, P.C. are prepared to assist you with your legal claim. We represent victims of negligent surgeons, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists in Old Bridge, Edison, New Brunswick, Brick and throughout, Monmouth County, Middlesex County, Ocean County, New Jersey. Call Drazin & Warshaw, P.C. today at (732) 576-8860 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. Our main office is located at 25 Reckless Place, Red Bank, NJ 07701, and we also have offices in Hazlet and Brick.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.